Thomas B. Lawrence, Graham Dover, and Bryan Gallagher
In this chapter, we examine the scholarly literature on managing social innovation and develop a theoretical framework to advance research in this area. We first discuss the main themes in the social innovation literature, including the social construction of social problems, the social and historical embedding of novel solutions, the structural process in organization of social innovation, and the distribution of benefits as an inherently political and ethically contestable issue. We then develop a framework for studying social innovation that addresses key weaknesses in the existing literature. We propose a theoretical framework that emphasizes the idea of social innovation as a transformational process centered around the recursive relationship between the social construction of social problems and the creation of novel solutions.