Social entrepreneurship and social innovation: A bibliometric review and research agenda

Sottini, Andrea; Zupic, Ivan and Giudici, Alessandro. 2024. Social entrepreneurship and social innovation: A bibliometric review and research agenda. European Management Journal, ISSN 0263-2373 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Despite the increasing focus on scientific maturity in social entrepreneurship (SE) and social innovation (SI), scholars still place a greater focus on defining theoretical boundaries than on the commonalities and complementarities between these phenomena. We address this gap by investigating when, how, and to what extent SE and SI are interrelated via a bibliometric analysis of the intersection of the SE and SI theoretical domains that combines cocitation analysis, historiography, and bibliographic coupling. Building on these results, we advance the theoretical debate by introducing a novel framework, documenting that while the SI process can occur beyond social enterprises’ boundaries, SE can contribute to creating, enabling, and scaling SI solutions. Moreover, we document historical convergence in a new trend accompanying the increase in SI research under the SE umbrella. This leads to a research agenda that can prompt the cross-pollination of these theories, fostering a novel theoretical construct through this combination.

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Funding: The paper has received financial support to complete the analysis of data and the writing process from the “Research England - Global Challenge Research Fund,” which we thankfully recognize.


social entrepreneurship; social innovation; bibliometric analysis; cocitation analysis; algorithmic historiography; bibliographic coupling

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


21 March 2024Accepted
8 April 2024Published Online

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Date Deposited:

18 Apr 2024 13:18

Last Modified:

18 Apr 2024 15:43

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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