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Social innovation and entrepreneurship in the sharing economy

Special issue call for papers from Management Decision

Market failure theory holds that profit-seeking enterprises will not and cannot be engaged in the provision of public goods or in solving social problems. The idea that regards social problems including poverty, unemployment and environmental pollution as a ‘responsibility’ of enterprise is popular. For a long time, the idea of separating enterprises from the main providers of public goods has led to the consideration that public goods should be provided by governments and non-profit organizations only. However, in many developing countries, governments, market and non-profit organizations are prone to ‘triple failure ‘in the process of solving social problems (Ganapati, et al. forthcoming).

Social Entrepreneurship (SE) is a social innovation that provides a new idea of ‘triple failure’ solving. The mission of social innovation is to provide new solutions to social problems through SE, social change and thus achieving sustainable development (Phillips et al., 2015). SE encompasses the activities and processes undertaken to discover, define, and exploit opportunities in order to enhance social wealth by creating new ventures or managing existing organizations in an innovative manner(Zahra et al., 2009). SE offers innovative solutions to complex and persistent social issues by applying traditional business and market-oriented models (Spear, 2006; Mair and Marti, 2006; Bacq and Alt, 2018). Therefore, SE is becoming a significant form of social innovation. In the United States, SE is a good supplement to the traditional NGO and an important organizational form of social innovation (Edwards-Schachter and Wallace, 2017).

The sharing economy provides not only a favorable environment for the innovative solution of social problems, but also new solutions. Take Uber, Kiva, Imperfect Produce, Sanergy as examples, these new sharing economies were generated from the innovative environment that may ultimately benefit the wider public (Geissinger et al., forthcoming). Firstly, due to the development of Internet, information technology and the popularization of modern management concepts, from the sharing economy are emerging new theories of social operation mechanism, profit- sharing, beyond the notion of property rights, zero-marginal cost society, which offers proper conditions for social enterprises (Rifkin, 2014; Kathan et al.,2016; Munger,2018; Fisher,2018). The sharing economy means low transaction cost, which provides necessary operating mechanism for the idle resources of its full utilization and the matching of supply and demand, as well as offering the necessary SE identities for the participants. The transactions rely on the mutual benefits and trusts because the behaviors of transactions and consumption are built on the relationship between individuals via platforms, where information is transparent and symmetrical.  These notions cultivate a sense of social cooperation and integrity.

Secondly, the sharing economy motivates people to participate in social value creation. The purpose of an individual’s economic behavior is no longer single, but tend towards sharing and the co-creation of economic and social value. For example, the value co-creation theory (Prahalad Ramaswamyn 2004; Vargo et al.2008) holds that the participants in value creation are not providers and customers, but users and platforms in sharing economy, and the value creation way should be value co-creation among users. Moreover, the users’ value creation activities are no longer limited by enterprise resources, but emerging from the users physical, psychological and other dimensions of life. Therefore, the requirements of social users, including poverty and environmental problems will be benefited from the emerging technology platforms, and break through the constraints of enterprise resources (Plewnia and Guenther, 2018).

To conclude, with the development of IT technology and the appearance of a zero-marginal cost society, the new form of sharing economy provides the mixed value creation of social and economic conditions. Both enterprises and the public sectors need to break down barriers of ‘failure’, to expand organizational boundaries, and to seek cross-border cooperation. This synergetic development thinking orientation spawned many new organizational forms and business models, which have boomed a social innovation wave. Globally, this new born social innovation wave offers necessary technical support and social culture foundation to the social problem solving as well as the social value requirement, and also provide basic guarantees of cooperation and reciprocity for the economic actors.

Nevertheless, the global social problems have still threaten human beings, what is more, the development of social enterprises is relatively insufficient. In the sharing economy, the discussion of social innovation and entrepreneurship is continuous rising. Varieties of new mixed organizations related to social problems are emerging. However, how to solve social problems through social innovation and sharing economic development model? How to promote social innovation by means of shared value notion? How do social entrepreneurship and shared value promote each other? There is a need for further study and discussion. This Special Issue encourages submissions that fit the above mentioned directions in research and practices. Recommended topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The role of the entrepreneur: social mission and opportunity recognition
  2. Social networks and innovation systems.
  3. How does the social enterprise use sharing mechanism to promote social innovation
  4. The role of institutions, institutional entrepreneurship and social innovation
  5. How do enterprises create social value in sharing economy
  6. The innovation of relationship between enterprise, customer, platform and society in the sharing economy
  7. How do social entrepreneur manage tensions in different culture
  8. Social entrepreneurship and the traditional view of righteousness and benefit, such as confunism
  9. The hybridity and management innovation in sharing economy
  10. Sharing economy and social entrepreneurship management
  11. Social enterprise and the management of paradox
  12. Social attachment and social entrepreneurship identity
  13. The operation mechanism of co-creation value in social entrepreneurship
  14. The formation and development of cross-sectoral partnerships.

Important Dates:

First submission: March 1, 2019
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2019

Guidelines on Paper Submission:
The papers submitted for this Special Issue of the Management Decision (MD) will initially be desk reviewed by a Guest Editor and when found suitable, it will be assigned for rigorous review by a qualified team of academicians. Successful papers in this Special Issue should demonstrate strong academic discourse combined with robust methodological approach will be considered during the peer review processes.

Please visit the Management Decision at to know more about the journal.   

Submissions to the Management Decision are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available through

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Guest Editors:
WenZhi Zheng
, Huaqiao University, China.;
Jun Yang, Nankai University, China.;
Yenchun Jim Wu, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan,
Chunpei Lin, Huaqiao University, China.

Bacq, S., & Alt, E. (2018). Feeling capable and valued: A prosocial perspective on the link between empathy and social entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing, 33(3), 333-350.
Edwards-Schachter, M., & Wallace, M. L. (2017). ‘Shaken, but not stirred’: Sixty years of defining social innovation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 119, 64-79.
Fisher, E. (2018). When information wanted to be free: Discursive bifurcation of information and the origins of Web 2.0. The Information Society, 34(1), 40-48.
Ganapati, S., & Reddick, C. G.  Prospects and challenges of sharing economy for the public sector. Government Information Quarterly (forthcoming).
Geissinger, A., Laurell, C., & Sandström, C. (2018). Digital Disruption beyond Uber and Airbnb—Tracking the long tail of the sharing economy. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
Kathan, W., Matzler, K., & Veider, V. (2016). The sharing economy: Your business model's friend or foe?. Business Horizons, 59(6), 663-672.
Mair, J., & Marti, I. (2006). Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight. Journal of world business, 41(1), 36-44.
Munger, M. C. (2018). Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy. Cambridge University Press.
Phillips, W., Lee, H., Ghobadian, A., O’Regan, N., & James, P. (2015). Social innovation and social entrepreneurship: A systematic review. Group & Organization Management, 40(3), 428-461.
Plewnia, F., & Guenther, E. (2018). Mapping the sharing economy for sustainability research. Management Decision, 56(3), 570-583.
Prahalad, C. K., & Ramaswamy, V. (2004). Co-creation experiences: The next practice in value creation. Journal of interactive marketing, 18(3), 5-14.
Quélin, B. V., Kivleniece, I., & Lazzarini, S. (2017). Public‐private collaboration, hybridity and social value: Towards new theoretical perspectives. Journal of Management Studies, 54(6), 763-792.
Rifkin, J. (2014). The zero marginal cost society: The internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism. St. Martin's Press.
Spear, R. (2006). Social entrepreneurship: a different model?. International journal of social economics, 33(5/6), 399-410.
Stephan, U., Uhlaner, L. M., & Stride, C. (2015). Institutions and social entrepreneurship: The role of institutional voids, institutional support, and institutional configurations. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(3), 308-331.
Vargo, S. L., Maglio, P. P., & Akaka, M. A. (2008). On value and value co-creation: A service systems and service logic perspective. European management journal, 26(3), 145-152.
Zahra, S. A., Gedajlovic, E., Neubaum, D. O., & Shulman, J. M. (2009). A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges. Journal of business venturing, 24(5), 519-532.