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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Social entrepreneurship: creating social value when bridging holes

Kokko, Suvi


Purpose- This paper aims to understand how social value is created in a context characterized by institutional complexity. By identifying stakeholders interacting in a social enterprise and the logics guiding their expected and experienced value, the study describes how social value is created when different institutional logics embedded in strong-tie networks are bridged.Design/methodology/approach - Concepts of structural holes and institutional logics were applied to the empirical case of a social enterprise. Interviews provided the primary empirical material, but multiple data collection methods were used.Findings - A shared goal facilitated co-existence of competing value logics, and provided common space forming multiple social value outcomes as products of the different logics.Research limitations/implications - Limited to one case, this study shows that the interaction of otherwise unconnected stakeholders in a social enterprise, and their embeddedness in different institutional logics, provides one explanation for why and how social value is created.Practical implications - Acknowledging and addressing gaps in knowledge and resources can lead to social value creation if social enterprises remain open to different logics. This suggests that co-existence of different logics can be a key factor for successful social value creation in social enterprises, if the competing logics are turned into complementary sources.Originality/value - Dependency on logics from different networks of stakeholders shapes social enterprises to produce outcomes consistent with the different logics. The multiplicity of social value outcomes poses challenges for evaluating the success of social enterprises, especially when the tendency is to use evaluation approaches from the for-profit sector, focusing on the economic logic.


Social value; Social network; Institutional logics; Social enterprise; Structural holes

Published in

Social Enterprise Journal
2018, Volume: 14, number: 4, pages: 410-428

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG8 Decent work and economic growth
    SDG10 Reduced inequalities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Business Administration
    Social Work

    Publication identifier


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