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Paper info: The Role of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in Social Innovations


The Role of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in Social Innovations


Ilma Nur Chowdhury, Fahian Anisul Huq and Robert D. Klassen

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2018.


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Purpose: Social innovations refer to the construction and implementation of novel solutions to societal challenges such as access to healthcare, energy and water. Social innovation comprises an emerging and important research area, mainly due the increasing rate of poverty and declining living standards which are no longer a challenge only in developing countries but also in developed countries. Embracing social innovations require the transformation of conventional business processes and the building of new relationships with network actors (Mulgan et al., 2007, Phills et al., 2008). In particular, multinational firms operating in emerging markets need to collaborate with multiple stakeholders in their network to implement socially innovative practices, including non-business actors such as non-government organisations (NGOs). Even though NGOs are key stakeholders in the social innovation process in emerging markets, there is limited knowledge on the role of NGOs in driving and diffusing social innovations. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate the social innovation relationships and governance structures pertaining to NGOs and understand how non-business actors collaborate with other network actors for social innovations. Research Design: The infancy of social innovation research calls for an exploratory approach. An exploratory approach is appropriate when a phenomenon is at a developmental stage and constructs are yet to be clearly identified. Multiple case studies offer a deeper understanding of complex processes and a better picture of locally grounded causality than do single case studies (Yin, 2003). Thus, this study incorporates four case studies, consisting of two local and two international NGOs operating in the Bangladeshi apparel business network. Findings: The case study data is currently in the process of being analysed to identify emerging themes. We have identified three categories of social innovations so far: buyer driven, NGO driven and standards driven. Implications: This study will provide insights into the process of implementing social innovations in emerging markets in collaboration with non-business actors such as NGOs.