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Social Innovation Research

Uncategorized | Sep 10, 2020 |

Five academic papers examining various dimensions of social entrepreneurship and innovation were published in the Humanistic Management Journal in December 2019. The scholarship is the culmination of research projects that began a year earlier at a thought leadership conference organized by the Gabelli School. 

Driven by consumers who increasingly expect companies to conduct themselves ethically and by investors who demand a long-term management focus, more mainstream businesses are adopting socially responsible and sustainable practices, according to conference co-chairs Michael Pirson, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the MS in Management program; Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D., professor and associate dean of undergraduate studies; and Sertan Kabadayi, Ph.D., professor and area chair of marketing. 

“We hope to address the growing hunger of society to find better and more effective solutions to society’s current ills,” said Pirson, the editor of the journal, who was joined by Aksoy and Kabadayi as co-editors of the special issue. “The papers are all aimed at showing pathways forward in how we can reimagine social innovation within a business context as well as a business school context.” 

The papers—co-authored by conference participants, including executives from industry and nonprofit organizations and scholars from public and private universities, such as Fordham, the University of Massachusetts, and Northwestern University— explore human dignity’s role in the process of social innovation; how research in the fields of humanistic management, social innovation, and transformative service overlap and inform each other; the systemic implications of social innovation; how factors such as age, labor-force participation, income, and crime levels affect human “flourishing,” or sense of well-being and happiness; and ways that business schools could incorporate social entrepreneurship and innovation into their curricula. 

Five scholars were asked to respond to the papers. One was Jerry White, a professor at the University of Virginia, a Gabelli Fellow at Fordham, and a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Reacting to the paper about teaching social innovation in business schools, he wrote: “It’s high time we boldly integrate innovation, social or otherwise, across the board, together, to match the needed cultural and structural shifts to serve aspiring business students and leaders going forward.”

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