Social innovation in service: a conceptual framework and research agenda

Lerzan Aksoy, Linda Alkire (née Nasr), Sunmee Choi, Peter Beomcheol Kim, Lu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for guiding social innovation in service (SIS), defined as the creation of novel, scalable and sustainable market based service offerings that solve systemic societal problems. Design/methodology/approach: This research provides a review and synthesis of transdisciplinary literatures to establish a basis for the conceptual framework proposed for SIS. Findings: It is argued that the primary unit of an SIS is the service firm and that there are micro-, meso-, and macro-level actors and enablers in the ecosystem that can help bring about SIS. Examples from the hospitality and tourism industry are used to demonstrate key points. Practical implications: Benefits of an SIS to companies include growth through new markets and innovative value offerings, sustainable supply chains in production, building consumer value and trust in the company/brand, attracting and retaining talent and being proactive in including social and environmental measures of success in customer metrics and company financial reporting. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the social innovation and service literature by: offering a new, scientifically supported view of an SIS; providing managers with a framework to guide social innovation within their service firm and for the benefit of their company and its stakeholders; and directing service scholars to research issues necessary to advance SIS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-448
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 8

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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