Business-Led Social Innovation in the Work Integration Field: The Role of Large Firms and Corporate Foundations

Marta Rey-Garcia, Vanessa Mato-Santiso


The overall aim of this article is to understand the type of roles that corporate actors (large corporations and corporate foundations) play in social innovation processes taking place in the field of work integration. Its first specific goal is to depict the dynamics of the field in Spain. In order to achieve it, we describe the field and characterize the roles of relevant actors using strategic action field theory. The second goal consists of understanding how large firms and corporate foundations can contribute innovative solutions to the field. “Juntos por el Empleo”, a collective impact initiative to promote the work integration for the most vulnerable groups of population in Spain, is explored as an illustrative example. This cross-sector partnership, led by Accenture Foundation, encompasses the efforts of over 1000 organizations, including corporate actors. Data collection methods combine secondary sources, direct observations and in-depth interviews. Results of this qualitative research show a broad variety of innovative ways through which firms and corporate foundations can contribute to the work integration of the disadvantaged, such as participating in the design of tools or programs, disseminating sought after profiles, providing specialized training for particular job positions, designing personalized work paths, acting as large employers for low-qualified people, and finally mobilizing collective efforts and creating new resources through cross-sector partnerships. However, not all these alternatives are equally developed at this point. This paper contributes to fill a research gap about the roles played by corporate actors in social innovation processes and outcomes.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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