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Title: Frugal innovation : social entrepreneurs' perceptions of innovation under institutional voids, resource scarcity and affordability constraints
Author: Bhatti, Yasser Ahmad
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 8930
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Despite some understanding within the development literature about innovation in extreme contexts marked by challenges of institutional voids and resource scarcity, there exists little knowledge within organization theory and strategic management. To extend this understanding, I connect innovation in extreme contexts with research on social and purposeful innovation. But while the literature attributes social innovation to social entrepreneurs, we know little about how social entrepreneurs themselves view innovation. Questions that arise: How do social entrepreneurs conceptualize innovation broadly and specifically under extreme contexts marked by institutional voids and resource scarcity? I explore these questions using qualitative, descriptive and analytical methods by studying two communities of globally networked and formally recognized social entrepreneurs. Analysis is at meso level of innovation and value chains but observations are at micro level through document analysis, interviews, and observations. I reveal perceptions by social entrepreneurs on conceptual drivers, determinants and key features of innovation. The findings help organizational theorists to frame models of innovation to understand innovation among social entrepreneurs broadly and in extreme contexts. In contrast to social innovation presented in current literature, I find innovation among social entrepreneurs is viewed as a disparate range of understandings that stem from varied motivations, means and outcomes related to social concerns as well as user, efficiency, and challenge concerns. I further find that social entrepreneurs turn to a mix of technology, social, and institutional innovations to deal with, make use of, or overcome constraints. The varied concerns and approaches to innovation can be condensed using the construct of 'frugal innovation' which helps provide some cohesion to the seemingly disparate notions of innovation among social entrepreneurs. I build propositions from the findings and suggest models of innovation that help develop a theory of frugal innovation with implications and lessons relevant for theory, practice, policy and future research.
Supervisor: Barron, David; Harrison, Pegram Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Management ; Business ; Organisational behaviour ; Science and technology (business & management) ; International business ; innovation ; entrepreneurship ; frugal ; social ; technology ; institutions ; resources ; voids ; constraints ; affordability