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Regular version of the site

Article

The effect of enabling factors on social innovation in Russian non-profit organisations

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 2019. Vol. 39 . No. 5/6. P. 447-463.
Krasnopolskaya I., Meijs L.

Purpose – This paper explores the factors that are associated with a capacity of non-profits to develop social innovations. The study aims to examine factors in the Russian national context with weak non-profit sector with an ambiguous governmental policy toward the sector. 

 

Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on survey data (n=850 NPOs, 2015, Russia). The paper analyses the likelihood of a non-profit to introduce social innovations due to external framework and organisational factors. Regression analysis was applied in the study. 

The study is based on a new sampling approach and examines non-profits as producers of social innovations, but not cases of social innovations per se.  

 

Findings – The results demonstrate that the capacity of an NPO to develop social innovations is explained by the following enabling factors: cross-boundary collaborative relations, volunteer involvement, and diversity of the revenue structure. Composition of innovative sub-sector, opportunities and chances of getting into this group are explicitly determined and regulated by the current governmental policy towards the sector. That is that large and established non-profits are more likely to be innovative in Russia, unlike expected grass-roots. 

 

Originality/value – The paper applies a theoretical framework to analyse the social innovation concept in a non-Western context with weak civil society and an influential government. From this perspective the results present empirical quantitative verification of the determinants of social innovation capacity of NPOs. The paper is among the first to apply a reverse sampling principle and examine social innovations via NPOs as producers. The paper produced, for the first time, an empirical description of the nature of innovative activity by NPOs and an estimation of the extent of this activity in Russia.