Creating social value by empowering people: A social innovation perspective

Lara Maestripieri, Nadia von Jacobi, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, Toa Giroletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Initiatives across the private, public, and third sectors have increasingly pursued social value beyond mere profit. However, how social value can be created still requires a more detailed investigation. This paper provides conceptual and empirical arguments on how initiatives of social innovation, which intentionally seek to empower people, contribute to generate social value. We investigate three European social innovation cases—which are collective entrepreneurial initiatives. Using mixed methods applied to primary nested data, we first find evidence for empowering effects and then identify a typical process through which empowerment occurs. Our results suggest that social innovations catalyze empowerment through a horizontal and co-creational organizational design, providing space for individuals to propose their goals and establishing mechanisms of mutual influence that transform individual autonomy into coactive power. This process kicks off social value creation, yet its reach within society depends on how much empowerment diffuses beyond the participants in the initiative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages27
JournalAnnals of Public and Cooperative Economics
Early online dateJun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023


  • autonomy measurement
  • empowerment
  • mixed methods
  • social innovation
  • social value


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating social value by empowering people: A social innovation perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this