Innovators Intent: Role of IT in Facilitating Innovative Knowledge Practices in Social Enterprises

Maria Luisa Granados, Sudhanshu Rai

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


With this paper we want to explore further the innovators intent, where social enterprises use imaginative ways to take advantage of information technology to create, share and manage the knowledge pool of their small enterprise. We draw on several perspectives on how information processing needs are addressed, as well as the manner in which IT enables and facilitates sense-making. Studies exploring the role of IT in organisations abound, however our focus is not large organisations but small social enterprises (SEs) and how they use IT to further their business objectives. Hence there is still a lack of understanding on how IT can support the management of knowledge within the context of SEs dealing with different contextual settings influenced by: constant tensions between social and economic objectives, more focus on sustainability than competiveness, limited resources, and high levels of democratic participation. All these conditions manifest themselves in SEs, aiming to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s quality of life, and environment. To obtain a conceptual and empirical understanding of how IT can facilitate acquisition, conversion and application of knowledge in SEs, we conducted a qualitative study with 21 interviews to owners, senior members and founders of SEs in the UK, underpinned by findings from a quantitative survey with 432 responses. We found how IT was supporting informal practices of knowledge management in SEs, more the recovery and storage of necessary information in SEs, and less the collaborative work and communication among enterprise members. However, it was established that SEs were using different technologies, such as, cloud solutions and web 2.0 tools to manage informally their knowledge. The possible impediments for SEs to support themselves more on IT solutions can be linked mainly to economic and human constraints. These findings elucidate new perspectives of how small and hybrid organisations are supporting their operations using IT and the crucial role of cloud and web 2.0 tools in facilitating informal knowledge management practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management: At the Interface - Georgia, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
Conference number: 77


Conference77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Information technology
  • Innovation
  • Social enterprise

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