Social enterprise strategic leadership for delivering shared value



strategic leadership, social enterprise, shared value, social value


Topicality: Success in every organization is tied to the quality of its leadership performance. The importance of solving societal challenges, including delivering shared value, is growing. While there are several findings when investigating the current literature, it is evident that there is a research gap in literature on social enterprise strategic leadership. A literature review is performed to investigate the current opportunities and challenges in social enterprise strategic leadership. Based on this initial literature review, a research gap associated with strategic leadership in social enterprises is identified and presented. Strategic leadership includes dimensions, attributes, and functions crucial in helping social enterprises to confront the challenges associated with the current dynamic business environment, steer organizations through change, and deliver shared value.

The research aim: To provide an overview of literature on dimensions, attributes, and functions of social enterprise strategic leadership in delivering shared value.

Methodology: Content analysis, bibliometric analysis, text mining analysis.

Findings: Early exploration of this social enterprise strategic leadership topic indicates an increased complexity for strategic leaders in social enterprises delivering shared value compared with private enterprises. According to Jackson et al., the complexity lies within levels of ambiguity, fast-changing social trends and the lack of an established theoretical and practical knowledge base to rely on, making strategic leadership more challenging (Jackson et al., 2017). Another study identifies different attributes related to strategic leadership, such as cognition and diversity (Fernandes et al., 2021). Based on literature studies, the functions of strategic leadership are identified, such as making strategic decisions, engaging with external stakeholders, delivering business model innovation, and managing social issues and company performance. In social enterprises, strategic leadership must have the same functions as any other enterprise; however, the attributes and approach to these must differ. According to Jackson et al., purpose-driven strategic leadership makes it easier to stay true to the mission and engagement with stakeholders (Jackson et al., 2017).

Novelty: As far as the authors are aware, this is the first scientific attempt to fill the research gap by bridging two parallel research streams on leadership. Stream 1: social enterprise scholars and stream 2: strategic leadership scholars. The social enterprise scholars stream focuses on strategic leadership driven to deliver social value; the strategic leadership scholars stream mainly focuses on competitiveness of business and sustainability of organizations. The attributes and functions of a social enterprise strategic leader are identified. Which are more dominant in relation to the enterprise life cycle, size, and scope must be subject to further research.