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Reminder: Submission Period for JMS SI Grand Societal Challenges & Responsible Innovation May 1-31

  • 1.  Reminder: Submission Period for JMS SI Grand Societal Challenges & Responsible Innovation May 1-31

    Posted 05-01-2019 02:20

    --- apologies for cross-posting ---

    Dear colleagues

    This is a reminder that the submission period for the Special Issue on Grand Societal Challenges and Responsible Innovation of the Journal of Management Studies is from 1 May – 31 May 2019.

    Please also note the dates for the R&R workshop in October 25-26, 2019 in Paris. 

    We are looking forward to receiving your submissions. 


    Journal of Management Studies





    Submission Period: 1 May – 31 May 2019


    Guest Editors:

    Christian Voegtlin, Audencia Business School, France

    Andreas Georg Scherer, University of Zurich, Switzerland

    Günter K. Stahl, WU Vienna, Austria

    Olga Hawn, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA


    JMS Editor:

    Donald Siegel, Arizona State University, USA

    Jonathan Doh, Villanova School of Business, USA


    Background to Special Issue

    Policy makers, intergovernmental actors, business practitioners and researchers across disciplines have started to recognize the need to pool resources and to work together to address the so-called grand societal challenges. Grand challenges are massive social and environmental issues that transcend national borders and have potential or actual negative effects on large numbers of people, communities, and the planet as a whole, and, therefore, need to be tangibly addressed through collaborative efforts (George et al., 2016; Whiteman et al., 2013). These challenges include, though are not limited to, the challenges posed by climate change, ocean acidification, poverty and inequality. The most influential current framework that relates to the grand challenges and tries to define goals for a sustainable future are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    One of the most promising avenues for addressing the grand societal challenges is through responsible innovation (Khavul and Bruton, 2013; Owen et al., 2012; Stilgoe et al., 2013). There have been increasing attempts by policy-makers to facilitate responsible innovation, e.g., the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework from the EU, the "harmonious society" concept of the Chinese government, or the recently established department of the Office of the Controller of the Currency in the US tasked with supporting responsible innovation in the financial technology sector. While these initiatives are important steps, they do not come without certain shortcomings, including being primarily limited to national territories, having the focus on risk management, and, in many cases, not having integrated businesses as a main sourceof innovation.

    However, as pointed out by Aguilera and colleagues, corporations are "important and necessary social change agents" (2007, p. 857). The private sector is increasingly seen to have a critical role in developing solutions to the grand societal challenges, as evidenced by the growing number of partnerships between business community, civil society organizations, and governmental as well as intergovernmental agencies; the emergence of dedicated CSR departments in many companies; and corporate engagement in the initiatives like the UN Global Compact or the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

    With this call for papers, we aim to encourage research on responsible innovation that includes business as part of the solution and focuses on the global agenda for sustainable development. Initially, "responsible innovation" was used in quite a narrow way to explore the responsibility of science with respect to issues such as research on human subjects, socio-technical integration, research integrity, intellectual property or the ethical and social implications of scientific innovation (Owen et al., 2013, p. 39). More recent analyses apply a broader perspective on innovations and take account of the variety of actors inside and outside the scientific system that might be involved in innovation processes (Khavul and Bruton, 2013; Owen et al., 2012; Stilgoe et al., 2013). Thus responsible innovation can been defined as "a transparent, interactive process by which societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view on the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products" (von Schomberg, 2011, p. 50). Seen from this perspective, responsible innovation consists of three types of responsibility which are relevant for exploring the role of private businesses (Voegtlin and Scherer, 2017): (1) the responsibility to do no harm, (2) the responsibility to do good (Stahl and Sully de Luque, 2014) and (3) responsible governance (Scherer and Palazzo, 2011), which involves establishing institutions, structures, and procedures on multiple levels in order to facilitate innovations that suffice (1) and (2). 

    Research in business and management has so far been mostly looking at either the dimension of "do no harm" or "do good", but has rarely considered them as interdependent, nor has there been much research on responsible governance that facilitates responsible innovation. With regard to the dimension of "do no harm", the extant literature has for the most part focused on risk management frameworks that seek to regulate innovation processes in order to mitigate potential harm; in addition, there have been calls for open innovation and democratizing innovation as a way to integrate a variety of stakeholders (Owen et al., 2013; von Hippel, 2005; von Hippel and von Krogh, 2003). With regard to the dimension of "do good", we see scholars researching social and ecological innovation, or investigating the challenges faced by hybrid organizations that strive to pursue both social and economic missions (Dahan et al., 2010; Ebrahim et al., 2014; Markman et al., 2016). As mentioned above, research on innovative governance is scarce; in particular the role of business in defining and enforcing new governance mechanisms that facilitate responsible innovations has yet to be explored (Scherer & Palazzo, 2011; Scherer et al., 2016 ). Last but not least, further theory building and empirical research are warranted around the concept of responsible innovation as such.

    We believe that the topic is one that is predestined for cross-disciplinary research and for thinking beyond established boundaries. Complex problems require complex answers, and we therefore encourage the dialogue between scholars from a variety of disciplines to engage with management research. We invite conceptual and empirical submissions drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives and diverse methodologies. We expect papers to advance our theoretical understanding of responsible innovation, its drivers and outcomes, and its contribution to solving grand societal challenges. The following topic areas highlight exemplary questions and research themes:

    1.         The Nature, Consequences and Context of Responsible Innovation

    • What theories can help us better understand and explain responsible innovation and its relation to the grand societal challenges?
    • What are relevant drivers of responsible innovation and under what conditions will these drivers facilitate responsible innovation best?
    • What are the conditions that contribute to incremental and to radical innovation for sustainable development?
    • How can we measure responsible innovation in businesses and its impact on the grand societal challenges?
    • Under what conditions can new forms of doing business and new forms of innovation (e.g., open innovation, collective innovation, digitalization, sharing economy, etc.) contribute to solving the grand societal challenges?

    2.         Macro-Level – Institutional Dynamics Related to Responsible Innovation

    • What is the influence of politics (access to and involvement of business in the political process), policy (national legislation related to grand societal challenges), and polity (institutional political framework, regime type, form of capitalism, etc.) on responsible innovation?
    • What are the implications of recent societal developments (e.g., emerging nationalism, fundamentalism and populism or the post-fact/truth era) for responsible innovation? How and why can these developments foster or hinder responsible innovation?
    • Under what conditions do global governance initiatives work best to foster responsible innovation for the grand societal challenges? How can hard-law and soft-law work together to encourage responsible innovation?
    • What is the influence of the SDGs on research and development in business firms?

     3.         Meso-Level – Organizing for Responsible Innovation

    • What is the impact of different (and novel) organizational forms on responsible innovation (e.g., MNCs and SMEs, new corporate ventures, hybrid organizations, state-led firms, purpose driven corporate forms and benefit corporations, etc.)?
    • How can responsible innovation be financed and under what conditions does which form of capital work best (e.g., what is the role of innovative forms of financing, like B-corp equity, crowdfunding, impact investment, etc.)?
    • What forms of (innovative) corporate governance can facilitate responsible innovation?
    • What are intra-organizational challenges of responsible innovation and how can R&D be linked to the grand societal challenges?

     4.         Micro-Level – The Individual Contributing to Responsible Innovation

    • What facilitates innovative behavior that targets the grand societal challenges?
    • How does individual behavior contribute to responsible innovation across levels- of-analysis?
    • Which forms of leadership and team dynamics contribute to responsible innovation?
    • What role does the entrepreneurial identity play in responsible innovation?
    • How does CEO political activism link to responsible innovation and sustainable development?


    Submission Process and Deadlines


    Special Issue Workshop

    October 25-26, 2019 at Audencia Business School, Paris Campus, France. To help authors advance their manuscripts, the proponents of the Special Issue will organize a special issue workshop. Authors of R&R manuscripts will be invited to present their papers and react to their colleague's papers during the workshop, but presentation at the workshop will not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in JMS. Attending the workshop will not be a precondition for acceptance into the Special Issue.



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    Dahan, N. M., Doh, J. P., Oetzel, J. and Yaziji, M. (2010). 'Corporate-NGO collaboration: Co-

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    Ebrahim, A., Battilana, J. and Mair, J. (2014). 'The governance of social enterprises: Mission drift and accountability challenges in hybrid organizations'. Research in Organizational Behavior, 34, 81-100.

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    Christian Voegtlin, PhD

    Associate Professor – Corporate Social Responsibility

    Department of Business & Society

    Audencia Business School

    Tel.: +33 (0)2 40 37 45 28

    Christian Voegtlin
    Audencia Business School