Spirituality, social innovation and religious entrepreneurship

Stream #19

Chairs: Brett Smith (Miami University), Andrea Sottini (Università Cattolica)

Scholars dating back to Smith (1776) and Weber (1930, 1958) have argued that religion plays a fundamental role in shaping economic activities (Zelekha et al., 2014). Despite this early interest, scholarship over the ensuing decades paid little attention to the relationship between religion and entrepreneurship (Tracey, 2012). More recently, research interests and contributions around religious institutions have been growing (Berger and Berger, 1972; Busenitz and Lichtenstein, 2019; Drakopoulou-Dodd and Spearman, 1998; Gümüsay, 2020a; Quattrone, 2015). In this vein, research at the nexus between religion and entrepreneurship has increased with several publications in leading journals (e.g. Griebel et al., 2014; Tracey, 2012; Zelekha, 2013; see for review Balong et al., 2014; Vasconcelos, 2018). Scholars theoretically conceptualized religion as a social institution which is a source of economic and social capital for entrepreneurs (Choi, 2010; Galbraith et al., 2007; Neubert, 2019; Nwankwo et al., 2012) as well as values and norms that guide entrepreneurial actions (Amoako and Lyon, 2014). 

Taking together, religion may allow entrepreneurs to build networks and working relationships with partners based on shared beliefs and values (Puffer et al., 2010), to acquire resources such as advice and financial capital (Dodd and Seaman 2007), and  to connect with emerging ecosystems of accelerators, investors, and support organizations (Smith et al., 2019). Diving deeper into entrepreneurship, research suggests religion influences entrepreneurial action (Smith et al., 2109) including opportunity recognition, scaling, and social innovation s (Ganzin et al., 2019; Neubert et al. 2017; Pearce et. al., 2010; Tracey, 2012). Likewise, recent contributions highlight the impact of humanistic values of religion, such as principle of gratuitousness, solidarity, and orientation toward a common good, (Balog et al., 2014; Donati, 2009; Gümüsay, 2020a; Parboteeah et al., 2009; Kauanui et al., 2010; Ramasamy et al., 2010) on the development of fair-trade practices (Cater et al., 2017), social enterprise and social business movements (Spear, 2007) (e.g. IGIAD in Turkey and Zahnräder, in German, promote business’s approach that embrace Islamic values). 

Despite the prominent theoretical and emerging empirical relationship between religion, entrepreneurship and social innovation, scholarship on these streams remains fragmented, with many research questions unanswered. For this reason, invite contributions to the special issue on the following, but non-exhaustive, topics: 

1) Religion and social innovation 

  • Impact of religious background on the social innovation process
  • Social innovation process within religious-based organizations
  • Outcomes of social innovation between religious organizations Vs secular non-profit organizations

2) Religion and entrepreneurial attitude

  • The role of religion on the willingness to start-up businesses
  • Influence of religion on the social and environmental attitude of entrepreneurs
  • Impact of religion on the risk-taking of entrepreneurs 

3) Religion and side effects on entrepreneurial activities

  • The negative impact of religion on the entrepreneurial attitudes
  • Impact of superior beliefs on creation of entrepreneurial biases 
  • Religion as source of social marginalization of groups from market and resource access 

4) Religion and institutional norms

  • Religious norms as guide or limitation of the scope and objective of entrepreneurial ventures
  • Influence of religious on the attitude to respect formal rules (laws) 
  • Religious political lobbying favours Vs restricts entrepreneurial actions 

5) Religion and entrepreneurial ecosystem 

  • Network based on religious ties: open or limit resource access
  • Religious-based organizations as orchestrator of entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Role of religious beliefs in the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystem ties 

6) Religion and misinterpretation religious codes

  • Influence of religion on entrepreneurial activities of religious terrorist groups
  • Misinterpretation of religious norms: impact on unmoral entrepreneurial actions
  • The role of religious entrepreneurship in guiding religious terrorist groups to shift toward ethical entrepreneurial activities