Journal of Accounting, Finance & Management Strategy





Volume 16, Number 1, June 2021

Innovating Your Business Model for Social Enterprises: Insights from a Case Study in Taiwan


Sustainable survival and sustainable competitive advantage are the goals pursued by every enterprise. Under these goals, business model innovation plays a pivotal role and provides an interesting mode for social enterprises (SEs). Based on a single case study in Taiwan (using Lee-Zen SE as the object), this study explores how SEs innovate business modes in uncertain environments and then achieve the goal of sustainable development. Also, this study indicates that the Lee-Zen corporation started from “subversive thinking” and triggered different innovations, such as spontaneity, organicity, collaboration, and atypical innovations. Notably, these emergent innovations were triggered by the bottom-up process within the organization. Lee-Zen corporation has set a successful business logic and helped other SEs develop a dynamic capability that assures the alignment of their business modes to their environmental context, thus maximizing the probability of success. Overall, Lee-Zen’s business mode innovations can be used as a reference model for social enterprises, organic agriculture, small, and medium enterprises, and related emerging industries.

Keywords: Business Mode Innovation, Social Enterprise, Emergent Innovation, Organic Innovation, Atypical Innovation

JEL Classification: L89, O31, Q01