Venture technological innovation, social value and economic value: The influence of customer-beneficiary alignment

Joanne L. Scillitoe, New York Institute of Technology
Latha Poonamallee, Michigan Technological University
Simy Joy, University of East Anglia

Published by IEEE. Publisher’s version of record:


The technological innovation literature has widely considered the process and outcomes of market driven firms. However, research on the innovation process and outcomes of socially driven firms, particularly socio-technological entrepreneurial ventures, is very limited. In particular, the influence of the alignment of customer versus beneficiary needs has not been addressed within this literature yet is an important consideration for socio-technological venture development and subsequent innovation impact. As a result, in this paper we present a conceptual model explaining how technological innovation impact is influenced by venture orientation, organizational structure, and customer/beneficiary alignment. Unlike a market oriented venture that typically selects a for-profit structure, a socially oriented venture may select from a choice of for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid structures, influenced by founder experience. We also posit that customer-beneficiary alignment can influence the relationship between structure and innovation impact. When customer and beneficiary preferences are less aligned, a non-profit structure offers the greatest innovation impact for social value with minimal impact on economic value while a hybrid structure offers greater innovation impact for both social and economic value and a for-profit structure offers greater impact for economic value. However, when customer and beneficiary preferences are more aligned, a for-profit structure offers the greatest innovation impact for both social and economic value.