Tabares Sabrina

Ph.D. Thesis

“Social innovation capabilities in business and its effect on social sustainability performance: Experiences from an emerging economy”

My thesis belongs to the field of Social Innovation in business, specifically to the area of Corporate Social Innovation (CSI) (Kanter, 1999). The research explores the relationship between Social Innovation Capabilities (SIC) in business as a mean to achieve Social Innovation outcomes through the development of competences and capacities in enterprises looking for profits, and not only social enterprises, as the field of Social Innovation usually investigate. Regarding that Social Innovation consist in the solution of existing complex social problems and the satisfaction of unmet needs in society (Howaldt & Schwarz, 2010), I integrate in my study Social Sustainability Performance (SSP) as a proxy construct to represent and to measure Social Innovation outcomes. My expertise is in Qualitative research, particularly in Case Study research, however in my study I integrate Mixed Methods in order to validate, complement and to provide deeper insights to the field. In my research I study the case of Colombian enterprises which provides main contributions to studies in Latin America and insights for other emerging economies around the world.

My thesis provide further contributions in Sociology, Social Policy and Management in order to give answer to social problems of society. The thesis provide practical answers to the next questions:

  1. How governments, international cooperation programs and other international stakeholders may promote Social Innovation Capabilities in business in order to obtain a higher Social Sustainability Performance in society?
  2. What kind of procedures, routines and skills must organization develop s in order to drive Social Innovations and to solve social problems and unmet needs in society?
  3. How to analyze Social Sustainability Performance (SSP) as a social indicator in order to obtain Social Innovations in enterprises?


Collaborator and Associated Institute: Prof. Christian Suter, Supervisor, Institute of Sociology (UniNE)

Funding sources: Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars (ESKAS)

Expected duration: 2018-2021


Research Interests

  • Social Innovation in Business
  • Social Innovation Capabilities
  • Corporate Social Innovation
  • Social Sustainability Performance
  • International Cooperation
  • Stakeholders Engagement
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
  • Sustainable Development



Institut de sociologie
Faubourg de l'Hôpital 27
2000 Neuchâtel

Bureau 205
Tél. +41 32 718 15 82
Courriel Sabrina Tabares