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2 (20) 2013

Demography and social economy, 2013, 2(20):167-178
doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/dse2013.02.167

O.A. Grishnova, G.U. Mishchuk

Section: Social and labour relations
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: Social innovation is a relatively new field of research and policy that gradually starts to transform into the modern trend of industrial relations. Their crucial idea is to simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations.
Based on the analytical reports on the awareness of social innovation in the UK, Australia, and Canada and the experience of certain companies in the field of social innovation projects implementation (both in Ukraine and in the EU), the authors suggest a social innovation system. It consists of the innovations implemented at four levels: corporate, regional, national and international. According to the types of social needs and forms of interaction in society there are the following types of innovations: employment development, innovation in education (including further training), ensuring access to healthcare and innovation, social responsibility development, new social relationships or collaborations (including informational ones), social entrepreneurship. The implementation of the whole system or a particular kind of social innovation needs corresponding organizational, information and financial support. The authors justify their main components: social investment, contracts, social innovation transfers, and the development of an open source information access.
The authors conducted a survey of innovation activities and its issues in Ukraine on the corporate level according to the proposed social innovation system. The survey showed that there is a number of negative trends that hinder further development and spread of social innovation across the Ukrainian enterprises. These include the following: low understanding of the need to develop social entrepreneurship, poor awareness of advanced human resource management and innovations; low level of social responsibility of the enterprises; the prevalence of traditional methods of knowledge management; weak initiative in promoting social innovation outside the company which clearly demonstrates that business is isolated from social needs of all kinds. In general, the prevalence of innovation development programs and projects which correspond to social innovation concept does not exceed 30% of the respondent enterprises. Even such social innovation forms that meet the needs of all social partners are insufficiently developed. These, in particular, include employees and local inhabitants creativity and innovation promotion by their participation in R&D projects and contests of business ideas. Less than 10% of the regional companies implement such actions. Less than 13% of the surveyed enterprises work on the corresponding employee programs. The use of the new employment types is also very low. Less than 12% of the enterprises give an opportunity of remote employment, in less than 20% of the cases the employees have the options of flexible work arrangements, for example flex-time.
The study showed that identified trends are very dangerous as they may exacerbate existing social issues and lead to such commonly perceived barriers to getting involved as lack of motivation in business environment. Unfortunately, today Ukrainian employers still view personnel as a cheap and inexhaustible resource. The use of such unproductive approach not only restrains companies social development, but also prohibits economic progress of the enterprises. Therefore, the paper states that social business can be indeed a very powerful agenda for change and become a real engine of national growth. Within the given framework innovation is truly a key to maintaining a competitive edge. Thus, the authors concluded that there is a definite need for further research and practical actions aiming to promote social innovation in Ukraine.
Key words: employment, labor relations, social innovations, social partners, social entrepreneurship.
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