A structural equations approach applied to social innovation


  • Jorge Cunha ALGORITMI Research Center
  • Carla Ferreira ALGORITMI Research Center, University of Minho, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3927-0468
  • Claúdio Vasconcelos Federal University of Paraíba, Brasil https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8353-6406
  • Madalena Araujo ALGORITMI Research Center, University of Minho, Portugal
  • Manuel Nunes ALGORITMI Research Center, University of Minho, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1313-2523
  • Paula Ferreira ALGORITMI Research Center, University of Minho, Portugal




Creativity, Entrepreneurial intention, Social Innovation tendency, University, Structural Equation Modeling


Social innovation is a topic that has rapidly gained visibility during the last decades, where public organizations, private companies, and community groups are interested in developing more efficient and effective solutions to important societal challenges, such as poverty, demographic change, climate change, and unemployment. The University has been recognized for a long-time as a place of learning and academic research as well as a driver of economic growth, social mobility, and reducer of social inequality within and beyond its locality and region.  Several researchers have advocated that the engagement of universities would foster the social innovation process, drawing on their existing resources and capabilities to benefit society at large. However, less is known about to relationship between creativity, entrepreneurial intention, and social innovation. Based on these arguments, the main aim of this study to investigate the effect of creativity and entrepreneurial intention on social innovation tendency within the academic community. The approach to empirical research adopted was a structural equation model. The sample used is comprised of students and professors or researchers from Portuguese universities.  Confirmatory factor analysis supports the differentiation among the theoretical constructs, namely: self-creativity, creativity stimulated in the family, creativity stimulated in the university, entrepreneurial intention, and social innovation tendency. Results from the structural analysis support the suggestion that engagement in social innovation is positively related to self-creativity, family context, and entrepreneurial intention. Additionally, family role models seem to exert an effect on entrepreneurial intention.  This study contributes to the body of social innovation literature at two levels of development: the core theoretical contributions are the research on social innovation tendency models and, at a broader level, on social innovation education. Particularly, this finding contributes to the line of research of social innovation tendency indicating that personality traits may have an essential role to play in developing theories of the entrepreneurial process.