The role of open source software in the process of implementing social innovation in SMEs

Marcin Pałys


Nowadays, small and medium-sized enterprises (further SME) look for ways to overcome pressing social problems. An open-software-based application can be considered a powerful tool for this task, because of functionalities such as data management, BI operation, and efficient channels of communication. A review of literature shows that there is a shortage of studies concerning connections between usage of Free/Libre or Open Source Software (further FLOSS) and implementing Social Innovation (SI). The aim of this research is to investigate how the use of FLOSS relates to the ability of SMEs to implement SI. The author aims to underline key areas in which FLOSS supported implementation of SI. A set of recommendations for future initiatives is created based on the experience of successful implementation. Based on a review of literature, the author created a set of hypotheses which are validated by the in-depth surveys with three companies in the SME sector. The article structure is as follows: first the author presents literature findings concerning the subject, and next the areas of the model and survey answers. Finally, the author performs a critical review of the model, confirming that open software can stimulate the process of developing social innovation in SMEs, especially in cost reduction, flexibility, and community support.

Keywords: social innovation in SMEs, FLOSS, social application, software-based solutions, innovation



Marcin Pałys

The author is an employee of the University of Economics in Katowice and entrepreneur. As a researcher he combines interests in economy and entrepreneurship with a fascination with the possibilities offered by modern technologies. The main areas of his research are Business Intelligence and Big Data, as well as the possibility of using these technologies in the SME sector.

About the article


The article is in the printed version on pages 45-52.

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How to cite

Pałys, M. (2021). The role of open source software in the process of implementing social innovation in SMEs. e-mentor, 5(92), 45-52.