Social enterprises are expected to play a central role in resolving social and regional issues. A critical factor in creating the competitive advantage of a social enterprise is the existence of a network. Therefore, this study focuses on the network of a social enterprise to identify a framework for analyzing the network rent in terms of its structure, application, and management.
In particular, we consider Sakuraya, a secondhand uniform shop located in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, as our analytical subject to propose a hypothesis on how the store’s network has functioned as a strategic element in creating its competitive advantage and how the rent received from this network has been managed. We employ action research as the research methodology.
Our findings suggest three key points in creating and receiving network rents: (1) the establishment of a place that serves as a hub for multiple networks, (2) use of the network to discover issues and gain insights, and (3) management that focuses on dialog as a way to improve relationship quality. Additionally, the conscious creation of network rent constitutes a strategic element in the competitive advantage of a social enterprise.
Keyword: Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneur, Network rent, Community, Co-creation