A transdisciplinary framework for university-industry collaboration in establishing a social business model

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Jeffrey S.S. Cheah
  • Azlan Amran
  • Mahendran Kirubakaran
  • Daniel J. Lang
  • Pek Fuen Su
  • Jenn Weng Chu

Purpose: This study aims to illuminate the limited understanding of viable social business among corporate actors in developing countries. It addresses pressing environmental and societal problems, emphasizing the need for corporate participation in sustainable solutions. Additionally, the study explores the transformational business notion linking company achievement with social progress, an increasingly studied concept in management. Design/methodology/approach: Based on a transdisciplinary case study (i.e. a university-industry collaboration [UIC]), this study proposed a structural framework and guiding principles to integrate the academic and practitioners’ different but complementary resources and expertise. Findings: The outcomes could provide insights for social entrepreneurs to perform highly optimal decisions on their organisational strategies, in which the financial-then-social pathway could be an effective social business success mechanism. Originality/value: Besides, the case study also generates each five learning lessons and challenges coping strategies that provide practical guidance on operationalising an effective UIC. The empirical findings contribute to social entrepreneurship and sustainability science literature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)390-403
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 20.06.2023

Bibliographical note

The authors sincerely appreciate the invaluable contributions of all individuals and organizations involved in this transdisciplinary study. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the researchers, experts, and practitioners who generously shared their knowledge and expertise, enriching our understanding of the subject matter. We are also grateful to the participants for their valuable contributions and active engagement. Financial support from the USM-Industry Collaborative Research Matching Grant played a crucial role in the successful completion of this research. Finally, we extend our thanks to our colleagues and collaborators for their support and guidance throughout the study. Funding detail : This work was supported by the Universiti Sains Malaysia under Grant No. 1001.PPAMC.8070010. Disclosure statement : This research is a collaboration project between university and industry. All the disclosed information has been verified and reviewed by the authors from the university and industry. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.

    Research areas

  • Business model, Case study, Social business, Social entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Sustainable development goal, Transdisciplinary, University-industry collaboration
  • Transdisciplinary studies