The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an unprecedented reaction in several multinational enterprises (MNEs). These MNEs have adopted social innovation approaches to meet the needs of vulnerable societal groups by swiftly innovating their business models; drastically changing their product offerings and customer bases; and producing COVID-19 necessities. These approaches have alleviated some key pandemic-induced social challenges related to health and sanitation. In this perspective article, we use secondary sources of information to present and exemplify the various types of MNE pandemic-induced social innovation approaches. We open the discussion on whether these approaches are transitory in nature or whether they can and should be sustained in the long-term, given the right incentives to these MNEs. We conclude by redefining MNEs’ social innovation and by suggesting avenues for scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and educators to support this momentum in MNEs which we argue, if sustainable, can be fruitful for addressing other pressing grand challenges such as climate change, food security, poverty, and inequality.
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