Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations

An article I co-authored with Ke Cao (a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta) and Matthew Grimes (Indiana University), was published as the lead chapter of Volume 19 in the Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth series. Edited by Andrew C. Corbett (Babson University) and Jerome A. Katz (Saint Louis University), the theme of the volume is Hybrid Ventures.

Citation: Cao, K., Gehman, J. & Grimes, M.G. 2017. Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations by Industry and Region. In A.C. Corbett & J.A. Katz (Eds.), Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth: Hybrid Ventures. 19: 1-38.

Abstract: To fulfill their economic and social missions, it is imperative yet challenging for hybrid ventures to demonstrate legitimacy (fitting in) while simultaneously projecting distinctiveness (standing out). One important means for doing so is by adopting and promoting the recent B Corporation certification. Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of the emergence of this certification, we argue that when it comes to promoting their businesses, hybrid ventures should not adopt a one size fits all approach. Rather, their promotion strategies need to be adapted to their specific contexts. We theorize and develop a typology of certification promotion strategies for hybrid ventures based on the relative prevalence of other hybrid ventures in the same regions and industries. We conclude by articulating why the B Corporation movement is a rich and underexplored context for scholarship on hybrid ventures, and highlight several promising future research directions.

Serendipity Arrangements Article In Press

Today, my latest article — “Serendipity Arrangements for Exapting Science-Based Innovations” — was published online. Co-authored with Raghu Garud and Antonio Giuliani, the article is forthcoming in the Academy of Management Perspectives, as part of a special issue on “The Commercialization of Science: An Integrative Research Agenda on Managing the Science-Business Interfaces” guested edited by Mike Wright (Imperial College London), Riccardo Fini (University of Bologna), Einar Rasmussen (Nord University), Donald Siegel (State University of New York at Albany), and Johan Wiklund (Syracuse University).

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Northgate Industries Case Study Published

This morning I received an email from The Case Centre notifying me that our case study — “Northgate Industries Ltd.: Sustainability Challenges Involving Public Policy” — was published. Co-authored with Mana Heydari, Ashley Theberge, and Sid Tetz (all former MBA students), the case study investigates Edmonton-based Northgate Industries Ltd., a provider of modular lodging structures for the oil and gas industry. One of its large manufacturing facilities is located near the Edmonton City Centre Airport area and Northgate has been utilizing the airport for multiple business purposes. At the time of the case, the City of Edmonton is considering closing down the airport. After numerous city meetings, input from the public, and a benefit cost analysis, the city eventually decided to close down the city center airport and to proceed with plans to redevelop the area into a sustainable residential community. The case asks students to decide how Northgate should respond to the potential loss of the business and whether to restructure its business model so that it would match the city’s vision for a new sustainable community. This is the eighth business school case study I’ve published.

There are two parts to the case study and a companion teaching note:

Using BP Neural Networks to Prioritize Risk Management

Today, my latest article was published in the open access journal Sustainability. The article — Using BP Neural Networks to Prioritize Risk Management Approaches for China’s Unconventional Shale Gas Industry — was co-authored by Cong (Cindy) Dong (a Ph.D. student at China University of Petroleum School of Business Administration, currently visiting me at the University of Alberta), Xiucheng Dong (China University of Petroleum, School of Business Administration), Joel Gehman (University of Alberta School of Business), and Lianne M. Lefsrud (University of Alberta, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering).

China has become the top energy consumer in the world. At the same time, China is facing intense international and domestic pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas and other emissions resulting from its primarily coal-based energy system. Given these twin pressures of increasing energy demand while controlling emissions, the development of China’s shale gas industry has emerged as a strategic national priority.The shale gas resource distribution in China is illustrated in Figure 1. Seven provinces—Sichuan, Xinjiang, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and Shanxi—account for 68.9% of the nation’s total reserves.

Figure 1. Shale gas resource potential in China’s provinces (trillions of m3).

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Performativity as Ongoing Journeys

My latest paper — Performativity as Ongoing Journeys: Implications for Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation — was published online today. Co-authored with Raghu Garud and Thinley Tharchen (both from Pennsylvania State University), the article is forthcoming in Long Range Planning as part of a special issue on performativity.

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Cultural Entrepreneurship Article In Press

Today, my article — Cultural Entrepreneurship: From making Culture to Cultural Making — was published online. The article was co-authored Jean-François Soublière, a Ph.D. student I am supervising, and will appear in the newly re-launched journal Innovation: Organization & Management, co-edited by Markus Perkmann and Nelson Phillips, both of Imperial College London. I also have joined the journal’s editorial board.

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Hydraulic Fracturing, Newspaper Coverage, and Social License to Operate

We have been hard at work transforming research originally prepared for our report for Canadian Water Network into a series of interdisciplinary peer-reviewed publications. The first of what we hope will be a trilogy of articles was published today in the open access journal Sustainability. The article — “Comparative Analysis of Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Practices in Unconventional Shale Development: Newspaper Coverage of Stakeholder Concerns and Social License to Operate” — was co-authored by an interdisciplinary team, including Joel Gehman (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Strategic Management & Organization), Dara Y. Thompson (former M.Sc. student at the University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology), Daniel S. Alessi (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), Diana M. Allen (professor at Simon Fraser University, Department of Earth Sciences), Greg G. Goss (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences).

The starting point for the overall project was the conceptualization of the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context as comprised of three potentially interrelated spheres of action (Figure 1). By delineating between operator practices, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder concerns, our goal was to better understand the extent to which these different spheres affected one another, if at all. In essence, we conceptualized the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context as a dynamic process in which any one sphere has the potential to influence the other two. Relative to the overall conceptual framework, this article focuses on one of these spheres specifically: stakeholder concerns.

Figure 1. Conceptualization of the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context.

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