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.
Below is a brief presentation I made today at the 2017 Global B Corp Academic Community Roundtable at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. The Roundtable was held on October 4-5 in parallel with the 2017 B Corp Champions Retreat.
Today I presented the latest version of our research on woman-owned businesses and sustainability certifications at the 2017 Global B Corp Academic Community Roundtable. The paper is co-authored with Matthew G. Grimes (Indiana University) and Ke Cao (University of Alberta) and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Venturing as part of a special issue on “Enterprise Before and Beyond Benefit: A Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Prosocial Organizing.” The special issue is being edited by Oana Branzei (Ivey Business School), Ed Gamble (Montana State University), Peter Moroz (University of Regina), and Simon Parker (Ivey Business School).
Today, I gave an invited talk at the 2016 Ivey Sustainability Conference. This one-day event was organized by Diane-Laure Arjalies, Oana Branzei, and Tima Bansal (all from Ivey Business School). Other invited faculty included Fabrizio Ferraro (IESE Business School) and Donal Crilly (London Business School). Several students, post doctoral research fellows, and faculty from Ivey Business School also made presentations. In addition to participating in the closing plenary on “The Future of Research on Sustainability in Management,” I presented research I have been conducting with Matthew Grimes (Indiana University) on Certified B Corporations.
Below are the slides from my talk.
Today, our forthcoming Academy of Management Journal article — Hidden Badge of Honor: How Contextual Distinctiveness Affects Category Promotion Among Certified B Corporations — was published online.
Co-authored with Matthew Grimes (Indiana University), the research asks: Why would an organization pursue membership in an organizational category, yet forego opportunities to subsequently promote that membership? Drawing on prior research, we develop a theoretical model that distinguishes between basic and subordinate categories and highlights how organizations may differ in their promotion of the same subordinate category. We hypothesize that a subordinate category’s contextual distinctiveness within different basic categories increases promotion, and that these effects are amplified in relatively larger subordinate category peer groups. To test our hypotheses, we developed a proprietary web-based software toolset, CULTR, and gathered data regarding B Corporations’ web-based promotion of their certification. We supplemented our statistical analysis with interviews of Certified B Corporation executives and entrepreneurs. Our findings challenge prior assumptions about the causes of promotional forbearance, while extending our understanding of category distinctiveness within contexts as well as sources of intra-category variation.
On May 15, my paper with Matthew Grimes — Category Promotion: How B Corporations Respond to the Competing Demands of Standing out and Fitting In — won the 2015 Peoples Choice Award from the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS). This year’s conference was hosted at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from May 13-15, 2015.
Today, the 56th Western Academy of Management Annual Meeting released a draft of its conference program, including the Past Presidents Best Paper Nominees. My paper co-authored with Matthew Grimes — Category Promotion: How B Corporations Respond to the Competing Demands of Standing Out and Fitting In — is one of three nominees for the award. The winner will be announced Friday, March 13, 2015, at the Presidential Luncheon.