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Business Sustainability as a Context for Studying Hybridity

Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises

ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5, eISBN: 978-1-83909-354-8

Publication date: 7 December 2020


Business sustainability urges firms to simultaneously address economic, ecological, and social concerns. It innately combines different potentially competing organizational elements. Therefore, sustainability represents a suitable context for the study and practice of hybridity. Based on an understanding of hybridity as a continuum, in this chapter, the author distinguish between four different forms of hybridity for business sustainability, depending on the degree of integration and autonomy of sustainability initiatives in business organizations. With ceremonial hybridity, businesses only leave the impression to pursue business and sustainability goals but focus their practices on conventional business priorities. Contingent hybridity denotes an approach where ecological and social concerns are only pursued to the extent that they align with business goals. With peripheral hybridity, firms pursue sustainability initiatives in their own right but do not integrate them with core business activities. Full hybridity puts both business as well as sustainability at the core of the organization without emphasizing one over the other. These different forms of hybridity in business sustainability are illustrated with examples from various business organizations. By characterizing different degrees of hybridity in business sustainability, the argument and the examples highlight how organizational hybridity and business sustainability can fruitfully inform one another. The author develop research opportunities for using business sustainability as a context for studying different degrees as well as the dynamics of hybrid organizing and for using different degrees of hybridity for achieving a better understanding of different pathways toward substantive business contributions to sustainable development.




I would like to thank Marya Besharov and Bjoern Mitzinneck for their guidance and comments on the development of this chapter.


Hahn, T. (2020), "Business Sustainability as a Context for Studying Hybridity", Besharov, M.L. and Mitzinneck, B.C. (Ed.) Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 69), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 115-138.



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