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Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations By Industry and Region

Hybrid Ventures

ISBN: 978-1-78743-078-5, eISBN: 978-1-78743-077-8

Publication date: 14 November 2017


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.




Authors contributed equally and are listed in alphabetical order. We thank Jessica Tran for her research assistance. Support for this research was provided in part by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of Alberta Office of the Vice President of Research, the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, the Alberta School of Business, the Killam Research Fund, and a University of Virginia Batten Fellowship.


Cao, K., Gehman, J. and Grimes, M.G. (2017), "Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations By Industry and Region", Corbett, A.C. and Katz, J.A. (Ed.) Hybrid Ventures (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-38.



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