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To fulfill their economic and social missions, it is imperative yet challenging for hybrid ventures to demonstrate legitimacy (fitting in) while simultaneously projecting…
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.
As the regulatory system begins to recognize the role of social responsibility reporting, reliable disclosure measures will be required. Issues of transparency…
As the regulatory system begins to recognize the role of social responsibility reporting, reliable disclosure measures will be required. Issues of transparency, reliability and assurance are likely to arise as securities regulators consider whether and how to require disclosure of non-financial information. Various reporting models are presented in the case to illustrate different ways that these issues can be addressed by privately held and publicly traded corporations.
The case uses the company, Etsy, Inc., which has established itself as a publicly traded, socially responsible corporation. Etsy must decide whether it will re-incorporate as a benefit corporation in order to maintain its B Lab certification. This decision introduces students to the various measures of corporate social responsibility, the interests of the stakeholders of a corporation and the regulatory environment in which socially responsible, publicly traded corporations operate. The case uses only publicly available information.
This teaching case addresses the decision faced by Etsy, Inc. when it became a publicly traded corporation. In order to maintain its certification as a socially responsible corporation by B Lab, it would have to re-incorporate as a Delaware Benefit Corporation. In making this decision, the company had to consider various measures used for corporate social responsibility reporting and transparency and how these might affect Etsy’s stakeholders.
Complexity academic level
Undergraduate or masters level case that could be used in a business law, commercial law, legal environment or auditing course.
This chapter outlines the nascent history of the Benefit Movement, discusses the theoretical implications that predict the long-term success of movement goals, and…
This chapter outlines the nascent history of the Benefit Movement, discusses the theoretical implications that predict the long-term success of movement goals, and provides recommendations for firms who seek to safeguard practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The chapter provides an overview of Benefit forms and describes the indicators of Movement success. For the Benefit Movement to achieve success, it must establish legal options in all 50 states for Benefit incorporation, pave the way for both publicly and privately held organizations to incorporate, and mobilize diverse organizational actors with high levels of commitment to sustain contention for Movement goals. The chapter provides a framework to understand how the Movement can achieve its goal of safeguarding the effective practice of CSR within firms and across the planet.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and its amendment – the Trade and Competitive Act of 1988 – are unique not only in the history of the accounting and…
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and its amendment – the Trade and Competitive Act of 1988 – are unique not only in the history of the accounting and auditing profession, but also in international law. The Acts raised awareness of the need for efficient and adequate internal control systems to prevent illegal acts such as the bribery of foreign officials, political parties and governments to secure or maintain contracts overseas. Its uniqueness is also due to the fact that the USA is the first country to pioneer such a legislation that impacted foreign trade, international law and codes of ethics. The research traces the history of the FCPA before and after its enactment, the role played by the various branches of the United States Government – Congress, Department of Justice, Securities Exchange commission (SEC), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the contributions made by professional associations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICFA), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the American Bar Association (ABA); and, finally, the role played by various international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). A cultural, ethical and legalistic background will give a better understanding of the FCPA as wll as the rationale for its controversy.
Building on the research program of Dillard and Brown (2015) and Dillard and Vinnari (2019), specifically related to an “ethic of accountability,” this paper recognizes…
Building on the research program of Dillard and Brown (2015) and Dillard and Vinnari (2019), specifically related to an “ethic of accountability,” this paper recognizes accountability systems as key to how organizations conceptualize their responsibility to society. The objective is to explore how managers of hybrid organizations conceptualize responsibility and the role of accountability systems in their conceptualization.
This paper studies hybrid organizations that are for-profit entities with explicitly recognized non-economic imperatives. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with managers of organizations that pursue certification as a B-Corporation, often in conjunction with a legal designation as a benefit corporation.
Managers of the hybrid organizations evidenced a broader responsibility logic that extends beyond responsibility to shareholders. This pluralistic orientation and broader set of objectives are expressed in a set of certification standards that represent an accountability system that both enables and constrains the way responsibility is understood. The accountability system reflects a “felt” accountability to the “other” manifested, for example, as generational accountability, with the other (re)created relative to the certification standards.
Certifications and standards represent accounting-based accountability systems that produce a type of accountability in which the certification becomes the overall objective nudging out efforts to take accountability-based accounting seriously (Dillard and Vinnari, 2019). At the same time, the hybrids under study, while not perfect exemplars, incline toward an ethic of accountability (Dillard and Brown, 2014) that moves them closer to accountability-based accounting.
The findings reveal perspectives of managers embedded in hybrid organizations, illustrating their experiences of responsibility and accountability systems in practice (Grossi et al., 2019). The insights can be extended to other hybrid contexts where accountability systems may be used to demonstrate multiple performance objectives. We also recognize the irony in the need for an organization to be required to attain a special license to operate in a more responsible manner.
Benefit corporations are a form of incorporation that require management to pursue some specified social goal or benefit, even if this goal requires sacrificing profit…
Benefit corporations are a form of incorporation that require management to pursue some specified social goal or benefit, even if this goal requires sacrificing profit maximization. Hence, benefit corporations are considered a new business model that explicitly incorporates a socially responsible component in the corporate mission. This alternative business model may offer investors and customers a more ethical corporate form due to the social responsibility motive.
Several states currently allow companies to incorporate as benefit corporations, and more states are considering such legislation. To be successful, benefit corporations will require either investment from the capital markets and/or favorable treatment from government entities. Thus, the potential success of benefit corporations is likely to rely on the general interest of private investors and citizens as well as the ability to communicate operational success.
As with the evolution of the for-profit corporate model and of free market economic systems, accounting may be critical to the success of benefit corporations. Accounting systems will need to be able to measure and report both profits and social benefits to the market. Socially conscious investors must have reliable information if they are to choose the benefit corporation model over other alternatives (e.g., maximizing their return from for-profit investments and making individual donations). Citizens must also have reliable information to bring pressure on governments to support this model if it proves viable.
It is still too early to determine benefit corporations’ long-term impact on society or even whether this business model will succeed in the marketplace. Our purpose is to offer a basic framework for evaluating benefit corporations relative to current substitutes and to consider characteristics that would contribute to benefit corporation success. Within this context, we consider accounting systems’ role in assessing the social utility of this new business model.
The purpose of this paper is to address the question of how social entrepreneurs achieve the desired impact-based model of business.
The purpose of this paper is to address the question of how social entrepreneurs achieve the desired impact-based model of business.
Qualitative research design included semi-structured in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs of three Chilean Tourism B Corporations (B Corps), participant observation of the Latin American B Movement, and print, digital and social media clippings.
This research unearths the practices by which entrepreneurs implement their aspirations of balancing profit and social impact obligations within their business models.
Though an intentional sample is not representative in quantitative terms, the employed research design allowed the authors to deepen the understanding of the processes which are taking place in Chile, Latin America, and on the Global scale. The authors concluded that social benefit commitment guides innovation in business models of Chilean entrepreneurs seeking to have a broader positive impact on vulnerable communities and the society at large.
This research shows that traditional businesses have the possibility of hybridizing management, combining the necessary organization that defines its mission with social or environmental purposes. The latter is likely to open up new markets for traditional businesses.
Social entrepreneurship is the principal means for new generations of entrepreneurs to make changes in businesses and in vulnerable local communities through global aspirations. But the need for more open political discussion within the B Movement is clear, especially regarding the nexus between the “negative externalities” of the traditional economy and social or environmental problems which the B Corps intend to solve. Such debate would allow companies and the movement to more easily identify new courses of action.
This study gives account of regional nuances of social entrepreneurship and social innovation phenomena. In particular, there has been a surge of impact-oriented rather than profit-oriented innovation initiatives in neoliberal-oriented Latin American states, such as Chile. These initiatives offer us a wealth of empirical information about the development of alternative business models.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the value of the Certified B Corporation (B Corp) structure for a long-term commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR…
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the value of the Certified B Corporation (B Corp) structure for a long-term commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) achievements. Organizations of all sizes are now focusing on commitment to achieving social purposes beyond philanthropy and on reporting their CSR performance as a means of accountability.
The authors studied 45 Founding Certified B Corps to check how many had maintained their certification by filing B Impact Reports with B Lab, how many Impact Reports they had filed and if the reports showed progress toward CSR goals.
The results showed that all Founding B Corps submitted multi-year B Impact Reports, made progress toward CSR goals, maintained their commitment to a social contribution and made profit from 2010 to 2015. The B Impact Reports identified their goals and progress in the five Impact areas that were then assessed by B Lab.
The Certified B Corp structure can be confidently used by small companies that desire to do good and want an outside assessor to help establish CSR goals and provide a method for accountability. The reports are published on the B Lab Web site, providing an additional means of publishing CSR accomplishments.
This research provides information for those businesses, particularly small ones, that wish to establish their commitment to CSR in a public way and are certified by a third-party assessor.
This paper suggests that the proliferation of highly sophisticated corporate tax shelters has been a major reason for the decline of corporate income tax as a percentage of GDP and of total Federal receipts. Many of these shelters have extended beyond solid tax planning and into the realm of subversion. The controversy surrounding possible remedies for these abuses is just as lively as the debates surrounding the tax shelters themselves. This article explores the nature of a variety of tax shelters in an effort to illustrate the insidious nature of the corporate tax shelter problem and then discusses solutions, both legislative and nonlegislative, designed to curb these abuses.
To determine the new responsibility and new form of CSR required in an evolving ecosystem, this chapter covers the historical evolution of CSR including the various…
To determine the new responsibility and new form of CSR required in an evolving ecosystem, this chapter covers the historical evolution of CSR including the various additional labels CSR has attracted, and its many surrogate, complementary, and alternative terms and themes. Some parties still view CSR as just a form of Philanthropy; however, current definitions for CSR involve many components, which have adapted over time. The new CSR definition provided by the European Commission in 2011, for example, mirrors some of the changes created by the inclusion of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015. The creation of shared and integrated value and the ongoing development of the social enterprise industry are further developments, alongside the growing trend toward B-Corp registration, the increasing emphasis on ‘business-for-purpose’ and the rise of the ‘be the change’ movement. This chapter discusses this journey and reveals how CSR has followed a cycle of social movements through several industrial revolutions. As we head toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution and usher in the new era for Globalization 4.0, this requires new business models, new labels, and new adaptations of CSR. These concepts are introduced in this chapter and developed further in later chapters.