The past two decades have seen an increase in research centered on corporate social responsibility and business ethics. During this period we have seen a shift in how the role of business in society is viewed. If we step back to the Seventies, the sole focus of business was profits and maximizing shareholder value (Friedman 1970). The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility changed completely this argument and it focused the attention of companies towards “context-specific organizational actions and policies that take into account stakeholders’ expectations and the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental performance.” (Aguinis 2011, p. 855). The rise of the Benefit Corporation movement can be related to this increasing attention towards the role of business in society. Benefit Corporations are companies certified by B Lab, a nonprofit organization, based on how they create value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as their employees, the local community, and the environment. They can be seen as social hybrid organizations because they mix and match logics, practices and organizational identities of pupose-driven (e.g. social enterprises, NGOs) and proft-driven organizations (Rawhouser et al. 2015). In comparison to other types of hybrid organizations (e.g. Social Purpose Corporations, Low-Profit Limited Liability Corporations), the Benefit Corporation movement is gaining momentum in many countries all over the world and in particular in Italy. In addition, Italy is the first country outside USA to allow companies to register as Benefit Corporations (Società Benefit) and to change therefore the legal status. In almost 10 years, the global community of Bcorps is reached more than 2,000 Certified B Corporations across 150 industries and 50 countries. Using insights from the social movement literature (e.g. Davis et al. 2005, Swaminathan and Wade, 1999) and sensemaking/sensegiving theory (Gioia & Chittipeddi 1991, Maitlis and Lawrence 2007, Rouleau 2005), the paper explores the rise of the Benefit corporation movement. It is an interesting example of the institutionalization process of a social movement which generates from a community and reached a legal status by creating both a collective identity and an institutional change. Collective identity stories are considered relevant means to understand how actors make sense and give sense of emerging institutional fields (Fiol and Romanelli, 2012). This extended abstract will provide preliminary results and it represents the basis to develop future research.

Moving beyond CSR: The rise of the benefit corporations’ movement

TUAN, ANNAMARIA
Primo
2017

Abstract

The past two decades have seen an increase in research centered on corporate social responsibility and business ethics. During this period we have seen a shift in how the role of business in society is viewed. If we step back to the Seventies, the sole focus of business was profits and maximizing shareholder value (Friedman 1970). The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility changed completely this argument and it focused the attention of companies towards “context-specific organizational actions and policies that take into account stakeholders’ expectations and the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental performance.” (Aguinis 2011, p. 855). The rise of the Benefit Corporation movement can be related to this increasing attention towards the role of business in society. Benefit Corporations are companies certified by B Lab, a nonprofit organization, based on how they create value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as their employees, the local community, and the environment. They can be seen as social hybrid organizations because they mix and match logics, practices and organizational identities of pupose-driven (e.g. social enterprises, NGOs) and proft-driven organizations (Rawhouser et al. 2015). In comparison to other types of hybrid organizations (e.g. Social Purpose Corporations, Low-Profit Limited Liability Corporations), the Benefit Corporation movement is gaining momentum in many countries all over the world and in particular in Italy. In addition, Italy is the first country outside USA to allow companies to register as Benefit Corporations (Società Benefit) and to change therefore the legal status. In almost 10 years, the global community of Bcorps is reached more than 2,000 Certified B Corporations across 150 industries and 50 countries. Using insights from the social movement literature (e.g. Davis et al. 2005, Swaminathan and Wade, 1999) and sensemaking/sensegiving theory (Gioia & Chittipeddi 1991, Maitlis and Lawrence 2007, Rouleau 2005), the paper explores the rise of the Benefit corporation movement. It is an interesting example of the institutionalization process of a social movement which generates from a community and reached a legal status by creating both a collective identity and an institutional change. Collective identity stories are considered relevant means to understand how actors make sense and give sense of emerging institutional fields (Fiol and Romanelli, 2012). This extended abstract will provide preliminary results and it represents the basis to develop future research.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/866043
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