How the Zebra Got its Stripes: Imprinting of Individuals and Hybrid Social Ventures

51 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2013

See all articles by Matthew Lee

Matthew Lee

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Julie Battilana

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior Unit

Date Written: July 9, 2013

Abstract

Hybrid organizations that combine multiple, existing organizational forms are frequently proposed as a source of organizational innovation, yet little is known about the origins of such organizations. We propose that individual founders of hybrid organizations acquire imprints from past exposure to work environments, thus predisposing them to incorporate the associated logics in their subsequent ventures, even when doing so requires deviation from established organizational templates. We test our theory on a novel dataset of over 700 founders of social ventures, all guided by a social welfare logic. Some of them also incorporate a commercial logic along with the social welfare logic, thereby creating a hybrid social venture. We find evidence of three sources of commercial imprints: the founder’s own, direct work experience, as well as the indirect influence of parental work experiences and professional education. Our findings further suggest that the effects of direct imprinting are strongest from the early tenure of for-profit experience, but diminish with longer tenure. In supplementary analyses, we parse out differences between the sources of imprints and discuss implications for how imprinting functions as an antecedent to the creation of new, hybrid forms.

Keywords: hybrid organizations, imprinting, institutional theory, social entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Lee, Matthew and Battilana, Julie, How the Zebra Got its Stripes: Imprinting of Individuals and Hybrid Social Ventures (July 9, 2013). Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper No. 14-005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291686 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2291686

Matthew Lee

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Julie Battilana (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,047
Abstract Views
3,917
rank
22,233
PlumX Metrics