The Best of Both Worlds? Impact Investors and Their Role in the Financial versus Social Performance Debate
27 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2014 Last revised: 1 Apr 2020
Date Written: September 7, 2014
We address how organizations can cope with the tensions involved in the creation of blended economic and social value. Drawing from the literature on organizational complementarities, we employ grounded theory to understand the heterogeneous ways through which impact-oriented investors and entrepreneurs choose organizational attributes promoting an alignment between social and economic goals. We contend that tensions involved in the pursuit of blended value derive from misaligned choices that fail to mitigate potential counter-synergistic effects between these goals. We then identify key attributes whose combination leads to a typology of alternative, self-reinforcing models of blended value creation. By highlighting the importance of complementary choices supporting the creation of blended value, our study advances existing discussions on the challenges faced by organizations seeking multiple—and sometimes conflicting—dimensions of performance.
Keywords: Impact investing, financial performance, social performance, corporate social responsibility, shared value
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