Varied Incumbent Behaviors and Mobilization for New Organizational Forms: The Rise of Triple-Bottom Line Business amid Both Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility

51 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016

See all articles by Suntae Kim

Suntae Kim

Boston College - Carroll School of Management

Todd Schifeling

Temple University

Date Written: July 11, 2016

Abstract

This study seeks to understand the recent emergence of new organizational forms for social enterprise in relation to established corporations’ seemingly contradictory actions: increased engagement in corporate social responsibility, coupled with persistent practices overtly geared towards profit maximization. Advancing the literature on social movements and new form emergence, we hypothesize that this coexistence of conflicting incumbent actions motivates smaller companies specializing in social and environmental sustainability to join the identity movement against shareholder-centered governance through multiple routes. These companies join the new forms in response to the problems of capitalism through an oppositional identity politics, and also to the reforms of capitalism through an authenticity politics to re-establish their differentiation from the mainstreaming of CSR. We find support for this argument from analyses of the initial diffusion of Certified B Corporations and the motives behind it. Together these findings illuminate the role of incumbent organizations in the process of new form emergence and the multiple motivations underlying identity movements.

Keywords: B Corporations, Social Movement, Social Enterprise, Corporate Social Responsibility

Suggested Citation

Kim, Suntae and Schifeling, Todd, Varied Incumbent Behaviors and Mobilization for New Organizational Forms: The Rise of Triple-Bottom Line Business amid Both Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility (July 11, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2794335

Suntae Kim (Contact Author)

Boston College - Carroll School of Management ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Todd Schifeling

Temple University ( email )

Fox School of Business and Management
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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