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
Date Written: July 11, 2016
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
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