Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations by Industry and Region

55 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017 Last revised: 5 Mar 2018

See all articles by Ke Cao

Ke Cao

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Joel Gehman

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Matthew Grimes

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business

Date Written: April 14, 2017

Abstract

To fulfill their economic and social missions, it is imperative yet challenging for hybrid ventures to demonstrate legitimacy (fitting in) while simultaneously projecting distinctiveness (standing out). One important means for doing so is by adopting and promoting the recent B Corporation certification. Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of the emergence of this certification, we argue that when it comes to promoting their businesses, hybrid ventures should not adopt a one size fits all approach. Rather, their promotion strategies need to be adapted to their specific contexts. We theorize and develop a typology of certification promotion strategies for hybrid ventures based on the relative prevalence of other hybrid ventures in the same regions and industries. We close by articulating why the B Corp movement is a rich and underexplored context for scholarship on hybrid ventures, and highlight several promising future research directions.

Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship, Hybrid Organizations, Certifications, B Corporations, Legitimacy, Optimal Distinctiveness

JEL Classification: L31, L26, O35

Suggested Citation

Cao, Ke and Gehman, Joel and Grimes, Matthew, Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations by Industry and Region (April 14, 2017). Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 19, Forthcoming ; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2017-904; Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 17-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2953383

Ke Cao

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Joel Gehman (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
(780) 248-5855 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.joelgehman.com

Matthew Grimes

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business ( email )

1309 East Tenth Street
Indianapolis, IN 47405-1701
United States

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