Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 100, Supplement 1, pp 109–123 | Cite as

Hybrid Forms of Business: The Logic of Gift in the Commercial World

  • Wolfgang GrasslEmail author


Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate advances a positive view of businesses that are hybrids between several traditional categories. He expects that the “logic of gift” that animates civil society infuses the market and the State with relations typical for it—reciprocity, gratuitousness, and solidarity. His theological rationale offers an answer to two questions that have largely remained open in the literature—why hybridization of business occurs and why it is desirable. A rational reconstruction of hybrid enterprise that goes beyond a simple taxonomy of types benefits from the Pope’s call for an intrinsic integration of institutions and processes traditionally attributed to disparate spheres. The relational model of the Trinity defines the unity in diversity that accounts for the benefits of truly hybrid businesses, and the “logic of gift” serves as the agent of integration.


Benedict XVI Catholic social teaching Caritas in Veritate Holy Trinity Hybrid businesses Non-profit enterprise Reciprocity Social enterprise Logic of gift 



Previous versions of this paper were presented at the conferences “The Logic of Gift and the Meaning of Business”, 24–26 February 2011, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City, and “The Whole Breadth of Reason: Rethinking Economics and Politics”, 14–17 September 2011, Alta Scuola Società Economia Teologia, Fondazione Studium Marcianum, Venice. The author thanks for the responses received at both occasions. Particular recognition is due to Professor Domènec Melé for his helpful commentaries.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Norbert CollegeDe PereUSA

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