Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 343–360 | Cite as

Unpacking Variation in Hybrid Organizational Forms: Changing Models of Social Enterprise Among Nonprofits, 2000–2013

  • Jean-Baptiste Litrico
  • Marya L. BesharovEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

To remain financially viable and continue to accomplish their social missions, nonprofits are increasingly adopting a hybrid organizational form that combines commercial and social welfare logics. While studies recognize that individual organizations vary in how they incorporate and manage hybridity, variation at the level of the organizational form remains poorly understood. Existing studies tend to treat forms as either hybrid or not, limiting our understanding of the different ways a hybrid form may combine multiple logics and how such combinations evolve over time. Analyzing 14 years of data from Canadian nonprofits seeking funding for social enterprise activities, we identify two novel dimensions along which a hybrid form may vary—the locus of integration and the scope of logics. We further find that as the commercial logic became more widespread within the nonprofit sector, variants of the hybrid form shifted from primarily emphasizing the commercial logic to more equally emphasizing both the commercial and social welfare logics and integrating the two logics in multiple ways. Drawing on these findings, we contribute a multi-dimensional conception of hybrid forms and theorize how form-level variation in hybridity can arise from organization-level cognitive challenges that actors face when combining seemingly incompatible logics. We then build on this theorizing to offer an alternative perspective on commercialization of the nonprofit sector as a contextually dependent rather than universal trend.

Keywords

Social enterprise Hybrids Nonprofit organizations Social change Institutional logics Institutional complexity Institutional theory Organizational forms 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are indebted to Enterprising Nonprofits for providing access to the data analyzed in this paper. We thank the guest editors of the special issue as well as two anonymous reviewers for their helpful guidance during the review process. We also thank Michael Lounsbury, Royston Greenwood, Joshua Margolis, as well as seminar participants at Queen’s University, the Tokyo Colloquium for Organization Studies, the Community of Social Innovation annual conference, the EGOS 2014 Conference in Rotterdam, and the AOM 2018 conference in Chicago, for their comments on prior versions of this paper. Chuhan Liu, Thomas Moir, Alex Tablan, Diego Soares and Emily Zong provided research assistance. This research received financial support from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, the ILR School at Cornell University, and an Insight Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Funding

This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant Number 430-2013-0604).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study (i.e., archival), formal consent is not required. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Albert, S., & Whetten, D. (1985). Organizational identity. In L. L. Cummings, & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (pp. 263–296). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ashforth, B. E., & Reingen, P. H. (2014). Functions of dysfunction: Managing the dynamics of an organizational duality in a natural food cooperative. Administrative Science Quarterly, 59(3), 474–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Battilana, J., Besharov, M. L., & Mitzinneck, B. (2017). On hybrids and hybrid organizing: A review and roadmap for future research. In R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, T. B. Lawrence & R. E. Meyer (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism (pp. 128–162). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Battilana, J., & Dorado, S. (2010). Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 53(6), 1419–1440.Google Scholar
  5. Battilana, J., & Lee, M. (2014). Advancing research on hybrid organizing—insights from the study of social enterprises. Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 397–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Battilana, J., Sengul, M., Pache, A. C., & Model, J. 2015. Harnessing productive tensions in hybrid organizations: The case of work integration social enterprises. Academy of Management Journal, 58(6): 1658–1685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Besharov, M. L., & Smith, W. K. (2014). Multiple institutional logics in organizations: Explaining their varied nature and implications. Academy of Management Review, 39(3), 364–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Besharov, M. L., Smith, W. K., & Darabi, T. (2018). Combining differentiating and integrating to support social innovation. In T. B. Gerald, P. George, Tracey & H. Joshi (Eds.), Handbook of inclusive innovation: The role of organizations, markets, and communities in social innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  9. Brouard, F., & McMurtry, J. J. 2015. Social enterprises in Canada: A brief report. Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, 6(1): 18–24.Google Scholar
  10. D’Aunno, T., Sutton, R. I., & Price, R. H. 1991. Isomorphism and external support in conflicting institutional environments—a study of drug-abuse treatment units. Academy of Management Journal, 34(3): 636–661.Google Scholar
  11. Dacin, M. T., Dacin, P. A., & Tracey, P. (2011). Social entrepreneurship: A critique and future directions. Organization Science, 22(5), 1203–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dart, R. (2004). The legitimacy of social enterprise. Non-profit Management & Leadership, 14(4), 411–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dees, J. G. (1998). Enterprising nonprofits. Harvard Business Review, 76(1), 5–15Google Scholar
  14. Dees, J. G. (2012). A tale of two cultures: Charity, problem solving, and the future of social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 321–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. 1983. The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2): 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunn, M. B., & Jones, C. (2010). Institutional logics and institutional pluralism: The contestation of care and science logics in medical education, 1967–2005. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55(1), 114–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ebrahim, A., Battilana, J., & Mair, J. 2014. The governance of social enterprises: Mission drift and accountability challenges in hybrid organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior: An Annual Series of Analytical Essays and Critical Reviews, 34: 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elson, P., & Hall, P. (2012). Canadian social enterprises: Taking stock. Social Enterprise Journal, 8(3), 216–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elson, P. R., Hall, P., Leeson-Klym, S., Penner, D., & Andres, J. 2015. Social enterprises in the Canadian West. Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, 6(1): 83–103.Google Scholar
  20. Friedland, R., & Alford, R. R. 1991. Bringing society back. In: Symbols, practices, and institutional contradictions. In W. W. Powell, & P. DiMaggio (Eds.), The New institutionalism in organizational analysis (232–263). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Glynn, M. A. (2000). When cymbals become symbols: Conflict over organizational identity within a symphony orchestra. Organization Science, 11(3), 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Glynn, M. A., & Lounsbury, M. (2005). From the critics’ corner: Logic blending, discursive change and authenticity in a cultural production system. Journal of Management Studies, 42(5), 1031–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Golden-Biddle, K., & Rao, H. (1997). Breaches in the boardroom: Organizational identity and conflicts of commitment in a nonprofit organization. Organization Science, 8(6), 593–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodrick, E., & Reay, T. (2011). Constellations of institutional logics: Changes in the professional work of pharmacists. Work and Occupations, 38(3), 372–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gray, B., Purdy, J. M., & Ansari, S. (2015). From interactions to institutions: Microprocesses of framing and mechanisms for the structuring of institutional fields. Academy of Management Review, 40(1), 115–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenwood, R., Raynard, M., Kodeih, F., Micelotta, E. R., & Lounsbury, M. (2011). Institutional complexity and organizational responses. Academy of Management Annals, 5(1), 317–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haveman, H. A., & Rao, H. (1997). Structuring a theory of moral sentiments: Institutional and organizational coevolution in the early thrift industry. American Journal of Sociology, 102(6), 1606–1651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haveman, H. A., & Rao, H. (2006). Hybrid forms and the evolution of thrifts. The American Behavioral Scientist, 49(7), 974–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Haveman, H. A., Rao, H., & Paruchuri, S. (2007). The winds of change: The progressive movement and the bureaucratization of thrift. American Sociological Review, 72(1), 117–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoffman, A. J. (1999). Institutional evolution and change: Environmentalism and the US chemical industry. Academy of Management Journal, 42(4), 351–371.Google Scholar
  31. Hwang, H., & Powell, W. W. (2009). The rationalization of charity: The influences of professionalism in the nonprofit sector. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54(2), 268–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jay, J. 2013. Navigating paradox as a mechanism of change and innovation in hybrid organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1): 137–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jones, C., & Livne-Tarandach, R. (2008). Designing a frame: rhetorical strategies of architects. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29(8), 1075–1099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jones, C., Maoret, M., Massa, F. G., & Svejenova, S. (2012). Rebels with a cause: Formation, contestation, and expansion of the de novo category “modern architecture,” 1870–1975. Organization Science, 23(6), 1523–1545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. King, B. G., Clemens, E. S., & Fry, M. (2011). Identity realization and organizational forms: Differentiation and consolidation of identities among arizona’s charter schools. Organization Science, 22(3), 554–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kistruck, G. M., Sutter, C. J., Lount, R. B., & Smith, B. R. 2013. Mitigating principal-agent problems in base-of-the-pyramid markets: An identity spillover perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 56(3): 659–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Litrico, J. B., & David, R. J. (2017). The evolution of issue interpretation within organizational fields: Actor positions, framing trajectories, and field settlement. Academy of Management Journal, 60(3), 986–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lounsbury, M. (2007). A tale of two cities: Competing logics and practice variation in the professionalizing of mutual funds. Academy of Management Journal, 50(2), 289–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lounsbury, M., & Strang, D. 2009. Social enterpreneurship: Success stories and logic construction. In D. C. Hammack, & S. Heydemann (Eds.), Globalization, philanthropy, and civil society: projecting institutional logics abroad (pp. 71–94). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mair, J., Battilana, J., & Cardenas, J. (2012). Organizing for society: A typology of social entrepreneuring models. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 353–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Marquis, C., & Lounsbury, M. (2007). Vive la resistance: Competing logics and the consolidation of US community banking. Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 799–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McPherson, C. M., & Sauder, M. (2013). Logics in action: Managing institutional complexity in a drug court. Administrative Science Quarterly, 58(2), 165–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized organizations—Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Micelotta, E., Lounsbury, M., & Greenwood, R. (2017). Pathways of institutional change: An integrative review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1885–1910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Miller, T. L., Grimes, M. G., McMullen, J. S., & Vogus, T. J. (2012). Venturing for others with heart and head: How compassion encourages social entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Review, 37(4), 616–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nicholls, A. 2010. The Legitimacy of Social Entrepreneurship: Reflexive Isomorphism in a Pre-Paradigmatic Field. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(4): 611–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pache, A. C., & Santos, F. (2010). When worlds collide: The internal dynamics of organizational responses to conflicting institutional demands. Academy of Management Review, 35(3), 455–476.Google Scholar
  48. Pache, A. C., & Santos, F. (2013). Inside the hybrid organization: Selective coupling as a response to competing institutional logics. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4): 972–1001.Google Scholar
  49. Powell, W. W., & Sandholtz, K. (2012). Amphibious entrepreneurs and the emergence of organizational forms. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 6(2): 94–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Purdy, J. M., & Gray, B. (2009). Conflicting logics, mechanisms of diffusion, and multilevel dynamics in emerging institutional fields. Academy of Management Journal, 52(2): 355–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ramus, T., & Vaccaro, A. (2017). Stakeholders matter: How social enterprises address mission drift. Journal of Business Ethics, 143(2), 307–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ramus, T., Vaccaro, A., & Brusoni, S. 2017. Institutional complexity in turbulent times: Formalization, collaboration, and the emergence of blended logics. Academy of Management Journal, 60(4): 1253–1284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ramus, T., Vaccaro, A., & Brusoni, S. (in press). Institutional complexity in turbulent times: Formalization, collaboration, and the emergence of blended logics. Academy of Management Journal.Google Scholar
  54. Reay, T., & Hinings, C. R. (2005). The recomposition of an organizational field: Health care in Alberta. Organization Studies, 26(3), 351–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reay, T., & Hinings, C. R. (2009). Managing the rivalry of competing institutional logics. Organization Studies, 30(6), 629–652.Google Scholar
  56. Reinecke, J., Manning, S., & von Hagen, O. (2012). The emergence of a standards market: Multiplicity of sustainability standards in the global coffee industry. Organization Studies, 33(5–6), 791–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Roberts, S. M., Jones, J. P., & Frohling, O. (2005). NGOs and the globalization of managerialism: A research framework. World Development, 33(11), 1845–1864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Santos, F., Pache, A. C., & Birkholz, C. (2015). Making hybrids work: Aligning business models and organizational design for social enterprises. California Management Review, 57(3), 36–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Selznick, P. (1957). Leadership in administration. A sociological interpretation. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  60. Simpson, A. (2002). Enterprising non-profits. Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Community Stories.Google Scholar
  61. Smith, W. K., & Besharov, M. L. (forthcoming). Bowing before dual gods: How structured flexibility sustains organizational hybridity. Administrative Science Quarterly, 64(1).Google Scholar
  62. Smith, W. K., Gonin, M., & Besharov, M. L. (2013). Managing social-business tensions: A review and research agenda for social enterprise. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(3), 407–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Swidler, A. (1986). Culture in action—Symbols and strategies. American Sociological Review, 51(2), 273–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thornton, P., Jones, C., & Kury, K. (2005). Institutional logics and institutional change in organizations: Transformations in accounting, architecture, and publishing. In C. Jones & P. H. Thornton (Eds.), Transformation in cultural industries (1st edn., pp. 125–170). Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier JAI.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thornton, P. H. (2002). The rise of the corporation in a craft industry: Conflict and conformity in institutional logics. Academy of Management Journal, 45(1), 81–101.Google Scholar
  66. Thornton, P. H., & Ocasio, W. (1999). Institutional logics and the historical contingency of power in organizations: Executive succession in the higher education publishing industry, 1958–1990. American Journal of Sociology, 105(3), 801–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W., & Lounsbury, M. (2012). The institutional logics perspective. A new approach to culture, structure, and process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wry, T., & York, J. G. (2017). An identity-based approach to social enterprise. Academy of Management Review, 42(3), 437–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. York, J. G., Hargrave, T. J., & Pacheco, D. F. 2016. Converging winds: Logic hybridization in the Colorado wind energy field. Academy of Management Journal, 59(2): 579–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zhao, E. Y. F., & Wry, T. (2016). Not all inequality is equal: Deconstructing the societal logic of patriarchy to understand microfinance lending to women. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 1994–2020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smith School of BusinessQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Organizational Behavior, ILR SchoolCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations