Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise is a featured research topic and an initiative at Harvard Business School.

HBS pioneered the concept of “social enterprise” with the founding of its Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) in 1993. Under the early leadership of James Austin on the importance of collaborative relationships to the success of nonprofits and Allen Grossman and V. Kasturi “Kash” Rangan on new directions in nonprofit strategy, we adopted a problem-focused approach toward understanding the challenges associated with driving sustained, high-impact social change. Current research focuses on leadership of socially mission-driven organizations; the role of business leaders and corporate citizenship in driving social change; business models that address poverty; management of high-performing K-12 public school districts; and financing models for the non-profit sector.

  1. Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge

    Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Rakesh Khurana and Daniel Penrice

    Raymond Jetson, an inner-city pastor, former Louisiana state legislator, and 2010 Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow, has embarked on a new career as a social entrepreneur. The case charts Jetson's career in public life and the ministry, his experience as an Advanced Leadership Fellow, and his efforts to establish and grow a nonprofit organization, MetroMorphosis, with a mission "to develop and mobilize a critical mass of citizens in inner-city neighborhoods to design and implement sustainable solutions to persistent community challenges." As he approaches 60 and contemplates his future and that of his organization, Jetson must consider how to position MetroMorphosis for maximum impact now and over the long term.

    Keywords: MetroMorphosis; Raymond Jetson; Advanced Leadership Initiative; ALI; social entrepreneurship; Louisiana; Baton Rouge; Social Entrepreneurship; Nonprofit Organizations; Louisiana; North America; United States;


    Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, Rakesh Khurana, and Daniel Penrice. "Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge." Harvard Business School Case 315-057, December 2014. View Details
  2. DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections

    John J-H Kim and Christine S. An

    In 2011, DaVita HealthCare Partners (DaVita)—a Fortune 500 healthcare services company specializing in kidney dialysis services—and the Denver Public Schools (DPS)—the largest school district in Colorado—forged a plan to incorporate greater intentional focus on culture and leadership within the district. A few months into the 2013-2014 school year, DaVita "Mayor" Kent Thiry, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, and members of their teams gather to review and assess the overall progress, impact, and challenges of their unique corporate-community partnership focused on leadership development and culture over the past two years. With the partnership showing great promise, Thiry and his team wonder how they might create new partnerships and grow their social impact as a company without detracting from DaVita's own growth and expansion and the needs of its own "teammates." The case gives students the opportunity to explore how a mission-driven Fortune 500 company can leverage its own resources and HR expertise to partner with non-corporate entities to create social value and support success in American public education.

    Keywords: corporate-community partnerships; k-12; school districts; DaVita; Kent Thiry; Tom Boasberg; Denver Public Schools; Wisdom Team; DaVita Way; Creating Connections; Social Enterpreise; leadership development; community impact; education reform; public schools; culture; Leadership Development; Partners and Partnerships; Social Entrepreneurship; Business Education; Medical Specialties; Business and Community Relations; Culture; Health Industry; Colorado;


    Kim, John J-H, and Christine S. An. "DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections." Harvard Business School Case 315-047, December 2014. View Details
  3. HEINEKEN—Brewing a Better World

    Forest L. Reinhardt, José Alvarez, Tonia Junker and Daniela Beyersdorfer

    The Dutch company HEINEKEN, one of the leading global brewers known for its brands like Heineken, Amstel, or Desperados and for its award-winning marketing campaigns, seeks to closely integrate its long-term sustainability “Brewing a Better World”-approach into its corporate strategy. HEINEKEN had set itself ambitious 2015 and 2020 sustainability targets in six pillar areas around Energy/CO2, Water, Sustainable Sourcing, Responsible Consumption, Community/Inclusive Growth, and Health & Safety. The case zooms in on HEINEKEN’s efforts in the sustainable sourcing pillar, with its work on farming standards and supplier code as well as its support for local sourcing programs in the growing African market. HEINEKEN’s management finds that marketing its achievements in these sustainability areas poses new challenges though. For example, its current “mass-balance” sourcing in which sustainable and traditional material got mixed in the supply chain did not allow for effective communication on a given bottle. But was this reason enough to try to move to “segregated” sourcing, if that was even reasonable?

    Keywords: "Beer/brewing industry, sustainability, local sourcing; Corporate Strategy; Global Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Supply Chain Management; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Food and Beverage Industry;


    Reinhardt, Forest L., José Alvarez, Tonia Junker, and Daniela Beyersdorfer. "HEINEKEN—Brewing a Better World." Harvard Business School Case 715-022, December 2014. View Details
  4. BRAC in 2014

    Tarun Khanna, Rachna Tahilyani, Reeti Roy and Aldo Sesia

    In the early 1970s BRAC was a startup nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Bangladesh. By 2014, it was the world's largest NGO. It had a strong presence in Bangladesh and had begun to deliver social development programs in nine other countries. Its founder and chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed was knighted in 2010 by the British Crown for his service in reducing poverty. The organization took a holistic approach to alleviating poverty, which depended on providing the poor with a portfolio of services including education, agriculture development, healthcare, community empowerment, and microfinance. Around 70% of the funding to deliver BRAc's development programs and services came from its own for-profit social enterprises. The case study allows students to examine the organization's evolution and its business model.

    Keywords: BRAC; Bangladesh; NGO; strategy; Business Model; Business Organization; Social Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Social Enterprise; Social Issues; Poverty; Bangladesh;


    Khanna, Tarun, Rachna Tahilyani, Reeti Roy, and Aldo Sesia. "BRAC in 2014." Harvard Business School Case 715-414, November 2014. View Details
  5. Teckentrup: A Door to Managing Difference

    Clayton Rose, Jerome Lenhardt and Daniela Beyersdorfer

    For Kai Teckentrup, the owner and co-CEO of the German "Mittelstand" door manufacturer Teckentrup, balancing competitive pressures, demographic realities and values were at the heart of the diversity program that he had started and championed at the company. Beyond this, attracting skilled workers to Germany was a national imperative; as the native population aged and its numbers in the workforce shrank, it would be critical to find new workers to fund and maintain the retirement and social service programs provided by the government. The company had made significant progress, and Kai was a recognized leader in German business for his attention to and success in managing diversity, but he knew there was much more to do.

    Keywords: Diversity Management; corporate values; manufacturing industry; competitiveness; demographics; Change Management; Transformation; Diversity Characteristics; Ethnicity Characteristics; Gender Characteristics; Literacy Characteristics; Nationality Characteristics; Race Characteristics; Residency Characteristics; Corporate Accountability; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Organizational Culture; Economic Growth; Fairness; Moral Sensibility; Values and Beliefs; Immigration; Employee Relationship Management; Civil Society or Community; Manufacturing Industry; Construction Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Europe; Germany; Russia; Turkey;


    Rose, Clayton, Jerome Lenhardt, and Daniela Beyersdorfer. "Teckentrup: A Door to Managing Difference." Harvard Business School Case 315-016, October 2014. View Details
  6. CreditEase: Providing Credit and Financial Services for China's Underclass

    Lena G. Goldberg, Paul Healy and Nancy Hua Dai

    In 2013 Ning Tang, who in 2006 founded CreditEase as a broker of P2P loans to unbanked individuals and small businesses in China, confronts the challenges of rapid growth and expansion in a changing regulatory environment. CreditEase needs to develop technology to manage its growth, address issues related to the company’s expansion into products and services for China’s growing high net worth (HNW) population, including questions about the suitability of its products and its vulnerability to bad debt losses and a potential leveling off of the growth in China’s economy, and adjust to new and more intensive regulatory oversight. What should Tang do to position CreditEase so that it can continue to fulfill its mission of making financial products and services available to millions of underserved Chinese while branching out into other, potentially riskier lines of business and ensuring continuing compliance with evolving laws and regulations? Will its rapid growth be sustainable?

    Keywords: P2P Lending; HNW products and services; Business growth; Business Start-ups; law; Government Regulation; Chang Management; credit; Microcredit; Financing and Lloans; banking; Innovation and Management; Developing Countries and Economies; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Law; Financing and Loans; Change; China;


    Goldberg, Lena G., Paul Healy, and Nancy Hua Dai. "CreditEase: Providing Credit and Financial Services for China's Underclass." Harvard Business School Case 315-027, October 2014. View Details
  7. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

    Mukti Khaire and Nancy Hua Dai

    Since its opening in Beijing in November 2007 as the first non-profit art center in China, UCCA had been operating with the mission to "promote the continued development of the Chinese art scene, foster international exchange, and showcase the latest in art and culture to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year." For the past six years, UCCA had worked with more than 100 artists and designers to present 87 art exhibitions and 1,826 public programs to over 1.8 million visitors, including many important leaders from all over the world. Given the context of the economic and political environment in the rapidly changing Chinese art market, the founders and senior management of UCCA wondered what they could do to achieve growth and financial viability while continuing to realize their mission.

    Keywords: art world; art gallery; art market; Arts; Nonprofit Organizations; Entrepreneurship; China;


    Khaire, Mukti, and Nancy Hua Dai. "The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art." Harvard Business School Case 815-022, September 2014. (Revised December 2014.) View Details
  8. Fresno's Social Impact Bond for Asthma

    John A. Quelch and Margaret L. Rodriguez

    In 2014, Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) were quickly gaining popularity as an investment vehicle which joined together private investors and nonprofits to tackle social issues. Although numerous SIB projects and proposals had cropped up across the U.S. following the launch of the first SIB in the UK in 2010, none were explicitly focused on healthcare. Fresno, California announced the first healthcare SIB in 2013 to fund home-based programs to reduce asthma attacks. If successful, the Fresno SIB model would help solve the challenge of delivering preventative care efficiently in at-risk communities.

    Keywords: social enterprise; health care; marketing; bonds; financing; asthma; air pollution; air quality; chronic disease; public health; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Finance; Health Industry; Financial Services Industry; United States;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Fresno's Social Impact Bond for Asthma." Harvard Business School Case 515-028, September 2014. View Details
  9. Hospital for Special Surgery (A)

    Regina E. Herzlinger

    Hospital for Special Surgery, a focused factory for orthopedics and joint disease, is contemplating various growth options: further growth in the United Kingdom's National Health Services, management of hospitals in the United States, and/or hospital consulting. Reviews the issues surrounding growth of a nonprofit institution and the United Kingdom's socialized health care system.

    Keywords: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Growth and Development Strategy; Nonprofit Organizations; Expansion; Health Industry; United Kingdom; United States;


    Herzlinger, Regina E. "Hospital for Special Surgery (A)." Harvard Business School Case 315-012, August 2014. View Details
  10. Supply Chain Screening Without Certification: The Critical Role of Stakeholder Pressure

    Susan A. Kayser, John W. Maxwell and Michael W. Toffel

    To assess and manage reputational risks associated with supply chains, buyers are increasingly seeking information about their suppliers' labor and environmental performance. Several voluntary programs have arisen to encourage suppliers to report this information in a standardized manner, but the information companies report might misrepresent their performance and can thus mislead rather than inform buyers. We hypothesize particular circumstances in which buyers can screen suppliers based on their participation in voluntary programs requiring public commitments and public reporting. In particular, we theorize that stakeholder scrutiny can effectively deter companies with misrepresentative disclosures from participating in such programs, and that this deterrence effect is stronger for smaller companies and in institutional contexts featuring stronger activist pressures and stronger norms of corporate transparency. Examining the decisions of 2,043 firms headquartered in 42 countries of whether to participate in the UN Global Compact, we find support for these hypotheses.

    Keywords: United Nations; Labor standards; Working Conditions; supply chain; supplier relationship; procurement; globalization; governance; sustainability; Sustainability Management; quality; quality and safety; safety; risk; reputation; Globalization; Globalized Markets and Industries; Supply Chain Management; Supply Chain; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Quality; Risk and Uncertainty; Safety;


    Kayser, Susan A., John W. Maxwell, and Michael W. Toffel. "Supply Chain Screening Without Certification: The Critical Role of Stakeholder Pressure." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-009, August 2014. View Details
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