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. Marie Trellu-Kane at Unis-Cité: Establishing Youth Service in France

    Julie Battilana, Michel Anteby and Anne-Claire Pache

    Marie Trellu-Kane is trying to decide how Unis-Cite should respond to French President Jacques Chirac's announcement in 2005 of a new national voluntary civil service program. Since 1994, Trellu-Kane and her co-founders had been creating and overseeing a civil service program called Unis-Cite, in which youth, particularly from the disadvantaged immigrant population, volunteered nine months of their time to work on community projects. Based in Paris, France, Unis-Cite had begun to expand to other areas. With the announcement that the government would provide funding to mobilize thousands of youth volunteers, Trellu-Kane needed to decide how Unis-Cite would proceed.

    Keywords: Expansion; leadership; non-profit management; government and business; social enterprise; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Design; Business and Community Relations; Business and Government Relations; Social Enterprise; Paris;

    Citation:

    Battilana, Julie, Michel Anteby, and Anne-Claire Pache. "Marie Trellu-Kane at Unis-Cité: Establishing Youth Service in France." Harvard Business School Case 415-035, January 2015. View Details
  2. Mobile Money: The Effect of Service Quality and Competition on Demand

    Karthik Balasubramanian and David F. Drake

    The use of electronic money transfer through cellular networks ("mobile money") is rapidly increasing in the developing world. The resulting electronic currency ecosystem could improve the lives of the estimated 2 billion people who live on less than $2 a day by facilitating more secure, accessible, and reliable ways to store and transfer money than are currently available. The development of this ecosystem requires a network of agents to conduct cash-for-electronic value transactions and vice versa. This paper estimates the effect of competition and service quality on mobile money demand. In this setting, service quality consists of service reliability (lower stockout and system downtime rates), pricing transparency, and agent expertise. Among our results, we find that agents experience reduced demand for service failures due to stockouts, but not for service failures due to network downtime, suggesting that consumers differentially ascribe responsibility for service failure based on the type of failure they experience. We find that both stockout rate and agent expertise are important competitive dimensions in this setting. Pricing transparency, on the other hand, has a main effect on demand but has no significant interaction with competitive intensity. This paper furthers our understanding of the impact and interaction of quality and competition in service settings, while developing a foundation for the exploration of mobile money by OM scholars.

    Keywords: service operations; operations strategy; competition; base of the pyramid; mobile money; Competition; Currency; Service Operations; Mobile Technology;

    Citation:

    Balasubramanian, Karthik, and David F. Drake. "Mobile Money: The Effect of Service Quality and Competition on Demand." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-059, January 2015. View Details
  3. San Francisco, 2015 #tech #inequality

    Clayton Rose, Allison Ciechanover and Kunal Modi

    In December 2013 a group of angry protesters blocked one of the commuter buses provided by the large Silicon Valley firms (known as "Google buses") which was stopped in San Francisco on its way to the company's headquarters 40 miles south. The protests were a tangible manifestation of the sharp increase in tensions between citizens upset with changes they saw in San Francisco and the "techies" and technology companies they held responsible for the disappearing middle class, increased homelessness, languishing public education, and a sense of departure from the unique culture and values of the city's past. This case explores some of the substantial economic inequality problems facing San Francisco, and how much responsibility for creating or exacerbating the problems rests with the government, technology firms, their employees, and the nature of capitalism, among others. It also allows for discussion of what technology firms and the "techies" might do to help alleviate the problem.

    Keywords: income inequality; Economic inequalty; technology; Silicon Valley; Income Characteristics; Equality and Inequality; Technology Industry; United States; California; San Francisco;

    Citation:

    Rose, Clayton, Allison Ciechanover, and Kunal Modi. "San Francisco, 2015 #tech #inequality." Harvard Business School Case 315-076, January 2015. View Details
  4. Regulator Leniency and Mispricing in Beneficent Nonprofits

    Jonas Heese, Ranjani Krishnan and Frank Moers

    We posit that nonprofits that provide a greater supply of unprofitable services (beneficent nonprofits) face lenient regulatory enforcement for mispricing in price-regulated markets. Consequently, beneficent nonprofits exploit such regulatory leniency and exhibit higher mispricing. Drawing on organizational legitimacy theory, we argue that both regulators and beneficent nonprofits seek to protect their legitimacy with stakeholders, including those who demand access to unprofitable services. Using data from hospitals, we examine mispricing via "upcoding", which involves misclassifying ailment severity. Archival analysis indicates less stringent regulatory enforcement of upcoding for beneficent nonprofit hospitals, defined as hospitals that provide higher charity care and medical education. After observing regulator leniency, beneficent hospitals demonstrate higher upcoding. Our results suggest that lenient enforcement assists beneficent nonprofits to obtain higher revenues in price-regulated markets.

    Keywords: Regulator leniency; nonprofit organizations; beneficence; mispricing; upcoding; Nonprofit Organizations; Fairness; Revenue;

    Citation:

    Heese, Jonas, Ranjani Krishnan, and Frank Moers. "Regulator Leniency and Mispricing in Beneficent Nonprofits." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-056, January 2015. View Details
  5. The Truth about CSR

    Kasturi Rangan, Lisa Chase and Sohel Karim

    The article discusses corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. In the authors' view many of these programs consist of disparate, uncoordinated initiatives that fail to maximize their impact. They recommend a more coherent strategy that divides CSR efforts into three categories including those related to philanthropy, operational effectiveness, and shaping the firm's business model to better create shared value. Consideration is also given to developing metrics for assessing CSR performance.

    Citation:

    Rangan, Kasturi, Lisa Chase, and Sohel Karim. "The Truth about CSR." Harvard Business Review 93, nos. 1/2 (January–February 2015): 40–49. View Details
  6. 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;

    Citation:

    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
  7. 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;

    Citation:

    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
  8. 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;

    Citation:

    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
  9. 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;

    Citation:

    Khanna, Tarun, Rachna Tahilyani, Reeti Roy, and Aldo Sesia. "BRAC in 2014." Harvard Business School Case 715-414, November 2014. View Details
  10. The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance

    Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim

    We investigate the effect of corporate sustainability on organizational processes and performance. Using a matched sample of 180 U.S. companies, we find that corporations that voluntarily adopted sustainability policies by 1993—termed as High Sustainability companies—exhibit by 2009 distinct organizational processes compared to a matched sample of companies that adopted almost none of these policies—termed as Low Sustainability companies. The boards of directors of High Sustainability companies are more likely to be formally responsible for sustainability, and top executive compensation incentives are more likely to be a function of sustainability metrics. High Sustainability companies are more likely to have established processes for stakeholder engagement, to be more long-term oriented, and to exhibit higher measurement and disclosure of nonfinancial information. Finally, High Sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance.

    Keywords: sustainability; Sustainability Management; Sustainability Research; sustainability reporting; sustainability targets; corporate social responsibility; corporate accountability; reporting; corporate governance; investor clientele; investor communication; stock market; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Environmental Sustainability; Performance; United States;

    Citation:

    Eccles, Robert G., Ioannis Ioannou, and George Serafeim. "The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance." Management Science 60, no. 11 (November 2014): 2835–2857. View Details
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