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Impact

Business for Social Impact

Since its inception, the Social Enterprise Initiative has explored the role of business in creating social value. Early efforts in the late 1990s included hosting a research conference on business leadership in the social sector and developing an MBA course focused on strategic corporate citizenship.

Five years later, SEI launched an executive education program on corporate social responsibility. In 2005, SEI convened a research forum on business solutions to global poverty, bringing together academic, business, nonprofit, and government leaders from around the world. This conference led to the publication of a book, the development of an MBA elective course on Business at the Base of the Pyramid, and the creation of an executive education program for leaders in the microfinance industry.

Today, SEI continues to examine the challenges and opportunities in harnessing the power of the markets to create both economic and social value. In the spring of 2014, SEI hosted a research forum on Business for Social Impact, convening more than 100 practitioners and academics to discuss the global role of business in creating social change.

Research Reports

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Business for Social Impact (pdf)

| FORUM REPORT

The Forum convened more than 100 practitioners and academics to discuss the global role of business in creating social change. The report captures output from the conference sessions and reflections from participants.

Featured MBA Courses

Business at the Base of the Pyramid (B-BOP)

This course seeks to provide an understanding of how business approaches can address low income segments, often the largest components of emerging markets (both in terms of population as well as total expenditure) but nevertheless severely underserved. The course specifically explores the factors behind the commercial viability of such markets and examines the impact of business models on the social and economic development of the societies involved.

Purpose & Profit

This course offers an expanded vision of competitive strategy by incorporating social purpose and "stakeholder capitalism" as a source of new business opportunities, improved productivity, and competitive differentiation, using Porter and Kramer's framework for Creating Shared Value. At the end of the course, students should have an understanding of how social impact can be a source of competitive advantage and a framework for implementation, as well as a clearer sense of purpose in their own lives.

Featured Research

The Dual-Purpose Playbook

By: Julie Battilana, Anne-Claire Pache, Metin Sengul & Marissa Kimsey
| HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

The New CEO Activists

By: Aaron K. Chatterji & Michael W. Toffel
| HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

The Truth About CSR

By: V. Kasturi Rangan, Lisa Chase & Sohel Karim
| HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 93, NO. 1/2

Classic Cases

Global Sourcing at Nike

By: Nien-he Hsieh, Michael W. Toffel & Olivia Hull
| CASE | HBS CASE COLLECTION

Subjects covered include: Sourcing; Factory Conditions; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact

Greening Walmart: Progress and Controversy

By: Rebecca Henderson & James Weber
| CASE | HBS CASE COLLECTION

Subjects covered include: Sustainability; Organizational Change and Adaptation

Nestle's Creating Shared Value Strategy

By: Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer, Kerry Herman & Sara McAra
| CASE | HBS CASE COLLECTION

Subjects covered include: Shared Value; Environmental Sustainability; Strategy

B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy

By: Christopher Marquis, Andrew Klaber & Bobbi Thomason
| CASE | HBS CASE COLLECTION

Subjects covered include: entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and social responsibility.

Bridge International Academies: A School in a Box

By: V. Kasturi Rangan & Katharine Lee
| CASE | HBS CASE COLLECTION

Subjects covered include: entrepreneurship, franchises, social enterprise, and strategic planning.