2021 journal article
PURSUING B CORP CERTIFICATION: EXPLORING FIRMS' ENTREPRENEURIAL ORIENTATION AND PROSOCIAL MOTIVATION
ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT DISCOVERIES, 7(2), 294–316.
Our work is motivated by the empirical finding that Benefit corporations (B corps) that pursue certification experience a short-term slowdown in financial performance. To shed light on this finding, we examine whether entrepreneurial orientation (EO) changes across eight weeks in a sample (n = 17) of B corps pursuing certification relative to a sample (n = 24) of emerging ventures not pursuing B corp certification. Our abductive, exploratory research finds that EO does not change over time as a function of B corp certification pursuit. However, after further examination of these data, findings show that firms pursuing B corp certification, at the study launch, demonstrated lower EO, and that the EO gap between the two types of companies remained throughout the study. We found this curious, and we thus examined our data for possible explanations with regard to prosocial motivation. We then augmented our quantitative data with qualitatively derived insights from eight semistructured interviews with participants to more fully examine the developmental processes at work in B corp certification pursuit. We discuss the implications of our findings, from both theoretical and practical points of view, and we describe multiple compelling lines of future research that can build on this exploratory research.