From the beginning of the 21st century, the benefit corporation, a new organizational concept which was put forward by B-lab, advocates that the dual objectives of the organization should be balanced through the mixing of organizational mission, so as to carry out sustainable corporate social responsibility practice （CSR practice）. Based on the systematic review of the related researches on the benefit corporation from 2008 to 2018, this paper follows the logical framework established by the following questions: why the benefit corporation emerges （theoretical basis and practical needs）, where it comes from （boundary and category of organizational form）, how it works （factors of operation and mechanism of operation process） and how about its growth prospect （defect overcoming）. The contribution of this study is to provide basic ideas and a logical framework for academia to deeply understand the uniqueness of the benefit corporation which is an endogenous organization of CSR, which helps academia to remold the cognitive framework of CSR practice organization and provide theoretical reference for the CSR practice and management. From the theoretical origin of the emergence of the benefit corporation, there are three perspectives: economic sociology theory, new institutionalism theory and stakeholder theory. The different definitions of the benefit corporation ascribe to the following four dimensions: the theory of organizational function, the theory of organizational mission, the theory of operating process mechanism within an organization and the theory of organizational value creation. Furthermore, researches about the influencing factors of the benefit corporation growth can be roughly classified into the environmental impact view, stakeholder appeal view, strategic orientation view, leader value view and other perspectives. Finally, the growth and operation of the benefit corporation have reached a certain degree of consensus in the organizational structure, institutional logic and business model, but their growth space depends on whether they can overcome the ambiguity of stakeholder governance and achieve the balance of dual objectives. At present, China is in the economic and social transition, all kinds of social and environmental problems are becoming increasingly complex, and the social pressures faced by enterprises are gradually increasing, so it is urgent for academia to further explore the institutional environment and social support mechanism to promote the growth of the benefit corporation on the basis of China’s economic and social situation. More importantly, it is necessary for academia to explore the localized evaluation index and certification system of the benefit corporation, thereby driving the entrepreneurship change into the value of mutual benefit, sharing and win-win.
Benefit Corporation: A Research Review and Future Prospects
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 41, Issue 04, pp. 3 - 17,30 (2019) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2019.04.001
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Cite this article
Xiao Hongjun, Yang Zhen, Jiao Hao. Benefit Corporation: A Research Review and Future Prospects[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2019, 41(4): 3-17.
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