This book offers a glimpse into the future. The companies it describes are pioneers, the first-movers in market shifts that will eventually become mainstream. These "hybrid organizations" – or what others call "values-driven" or "mission-driven" organizations – operate in the blurry space between the for-profit and non-profit worlds. They are redefining their supply chains, their sources of capital, their very purpose for being; and in the process they are changing the market for others. Using a combination of high-level survey analysis and, more importantly, in-depth executive interviews, the book helps fill the present gap in literature on environmentally focused and financially driven for-profit businesses. Moreover, it highlights key trends and critical themes that enable this new wave of socially conscious and fiscally minded enterprises to be successful in meeting both sets of goals. The takeaway for readers of this book is not only an appreciation for common business practices that hybrid organizations adopt, but also an understanding of the complexity of the integration of such adoption that allows them to successfully achieve both mission- and market-driven goals. The book begins with key definitions to establish the scope of this new sector, including explicit definitions for hybrid organizations, environmental sustainability missions, as well as specific criteria to create useful boundaries for the field of hybrid organizations. Building on prior work conducted by researchers on corporate social responsibility, sustainable entrepreneurship, and social enterprise, the book catalogues the best practices within this growing sector, helping others to learn from both the successes and failures of those that are choosing this strategy. The core of the book is built on an analysis of survey data from 47 hybrid organizations, investigating their business models and strategies, finances, organizational structures, processes, metrics, and innovations. The organizations represent a cross-section of size, age, industry, and geography, although the sample set is biased towards young, small, U.S.-based hybrids. Based on analysis of the survey data, five best-in-class companies were selected for in-depth case studies in order to provide instructive lessons for hybrid practitioners and researchers alike. In short, this book presents research that shows hybrid organizations to be a practical and feasible organizational model for contributing solutions to global environmental issues. The lessons in this book will help other social entrepreneurs, business managers, non-profit leaders, or students interested in careers that fuse profitability and responsibility do it even better.
This book is a welcome addition to the literature, since it reinforces the message that there are organisations operating in a way which challenges conventional mainstream notions that companies are only about ensuring profitable returns. ... These case studies provide an interesting overview of the organisations and the challenges they have faced, with each case closing with a consideration of the risks faced by the firms. ... What is more interesting about the cases are the unexpected points that outline how these companies are away from the norm and facing more unique issues. ... In summary, this book is a very fast read and could be read over the course of two cups of coffee. Its presentation of findings is interesting to know and is undoubtedly useful to know. Beyond this the book's contents are also useful as a potential teaching aid for students. - Social and Environmental Accountability Journal 29.2 (September 2009)