Hybrid organizations as legitimate drivers of sustainable development
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The growing global challenges of today demand urgent, collective and coordinated solutions and organizations that are able to put in place practices that enable societal value creation in a quest for sustainable development instead of prioritizing profit maximization and shareholder value. As a result, hybrid organizations have acquired growing attention from management literature as a progressive organizational form able to redefine the role of business and contribute to the improvement of the societal conditions faced by their stakeholders, while remaining financially viable. Yet, hybrids challenge conventional ideas of business and institutionalized norms, which results in skepticism around their potential and leads to the need for legitimacy building. This thesis aims at studying the ways in which hybrid organizations can become legitimate drivers of sustainable development. Hence, thirteen semi-structured interviews, to both scholars and BCorporations/Social Enterprises professionals were conducted. A coding approach to content analysis revealed common patterns and perceptions that once interpreted led to the offer of four theoretical propositions that further explain the crucial areas and practices which hybrids have to safeguard so to be deemed legitimate by society and their directly impacted stakeholders. This study closes with the discussion on hybrids’ role as enablers of development in the organizational and social paradigm and recognizes the importance of their success in the legitimacy attributed to the concept.