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dc.contributor.authorWry, Ten
dc.contributor.authorHaugh, Helenen
dc.description.abstractThe research on prosocial organizing is undeniably broad, with studies examining enterprises that embody a variety of organizational forms, pursue a wide range of social goals, and face numerous internal and external challenges. Qualitative and quantitative research methods have both been used, and arguments have been developed that touch on almost all areas of management theory. Yet despite this diversity, all of this research is arguably motivated by a desire to: 1) understand the challenges faced by organizations that aspire to create value for people, communities, and the natural environment (Rynes et al., 2012; Walsh, 2011) and; 2) help these organizations to achieve their social and environmental goals (Nason et al., 2018; Walsh, 2011). To date, however, few studies in the management literature have directly considered how prosocial organizations impact society. The typical approach has been to focus on organization-level processes, outputs and outcomes, while taking for granted that prosocial organizing has positive societal impacts. On one hand, this approach has catalyzed a rich and growing literature that speaks to the challenges of prosocial organizing (Battilana and Lee, 2014; Battilana et al., 2017; Rynes et al., 2012) as well as the processes through which these organizations emerge (Sine and Lee, 2009; Tracey et al., 2011), acquire resources (Cobb et al., 2016; Moss et al., 2018; York et al., 2016; Zhao et al., 2016) and scale (André and Pache, 2016; Seelos and Mair, 2017). Yet by leaving societal impact implicit, scholars have more to do if we are to advance knowledge about how prosocial organizing impacts society. In this editorial we advocate for bringing social impact considerations to the fore, and argue that scholars who study prosocial organizing be thoughtful about how their work contributes to such understanding. We believe that doing so can provide the foundation for more integrative and generative research conversations that embrace the institutional and organizational aspects of creating social impact, as well as the interplay between the two. Before proceeding, though, it is important to define what we mean by "impact." When thinking about impact, there are multiple levels at which change may be affected (Rawhouser et al., 2017; Smith and Besharov, 2017). To this end, development practitioners have long recognized that impact comprises much more than the link between a specific intervention and a desired outcome. Rather, impact is the endpoint of a causal chain (or logic model) wherein an enterprise acquires resources, transforms these into activities, and creates outputs that impact society (Ebrahim and Rangan, 2014; McLaughlin and Jordan, 2005; van Tulder et al., 2016). Traditionally, this type of model has been used to assess the performance of individual organizations. However, by providing a framework to think about the processes through which impact is created, we argue that the logic model can be usefully adapted to: 1) organize disparate studies in the management and entrepreneurship literature into coherent, impact-oriented, research streams; 2) provide scholars with a language to both situate and convey their contributions to social impact research, and; 3) help identify theoretical and empirical puzzles that point to opportunities for future research. In this editorial we review the logic model and discuss its relevance for research on prosocial organizing. Specifically, we argue that by defining and differentiating between aspects of the impact-creation process, the logic model helps both to organize existing studies in a way that shows their relevance for understanding social impact, and highlights opportunities for future research. In this regard, the logic model can be applied in a variety of ways: for instance, it might be used to map-out research that focuses on a specific type of organization (e.g., an impact model of microfinance) or on a particular societal outcome (e.g., an impact model of empowerment). For our purposes, though, we use the logic model to organize key studies on social entrepreneurship; arguably the dominant prosocial organizing research stream. Through this exercise, we show that management scholars have contributed in many ways to our understanding of how social enterprises pursue prosocial goals. Yet we also note that this work says little about the achievement of broader systemic change. Based on our analysis, we suggest three principal domains for future impact research. In short, our approach encourages scholars to recognize how their work connects to broader conversations about social impact, both in general terms, and in relation to specific organizations, activities and outcomes. In so doing, we note that there are many ways to contribute to impact research, and that no one study, theory, or research method can address the complexity of the phenomenon. Each study contributes a knowledge piece to a much larger puzzle. In this spirit, we aim to show that embracing the logic model for impact research can help management scholars find common cause in diverse approaches, while also pursuing research that advances collective understanding about social impact in general terms, as well as in specific empirical domains. In this regard, we encourage scholars to reclaim the early mantle of our profession, and embrace considerations of impact in our work (Hinings and Greenwood, 2002; Rynes et al., 2012). While there is no need for this to take away from broader theoretical discussions—or attempts to advance research on such conceptual frontiers—we see great opportunities to engage deeply with different organizational contexts, different interventions, and different desired impacts in the spirit of affecting and supporting change that extends beyond the narrow confines of the academic community.
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.titleBrace for impact: uniting our diverse voices through a social impact frameen
prism.publicationNameJournal of Business Venturingen
dc.contributor.orcidHaugh, Helen [0000-0002-5239-262X]
rioxxterms.typeJournal Article/Reviewen
cam.orpheus.successThu Jan 30 13:00:03 GMT 2020 - Embargo updated*

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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