Our research articles this week look at different ways companies can generate a positive social impact.

Ethical sourcing: An analysis of the literature and implications for future research 
The purpose of this study is to present a rigorous, focused review on how this field of ethical sourcing research has grown and evolved over the decades, providing implications for future research.

We combine two research methodologies in this study: a systematic literature review and a citation network analysis. The former is used as a scientific tool to select the most relevant ethical sourcing articles, while the latter is then applied as a research technique to analyse these selected articles. Such a combined approach allows for a rigorous investigation into this field of research in a more scientific and objective way.

Based on this approach, we identify (1) distinctive features of ethical sourcing studies such as growth trends and content issues; (2) important articles that have played a significant role in developing this field; (3) evolutionary paths that show how its knowledge has been created and transferred; (4) emerging trends that have received growing attention in the recent literature; (5) main research areas that underlie the entire ethical sourcing studies; and (6) major implications that need to be pursued in future research.

The results of this study provide not only the current status of the literature but also the patterns of evolution in this field of research, thus contributing to the existing literature.

Read this Open Access article for free online

Seongtae Kim, Claudia Colicchia and David Menachof. 2018. Ethical Sourcing: An Analysis of the Literature and Implications for Future Research.
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(4), 1033–1052.


Sustainable innovativeness, Triple Bottom Line & organisational time perspective 
This paper studies the influence of an organisation’s time perspective on triple bottom line deployment through sustainable innovativeness. Although academics increasingly consider sustainable innovation to be an essential element in deploying the triple bottom line, the degree of an organisation’s sustainable innovativeness remains limited.

Using ten inductive case studies based on the triangulation of data from multiple-respondent interviews and secondary data, this study shows that an organisation’s time perspective plays a crucial role in explaining the organisation’s degree of sustainable innovativeness and improvement of triple bottom line outcomes.

Specifically, organisations with a longer planning horizon, higher tolerance of uncertainty, and greater ability to learn from the past develop a higher and increasing degree of sustainable innovativeness, allowing trade-offs between triple bottom line dimensions to be mitigated.

Annachiara Longoni and Raffaella Cagliano. 2018. Sustainable Innovativeness and the Triple Bottom Line: The Role of Organizational Time Perspective. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 151(4), 1097–112.


A resource-based view of social entrepreneurship: How stewardship culture benefits scale of social impact 
Despite efforts to address societal ills, social enterprises face challenges in increasing their impact. Drawing from the RBV, we argue that a social enterprise’s scale of social impact depends on its capabilities to engage stakeholders, attract government support, and generate earned-income.

We test our hypotheses on a sample of 171 US-based social enterprises and find support for the hypothesised relationships between these organisational capabilities and scale of social impact. Further, we find that these relationships are contingent upon stewardship culture.

Specifically, we show that an entrepreneur-centered stewardship culture increases the effects of the capabilities to attract government support and to generate earned-income, while an employee-centered stewardship culture compensates for low abilities to attract government support and to generate earned-income.

Sophie Bacq and Kimberly A. Eddleston. 2018. A Resource-Based View of Social Entrepreneurship: How Stewardship Culture Benefits Scale of Social Impact. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(3), 589–611. 


Transformational business models, grand challenges, and social impact 
The starting premise of this paper is that business models can transform social reality—sometimes to an extreme. Then, building on the concept of “grand challenges,” we argue that such transformations can be either positive or negative in nature (or both)—even in the case of business models designed to improve value not only economically but environmentally and socially as well.

To further our understanding of the negative aspects, we introduced two conceptual categories of business model: those for oppression or depletion and exclusionary ones. We further argue that bringing the notion of grand challenges center-stage highlights four elements that can contribute to emerging research and inform practice on transformational business models.

These elements are: participatory forms of architecture; multivocal inscriptions; scaffolding; and proximity (understood as a caring concern for the “other”). They are central components of what we name transformational business models.

Ignasi Martí. 2018. Transformational Business Models, Grand Challenges, and Social Impact. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(4), 965–976. 


Made in Carcere: Integral human development in extreme conditions 
This paper analyses the case of Made in Carcere, an innovative social enterprise providing jobs to one of the most marginalised groups in society: convicted women.

Relying on an extensive database that covers 8 years of activity, we propose a micro-level analysis of the processes adopted by Made in Carcere to foster the integral human development of convicted women, its target stakeholders. We show that this complex effort has successfully unfolded through two macro-processes: creating a safe space for experimentation and allowing convicted women to bridge their experience to the outside reality.

Our work provides evidence of an organisation that successfully confronts the restrictive and dehumanizing setting of prisons by means of market mechanisms that can foster convicted women’s integral human development.

Luca Mongelli, Pietro Versari, Francesco Rullani and Antonino Vaccaro. 2018. Made in Carcere: Integral Human Development in Extreme Conditions. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(4), 977–995.


Community social capital and CSR 
This study examines whether community social capital in US counties, as captured by strength of civic norms and density of social networks in the counties, affects corporate social responsibility (CSR) of resident corporations headquartered in the counties.

Analyses of longitudinal data from 3688 unique US firms between 1997 and 2009 provide strong empirical support for the propositions that community social capital facilitates positive CSR activities that benefit non-shareholder stakeholders and constrains negative CSR activities that are detrimental to non-shareholder stakeholders.

Additionally, we explore the effects of institutional logics arising from community isomorphism on positive and negative CSR activities, respectively. And, we explore the respective effects of corporate engagement in positive and negative CSR activities on corporate financial performance. Firms undertake more positive CSR activities when such activities are more prevalent among other local corporations headquartered in the same county. But, there is no systematic relationship between negative CSR activities and the community-level corporate engagement in negative CSR activities.

Positive CSR activities enhance a firm’s future financial performance, and the positive effect is more prominent among firms headquartered in counties with high community social capital. However, negative CSR activities only reduce a firm’s future financial performance among firms headquartered in counties with high community social capital; negative CSR activities do not affect performance among firms headquartered in counties with lower levels of community social capital.

Collectively, these results highlight the distinct effects of local social institutions, namely community social capital, on positive CSR activities and negative CSR activities, respectively.

Chun Keung Hoi, Qiang Wu & Hao Zhang. 2018. Community Social Capital and Corporate Social Responsibility. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(3), 647–665.


Cross-country analysis of microfinance performance and social capital 
In recent years, the microfinance industry has received a substantial amount of cross-border funding from both public and private sources. This funding reflects the increasing interest in microfinance as part of a more general trend towards socially responsible investments.

In order to be able to secure sustained interest from these investors, it is important that the microfinance industry can show evidence of its contribution to reducing poverty at the bottom of the pyramid. For this, it is crucial to understand under what conditions microfinance institutions (MFIs) are able to reduce poverty.

This paper contributes to this discussion by investigating the relationship between the extent to which social capital formation is facilitated within different societies and the financial and social performance of MFIs. This focus on social capital formation is important, because in many cases MFIs use group loans with joint liability to incentivise asset-poor borrowers to substitute the lack of physical collateral by their social capital.

Hence, the success of a large part of the loan relationship between MFIs and their borrowers depends on the social capital those borrowers can bring into the contract. We carry out a cross-country analysis on a dataset containing 100 countries and identify different social dimensions as proxies for how easy social capital can be developed in different countries.

We hypothesise that microfinance is more successful, both in terms of their financial and social aims, in societies that are more conducive to the development of social capital. Our empirical results support our hypothesis.

Read this Open Access article for free online.

Luminita Postelnicu and Niels Hermes. 2018. Microfinance Performance and Social Capital: A Cross-Country Analysis. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(2), 427–445.