Social Enterprise & Nonprofit: Nonprofit Management

32 Results

 

How the Zebra Got Its Stripes: Imprinting of Individuals and Hybrid Social Ventures

Creating hybrid organizations that combine existing organizational forms is a complex process. Given the legitimacy challenges facing hybrid organizations, why are they created in the first place? The authors focus on the role of "environmental imprinting" on individuals: this means the persistent effects that individuals' environments during sensitive periods have on their subsequent behaviors. After constructing and analyzing a novel dataset of over 700 founders of social ventures, all guided by a social welfare logic, the authors suggest that individual imprinting helps to explain why an entrepreneur founding a social venture might create a hybrid by incorporating a secondary, commercial logic. Overall, the paper contributes to the understanding of hybrid organizations by providing the first large-scale, empirical examination of the antecedents of the widely-discussed type of hybrids that combine social welfare and commercial logics. Read More

‘Hybrid’ Organizations a Difficult Bet for Entrepreneurs

Hybrid organizations combine the social logic of a nonprofit with the commercial logic of a for-profit business, but are very difficult to finance. So why would anyone want to form one? Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee investigate. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

No Margin, No Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives for Pro-Social Tasks

Organizations from large corporations to NGOs use a range of nonfinancial performance rewards to motivate their employees, and these rewards are highly valued. While theory has suggested mechanisms through which nonfinancial incentives can elicit employee effort, evidence on the mechanisms, and on their effectiveness relative to financial incentives, remains scarce. This paper helps to fill this gap by providing evidence from a collaboration with a public health organization based in Lusaka, Zambia, that recruits and trains hairdressers and barbers to sell condoms in their shops. This setting is representative of many health delivery programs in developing countries where embedded community agents are called upon to deliver services and products, but finding an effective way to motivate them remains a significant challenge. Findings show the effectiveness of financial and nonfinancial rewards for increasing sales of condoms. Agents who are offered nonfinancial rewards ("stars" in this setting) exert more effort than either those offered financial margins or those offered volunteer contracts. Read More

Beyond Heroic Entrepreneurs

Research in progress by Harvard Business School's Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee reveals that a large number of social entrepreneurs are focused on local rather than global change, and on sustainable funding. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

The New Measures for Improving Nonprofit Performance

In this era of scarce economic resources, the pressure on nonprofit managers to show quantifiable results is greater than ever. Alnoor S. Ebrahim and philanthropist Mario Morino discuss the differences and similarities between performance measurement in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Making Lincoln Center Cool Again

When Reynold Levy took over as president of New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he faced challenges ranging from crumbling buildings to an aging customer base. How could the venerable institution get its high notes back? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How ‘Hybrid’ Nonprofits Can Stay on Mission

As nonprofits add more for-profit elements to their business models, they can suffer mission drift. Associate Professor Julie Battilana says hybrid organizations can stay on target if they focus on two factors: the employees they hire and the way they socialize those employees. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

The Difficult Transition from For-Profit to Nonprofit Boards

In the new book Joining a Nonprofit Board: What You Need to Know, authors F. Warren McFarlan and Marc J. Epstein observe that service on a nonprofit board can be a frustrating experience for executives grounded in a for-profit world. Read our excerpt. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Data.gov: Matching Government Data with Rapid Innovation

Data.gov is a young initiative of President Barack Obama for making raw data available on the Web. In an HBS executive education class for technology specialists, professor Karim Lakhani and the US Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, sparked dialogue about new routes to innovation. Read More

The Limits of Nonprofit Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance

The social sector is in the midst of a search for metrics of impact. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in methodologies and tools for assessing social performance and impact, but with little systematic analysis and comparison across these approaches. In this paper, HBS professors Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan provide a synthesis of the current debates and, in so doing, offer a typology and contingency framework for measuring social performance. Their contingency approach suggests that—given the varied work, aims, and capacities of social sector organizations—some organizations should be measuring long-term impacts, while others should stick to measuring shorter-term results. The researchers provide a logic for determining which kinds of measures are appropriate, as driven by the goals of the organization and its operating model. Read More

One Report: Better Strategy through Integrated Reporting

Stakeholders expect it. And smart companies are doing it: integrating their reporting of financial and nonfinancial performance in order to improve sustainable strategy. HBS senior lecturer Robert G. Eccles and coauthor Michael P. Krzus explain the benefits and value of the One Report method. Plus: book excerpt from One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy. Read More

The Many Faces of Nonprofit Accountability

Nonprofit leaders face multiple, and sometimes competing, accountability demands: from numerous actors (upward, downward, internal), for varying purposes (financial, governance, performance, mission), and requiring differing levels of organizational response (compliance and strategic). Yet is it feasible, or even desirable, for nonprofit organizations to be accountable to everyone for everything? The challenge for leadership and management is to prioritize among competing accountability demands. This involves deciding both to whom and for what they owe accountability. HBS professor Alnoor Ebrahim provides an overview of the current debates on nonprofit accountability, while also examining the tradeoffs inherent in a range of accountability mechanisms. Read More

Investing in Improvement: Strategy and Resource Allocation in Public School Districts

The operating environments of public school districts are largely void of the market forces that reward a company's success with more capital and exert pressure on it to eventually abandon unproductive activities. Stacey Childress describes the strategic resource decisions in 3 of the 20 public school districts that she and colleagues have studied through the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard. The stories in San Francisco, New York City, and Maryland's Montgomery County occurred largely before the districts faced dramatic decreases in revenues, though they show the superintendents facing budget concerns near the end of the narratives. Even so, the situations share common principles that superintendents and their leadership teams can use to make differentiated resource decisions—reducing spending in some areas and increasing it in others with a clear rationale for why these decisions will produce results for students. Read More

Truth in Giving: Experimental Evidence on the Welfare Effects of Informed Giving to the Poor

It is often difficult for donors to predict the value of charitable giving because they know little about the persons who receive their help. While there is substantial evidence that individuals use information about recipients to decide how generous a donation to make, we know surprisingly little about how much donors care to help their preferred types. To start closing this gap, HBS professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Carnegie Mellon University coauthor Christina Fong study transfers of income to real-world poor people in the context of experimental games. Their findings have implications for governments and nongovernmental organizations that seek to increase the financial and political support for wealth transfer programs. Read More

Achieving Excellence in Nonprofits

Nonprofit boards and executives are confronted by a confusing landscape of conflicting demands, rapidly evolving rules, and changing opportunities for finding resources. How can organizations stay focused? Harvard Business School professor Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard discusses today's challenges and his Executive Education program on Governing for Nonprofit Excellence. Read More

The Coming Transformation of Social Enterprise

A new generation of business leaders and philanthropists is experimenting with hybrid forms of social enterprises while demanding more transparency and accountability from the organizations they are funding. Harvard Business School professor Kash Rangan discusses what he sees as a sector on the brink of transformation. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

What Do Non-Governmental Organizations Do?

Non-governmental organizations play an increasingly important role in international development. They serve as a funnel for development funds both from individual donors in wealthy countries and from bilateral aid agencies. At the same time, NGOs are frequently idealized as organizations committed to "doing good" while setting aside profit or politics—a romantic view that is too starry-eyed. Development-oriented NGOs, which have existed for centuries, have played a growing role in development since the end of World War II; there are currently 20,000 international NGOs. This paper argues that the strengths of NGOs and their weaknesses easily fit into economists' conceptualization of not-for-profit contractors. Read More

Public Education Goes to School

Harvard's schools of Business and Education are bringing management skills to nine school districts across the country—and positive results are starting to show. Read More

Promoting a Management Revolution in Public Education

Public school districts are difficult to lead and manage, and the idea of applying business principles to school reform is popular. But is it practical? This paper describes the work of Harvard's Public Education Leadership Program as it helps school districts grapple with performance challenges, including student achievement that compares unfavorably with other countries, and a significant performance gap between white and minority students. Complicating the picture: The concept of managing for accountability is new in education. The authors studied the effects of improved management on public school student performance by comparing fifteen large urban school districts with similar peer districts. Read More

Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow

How can a nonprofit increase its social impact? Many would say it needs to grow big to be strong. Instead, says HBS professor Jane Wei-Skillern, the answer could be in the power of strategic networks. Read More

It’s Back to Business-Basics for Nonprofits

Moving from theory to practice: Former HBS professor Jeff Bradach shares practical advice on how nonprofits can improve their strategy and produce measurable results for their cause and donors. Read More

The Growth of the Social Enterprise

To branch or affiliate? Different organizational structures have different strategic implications for nonprofit expansion, say HBS’s Jane Wei-Skillern and Duke-based colleague Beth Battle Anderson. Read More

How Businesses Can Respond to AIDS

Partnerships among business, government, and advocacy groups are crucial to halting AIDS. A report from an influential conference at Harvard Business School. Read More

The Organizational Model for Open Source

A surprising entity has emerged to protect the interests of open source software developers: the non-profit foundation. HBS professor Siobhán O'Mahony discusses this emerging organizational model. Read More

The Challenge of the Multi-site Nonprofit

Multi-site nonprofit organizations shouldn’t be run like companies that make money, say HBS professors Allen Grossman and V. Kasturi Rangan. The key for nonprofit managers is to embrace a balance between affiliation and autonomy. Read More

Business Plan Winner Targets India Dropouts

Gyaana means "knowledge" in Sanskrit—a fitting name for a business that aims to fight the 50 percent dropout rate in India by offering microfinance loans to families. Read More

Education, Technology, and Business: What’s the Catch?

In a panel discussion on current and future business opportunities in the American education market, four entrepreneurs hashed out the pros and cons of entering this tricky sector. There are opportunities—for the daring and undaunted. HBS professor Alan MacCormack moderated this panel at the Conference on Social Enterprise held recently at Harvard Business School. Read More

Connecting With Nonprofits

Nonprofits and business have a long history of collaboration, and the benefits run both ways. In this excerpt from HBS professor James Austin's latest working paper, three levels of collaboration are detailed. Plus: Austin Q&A. Read More

Entering the Age of Alliances

Collaborative relationships between nonprofits and corporations working together to contribute to society is the wave of the future—and makes excellent strategic sense. HBS Professor James E. Austin explains why in The Collaboration Challenge. Read More

Cross-Sector Collaboration: Lessons from the International Trachoma Initiative

Alliances between for-profit and nonprofit organizations are evolving from arms-length relationships into strategic partnerships. A study of the collaboration between the Clark Foundation and Pfizer, Inc. reveals what it takes to make them work. Read More

Strategic Alliances

Businesses and nonprofit organizations are joining together in alliances to create value for themselves and society that far surpass the sum of their parts. HBS Professor James Austin studies these new alliances and sees mutual benefits and a new business-nonprofit relationship emerging. Read More