Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

An Institutional Analysis of the Rise of Benefit Corporations Outside of the US: The Case of Italy

Version 1 : Received: 25 September 2020 / Approved: 26 September 2020 / Online: 26 September 2020 (13:37:58 CEST)

How to cite: Arena, M.; Bengo, I.; Gerli, F.; Colzani, P. An Institutional Analysis of the Rise of Benefit Corporations Outside of the US: The Case of Italy. Preprints 2020, 2020090635 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0635.v1). Arena, M.; Bengo, I.; Gerli, F.; Colzani, P. An Institutional Analysis of the Rise of Benefit Corporations Outside of the US: The Case of Italy. Preprints 2020, 2020090635 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0635.v1).

Abstract

This paper contributes to the current debate about Benefit Corporations, presenting the development of this organisational model in Italy, the first country to introduce this hybrid form after the US. Grounded on an institutional logic perspective, it provides a picture of the institutional dynamics that have characterised the rise of this new entrepreneurial form outside the US. The analysis provides an in-depth foundational study of the Italian case and highlights the relevant influence of different institutional pressures in explaining the rise of and constraints in the diffusion of Benefit Corporations. Empirically, it combines secondary data, available from different public sources, and primary data collected through interviews with a series of knowledgeable informants. Based upon the analysis, two aspects appear peculiar for the development of Benefit Corporations in Italy: the interplay between the Benefit Corporation legal form and the certified B Corp model, and the rise of tensions between social entrepreneurship and the third sector ecosystem. This paper concludes that the peculiar institutional pressures leading to the birth of Benefit Corporations in Italy may be source of permanent tensions and of concern for the diffusion of the model.

Subject Areas

benefit corporation; b corp; institutional logic; hybrid entrepreneurship; social entrepreneurship; social enterprise

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