B Lab Global Research Fellowships 2023
At B Lab we are in the fortunate position to occupy front row seats to what is arguably one of the greatest, live, global experiments into how business can be done differently. Business with impact, with purpose, for all people and the planet. This puts us in a unique position to learn, and gather evidence about, the systemic transition of the economy. Evidence and learning are thereby integral to our work, and to our Theory of Change. But we cannot do that alone.
In early 2023, the Insights team at B Lab Global launched a pilot Fellowship program to invite scholars to join us on our learning journey. With the help of external academic reviewer Matthew Grimes, Professor of Organisational Theory & Information Systems at Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS), the team chose two amazing 2023 fellows to inaugurate the program. These fellows were selected from a total of 33 applications; we have been humbled by the excitement and effort proposed by each of the submissions.
The following fellows were selected because their proposals combine great novelty in the questions proposed, with high levels of rigor, and a deep understanding of relevance to the B Corp movement. The Insights team is excited to work with and learn from these exceptional fellows over the course of the coming year. Keep reading to be introduced to each of our fellows below, and discover their respective focus and research question in their own words.
Power of B Corp certification in unlocking funding
Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Vyas Sreenivas, joins us from a background of researching how entrepreneurship can positively impact society. Along with advisor, Dr. Todd Schifeling, Vyas is looking to explore how B Corp Certification can influence a company’s fundraising potential.
“Through this fellowship, we are investigating the effect of obtaining a B Corp Certification on the quantity and quality of fundraising. Will getting certified help companies to raise funds from better, more reliable, and diverse funding sources? Does this depend on the location or industry of the venture? We also investigate how various types of fundraising affect the development of social and environmental impact scores at certified B Corps. For example, do impact scores improve faster with angel versus venture capital investments?
Our proposed research has practical relevance. Practitioners, like entrepreneurs (thinking about obtaining the B Corp Certification), investors (keen on investing in B Corp Certified organizations), and B Lab (influencing policy), can derive actionable insights from studying the impact of B Corp Certification on financial and non-financial performance.”
Dr. Vyas Sreenivas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Management at Temple University. He studies how entrepreneurship can positively impact society using quantitative and qualitative techniques, including econometric modeling, machine learning, and natural language processing. His interest in this area stems from his work with social entrepreneurs in financial inclusion and helping them raise capital in their early stages. He also examines how communities and geographies can affect social ventures’ ability to raise funds in his research.
Dr. Todd Schifeling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at Temple University. He studies how organizations work with social movements to achieve greater sustainability. His work has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, Organization & Environment, and Organization Science. He also has been featured in media outlets, including National Geographic, Boston Globe, and Harvard Business Review.
B the Greater Impact? A Study of B Corporations in the Remaking of Capitalism
Kunyuan Qiao researches how geography, history, and institutions intersect with corporate sustainability, strategy, and structure. He’ll be exploring the impact of the movement with advisor Christopher Marquis.
“We are interested in studying two related research topics concerning the impact and effectiveness of the B Corp movement. First, we would like to examine the impact of B Corp certification on a variety of firm outcomes, such as those related to the environmental (e.g., carbon footprint, water reservation, and waste and recycling), social (e.g., justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion issues regarding hiring, promotion, and work environment), and financial performance (e.g., profitability). There are still open questions on these issues in academic and industry circles and so with the detailed B Lab data and ability to examine impact measures across B Corps and non-B Corps over time and across geographies, we aim to examine where the certification has a greater effect on social and environmental outcomes and potentially when and where the effects are not as strong.
Second, one of the founding missions of B Lab is to create a systematic change in the global economic system, and so we aim to understand how the B Corp movement affects the broader corporate environment and societal and institutional systems. Along these lines, we will investigate how the B Corps movement and population of B Corps across diverse geographies will affect the environmental, social, and financial performances of non-B Corps in the same geographic communities and more broadly, how the B Corp certification and communities may shape the legislation process of Benefit Corporation Laws in countries around the world, such as Colombia, Ecuador, France, Italy, Japan, Peru, Rwanda, the U.K., and the U.S.”
Dr. Kunyuan Qiao is an assistant professor at Northeastern University. He obtained his Ph.D. in management from Cornell University S.C. Johnson College of Business. Kunyuan is interested in understanding corporate sustainability, strategy, and structure from the perspectives of geography, history, and institutions. His research has won Gold Medal of the Axiom Business Book Awards in 2023, the SMS Corporate Strategy Interest Group Best Paper Award, and the IACMR Kwok Leung Memorial Dissertation Fund in 2021. His work was also recognized as one of the 2022 Financial Times Best Books in Economics and as a finalist of the AOM George R. Terry Book Award and IM Division D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University Best Dissertation Award in 2023,, t, the SMS Best Conference PhD Paper Prize and the ASA OOW James D. Thompson Graduate Student Paper Award in 2021, the AOM OMT Louis R. Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award in 2020, and the AOM OMT Best International Paper Award in 2017. Kunyuan has published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Research Policy, Management and Organization Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and has a book from Yale University Press.
Dr. Christopher Marquis is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. He is the author of the award-winning books Better Business: How the B Corp Movement is Remaking Capitalism and Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise. Mao and Markets was recognized as a Financial Times Best Book of 2022 in Economics and a finalist of the AOM George R. Terry Book Award. Prior to joining Cambridge, he worked at Cornell for over 6 years, and Harvard for over 11 years, where he developed an award-winning course on social entrepreneurship. He has also published more than 20 peer-reviewed academic articles in leading business and sociology journals and more than 50 Harvard cases on topics related to sustainable business and has won awards for scholarly achievement from the Academy of Management and the American Sociological Association. Chris earned a Ph.D. in sociology and business administration from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in History from Notre Dame. Before his academic career, he worked for six years in the financial services industry, most recently as vice president and technology manager for a business unit of J.P. Morgan Chase.
Find out more about the work of B Lab Global’s Insights team: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/news/blog/insights-team-intro/