The 1st IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship

IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship

Journal of Business Ethics

We are proud to showcase at our Conference the Thematic Symposium of Journal of Business Ethics“Social Enterprises: walking ethically on the edge between economic performance and social and environmental impact”

Luca Mongelli LUISS University, Rome, Italy.
Tommaso Ramus Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.
Tomislav Rimac LUISS University, Rome, Italy.
Francesco Rullani LUISS University, Rome, Italy.

Submission Guidelines and deadlines

The deadline for submissions to the Thematic Symposium is July 1, 2017.

Full papers should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system. Please follow the guidelines for authors of the Journal of Business Ethics at:

Call for papers

We invite papers for consideration for a thematic symposium in the Journal of Business Ethics. The symposium aims at gathering articles from different literature streams investigating how ethically-driven hybridity is created and sustained in social enterprises.

The Journal of Business Ethics dedicated a recent special issue to social enterprises (Pless, 2012). Most of the articles contained in that issue aimed at defining social enterprises, and used different theoretical lens to identify and characterize their constituting elements and models (e.g. Dees, 2012; Montgomery et al., 2012; Santos, 2012). As a result, and as stated by the editor of the issue, “the scope of contributions [in the issue was] broad and paradigmatic in nature” (Pless, 2012, p. 318).

Our symposium aims at complementing Pless’s interesting effort. Our ethically-driven perspective will provide a holistic, integrative view of social enterprises expanding that offered by this earlier special issue, whose heterogeneous articles provided a valuable but sometimes fragmented picture of the phenomenon. We believe that such an approach is essential to advance scholarly knowledge of social enterprises since it allows to capture the complexity of their hybrid nature (Battilana & Lee, 2014).

We believe that an overarching ethically driven framework will foster clarity in relation to the mechanisms that have emerged from different studies. For example, the literature shows that some social enterprises tend to compartmentalize the two divergent social and commercial logics that lie at the core of social enterprises functioning (Battilana et al, 2015), while others try to integrate them (Besharov, 2014), or be selective about which elements of each logic to follow (Pache & Santos, 2013). We believe that exploring the underlying ethical issues associated with these mechanisms can provide new and interesting insights into the functioning and dynamics of social enterprises.

Similarly, the recent literature focuses on the strategies (Hockerts, 2015), governance models (Mair et al., 2015), practices (Lee, 2014), leadership styles (Maak & Stoetter, 2012) and processes (Jay, 2013) performed by social enterprises to sustain their hybrid nature and recombine their divergent objectives. Again, we believe that research that takes an ethical perspective can fruitfully advance our knowledge of the managerial, organizational and strategic challenges faced by social enterprises.

It is in this spirit that we are calling for papers which shed light on the ethical foundations and nature of social enterprises, their internal and external processes and dynamics, their limitations and the opportunities they offer. Thus, we invite papers that address the following questions:

  • What is the role played by ethics and morality in the definition and conceptualization of social enterprises? 

  • What is the role of ethical principles and values (Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015) in the practice of social enterprises?

  • How can ethics be used to bridge different theories of the social enterprise? 

  • How do different ethical theories provide descriptive and normative insights into social enterprises? 

  • What are the main ethical issues and dilemmas faced by social enterprises, and how do they vary with the geographical and cultural factors?

  • How (and eventually why) is the idea of ethical leadership different in social enterprises compared to for-profit organizations?

  • What are the ethical considerations which in both theory and in practice, foster the tension between commercial/financial vs. social/environmental outcomes?

  • What are the roles played by different types of stakeholders in the creation of social enterprises? What role do they play in sustaining the organization? 

  • Can we elevate the social enterprise concept above organizations and refer to “hybrid collectives”, such as the case of profit-nonprofit collaborations (Montgomery et al., 2012; Nicholls and Huybrechts, 2016)? 

  • What kinds of actions by incubators, supporting organizations, movements or public authorities favor the birth of social enterprises and foster their growth?

  • How do social enterprises conceived as hybrid organizations promote wider and institutional social change? 

  • Are practice-integration strategies (Battilana et al., 2015) more effective and more feasible than logic-insulation strategies? What should be the boundary conditions to their applicability?

  • What insights can other disciplines (from political science to sociology) offer to social enterprises and to foster positive social change (Stephan et al., 2016)?


Battilana, J., & Lee, M.  (2014). Advancing research on hybrid organizing–Insights from the study of social enterprises. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 397-441.

Battilana, J., Sengul, M., Pache, A. C., & Model, J. (2015). Harnessing productive tensions in hybrid organizations:  The  case  of  work  integration  social  enterprises.  Academy of Management Journal, 58(6), 1658-1685.

Besharov, M. (2014) “The relational ecology of identification: How organizational identification emerges when individuals hold divergent values.” Academy of Management Journal, 57(5): 1485-1512.

Dees, G. (2012). A Tale of Two Cultures: Charity, Problem Solving, and the Future of Social. Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 321-334.

Hockerts, K. (2015), How Hybrid Organizations Turn Antagonistic Assets into Complementarities. California Management Review, 57(3), 83-106.

Jay, J. (2013). Navigating Paradox as a Mechanism of Change and Innovation in Hybrid Organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 137-159.

Lee, M. (2014). Mission and Markets? The Viability of Hybrid Social Ventures. Academy of Management Proceedings. 2014, 13958.

Maak, T. & Stoetter, N. (2012). Social entrepreneurs as responsible leaders: "Fundación Paraguaya" and the case of Martin Burt. Journal of Business Ethics, 111 (3), pp. 413-430.

Mair, J., Mayer, J., & Lutz E. (2015). Navigating Institutional Plurality: Organizational Governance in Hybrid Organizations. Organization Studies, 36(6), 713-739.

Montgomery, A. W., Dacin, P. A., & Dacin M. T. (2012). Collective Social Entrepreneurship: Collaboratively Shaping Social Good, Journal of Business Ethics. 111(3), 375–388.

Nicholls, A. & Huybrechts, B. (2016). Sustaining Inter-organizational Relationships Across Institutional Logics and Power Asymmetries: The Case of Fair Trade. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(4), 699.

Pache, A. C., & Santos F. (2013). Inside the hybrid organization: Selective coupling as a response to competing institutional logics. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), 972-1001.

Pless, N. (2012). Social entrepreneurship in theory and practice: An introduction. Journal of Business Ethics, 111 (3), 317-320.

Santos F. (2012). A positive theory of social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 335–351.

Stephan, U., Patterson, M., Kelly, C. & Mair, J. (2016). Organizations driving positive social change: A review and an integrative framework of change processes. Forthcoming in the Journal of Management.

Vaccaro, A. Palazzo, G. (2015). Values against Violence: Institutional Change in Societies dominated by organized crime. Academy of Management Journal, 58(4), 1075-1101.