SOURCE: Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise

Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise

September 23, 2009 09:38 ET

Innovative Hybrid Organizations Explored in New Book by Erb Institute Scholars

Joint MBA/MS Students From School of Natural Resources and Environment and Ross School of Business

ANN ARBOR, MI--(Marketwire - September 23, 2009) - A new breed of company is emerging that wants to both make money and change society. These "hybrid organizations" and their investments in sustainable business practices are explored in "Hybrid Organizations: New Business Models for Environmental Leadership," a new book by five graduates of The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan.

The book, available through Greenleaf Publishing, is a culmination of masters' project work by the five authors, who earned dual MBA/MS degrees from The Erb Institute, a joint program between the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment. For "Hybrid Organizations," the authors -- Brewster Boyd, Nina Henning, Emily Reyna, Daniel E. Wang and Matthew D. Welch (all class of '09 except Daniel Wang, class of '08) -- surveyed more than 100 companies to uncover best practices in hybrid organizational strategy.

Hybrid organizations, which blur the distinction between nonprofit and for-profit entities, are emerging as a compelling new area for business scholars and strategists. Combining for-profit business orientation with a deep commitment to social responsibility, these organizations can contribute positively to some of humanity's most pressing challenges by executing on business models that have values-based missions baked in.

The 170-page book reveals some surprising trends. For example, in relation to the integration of business practices that enable companies to meet both mission and market goals, hybrid organizations simultaneously offer innovative products in niche markets; leverage patient capital to meet non-financial objectives; and encourage shared authority rather than top-down leadership styles. Although survey respondents show varying levels of profitability, they maintain consistently high levels of environmental sustainability integration throughout their organizations, the authors found.

"'Hybrid Organizations' is a much-needed exploration of the first-movers in this new and innovative market space," notes Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and the advisor on this master's project. "Following two years of intensive research and analysis, the authors have created compelling case studies as well as lessons-learned analysis to help companies assess the benefits and understand the pitfalls of transitioning to a hybrid model. We are proud to have supported this project. "

About the School of Natural Resources and Environment

The School of Natural Resources and Environment's overarching objective is to contribute to the protection of the Earth's resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. Through research, teaching and outreach, faculty, staff and students are devoted to generating knowledge and developing policies, techniques and skills to help practitioners manage and conserve natural and environmental resources to meet the full range of human needs on a sustainable basis. http://www.snre.umich.edu/

About the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise

The institute's mission is to be the premier source of knowledge and leadership for the achievement of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable development and enterprise. To this end, the Institute fosters professional education, public outreach and scientific scholarship supportive of the transition to sustainability -- that is, meeting the fundamental needs of a growing human population in an equitable manner within the means of nature. http://www.erb.umich.edu/default.htm

About Greenleaf Publishing

Greenleaf Publishing is a fully independent publisher specializing in corporate responsibility, business ethics, environmental policy and management, future business strategy and practice, and sustainable development. http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Meghan Gardner
    Version 2.0 Communications
    857-222-2864
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    Kevin Merrill
    School of Natural Resources and Environment
    734-417-7392
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