Youthika Chauhan

Dissertation research

Strategic Advantages through Social Responsiveness: The Case of Certified B-Corps

Social enterprises or hybrid firms are those organizations that seek to fulfill certain goals for the common good (e.g., economic development, food security, and sustainability, gender equality, environmental protection, access to education, financial inclusion) while seeking profitability.

Scholars have described that the pursuit of dual missions leads to several internal and external tensions. My study aims to address the broader puzzle of how social enterprises address these tensions arising out of dual missions. More specifically, I identify the different mechanisms and changes that organizations undergo when they certify their dual missions through third parties. Using hand-collected data for case studies and qualitative inductive analysis, I identify the different organizational processes and practices that enable them to fulfil socio-environmental and financial goals simultaneously.

This study is focused on South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar). The identified firms strive to contribute to the economic development of these developing nations. Further, social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in this region. Each firm in my dataset pursues one or more of the aforementioned social missions. By studying the entire population of certified B-Corps (i.e., Benefit Corporations certified by B-Lab, a US-based non-profit), I find the mechanisms whereby firms’ category and identity become established internally and externally. Moreover, I uncover different activities and mechanisms that can reinforce the notion of synergy between financial and social missions. Thus, I identify different activities by which firms can be financially profitable and socially impactful simultaneously. I also find several economic and strategic benefits of adopting social missions, which include attractiveness in the labor market, organizational identification, and recognition from future investors and clients.

Supported by: Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship (Carolina Asia Center, UNC Sangam), Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Presented at: Selected as “Showcase Presentation” at B-Academic Paper development workshop 2020; AOM ONE Division Doctoral Consortium (2019); AOM SIM Division Research Development Workshop (2019); University of Virginia – Summer Seminar on Stakeholder Theory (2019); B-Academic Roundtable (2019); EGOS (2020); EURAM (2020)

Citation: Chauhan, Youthika and O’Neill, Hugh M., Strategic Advantages through Social Responsiveness: The Case of Certified B-Corps (April 7, 2020).

Available at SSRN:


Reverse Migration and Social Entrepreneurship

[Full paper available upon request]

While plenty of scholars from different fields (e.g., economics, sociology, psychology, public policy) have studied the trends, reasons, and consequences of migration from developing to developed countries, migration from developed to developing countries has been almost entirely overlooked. Although such a form of migration might be smaller in number, it has the potential to play a role in host countries’ social development through the entrepreneurial ventures founded by migrants from developed countries. Introducing the term ‘reverse migration’ to refer to this novel phenomenon, I explore its implications in social impact generation and entrepreneurship in developing and least-developed economies.

Reverse migrants are likely to face a range of challenges, in addition to those faced by native and ethnic entrepreneurs. Yet, these reverse migrants have not only established successful firms in developing countries but have also ensured their effectiveness towards a wide range of social and environmental missions. I aim to explore this phenomenon and to answer the question, “How do reverse migrants acquire and deploy economic, human, and social capital in their host countries to make the firms both financially viable and socially impactful?”

My present dataset consists of 22 reverse-migrant founded social enterprises in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By studying these and other relevant firms, I aim to understand reverse migration as a phenomenon that globalizes business forms with the goal of economic development.

Supported by: Graduate Phillips Ambassador Program (Carolina Asia Center)

To be presented at: SMS (2020); AOM ONE Division Doctoral Consortium (2020); AOM OMT Division – Global Paper Development Workshop (2019)


Reviving Agriculture in the time of COVID19: Evidences from a field experiment

[Fieldwork in Progress]

Prior research suggests that social missions are associated with increased employee retention, organizational identification, employee commitment, and attractiveness in the labor market. However, we do not know whether social missions can help firms overcome setbacks.

To understand how organizations can overcome setbacks, I am working on a field experiment in collaboration with an agricultural social venture in western India. This study uses the lockdowns due to COVID-19 as setback that has adversely impacted the agricultural industry. I have conducted a first round of surveys to assess employee motivation and organizational identification of the social venture’s employees (farmers and trainers) during the crisis (i.e., COVID-19). Using an environmental impact-based training as an intervention, I will evaluate whether environmental missions can help organizations to restore productivity after a crisis. The second round of surveys will be conducted soon depending on the COVID-19 situation. Data analysis using quantitative methods (differences-in-differences) will be carried out soon thereafter.

Supported by: Graduate Phillips Ambassador Program (Carolina Asia Center)