Youthika Chauhan

Ongoing 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.

This study is focused on South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar). The identified firms strive to contribute to the economic development of developing nations. Further, social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in this region. Each firm in my dataset aims to pursue 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

[Work in Progress]

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 aim to explore its implications in social impact generation and entrepreneurship.

Unlike immigrants from developing countries, reverse migrants have few co-ethnic ecosystems or co-ethnic immigrants in host countries. Hence, reverse migrants are likely to face a range of challenges, in addition to those faced by native and ethnic entrepreneurs. The solutions from prior literature do not apply to reverse migrants. 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 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)


Resilience and recovery 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 at social ventures in different developing economies. This study uses lockdowns due to COVID19 as a setback that has adversely impacted several organizations. Using social impact-based training as an intervention, I will evaluate whether social missions can help organizations to restore productivity after a crisis.

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