Hybrid Organization Innovations Toward Sustainability (2008)

Client Organization: 
William Davidson Institute
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Summary of Project Idea: 

Our project consists of novel research into environmentally-focused hybrid businesses, through broad surveys and specific case studies, with the hope of understanding the innovative organizational structures, roles, processes, and leadership capabilities within these organizations, the novel types of challenges they face, the solutions that they generate, and the unique metrics used to measure diverse impacts. The goal of our project is to create a toolkit of challenges, solutions, best practices and lessons learned from innovative sustainability-driven organizations using a hybrid of business and nonprofit structures, processes, tools, and metrics to meet their financial, social, and environmental goals. Accordingly, we have focused on three main objectives: Identify innovative business practices among environmental hybrid organizations helping them meet their triple bottom line objectives; clarify challenges and solutions being used by hybrid organizations to create this value; and document trends or recurring patterns that may facilitate the successful value creation of such hybrid organizations. The process we used to accomplish these goals and objectives consisted of: a thorough literature review to identify gaps in hybrid organizations research and practice; the design and execution and analysis of a questionnaire to capture broad trends in the sector (sent to ~150 companies and completed by ~50 companies); primary research (via interviews) and writing of five in-depth case studies of best-in-class companies; and synthesis of our findings. The main output of our research is a final report, comprising the results and analysis of both the survey and the case studies, and summarizing our findings in a toolkit of best practices and lessons learned.

SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Andy Hoffman
Master Students Involved in Project: 

Nina (Jean) Henning, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems

Emily Reyna, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems

Brewster Boyd, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems

Matt Welch, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems

Dan Wang, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems

Project Status: 
Past Project