Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2014

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi

Abstract

The Certified B Corps movement is setting a new standard for businesses, committing to a multiple stakeholder orientation focused on community, environment and the workplace in addition to financial profit. More than 1,000 companies, including well-known companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, King Arthur Flour, and Etsy, have joined the ranks of Certified B Corps in over 30 countries.

The B Corps certification is understood to promote a set of organizational practices, which envision improved employee performance and well-being. An important element of that well-being is employee happiness. Previous research has shown that improved business leadership practices can have significant impact on happiness in the workplace, which in turn can show measurable gains in productivity, sales, and overall workplace performance. However, no studies have been done on unique practices present within Certified B Corporations and the unique workplaces B Corps leaders are creating. This research focuses on how two successful startup Certified B Corps are influencing happiness in their workplaces through unique leadership strategies, from the perspectives of both the leaders and the employees within those companies.

The current study examined leadership practices and their impact on employee performance and happiness in two B Certified organizations. The results showed that shared leadership practices are not only pervasive at all levels in both companies; they are creating positive workplace environments that are unprecedented in the lives of those involved. This has important implications for the future of the B Corps movement and the changing world of business and merits further research.

Keywords: Benefit Corporations, Happiness at Work, Startups, Shared Leadership, Management, Leadership Studies, Organizational Development

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Leadership Studies | Organization Development | Performance Management