Beyond Profit

Societal and environmental considerations in innovation.

Ausgewählte Publikationen
De la Cruz Jara, M. F., Spanjol, J., & Doppstadt, T. (2024). Strategic social value orientation and sustainability performance: A commensuration perspective. Organization Studies, online first.
Firms increasingly express the strategic importance of creating social value in addition to financial and market value in their communications to investors. Yet, it is unclear what a strategic orientation towards social value creation entails and whether it differentiates firms in terms of their sustainability performance. This article provides a conceptualization of strategic social value orientation (SSVO) consisting of three behavioral components (leading the business with purpose, support of stakeholders, focus on consequences) and one shared belief (mutuality). Utilizing a novel linguistic, content-analytic measure of strategic social value orientation, we analyze annual letters to shareholders and sustainability ratings across 1580 firm-year observations, indicating that firms with a stronger strategic social value orientation show greater sustainability performance. The article explores commensurability of strategic attention towards social value creation, suggesting that future research prioritize more fine-grained assessments of social value, sustainability strategies and performance. Our study makes two main contributions. First, we advance theory at the intersection of sustainability and strategic orientation literatures by introducing a new concept of a firm’s strategic orientation toward social value creation (i.e. SSVO). Second, we develop and validate an empirical measure at the firm level for analyzing a firm’s strategic social value orientation making an important contribution to the commensuration of sustainability. Our findings offer guidance to scholars and implications for practitioners.

Spanjol, J., Rosa, A., Schirrmeister, E., Dahl, P., Domnik, D., Lindner, M., ... & Kuhlmann, J. F. (2023). The potential of futures literacy for impact-oriented business schools. Futures, 146, 103084.

Current marketplace narratives increasingly demand a move from shareholder towards stakeholder primacy and responsible capitalism yielding social value creation. In parallel, the demand for entrepreneurial value creation at higher education institutions (including, but not limited to business schools) continues to grow. The intersection of these two demands, however, engenders critical tensions. While social value creation emphasizes stakeholder returns and a long-term perspective, entrepreneurial value creation revolves around investment returns and short-term agility. As a result, business schools have been grappling to find ways to incorporate a broader, holistic view on value creation into their activities. We bring together future studies and management scholars and scholarship to explore futures literacy as a potentially instrumental capability for business schools. Our investigation suggests that an interdisciplinary approach is particularly promising since both management and futures studies investigate how to engage with uncertainty and chart more desirable futures. We illustrate the instrumental role of futures literacy and foresight with an educational program built at the intersection of entrepreneurial and social value creation and with anticipatory practices at its core. We suggest that anticipatory practices are currently underutilized in business schools’ curricula, outreach activities, and strategy making, and may be necessary to shape productive and constructive business schools of the future.
De La Cruz, M., & Spanjol, J. (2022). For-Profit Firms’ Contribution to Society: A Strategic Orientation Perspective. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2022, No. 1, p. 10699). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.

For-profit firms are increasingly being called on to effectively create value to society beyond financial and customer value. Thus, the need for strategic orientations accounting for this expanded view on value is growing. We aim at providing a systematic conceptualization, aligned to the social value concept of the strategic orientation addressing the “contribution to society imperative”. Therefore, we reviewed 139 social value definitions drawn from articles in leading peer-reviewed journals across business disciplines into a strategic orientation that we labeled Strategic Social Value Orientation (SSVO). SSVO consists of three behavioral components (leading the business with purpose, support of stakeholders, focus on consequences) and one shared belief (mutuality) that characterize a business philosophy directing firms' activities towards the promotion of the common good. Furthermore, we developed and validated a linguistic, content-analytic measure for examining SSVO at organizational-level to facilitate future empirical studies across business disciplines. Our research advances the strategic orientation and organizational capability literatures, and informs practitioners seeking to integrate social value creation into for-profit firms’ mainstream business and thus securing long-term success. We are convinced that SSVO is a meaningful instrument for scholars and practitioners and an important step in understanding the expanded view on for-profit firms’ value creation.
Rosa, J. A., De La Cruz, M., & Spanjol, J. (2022). Future-Making Practices in Innovation: A Conviction Narrative Perspective on Foresight. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2022, No. 1, p. 16046). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.

Foresight is an effective instrument for creating an anticipatory intelligence for decision-making in innovation management. Innovation actors involved in distal innovation scenarios are challenged by the uncertainty of futures for which rational and systemic decision-making approaches fall short. By contrast, decisions are made under radical uncertainty requiring mental time travel and the construction of conviction narratives that involve known facts, assumptions, inferences, and felt emotional ambivalence from individual actors and groups engaged in foresight. Thus, understanding the processes by which conviction narratives are developed and sustained is important to informing innovation management practices. We apply conviction narrative theory (Tuckett, 2011) to craft a more nuanced account of foresight in innovation management and identify two dimensions (perspectives volume and factor breadth) along which distal future decisions in innovation management may be characterized, which enable us to develop tactics for sustaining innovation-fostering mind states. These tactics seek to strengthen individual competences, enable team cohesion, and establish an institutional frame for foresight in innovation management. Our research sheds light on the microfoundations of foresight, offers insights about future-making practices as organizational phenomenon and extends CNT giving rise to managerial implications to better understand and manage foresight in innovation management.
De La Cruz, M., & Spanjol, J. (2021). Social Value in Business: An Interdisciplinary Integrative Review, Typology, and Research Agenda. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2021, No. 1, p. 12125). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.

Although the concept of “social value” has been present in business and management literature for more than 100 years, it lacks a definitional consensus, is often imprecise and subjective, and has not been sufficiently theorized. To address these conceptual and theoretical deficiencies and create a more precise understanding of social value, we conduct an integrative review comprising 135 articles drawn from leading peer-reviewed journals across business disciplines. We identify and integrate heterogeneous conceptual perspectives by developing a polythetic typology of social value. The proposed typology identifies five approaches to understanding and managing social value in business: maximizing approach, individualistic approach, stakeholder approach, virtuous approach and normative approach. This typology synthesizes the many conceptualizations about the nature of value and social as well as underlying value creation and value capturing mechanisms. We further derive future research priorities for the scholarly business and management community highlighting important, currently unanswered research questions. We believe that this typology offers scholars and practitioners new ways of thinking about social value and helps to structure and unify the various conceptualizations of social value into a more holistic understanding supporting researchers to position their work within the broad literature.
Lee, R. P., Spanjol, J., & Sun, S. L. (2019). Social innovation in an interconnected world: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 36(6), 662-670.

This introduction provides an overview of the special issue and identifies the need for continued work in the area of social innovation, which seeks to create social value and progress and engages multiple stakeholders. Our special issue highlights various levels and stakeholders involved in the process and outcomes of social innovation. While mainstream innovation, which has been traditionally driven by profit maximization motivations, tends to create winners and losers, social innovation that focuses on redistribution of knowledge, discovery, and cocreation changes the key assumptions and logics of the conventional innovation theory. This introduction first briefly outlines current social innovation literature, presents the contributions created in this special issue, and concludes with the identification of three priorities (or needs) for social innovation researchers.
Scheidler, S., Edinger-Schons, L. M., Spanjol, J., & Wieseke, J. (2019). Scrooge posing as Mother Teresa: How hypocritical social responsibility strategies hurt employees and firms. Journal of Business Ethics, 157, 339-358.

Extant research provides compelling conceptual and empirical arguments that company-external (e.g., philanthropic) as well as company-internal (i.e., employee-directed) CSR efforts positively affect employees, but does so largely in studies assessing effects from the two CSR types independently of each other. In contrast, this paper investigates external–internal CSR jointly, examining the effects of (in)consistent external–internal CSR strategies on employee attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. The research takes a social and moral identification theory view and advances the core hypothesis that inconsistent CSR strategies, defined as favoring external over internal stakeholders, trigger employees’ perceptions of corporate hypocrisy which, in turn, lead to emotional exhaustion and turnover. In Study 1, a cross-industry employee survey (n = 3410) indicates that inconsistent CSR strategies with larger external than internal efforts increase employees’ turnover intentions via perceived corporate hypocrisy and emotional exhaustion. In Study 2, a multi-source secondary dataset (n = 1902) demonstrates that inconsistent CSR strategies increase firms’ actual employee turnover. Combined, the two studies demonstrate the importance of taking into account the interests of both external and internal stakeholders of the firm when researching and managing CSR.
Anderson, L., Spanjol, J., Jefferies, J. G., Ostrom, A. L., Nations Baker, C., Bone, S. A., ... & Rapp, J. M. (2016). Responsibility and well-being: resource integration under responsibilization in expert services. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 35(2), 262-279.

Responsibilization, or the shift of functions and risks from providers and producers to consumers, has become an increasingly common policy in service systems and marketplaces (e.g., financial, health, governmental). Because responsibilization is often considered synonymous with consumer agency and well-being, the authors take a transformative service research perspective and draw on resource integration literature to investigate whether responsibilization is truly associated with well-being. The authors focus on expert services, for which responsibilization concerns are particularly salient, and question whether this expanding policy is in the public interest. In the process, they develop a conceptualization of resource integration under responsibilization that includes three levels of actors (consumer, provider, and service system), the identification of structural tensions surrounding resource integration, and three categories of resource-integration practices (access, appropriation, and management) necessary to negotiate responsibilization. The findings have important implications for providers, public and institutional policy makers, and service systems, all of which must pay more active attention to the challenges consumers face in negotiating responsibilization and the resulting well-being outcomes.
Spanjol, J., Tam, L., & Tam, V. (2015). Employer–employee congruence in environmental values: An exploration of effects on job satisfaction and creativity. Journal of business ethics, 130, 117-130.

This study examines how the match (vs. mismatch) between personal and firm-level values regarding environmental responsibility affects employee job satisfaction and creativity and contributes to three literature streams [i.e., social corporate responsibility, creativity, and person–environment (P–E) fit]. Building on the P–E fit literature, we propose and test environmental orientation fit versus nonfit effects on creativity, identifying job satisfaction as a mediating mechanism and regulatory pressure as a moderator. An empirical investigation indicates that the various environmental orientation fit conditions affect job satisfaction and creativity differently. More specifically, environmental orientation fit produces greater job satisfaction and creativity when the employee and organization both demonstrate high concern for the environment (i.e., a high–high environmental orientation fit condition) than when both display congruent low concern for the environmental (i.e., a low–low environmental orientation fit condition). Furthermore, for employees working in organizations that fit their personal environmental orientation, strong regulatory pressure to comply with environmental standards diminishes the positive fit effect on job satisfaction and creativity, while regulatory pressure does not affect the job satisfaction and creativity of employees whose personal environmental orientation is incongruent with that of the organization.