Title: The challenge of mission drift through growth in the hybrid organisation

Authors: Connie Van der Byl; Harrie Vredenburg

Addresses: Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary, Alberta, T3E 6K6, Canada ' Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada

Abstract: Most innovative, sustainability focused enterprises are founded as entrepreneurial start-ups by visionary leaders. Those that are successful grow and become viable businesses, necessitating access to private and public financial markets to fuel their growth. The dynamics of financial markets put demands on these successful firms that often challenge their very foundations. Should hybrid firms that integrate social, environmental and profit goals go public? How should a growing sustainability focused start-up manage their institutional shareholders to defend their mission? How should such a company, if accessing public stock markets, defend against an unwanted takeover? How should an incumbent industry player acquire a hybrid firm and preserve its valuable mission? In this article, we explore these questions using an in-depth case study of a Canadian renewable energy start-up firm that took the public market route and was eventually acquired in a hostile takeover by a major publicly-listed utility company.

Keywords: mission drift; entrepreneurship; business strategy; renewable energy; hybrid organisations; firm growth; environmental management; sustainability; sustainable development; Canada; entrepreneurial start-ups; environmental goals; profit goals; social goals; institutional shareholders; hostile takeovers; mission preservation; publicly traded startups; public companies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJETM.2015.072130

International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, 2015 Vol.18 No.4, pp.309 - 329

Available online: 01 Oct 2015 *

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