Summer Scholar and SJU rising junior Meaghan Cherewka is studying what happens when companies fail to balance competing priorities — like social consciousness and the bottom line.
Her research focuses on hybrid organizations, defined as companies that “combine the social logic of a nonprofit with the commercial logic of a for-profit business” (Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School).
In particular, she is studying Ben & Jerry’s, a company equally as famous for its social justice platform as for its delicious creations. Founded more than 20 years ago by creators who defined their mission through a lens of corporate social responsibility, the business has faced challenges to maintaining this identity as it grew. After becoming a publicly traded corporation in 2012 and experiencing a series of leadership changes, Ben & Jerry’s struggled to balance its mission focus with its profit growth.
“My research examines the institutional logistics that make up this hybrid organization and how future companies can learn from Ben & Jerry’s mistakes when balancing these competing goals,” says Meaghan.
Her project was inspired by her mentor, Kenneth Kury, Ph.D., assistant professor of family business and entrepreneurship, who also helped guide her course of study in HSB. After taking his freshman seminar, Meaghan decided to double major in entrepreneurship and marketing and apply for the Summer Scholars Program.
“Dr. Kury told me about the program after I wrote a research paper for my freshman seminar class, which was focused on social entrepreneurship,” says Meaghan. “He thought we could expand the topic, and it could potentially lead to a publication of the paper.”
Having researched and delivered talks on the topic himself, including a presentation, “The Relationship Between Social Capital and Resource Acquisition in Social Entrepreneurship,” at the Satter Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in New York in 2009, Dr. Kury has been a great partner for Meaghan’s project.
“[Summer Scholars] allows you to work hand-in-hand with a professor on multiple drafts, collaborating to come up with ideas you may not have otherwise,” says Meaghan.
Meaghan and Dr. Kury will be submitting the paper, once completed, to be considered for presentation at the National Convention for Entrepreneurship.
A member of the SJU cheerleading squad, the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and the American Marketing Association, Meaghan is a volunteer with Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life.
— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)
Office of University Communications
* * *
Summer Scholars Project Title: “Hybrid Organizations and Institutional Logistics”
Mentor: Kenneth Kury, Ph.D., assistant professor of family business and entrepreneurship