Hybrid Organizations and Competing Priorities: Meaghan Cherewka ’18

Meaghan Cherewka ’18

Meaghan Cherewka ’18

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


Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Clothing & Social Responsibility: Meghan McDonald ’17

Meghan McDonald '17

Meghan McDonald ’17

“Sustainability and social responsibility within the garment industry are more than desirable objectives,” says Summer Scholar and international business major Meghan McDonald ’17, “this industry is overloaded with issues and puzzled for solutions.”

In pursuit of those solutions, Meghan, who also has minors in Spanish and economics, has been spending the summer exploring issues of corporate social responsibility within clothing companies. She hopes to gain a better understanding the complexities of the industry and assess strategies for encouraging conscientious consumers.

On the consumer side, Meghan’s research is focused mainly on the need for increased awareness among millennials.

“I took interest in this topic after watching a documentary on the apparel industry,” says the scholar, who is a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania. “My questions continued to develop and I discussed them with my sister, Mary Catherine, who witnessed many issues firsthand when she lived in Southeast Asia teaching English.”

Meghan’s eagerness to learn more about these issues led her to apply for Summer Scholars.

“The Summer Scholars Program is a unique opportunity to explore an academic topic in depth with both independent freedom and guidance from a well-respected professor,” she says.

Meghan is working with João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., an associate professor of management at Saint Joseph’s who has a background in business economics and teaches courses on topics such as organizational sustainability and global business strategy.

“Along with his incredible knowledge, he brought passion to the subject and took the material further than just theory,” says Meghan. “Dr. Neiva shows the value of a global minded education, while building the necessary business skills and cultural awareness to work in an international setting.”

“Global sourcing in the apparel industry has been fraught with issues of fair treatment of labor,” says Neiva. “Meghan McDonald’s summer research project explores the need both for increased social sustainability awareness among young consumers and for corporate responsibility on the part of producing companies. In particular, she is investigating the evolution of company responses to labor conditions abroad since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. This is an important inquiry because we hope findings will help deepen understanding of how consumer responses may encourage companies to address stakeholder needs and increase social responsibility.”

Meghan hopes their research can contribute to the call for better labor standards and more sustainable practices internationally.

She just returned from a semester abroad in Madrid, where, in addition to completing coursework, she was able to continue her weekly service participation. Back at home, Meghan is reengaged with her roles as an active ELS volunteer, a big sister with the Soith Eastern chapter of Big Brother Big Sister, a member of the SJU International Business Society and an intern for Profugo, an international development nonprofit in Ardmore.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

 * * *

Summer Scholars Project Title: Corporate Social Responsibility: the Effects on Millennial Consumption

Mentor: João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., associate professor of management

High School: Academy of Notre Dame

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP