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Steffen FarnySteffen Farny
Aalto University School of Business

Moral-Practical Legitimation Practices of Hybrid Businesses

Capable of combining social, environmental and economic value logics, hybrid businesses are fundamental in a transition to a more sustainable society and economy. However, entrepreneurs’ practices to gain legitimacy are fairly unknown. We address this gap, first, by introducing the notion of a moral-practical hybrid logic, providing a more nuanced perspective on the legitimacy challenging combinations of e.g. sustainability, equity and fairness values (moral logic) with e.g. profitability, efficiency and utility values (practical logic). Second, drawing upon an in-depth study of an emerging sustainable hybrid business over a 5-year period, we identify four core strategies to manage tensions of pursuing a moral-practical hybrid logic and to gradually gain legitimacy from internal and external stakeholders: constructing internal hybrid logic, building a sensible narrative of internal hybrid logic, provoking external legitimacy through critical diagnosis and reinforcing external hybrid logic through collective ethical action.


Steffen Farny is a doctoral candidate at the Entrepreneurship Discipline, Department of Management Studies at Aalto University School of Business in Helsinki, Finland. He holds a MSc in Corporate Development from the University of Cologne and a MSc in Entrepreneurship from Aalto University. His research interests include entrepreneurship and sustainable development, institutional work, entrepreneurship education and post-disaster community development. Steffen’s dissertation focus is on institutional work of entrepreneurs pursuing sustainable change.

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