Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
Faculty

Benefit Corporation Certification: Should The Window Specialist Proceed?

Kim Payne told a friend in 2011, “Benefit corporations are consistent with my values. My next company will be one!” In 2014, he purchased a 40-year-old window replacement firm and with the exception of reincorporating it as a benefit corporation (BC), made no changes as he became familiar with the industry. The Window Specialist (TWS) donated time, money, and materials while Payne looked into B Lab (2017). TWS grew 500% by 2016; however, revenue and margins dropped considerably in early 2017. As Payne drove home one night in May 2017, he asked himself, “I have so much work to do in developing the company, how much priority should I give to becoming certified”. As the critical incident ends, students are asked to recommend how this firm should proceed with the instructor directing them to first research BC legislation articles (Justice & Diversity Center, 2019) and B Lab certification (2019). This critical incident (CI) is most appropriate for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in business and society. It also can be used in courses on entrepreneurship, business management, ethics, and business law. A third option is to use the CI as a topic or module on benefit corporations (BCs), corporate social responsibility, corporate governance or small businesses within a course.