Ethical Businesses in the UK: The Challenges of Moving to the Mainstream

Zahir-Bill, Gareth (2006) Ethical Businesses in the UK: The Challenges of Moving to the Mainstream. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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The work is aimed at achieving an understanding of the issues concerning growth that are unique to businesses that are non-profit maximizing and that have explicit social goals. These businesses have a profit motive in their trading but balance this motive with the effect on people and the planet of generating that profit. The organisations are defined as a group as 'ethical businesses', such businesses tend to be environmentally and/or socially driven ventures that seek to minimize externalities whilst addressing market and/or government failures.

These businesses compete or seek to compete in mainstream markets but often capture a relatively small market share. This work endeavours to draw out issues that organisations have that are particular to such organisations with social missions and how these issues may differ to commercial organisations whose primary aim is a financial return to the owners of the business. The work highlight areas that are unique to such a group of organisations that may affect their ability - positively or negatively - to grow and enter mainstream markets.

The research highlights that the ethical businesses act as 'pioneers' in new markets and advocates for a more sustainable paradigm of business. The businesses undertake pioneering activity that in turn attracts the mainstream to look to exploit the market niche that the pioneers have created. As the ethical businesses look to widen to a mainstream ethical orientation, mainstream companies exploit the niches that have been created by launching products that have similar ethical augmentations to the products sold by ethical businesses. The research also highlights that significant difficulties exist in financing the growth of ethical businesses as managers of these businesses show a reluctance to share ownership of the business with investors, and when a wider offering of the businesses is agreed, by a public offering of shares, governance mechanisms are used which makes the investment unattractive for the general investment community.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: mission oriented, ethical business, fair trade,
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 01:06

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