The three logics of sustainability-oriented hybrid organisations: a multi-disciplinary review

Dina Hestad*, J. David Tàbara, Thomas F. Thornton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Given current limitations of global and national governance arrangements in redirecting economic globalisation towards a climate-safe and sustainable world, it is crucial to understand how organisations that aim to tackle social and environmental problems using market mechanisms can contribute to fostering sustainability transformations. This review identified 60 different terms or concepts for hybrid organisations aiming to solve social and ecological problems through market related activities, reflecting a high degree of discontinuity and inconsistency in the literature. To assess the contribution to societal transformations of this array of innovative ventures, we introduce and operationalise Sustainability-Oriented Hybrid Organisations (SOHOs) as an umbrella concept to carry out a comprehensive review of 126 scientific articles that discuss them. Unlike traditional enterprises who apply one logic (commercial) and social and environmental enterprises who combine two logics (social–commercial or environmental–commercial), SOHOs unite commercial, social, and environmental logics, beliefs, and practices simultaneously—thereby adopting a higher level of organisational hybridity. SOHOs are oriented towards achieving net-positive sustainability and consider future generations and global socio-ecological systems which makes transforming enterprises towards SOHO models a potentially significant intervention point for promoting sustainability transformations. However, the narratives and actions of SOHOs can perpetuate rather than ameliorate the underlying causes and differential impacts of complex problems like climate change, unless the organisations adopt systemic, global, long-term, and socio-ecologically embedded strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)647-661
    Number of pages15
    JournalSustainability Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


    • Business models
    • Global environmental change
    • Hybrid organisations
    • Sustainability
    • Transformations


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