Understanding and managing business—development hybrids: an institutional logics case analysis

Richard Heeks, Fareesa Malik, Sharon Morgan, Brian Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are growing numbers of business—development hybrids that combine a commercial orientation with an intent to deliver development goals. Yet, within development studies research to date, there has been limited conceptualization of these organizations. Borrowing from the extensive literature in other disciplines, this paper argues that the concept of institutional logics can be used as a basis for understanding business—development hybrids. The lens of institutional logics is used to analyze two hybrid case studies of ‘impact sourcing’ that outsource IT work to disadvantaged groups in Pakistan and India. Synergies between business and development logics were managed by combining those logics, but tensions between the two required techniques of compromising or decoupling the logics. Organizations also managed the logics by presenting a more business-oriented face to clients and a more development-oriented face to workers, by protecting their development logic from commercial pressures, and by seeking to institutionalize both logics. Implications are considered for practice and for future development research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-49
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopment Studies Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020


  • Business—development hybrids
  • development studies
  • impact sourcing
  • institutional logics

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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