The Behavioral Case for B Corporations

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Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Capstones
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Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Guarna, Natalie

In recent years, consumers have started increasingly prioritizing the social and environmental impacts of the brands they support. Quick to notice this trend, companies have taken advantage of it, incorporating green claims, true or not, into their marketing materials. From a consumer perspective, it can be mentally taxing to navigate through these claims to find companies whose values align with their own. The B Corp Certification, which verifies the positive impacts of for-profit companies, has emerged as an objective way for consumers to identify conscious companies. The financial benefit of B Corp Certification has been well established: B Corps enjoy higher-than-average rates of financial success. The behavioral case for B Corps, on the other hand, remains relatively unexplored. Behavioral science, a relatively new field of study that considers the influences of human behavior beyond rationality, offers new insights as to why the B Corp Certification resonates well with modern consumers. The appeal of (1) self-image preservation, (2) social conformity, and (3) trust/transparency draw consumers to the B Corp Certification. These appeals, however, are strongly limited by lack of consumer recognition of the B Corp logo. In today’s economy, B Corps are well poised to create meaningful impact, but increasing consumer awareness is key to these companies achieving their full potential.

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The final capstone research project for the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is an independent study experience. The paper is expected to: Present a position that is unique, original and directly applies to the student's experience; Use primary sources or apply to a primary organization/agency; Conform to the style and format of excellent academic writing; Analyze empirical research data that is collected by the student or that has already been collected; and Allow the student to demonstrate the competencies gained in the master’s program.
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