Principal Investigator: 

Edward Gamble, Ph.D, CPA, CMA, MBA, Assistant Professor of Accounting


AbstractEdward Gamble

This project comprises four interrelated papers that concentrate on issues of prosocial business and regulation. The first paper examines factors that contribute to a nonprofit leader behaving in both a socially responsible and duplicitous manner and how accounting controls regulate this duality. The second paper investigates the short-term growth penalties experienced by social enterprises seeking third-party certifications and the policy implications of such decisions. The third paper addresses issues of prosocial impact measurement. More specifically, this paper explains the complicated nature of regulating social-environmental impact. And finally, the fourth paper explores the effect of repealing nonprofit tax-exempt status.

Specific Aims

The four papers are as follows:

Paper 1: Controlling nonprofit leader behavior Research Questions: (1) What factors contribute to a nonprofit leader behaving in both a socially responsible and duplicitous manner? (2) ‘How’ and ‘when’ can accounting controls be deployed in organizations to moderate this nonprofit leader duality? Design/Methods: Case study on a major nonprofit fraud/content analysis from three different sources.

Paper 2: The growth penalty of certifying social enterprises: Regulating the internal re-organization costs as well as external benefits flowing from social enterprise certification. Research Question: Do certifying social enterprises experience short-term growth penalty from certification? Design/Methods: Private financial data collected from Certified B Corporations/difference-indifference methodology.

Paper 3: The paradox of prosocial impact measurement Research Question: What explains the complicated nature of regulating social-environmental impact measurement? Design/Methods: Private data collected from social enterprises/qualitative interviews.

Paper 4: Repealing nonprofit tax regulations Research Question: Should we remove/modify the tax-exempt status of nonprofits? Design/Methods: A normative paper based on the findings of papers 1, 2, and 3. 

Significance of the Project 

Regulating prosocial organizations is complex. Balancing social, environmental and economical factors requires a deeper understanding of fraud in social enterprises, growth penalties for firms engaged in social-environmental efforts, and unresolved measurement paradoxes. A deeper understanding of these complexities will inform regulatory practices in the prosocial arena.