Call for Proposals -- What makes a Quality Job at American SMEs?


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B Lab, with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. is seeking proposals for academic research to help define and make suggestions to small business service providers, regulators, and municipalities in order to foster quality jobs at businesses across the United States. We invite all researchers to submit research proposals that address the making of a quality job within small businesses. Research will be based on newly-accessible, anonymized data from B Lab’s B Impact Assessment, which has been made available via the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and in response to incoming demand from researchers around the world.

Job quality is a multi-dimensional concept that has been measured in various ways and across various disciplines (Warwurst, 2017). An economist might analyze the distribution of pay in a workplace, while a sociologist might analyze alienation, and a health and safety researcher might analyze everyday risk and stress. None of these markers alone can paint a holistic picture of what a quality job means. In addition, obtaining these and similar markers of quality jobs from businesses can be a lengthy project. Therefore, using data obtained from more than 55,000 businesses across various industries and across various indicators of job quality, we hope to shed some light on understanding what a quality job in a small business looks like.

B Corps aim to produce positive social and environmental impact as opposed to just maximizing profit (Stubbs, 2017). Companies that wish to be a Certified B Corp must first take an online B Impact Assessment to measure their social and environmental impact. The B Impact Assessment is a free, self-administered tool that allows any company to measure and manage its impact on all stakeholders at a company. A company must complete the assessment and go through a verification process in order to be a B Corp. More than 55,000 companies have answered part of the B Impact Assessment and 20,000 have completed it. Approximately 78% of these companies are SMEs and 31% are SMEs that have a majority of their operations based in the United States. As an example, one small Certified B Corp in Lancaster, PA, Stroopies, Inc., employs recently-settled refugees and offers ESL classes to help them move into leadership roles. This is just one example of one of more than 3,000+ Certified B Corps using business as a force for good. To learn from companies such as Stroopies, Inc. and many others, we propose the following research question: What makes a quality job at American SMEs?

This research would be aimed at providing small business service providers, regulators, and municipalities with better information with which to foster quality jobs at a variety of businesses. We envision partnering with three research teams and/or institutions to publish useful evidence on these important issues. In doing so, we will add the small business perspective to the ongoing national conversation, and inspire further use of our data set to better understand the role and potential for responsible business in solving the most pressing issues of our day.

For deadlines and other details, visit: https://bcorporation.net/news/what-makes-quality-job-american-smes