Rethinking hybrids’ challenges: the case of French mutual insurance companies
This study seeks to explore the limits of the concept of hybrid organization as it is commonly agreed upon in the literature. It tackles the case of French mutual insurance companies and their for-profit counterparts in the property and casualty sector. Distinguishing two approaches to the notion of hybrid organization, it focuses on the tensions and challenges facing mutuals compared to their for-profit competitors. The evidence, based on the analysis of corporate website data as well as regulatory and professional documentation, stresses the relevance of the concept of hybrid organization as applied to mutuals in view of the external pressures with which they are confronted. Yet, it suggests that the concept has some limitations at the internal level, regarding the articulation of multiple goals. The evidence further suggests that hybrid organizations may carry or develop their own institutional logic(s) and not merely borrow and adapt contradictory logics from the public, charitable or private for-profit sectors. Overall, it contributes to a better understanding of hybrid organizations and opens promising perspectives for further theorization of the concept.