SBC103 case

Human Resource Management in Social Business: A Case Study of Macaland


This essay delves into the intricate relationship between Human Resource Management (HRM) and social business, using the case study of Macaland as an illustrative example. The essay explores the dynamic interplay between profit and purpose in the context of social businesses, highlighting the significance of effective HRM practices in achieving a harmonious balance. Through an in-depth examination of Macaland’s journey, this essay examines how HRM strategies are crucial in aligning economic and social objectives, bridging stakeholder expectations, nurturing a collaborative ecosystem, and contributing to sustainable growth. It discusses the unique challenges faced by Macaland in maintaining its dual commitment to financial success and social impact and showcases how HRM principles offer solutions to these challenges. Moreover, the essay underscores the role of HRM in fostering a culture of shared values, fostering innovation, and adapting to changing market dynamics. The case study of Macaland demonstrates the intricate connection between HRM and social business success, shedding light on how strategic human resource practices can drive holistic growth and create a positive impact on society.

1. Introduction

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the concept of social business has gained significant traction. Defined by its dual focus on profitability and positive societal impact, social business marries economic aspirations with altruistic pursuits. An essential pillar of any social business is its Human Resource Management (HRM) practices. HRM shapes the core of a company, influencing its culture, mission alignment, and overall effectiveness (Yunus, Moingeon, & Lehmann-Ortega, 2010). This essay embarks on a journey to explore the intricacies of HRM within the context of social business, using the case study of Macaland as an illustrative example.

2. Defining Social Business: Balancing Profit and Purpose

At its core, a social business represents a departure from the conventional business model. It combines financial goals with a commitment to addressing pressing societal issues. Unlike traditional businesses that singularly focus on profit maximization, social businesses perceive profit as a means to achieve a more profound purpose. Coined by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, social businesses seek to redress inequalities, create employment opportunities, and enhance the overall well-being of communities. This unique synthesis of economic and social values necessitates a novel approach to HRM (Yunus, 2010).

3. Significance of Human Resource Management (HRM) in Social Business

HRM transcends mere recruitment and employee management; it underpins the alignment of human capital with strategic objectives. In the context of social business, this alignment becomes particularly intricate, demanding synchronization between profit generation and social betterment. HRM encompasses talent acquisition, training, performance evaluation, and fostering a conducive work environment. In social businesses, HRM extends beyond the internal workforce to encompass beneficiaries, stakeholders, and partners, necessitating a holistic perspective.

The role of HRM in social business is multifaceted. It attracts and retains individuals who share the company’s mission, cultivates an empathetic and innovative culture, and aligns employee efforts with broader societal goals (Srivastava, Bartol & Locke, 2006). Effective HRM nurtures an environment where employees find intrinsic value in their work, propelling the organization toward its dual objectives of financial success and social impact.

4. Macaland: Unveiling the Beauty of Sustainable HRM

4.1 Macaland’s Vision and Mission

Macaland, a budding cosmetics enterprise in Vietnam, embodies the principles of a social business. The company’s journey commenced with an audacious vision: to harness Vietnam’s rich agricultural resources to produce organic cosmetics while elevating the livelihoods of local farmers. Macaland’s twofold mission encompasses environmental sustainability, empowerment of farmers, and offering consumers ethically produced beauty products. Fulfilling this mission mandates a harmonious interplay between the workforce, farmers, and consumer expectations.

4.2 Crafting a Purpose-Driven Workforce

Macaland recognizes that its mission hinges on a workforce that resonates with its social values. The HRM strategy centers on recruiting individuals who believe in the company’s vision, thereby fostering a sense of shared purpose. To achieve this, Macaland leverages innovative recruitment practices that focus not just on skills but also on values alignment. Prospective employees are assessed for their commitment to sustainability, ethical values, and social responsibility.

4.3 Innovative HR Practices for Social Impact

Macaland’s HRM practices extend beyond conventional approaches. The company emphasizes continuous learning and skill enhancement, enabling employees to become catalysts for positive change within and beyond the organization. Macaland’s commitment to social impact also reflects in its ‘Skill Exchange’ program, where employees volunteer their expertise to local communities. This program exemplifies HRM’s role in enhancing the social fabric and nurturing a sense of purpose among employees.

4.4 Employee Wellbeing and Engagement

Employee wellbeing is a cornerstone of Macaland’s HRM philosophy. Recognizing that a fulfilled workforce is more likely to contribute effectively to the company’s mission, Macaland provides wellness initiatives, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for personal growth. These efforts not only enhance employee morale but also result in heightened productivity and creativity, aligning with Macaland’s overarching goals.

5. Challenges and Opportunities in HRM for Social Businesses

5.1 Balancing Economic and Social Goals

One of the foremost challenges faced by social businesses like Macaland is the delicate balance between economic sustainability and social impact. HRM plays a pivotal role in addressing this challenge. Ensuring that employees remain committed to the company’s dual objectives requires an HR strategy that integrates economic incentives with a sense of purpose (Austin, Stevenson & Wei-Skillern. 2006). Macaland’s success in this aspect stems from its innovative approach to employee compensation, which includes both financial rewards and the intrinsic satisfaction of contributing to social betterment.

5.2 Bridging Stakeholder Expectations

In a social business, stakeholders extend beyond traditional shareholders to encompass beneficiaries, local communities, and partners. Effective HRM must facilitate communication, understanding, and collaboration among these diverse groups (Freeman,, 2010). Maryland excels in this aspect through transparent communication, stakeholder engagement initiatives, and partnerships that empower local farmers. By nurturing relationships with multiple stakeholders, Macaland ensures its business model remains resilient and adaptable.

5.3 Nurturing a Collaborative Ecosystem

The success of social businesses relies on the ability to create ecosystems where collaboration thrives. HRM is the conduit through which this collaboration is fostered. Macaland’s emphasis on skill exchange and community engagement demonstrates its commitment to nurturing a collaborative ecosystem (Kapferer, 2012.. By fostering relationships beyond its immediate workforce, Macaland enriches its social impact and extends its mission to a wider network of stakeholders.

6. Lessons from Macaland: A Blueprint for Effective HRM in Social Business

Macaland’s journey offers invaluable insights for other social businesses seeking to integrate effective HRM practices. Firstly, a purpose-driven recruitment strategy enables the identification of individuals who are intrinsically motivated by the organization’s mission. This aligns the workforce with the company’s goals and minimizes potential dissonance. Secondly, Macaland’s approach to employee well-being, learning, and engagement illustrates that a satisfied workforce is a committed one. By offering avenues for growth, Macaland empowers employees to become champions of the company’s social mission.

7. Conclusion

Human Resource Management in social business isn’t just about filling positions; it’s about cultivating a community of change-makers who synergize economic growth with social progress. The case study of Macaland exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between HRM and a social business’s overarching mission. Macaland’s commitment to purpose-driven recruitment, innovative HR practices, and holistic stakeholder engagement showcases how effective HRM can amplify the impact of a social business.

As social businesses continue to evolve and transform traditional business paradigms, HRM will remain at the heart of these endeavors. It’s a bridge that connects individual aspirations with collective aspirations, intertwining financial success with societal betterment (Elkington, 1997). By understanding the lessons drawn from Macaland’s HRM journey, social businesses can forge a path toward enduring success where profit and purpose coalesce into a harmonious symphony of progress.


  • Austin, J., Stevenson, H., & Wei-Skillern, J. (2006). Social and commercial entrepreneurship: Same, different, or both? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(1), 1-22.
  • Elkington, J. (1997). Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. New Society Publishers.
  • Freeman, R. E. (2010). Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kapferer, J. N. (2012). The New Strategic Brand Management: Advanced Insights and Strategic Thinking. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Srivastava, P., Bartol, K. M., & Locke, E. A. (2006). Empowering leadership in management teams: Effects on knowledge sharing, efficacy, and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 49(6), 1239-1251.
  • Yunus, M. (2010). Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs. Public Affairs.
  • Yunus, M., Moingeon, B., & Lehmann-Ortega, L. (2010). Building Social Business Models: Lessons from the Grameen Experience. Long Range Planning, 43(2-3), 308-325.