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Business with Purpose and the Purpose of Business Schools: Re-Imagining Capitalism in a Post Pandemic World: A Conversation with Jay Coen Gilbert, Raymond Miles, Christian Felber, Raj Sisodia, Paul Adler, and Charles Wookey

  • IAE Business School


The emergence of innovative business models suggests that the foundational assumptions of competitive capitalism are increasingly in doubt. Business schools, however, appear to be followers rather than leaders in this historical moment of social change. While consumers and businesses are experimenting with new models of capitalism, business schools have been slow to change. What role should business schools play in this emerging new era of purpose-driven capitalism and business with purpose? We explore this question in conversation with six global experts, three in academia and three in practice, who are leading this change. The experts conclude that business must serve the needs of humanity rather than the needs of business. Business schools, therefore, need to reduce their emphasis on how to make businesses more rational and efficient and should instead focus on how businesses can help address more fundamental questions of the human condition.
Business with Purpose and the Purpose of Business Schools: Re-Imagining
Capitalism in a Post Pandemic World
A Conversation with Jay Coen Gilbert, Raymond Miles, Christian Felber, Raj
Sisodia, Paul Adler and Charles Wookey
Hector Rocha
IAE Business School
Michael Pirson
Gabelli School of Business
Fordham University
Roy Suddaby
Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
University of Victoria
Carson College of Business
Washington State University
Forthcoming in the “Meet the Person” Section of the Journal of Management
The final version is available at SAGE via:
The emergence of innovative business models suggests that the foundational assumptions
of competitive capitalism are increasingly in doubt. Business schools, however, appear to be
followers rather than leaders in this historical moment of social change. While consumers and
businesses are experimenting with new models of capitalism, business schools have been slow to
change. What role should business schools play in this emerging new era of purpose-driven
capitalism and business with purpose? We explore this question in conversation with six global
experts, three in academia and three in practice, who are leading this change. The experts conclude
that business must serve the needs of humanity rather than the needs of business. Business schools,
therefore, need to reduce their emphasis on how to make businesses more rational and efficient
and should instead focus on how businesses can help address more fundamental questions of the
human condition.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed serious flaws in the institutions of modern capitalism.
Global supply chains have been slow to react to spiking demand for medical equipment. The
pandemic has disproportionately affected the poor, contingent workers, and the elderly, and
threatens to accelerate the pace of global inequality. The virus has also revealed the errors of
decades of chronic underfunding of public institutions by governments elected on the promise of
continually reducing taxes. Perhaps most critically, the virus has inverted the assumptive logic of
neoliberalism which places economic interests at the base of our implicit hierarchy of needs and
consigns health, related humanitarian needs, and, ultimately, happiness to the secondary status of
epiphenomena. The COVID crisis fundamentally challenges the prevailing assumptions of
corporate market capitalism, that is, profit as the fundamental purpose of business (Friedman,
1970), opportunism as the key feature of managers´ behavior (Jensen & Meckling, 1976), and
competition as the key process for reaching prosperity (Porter, 1998). The crisis demonstrates that
there are more profound ontological 'givens' than the right to earn profits. The global pandemic
questions the prevailing assumption that a thriving economy will ensure social wellbeing.
These challenges hold serious implications for the role of business schools and
management education. For some time now, business schools have been subject to considerable
criticism for their failure to lead the process of normative change in a context where the ontological
assumptions of capitalism have become increasingly suspect. For some time now, there has been
a growing concern that management education places excessive emphasis on profit maximization
at the expense of societal wellbeing and concern for the natural environment (Ghoshal, 2005;
Pfeffer, 2005), that prevailing management theories and business school education actually
reinforce negative social values of greed and self-interest (Wang & Murnighan, 2011), and that
business schools have been complicit actors in a long list of prominent corporate scandals
(Podolny, 2009). Management education appears to have lost its soul and purpose (Bennis &
O'Toole, 2005; Khurana, 2007).
The quarantine response to the COVID-19 crisis has created the reflective space to revisit the
core assumptions of business and management education. The crisis also appears to have granted
us an opportunity to rethink the foundational institutions of capitalism. But what might be the
purpose of business in a post-pandemic scenario? What would a post-pandemic business school
look like? What might be the foundational values of a post-pandemic market system? We explore
these ideas in conversation with six thought leaders and prominent innovators of both management
education and business practices. Briefly they are:
Jay Coen Gilbert (JC), the co-founder of B-Lab a non-profit organization that promotes
B-Corps and serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to
solve social and environmental problems;
Raymond Miles (RM), Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Haas School of
Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Miles has been writing about
management and organizations since the late 1950s, focusing on the intersection of
managerial and national values, leadership styles and innovation;
Christian Felber (CF) created the Economy for the Common Good in 2010, a social
movement that advocates for a more ethical business model in which the wellbeing of
people and environment replaces greed and profit as the primary goal of business achieved
primarily through cooperation rather than competition;
Rajendra Sisodia (RS) is the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and
Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College. He is
also Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc. an organization that
supports a global network of business leaders devoted to elevating humanity through
innovative business practices.
Paul Adler (PA) is the Harold Quinton Chair of Business Policy and Professor of
Management & Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies at the Paul Mirage
School of Business, University of Southern California and the former President of the
Academy of Management the leading professional association of management scholars.
Charles Wookey (CW) is the founder and CEO of Blueprint for a Better Business, an UK
charity that challenges the foundational assumptions of business and what motivates people
in an effort to redefine the purpose of business and its relationship with society.
Collectively, these individuals have led an emerging movement dedicated to redefine the purpose
of business and the nature of market capitalism. A unifying assumption of their individual projects
is the shared belief that the challenges of capitalism are not insurmountable obstacles but, rather,
require a creative restatement of the core values and purpose of business in society. They also each
share a unifying assumption that business schools play a pivotal role in legitimating this change.
We engaged these innovators in conversation around the broad question of how we might
"re-enchant" (Suddaby, et al., 2019) market capitalism and the role that business schools might
play in that process. These conversations occurred before the COVID-19 crisis. However, as is so
often the case, reading these comments through the lens of the current crisis brings added
poignancy and meaning to their insights. The conversations were conducted via email exchange.
The interviewees responded individually to our questions and formed their responses
independently of each other. We present only parts of their responses given space limitations.
We acknowledge, with humility, the critique raised by our editors that these six innovators
are exclusively males, and are drawn mainly from elite US institutions (Christian Felber and
Charles Wookey being notable exceptions) and that their comments and critiques reflect a
somewhat unique and privileged perspective, both on market capitalism and business schools. Our
selection of interview subjects, however, are not intended to represent all varieties of capitalism
(Hall, 2015; Whitley, 1999) nor all manifestations of business schools. Rather, they deliberately
reflect contrarian voices that have emerged from the US which is the leading market economy in
the world and, since the end of the Second World War, is the leading disseminator of management
knowledge and practice globally (Gopinath, 2018). As such, our key informants offer somewhat
surprisingly nonconformist views from the 'belly of the beast'. We also acknowledge that the issues
we touch on are not new (e.g. Augier & March, 2007). However the COVID crisis has placed these
issues and their consequences in sharper relief.
We also note, with deep sadness, that the interview with Raymond Miles was conducted
shortly before his passing on May 13, 2019 and that his comments here may constitute some of
the last thoughts on management education, business schools and the challenges of capitalism of
an outstanding scholar and visionary management educator.
The Interview
How to solve the crisis of capitalism
The capitalist system is under siege. "How to fix Capitalism" (Harvard Business
Review), "Capitalism 2.0" (Drucker Conference), and "Capitalism into Question"
(Academy of Management Conference) are just some headlines from prestigious
organizations, academics and practitioners that highlight the crisis. Are we witnessing the
fall of a system to give raise to a new one? Could we find the solution within the very
capitalist system, making some adjustments, or should we look for new assumptions to start
RM: Capitalism is under siege, and in my view, "rightly so." Executive pay is at
astronomical levels, illegal firm practices abound,; and the rich nations in the global economy
enjoy the fruits of the labor of the less fortunate, underdeveloped economies. Adam Smith was
right to be worried about potential abuses of the system he championed and he had no way of
imagining the scope of the ethical challenges possible within and among globally operating super-
firms. Of course this is not the first time capitalism has demonstrated its dark side. Many of
today's firms are only repeating the behaviors of their predecessors in the latter part of the 19th
century and in the 1920s.
We are entering a period that is likely to produce major reforms that will at least partially
restrict the most egregious corporate behaviors. However, barring a major collapse of the global
economy we are likely, and rightly, in my view to rely on the demonstrated superiority of market-
based economic systems within which firms can operate at the edge of the law if they so choose.
We cannot correct all unethical corporate contrivances, but we can make them socially
unacceptable and subject to righteous public scorn.
More importantly, we have the potential in the academic community to demonstrate that
ethical corporate activity not only is and has been historically, the basis of long-term corporate
success, but we can demonstrate that trustworthy behavior is the key to economic success in the
The most creative modern firms are already demonstrating how successful firms will
operate tomorrow and across, at least, the next few generations. We are well into an age in which
knowledge-driven innovation will be the key to corporate success. Today's and tomorrow's firms
have potentially unlimited opportunities to create wealth by innovatively utilizing rapidly
expanding knowledge to create a currently barely imaginable array of products and services,
capable of taking the global society to new levels of wellbeing and happiness.
In order to take this next step, firms must seek to emulate the laboratories and classrooms
where the knowledge that is driving and will possibly drive the global economy is being created.
Knowledge, in the best of those laboratories and classrooms, is knowingly and trustworthily
shared, viewed by all involved as the common gold to be mined to the benefit of all mankind. In
today's most impressive firms, the ethics of knowledge creation are driving knowledge-sharing
processes that are enabling massive, continuous innovations. Moreover, the most progressive
firms are rapidly creating communities of firms across complimentary markets within which
knowledge can be shared and innovations can be brought to market across firms to the benefit of
all. After decades of indulgence of personal and market privilege, many executives and their firms
are hesitant to engage in collaborative innovation across firms.
JC: Rather than a fall, I think we are witnessing the evolution of capitalism. Current law
requires corporations to prioritize the financial interests of shareholders over the interests of
workers, communities, and the environment. That old conception of the role of business in society
is at best limiting, and at worst destructive. To create true change, businesses must create value for
all stakeholders, not just shareholders. By creating greater infrastructurestandards, corporate
forms, incentiveswe can use the power of business to create real change.
PA: I think it is urgent that we leave capitalism behind and build a democratic-socialist
economic and political systemone in which we can work together, democratically, to manage
strategically our productive resources in order to resolve the big challenges we face as a
civilization. Why such a radical change? We face challenges that are not resolvable so long as we
maintain a basically capitalist form of economy, where profit-seeking firms employ wage labor
and compete in markets.
I see six such challenges. First, we suffer from persistent economic irrationality in various
forms: obscene levels of income and wealth inequality, periodic economic and financial crises that
throw millions out of jobs and even out of their homes, an economy that produces an extraordinary
amount goods and services we do not need and too little of what we do.
Second, there is widespread anger and frustration generated by pervasive disempowerment
in the workplace. Most of us have no real "say" or "voice" at work (Pew, 2016). This workplace
disempowerment reflects the fact that in a capitalist system firms employ people in exchange for
wages. In such a system, employees are only means, not ends in themselvesthey are "human
resources" deployed by the firm to achieve profits and growth.
Third, we are creating ever more stress on the planet's ecosystems. Today, humanity is
using the planet's natural resources nearly 60% faster than they can be replenished (WWF, 2014).
The environmental crisis is due primarily to the fact that in any capitalist system, market
competition leaves firms no choice but to focus on their own profitable growth and ignore
environmental externalities, and they therefore often behave irresponsibly towards the natural
Fourth, we are experiencing a set of interacting social crises in our gender and race
relations, in our families, neighborhoods, cities, and regions, and in our systems of criminal justice,
healthcare, childcare, eldercare, housing, and education. This social crisis is progressively
corroding the social fabric of every capitalist society.
[Fifth, we need] aggressive government action to regulate the business sector; So long as
we live in a society whose income and wealth are produced by a capitalist economic core,
government must depend for its tax resources and its political legitimacy on the continued
profitability of that core.
Sixth, we live in a world that cries out for international collaboration to address so many
problemsclimate change, wars, the risk of nuclear conflagration, the persistence of abject
poverty, , to name just a fewbut such collaboration is stymied by international rivalries. Their
root cause lies in the fact that the governments of capitalist nations must support the interests of
their own national businesses, which compete with those based in other nations. I don't see how
we resolve any of these six major crises so long as our economy remains capitalist.
CF: Both questions depend on the very definition of capitalism. The literal definition of
capitalism I use is an economic order in which capital is the highest value and its increase the
highest goal next to other values and goals that are subordinate. A "pure" capitalistic system has
never existed anywhere, so I am talking about what is identified as "US corporate capitalism" or
"globalized financial capitalism"[The] legal structures [of capitalism] have to be transformed
gradually and in the long term through democratic processes. I introduce this option as "sovereign
democracy" in my reform proposals. Thanks to sovereign democracy the people could change
every single element of the capitalistic order and transform it into an "economic" order (in the
meaning of Aristotle: "oikonomia" vs. "chrematistiké"). In a true "economy," economic initiative,
private firms, markets, money, and private property still exist, but, in contrast to capitalism, there
would also be the obligation for all companies to do a common-good balance sheet; incentives for
good performances for the greater good; a size limit for companies and a global fusion control;
minimum (living) wages and limitations for income inequality; limitation for the accumulation of
private property of individuals; restrictions for legal persons: compulsory entry in a lobby register,
country-by-country tax declaration, and prohibition to finance political candidates or parties; tax
cooperation between countries with free movement of capital;
Such a system in which real values (such as life quality, wellbeing, and the common good)
are the overarching goals of economic activities.
RS: Our system of capitalism is based on Adam Smith's profound insight that freedom
leads to prosperity. In other words, societies rooted in individual freedom, where individuals are
free to pursue their own self-interest and use that to meet the needs of others, will result in most
of the needs of most of the people being met by other people, rather than by the government. The
idea of pursuing one's self-interest is deeply rooted in Enlightenment values such as freedom and
However, Smith had also addressed another aspect of human nature in his earlier book, The
Theory of Moral Sentiments. This was about the human need to care, which is as powerful if not
more powerful than our drive for self-interest. Unfortunately, that message was largely ignored in
the years and decades and centuries to come, and the institution of capitalism developed on a
limited view of human motivation. The system was heavily rooted in the masculine energies of
freedom and self-determination, while completely lacking the counterbalancing energy of the
feminine, which is rooted in inclusiveness and caring. As a result, the healthy masculine energy
over time increasingly mutated into hyper-masculine traits such as domination, aggression,
excessive competition, winning at all costsa mentality that treated business as a form of war.
So we don't need to replace capitalism; we just need to make it whole. We need to bring in
the missing parts, a major one being the feminine. To be whole is to be healed and healthy. A
business that is simultaneously rooted in caring for others as well as pursuing one's own self-
interest will spread, flourishing in the world in a far more powerful way, and will not cause
suffering in people, the planet, or in other species.
True wholeness also requires two other qualities or energies: what I refer to as elder energy
and child energy. Elder energy refers to meaning and purpose. Child energy is about joy and
creativity. Businesses need to manifest all four of these to be fully healthy and whole. I believe
this is what we should strive to realize by evolving capitalism in these ways.
CHW: When people use the word "capitalism" they often mean different things. In the UK
context it creates an ideological divide, and easily generates more heat than light. A senior business
leader who was strongly supportive of our work at Blueprint advised us at the outset to avoid using
the word. It was very helpful guidance. The question we ask is: what is the role of business in
society and how is that changing?
We live in world where globalization, technology, and weak anti-trust law is creating
strong concentrations of monopolistic power. We also see the lack of countervailing power on
what major companies do because of relatively weak government, weak consumer pressure, and
weak unions. Taken together with the rapid rise in public concern about social inequality, job
insecurity, and environmental threats, there is without question a growing societal demand for a
new contract between business and society.
How do we cure competitive markets?
Which are the features of an economic and social system with human, social and
environmental face, in addition to foster material prosperity? Which are the features of an
economic and social system with human, social, and environmental face, in addition to
fostering material prosperity?
RM: As suggested, highly successful firms in the coming decades will succeed by
demonstrating that they can trustworthily collaborate to utilize knowledge across market lines.
Today, many firms make only limited use of the knowledge distributed across their own
departments and levelsknowledge that could readily be used to enhance product and service
designs and performance and the efficiency of their production. Despite repeated demonstrations
of the willingness and ability of organization members to generate, share, and utilize knowledge
in the process of innovation, firms persist in searching out and utilizing only a fraction of their
innovation potential. For many firms, innovation planning and utilization is limited by the scope
of their current and easily identifiable potential market. However, such firms frequently sit beside
firms addressing related markets where that unutilized knowledge might be wealth generating.
Across many current and emerging industries, the clear challenge facing modern firms is how to
utilize the surge of wealth-creating knowledge that demands collaboration within and across firm
JC: We need a system where businesses enjoy the freedom to pursue a broader set of
objectives. They need the legal protection to create value for society, not just for shareholders.
There also must be higher standards of accountability and transparency so that investors,
consumers, and policy makers can trust that these companies practice what they preach.
PA: If we are to overcome these crises and create the world that humanity deserves, we
need to change the way enterprises make decisions about investment, products, and work. These
decisions need to be guided by the needs of people and the planetnot just by profitability
considerations. They need to be made democratically, informed by deliberation and debate among
all the relevant stakeholdersnot made by CEOs and boards of directors doing the bidding of
private investors. Moreover, to deal effectively with the economic, social, and environmental
externalities of enterprise-level activity, we must manage society's productive resources at the
region, industry, and national levelsnot leave the outcomes at these higher levels to be
determined by the blind process of market competition among enterprises.
To make this happen, we need to replace private ownership of enterprise with socialized,
public ownership. Once our productive resources are under socialized ownership, we can decide
democratically how to manage those resources strategically to overcome the six crises effectively
and equitably.
This socialist strategic management process must be democratic. Not only because we
value the principle of equality, but also because, in our post-industrial era, progress requires
democracy. Authoritarian socialist planning may have been effective in forcing feudalistic Russia
and China rapidly into the industrial age, but it came at a terrible cost. Today we can tackle the
crises we face and assure the progress we need only if we mobilize widespread creative problem-
solving at every level in both our enterprises and our political sphere. Democracy is an essential
precondition for that active engagement.
CF: This is a meta-limit for all economic activities. Scarce resources (e.g., biological
resources, soil fertility, biodiversity) need to be carefully protected and used. Inequality is held
limited thanks to "balancing feedback mechanisms" in income, property, inheritances, or the size
of companies. A global fusion control exists as well as a lobby register; free movement of capital
is firmly linked to transparency and full fiscal cooperation. The first goal of companies is a noble
purpose such as contributing to wellbeing and the common good, success is measured accordingly
(e.g., with a Common Good Product replacing GDP), a common good balance sheet (super-
ordinated to the financial balance sheet) and an ethical risk assessment (super-ordinated to a
financial risk assessment in investments). Fundamental values are known, respected, and enhanced
in all parts of the economy. There is plurality of propertiespublic property, social property,
private property, commons, no-use rights (nature), and no-property and no-use-areas (protected
nature). All types of property meet limits and conditions. No type prevails over others. Decisions
on the design of the economy and economic policy are deeply democratized and free of lobbying
and technocracy, or supposes value-free expert decisions.
RS: The current capitalist system is overly anchored to the financial side. If the only
purpose of a business is to make money, the only stakeholder that really counts is investors. But
when a business has a purpose separate from making money, as all conscious businesses do, then
it is critical to take into account the full commitment and wellbeing of all of the stakeholders of
the business. A shared purpose and shared core values bind the stakeholders together, so that they
no longer operate at cross purposes. Stakeholders include society, partners, customers, employees
and their families, investors, communities, and the environment. Conscious businesses seek to
create positive impacts on all of the stakeholders through all of the decisions. They recognize that
there is no win without a win-win.
CHW: A good way to characterize the challenge is the need to move from an economic
system optimized for growth and profit to a system optimized for human wellbeing and a
sustainable ecosystem. What we find is that the senior business leaders we engage with recognize
this scale of challenge and the need for a transformation of business in these terms. It gives a clear
context for what the true challenge of being a purpose-led businesswhich is to be an enabler and
not a blocker of this system shift.
This is a transformation that requires structural changes in law and regulation, capital
market reforms, and many other things. But there is also something beyond law and regulation.
The market never exists in a pure state. It is always a social and cultural construct, and the ideas
that have dominated thinking over the last 40 years in the US and UK context need to change. One
is that the purpose of business is to maximize profit. The other is that people, at least for the
purposes of work, are best assumed to be self-interested and motivated by money, status, and
power. These two ideas taken together combined with agency theory have contributed to a double
disconnect: a disconnect between business and society when in pursuit of maximizing profit
businesses have externalized social and environmental costs; and more profoundly a disconnect in
the human heart if people feel part of their humanity is left at the door, and they are not respected
or fulfilled through work. So, a fundamental aspect of the systemic problem is at the level of
ideashow and whether we can reframe the role of business as a social practice in a market-
economy founded on respect for human dignity and oriented to serving the common good of
society alongside the public and voluntary sectors.
How do we humanize the corporation?
A small but growing number of scholars agree that profit maximization is unnatural and
that the mission of a company is, by its very nature, at the intersection of the human, economic,
social and ecological dimensions. Do you agree with this assertion?
JC: B Corporations are a lively response to this question. More than 3,000 leading
businesses from 150 industries and 71 countries have earned B Corporation certification (from
iconic sustainable businesses like Patagonia, Natura, and Ben & Jerry's to next-generation social
enterprises like Etsy in the US and d. light in emerging markets). B Lab provides this emerging
marketplace with a North Star of companies that have met the highest standards of social and
environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We hope to inspire all companies
to compete to be not just the best in the world but the best for the world.
CHW: Why does any company exist? It's because people come together to do something
they could not do by themselves. At the heart of a business is a social organization, a series of
human relationships. Most businesses bring people together to solve a problem, meet a need and
thereby make a profit. Profit is fundamental to business but is best seen as a necessary condition
and outcome of pursuing a purpose that benefits society. Of course, some people are in business
just to make money. It's a choice, but it is not the only choice, and an available alternative exists.
The focus on maximizing profit as the purpose of business has had a profoundly distorting impact
on both business and society. It has distorted what companies do, and legitimated the denial of a
wider social responsibility. In the extreme, as we saw in the financial crisis, the narrow pursuit of
profit as an end in itself undermines the very basis of trust in the market on which all profitable
activity depends.
Once we step back from the partial view of the company as a nexus of contracts to see it
as a series of relationships, then from a human point of view the purpose of a company acquires a
much richer and fuller meaning. Relationships with customers, suppliers, communities,
employees, and the ecosystem are no longer simply instrumental to maximizing profit, but rather
all of them are constitutive of the character of the company.
In UK law it is not the duty of a company director to "maximize" anything. In fact, their
job is to balance, and to make decisions that keep the company true to its purpose. Blueprint's view
is that a good corporate purpose starts from the human perspective, recognizing that each person
is a "someone not a something," and seeking to create shared (common) goods through the quality
of relationships it forms internally and externally, and seeing the economic and environmental
aspects of business life in an integrated way as dimensions of a human system.
What role has competition played in the crisis of capitalism?
Is collaboration more important than competition to foster innovation and social
progress? How collaboration and competition co-evolve?
RM: We have argued that the emerging arena of competition will be science and
technology based and will cut across most current market lines. This new competitive world is
being driven by collaborative research within and across scientific disciplines. Thus firm-centered
research and development departments driven by existing firm market vision are inherently
What we envision is that the new competitive challenge for many if not most firms will be
the breadth of the arena of innovation that they address. Both the pace and the breadth of change
is likely to increase in most product and service markets, as the modern world of mobile
communication is illustrating, and is probably not addressable within a single firm. Clearly, the
emergence and expansion of modern apps communities demonstrate both the pace and breadth of
current and potential innovation. The new measure of competitive achievement for the typical
firm will be the pace of innovation they pursue and the collaborative imagination with which they
pursue it.
PA: Collaboration and competition both have their place in a dynamic capitalist economy
and in the entrepreneurial process. But I don't see how any combination of cooperation and
collaboration can resolve the big crises we face so long as these mechanisms operate within the
capitalist economic framework.
I would add that in our capitalist economy, collaboration and competition do sometimes
coexist, but only very uneasily. Yes, we see 'co-opetition' among peers in some industries, and we
see some firms orchestrating supplier forums in which competing suppliers are encouraged to work
together to share innovations. But it is naïve to ignore the general pattern, where the pressures of
profitability and market competition tend over time to corrode collaboration.
In the socialist system, it will become far easier to bring enterprises together, since they
will be under common, socialized ownership. In these conditions, competition will have far fewer
negative effects and will coexist far more easily with collaboration.
CF: There can be free enterprise and an attitude of systemic cooperation. If companies do
not act against each other, but strive for the same overarching goalthe wellbeing of all citizens
and consumers, the common good, and try to find the best solutions for achieving this goal
togetherthen companies actually do what the word "competition" literally means: to search
together for the resolution of scarcity. Competition comes from the Latin words "cum" and "petere"
and means "to search together". If companies searched for their own benefit against other
companies, that would by definition be counterpetition ("contra" and "petere"), the opposite of
RS: As with all polarities, we need a harmonious blending of competition and
collaboration. Both are essential for the healthy functioning of society. Companies should think of
their competitors as stakeholders from whom they can learn. Such an orientation allows for the
growth and evolution towards higher states of functioning for all the entities. When there is
alignment at a purpose level, competitors can start to be seen as fellow travelers. Companies such
as REI, Patagonia, and L.L. Bean, have a shared purpose of safeguarding the environment and
connecting people with nature. They thus view each other as friendly rivals traveling the same
road, rather than as bitter enemies to be undermined and vanquished.
CHW: If you start with the idea that a business is a social organization, and that people are
naturally relational, then collaboration is fundamental. When people act beyond self-interest and
are genuinely seeking to work together to solve problems and meet needs, commonshared
goods are created, which generate sustainable value for the business. In economic terms, the
opposite of competition is not collaboration. It is a monopoly or a cartel. Fair and efficient markets
need healthy competition. But they also and more fundamentally depend on collaboration, which
creates the human goods that enable businesses to flourish as social organizations. The problem is
that too much focus on competition reinforces a partial view of people as purely self-interested
and we easily forget and undervalue the quality of human relationships, and think of people as
mere means to business success.
How might we redefine managers and entrepreneurs?
It seems that a new system and corporation requires a new type of entrepreneur
and manager. What are the key features an entrepreneur and a manager should have to
match the new social and corporate challenges?
RM: The willingness to trust and to behave trustworthilythis is the challenge of the era
of knowledge-driven innovation. Trust and trustworthiness are societal values, essential,
ultimately, to the survival of humankind. Many leaders of many leading economies have
minimized these values and encouraged firm-serving behaviors that violate them. Firm success in
the emerging era will be, we believe, dependent on the judgment of potential collaborators as to
its trustworthiness.
PA: In the democratic socialist system I envisage, we would need both entrepreneurs and
managers, but they would play somewhat different roles than they do in capitalism today.
Start with entrepreneurs. A socialist economy would create far more opportunities for
creative entrepreneurship than capitalism affords. Average weekly work hours would be
significantly reduced because our socialist economy would eliminate a host of unproductive
activitiese.g. insurance intermediaries, advertisers trying to make us buy more stuff, stock
brokers and investment bankers, and lawyers and courts dealing with commercial conflictsand
this would free up time for entrepreneurial activity for many more people.
And some of it would happen in independent entrepreneurial ventures. Whereas today's
venture capitalists invest only where they see a good chance of multiplying the value of their
investment by a factor of at least ten over three to five years, our socialist public industrial banks
would be less greedy, and they would base their investment on the proposal's potential impact on
the wellbeing of people and the planet. If these ventures prove successful and grow beyond a
minimum size threshold, they would come under the new society's requirements for cooperative
ownership and worker voice. But their founders and workers would have an easy "exit strategy"
by attracting a take-over by one of socialized enterprises.
Whereas in a capitalist system this entrepreneurship process is associated with the personal
enrichment of the founders and their venture capitalist investors, in a socialist society,
entrepreneurs would be rewarded with far more modest monetary rewards but ample social
recognition (Collins, Hanges & Locke, 2004). In this socialist system, enterprises would still need
managersworkers who specialize in coordinating and leading the work of others.
CF: First, she or he has to acknowledge that a company, which is a legal person that is
created by society and thus has to obey a meta-objective or framework defined by the same society
(to serve the common good) within which the company is "free" or allowed to serve also the
purposes and needs of its (private) initiator(s. Second, the same values that are agreed upon by the
society also hold true for the company. For instance, if the society is a democracy, the company
cannot be a dictatorial or radically hierarchical organization. Third, constitutions protect solidarity
and social cohesion, companies cannot counterfeit against each other, but meet in a cooperative
spirit. It is not about being better than others, but doing something meaningful helping each other.
Within the company, good leaders are first and foremost servants of the greater whole. Managers
should help everyone else to fulfil the company's purpose and establish rules and processes that
enhance the alignment of all activities with the company's purpose and bottom line. Finally, they
cannot take hundreds or even thousands of times more money than what the average employees
earn, but limit inequality at a reasonable level.
RS: The most essential element is a commitment to a higher purpose. Every company
needs to have one, and every leader needs to be highly motivated by that purpose. In addition,
entrepreneurs and leaders need to be whole people, who simultaneously embody the four kinds of
energies we talked about earlier: the masculine or father energy of freedom and achievement; the
feminine or mother energy of caring and inclusiveness; the elder energy of wisdom and meaning;
and the child energy of joy and creativity.
CHW: What I find very exciting is the confluence of thinking. Whether you start with the
wisdom traditionsGreek philosophy and the teachings of the great faithsor if you start with
empirical evidence in positive psychology, or recent research now in neuroscience, you end up in
the same place. Money matters but for most people three other things are more fundamentalthe
quality of relationships, the desire for meaning and fulfillment through work, and the opportunity
for autonomy, development and mastery.
Are profits the only motive?
The dominant paradigms at the academic and business levels assert that
entrepreneurs and managers are profit-driven. Do you think that it is just a paradigm or it
belongs to human nature? How do you think the formation of the new leaders should be in
case it is just a paradigm?
RM: Profits are an outcome, not the purpose of corporate behavior. The purpose for which
corporations were created is that they are an efficient and effective way to create societal (and
corporate) wealth through the production and distribution of goods and services.
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs and managers I have known were driven by the
joy of creation and service to humankind.
JC: Quite simply, more people are motivated by meaning than by money. In fact, as
Millennials reach 50% of the global workforce, business leaders seeking the best talent ignore this
simple truth at their peril.
And it's not just Millennials. Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life (Warren, 2002) is the
best-selling nonfiction hard cover book in history (32 million copies). It doesn't take much effort
to make the connection that if we want to lead purpose-driven lives, then we ought to find purpose-
driven businesses to work for, buy from, and invest inand if we can't find one that inspires, then
build one. B Corps makes it easier for all of us to do that.
A growing number of business leaders would agree that the purpose of business is to create
a shared and durable prosperity. Said another way: to create high-quality jobs and to improve the
quality of life in our communities. The words shared, durable, and quality are not captured in profit
and loss statements, balance sheets, or cash flows. They are not (yet) priced into the market.
PA: In a capitalist society, managers and entrepreneurs are forced to prioritize profits.
This has nothing to do with human nature, but the reality of capitalism imposes itself on us
all. If cutting quality and short-changing the customer is what it takes to stay in business, that's a
reality you can't simply ignore.
Unfortunately, business school faculty seem often to turn necessity into virtue, and we have
many colleagues who preach a doctrine of market fundamentalism that pretends that profit can
function effectively as a single objective function for the firm. This encourages a greed mindset in
our students.
CF: Nothing "belongs" to human nature in the meaning of that human natureoblige us to a
certain moral behavior. Human nature gives us the freedom to behave in virtually all kinds of ways,
but neither pushes nor forces us to do it. Why should profit-seeking be part of the human condition?
Of course, we can do itlike killingbut we don't have to do it and it is also not a basic need. No
human person needs money, capital or profit, these are habits, beliefs, patterns, culture in its worse
The formation of leaders of an economy for the common good would display the core
elements of the new paradigm, which are: Ethics is the base of economics, not something
additional or even hindering. Companies have a purpose, they serve the common good; capital and
profit are just means. Humans are not "resources", but persons with dignity. Their wellbeing is the
highest goal of economic activities. The ecological impact shall be the least possible and respect
the biophysical boundaries of the planet. The organization has to respect the democratic state of
law that it created and allows to operate and should not undermine itbut rather strengthen it.
RS: This is absolutely a paradigm, and a tragic one at that. It has become self-fulfilling,
because this is what people are taught in business school or by their mentors in business who have
been deeply rooted in the paradigm. Human nature is deep, rich and complex. It certainly includes
self-interest, but as we have written above, it also includes many other dimensions. Businesses are
akin to people; organizations consist of organisms. We need to allow for the fullness or wholeness
of each business to be expressed.
Since it is just a paradigm, we must cultivate leaders who are able to see this and shift to a
better paradigm. We need a more human story of business, one that is more deeply rooted in truth
and love. Leaders who are not themselves whole human beings cannot lead a business in the ways
our times call for. Our summary phrase for such leaders is "the wise fools of tough love." They
fully embody and can manifest all four of those qualities: wisdom, which reflects the adult or
parent or elder or divine self; foolishness, which reflects the awakened inner child; toughness,
which is the mature masculine; and love, which represents the mature feminine. Once they are
whole, they need to have the discernment to know which of these qualities are most needed in a
given situation, and the flexibility to be able to show up in that way, while remaining true to who
they are.
CHW: As mentioned in my previous answer, both the wisdom tradition and neuroscience
show that people have motivations beyond economic gains. There is no doubt that some
entrepreneurs and managers are strongly motivated by money, but what is really important for the
formation of new leaders is to show examples of leaders motivated differently, so that this
assumption is challenged, and people are able to explore these deeper and richer sources of human
motivation in themselves and others.
Is greed good?
We have seen the required changes at the level of society, of companies,
entrepreneurs and managers. At the level of people, the dominant economic paradigm
asserts that all of us are driven by self-interest. Do you think that it is just a paradigm or
that it belongs to human nature? What are the necessary changes we as consumers,
employees, investors, providers and members of a community should undertake to meet the
new challenges mentioned above?
RM: Having been born in the early days of the Great Depression, I grew up seeing people
helping people across business, social, and institutional boundaries. To be selfish was to be sinful.
Similarly, as society went from depression to global conflict, the heroic image was that of the
person risking injury or death for the benefit of crewmates or society at large. Thus, from the
executives who worked for $l per year, to the women who labored heroically to build planes and
ships, people heroically behaved in responsible, other-serving ways. Thus, I cannot believe that
behaving in a consistently self-serving way is part of human nature. Self-focus, as the
psychologist Abraham Maslow suggested, is something a healthy human learns to control or
refocus as they progress through life's stages from infancy, through adolescence, into increasing
JC: A full life is a life of service to something more than oneself, whether that something
be family, friends, community, the environment, society, or future generations. By restricting our
economic life to the pursuit of purely selfish and material ends, we restrict our own development
as humans by diminishing our capacity to serve others. By creating businesses that are free to
pursue a higher purpose we unleash the full creative power of humans to use business as a force
for good, addressing our most challenging problems from poverty alleviation to environmental
B Corps and benefit corporation laws help us work, and live, on purpose. Sometimes that
will also maximize profits, sometimes it won't, but when it's all said and done, that isn't the measure
of what matters.
PA: Since I am defending a socialist alternative, let me rephrase your question with a
sharper edge. Socialism has long been associated with collectivism. Indeed, an effective
democratic-socialist economy would require widespread acceptance that what's best for the whole
enterprise and for the whole society should weigh substantially in our individual choices. But
would this collectivistic ethos undermine the individualism that has proven so potent under
capitalism in motivating effort, creativity, and innovation? Unless socialist society is willing to
forego those benefits, it would need to cultivate both collectivistic and individualistic motives
and that seems to pose a dilemma.
I have been impressed by some of the "high road" firms that seem to be able to develop
employees who are committed both to implementing the agreed-upon plan and to contributing
novel ideas in the development of that plan, to performing their routine tasks efficiently and to
contributing creative ideas for improving their performance. They do this by nurturing an ethos of
interdependencecreating a basis of motivation that goes beyond both independence, based on
individual self-interest, and dependence, based on the approval of the collectivity.
This synthesis of individualism and collectivism in an ethos of interdependence would
flourish in a democratic-socialist form of society.
CF: Same here. People can pursue their self-interest, but they don't have to. Humans can
be other-oriented or common good-oriented. All economic actors should take into consideration
all consequences of their economic decisions. Everybody, in any role, shall bear in mind the
common good. This is what many constitutions mandate: "Property obliges. Its use shall at the
same time serve the common good", says the German Fundamental Law for instance.
In order to measure this orientation and achievements, I recommend a common-good exam
(ethical risk exam) for investments and loans, a common-good balance sheet for companies (500
companies have already done one) and a Common-Good Productinstead of GDPfor national
economies. Instead of measuring and aiming at financial indicators and parameters, which would
be a "chrematistic" approach and practice, (true) "economies" would aim at and measure the
increase of the common good.
RS: I have addressed this question above. It is a grotesque caricature to suggest that we are
only driven by self-interest, even if economists have tried to finesse that by broadening the
definition of self-interest. Purpose, love and joy are all powerful aspects of human beings.
CWH: Our view is that self-interest is important but it is only a partial description of
human motivation. A fuller more realistic account, which draws on both wisdom traditions and
empirical science, recognizes that we are also relational, and that our fulfillment as people is bound
up with that of others, exemplified by what happens when people become true friends. We are all
individuals with self-awareness and self-interest. But if we only see people in this way, how can
we each relate to others except as a means to achieving our own goals? We need to add to this
partial view the relational dimension. People share their hopes and desires, which if satisfied
together leads to fulfillment. Modern culture has celebrated the autonomy of the individual, and
along the way we have neglected this fundamental relational aspect of what it means to be human.
The most important foundations in any culture to nourish and sustain this fuller and richer sense
of what it means to be human are the family and education. A profound cultural challenge to the
business world is the extent to which it reinforces and exaggerates this partial view of what it
means to be human. So the transformation needed in the business world is to become a social actor
in society, committed to building up a sense of the wider common good.
How can business schools rediscover their purpose?
What would be the role of Business Education and, specifically, Business Schools, in
fostering a change of paradigm at the personal, organizational and social levels?
JC: There are three aspects to my response to this question. First, business schools can
deepen the personal capacity of its students to affect change. As millenials increasingly demand a
sense of purpose at work rather than profit-maximization of the organization, the emerging
workforce needs assistance translating these ideals into practice. Business schools can uniquely
equip future leaders with the frameworks, networks, and skills to create a shared and durable
prosperity for all, empowering individuals to live lives of service through business. Second, they
can provide curriculum to prepare the next generation for the impact economy. As we experience
the evolution of capitalism in the marketplace, the way business is taught should evolve on campus,
both in what is taught and how it is taught. Dynamic business education prepares the next
generation of leaders to consider, if not prioritize, the interests of workers, communities, and the
environment to harness the power of business as a force for good. Third, they can use their
influence to signal the shifting role of business. As the definition of success in business expands
to include material societal and environmental value creation, the influence business schools have
in shaping the understanding of business' role in society cannot be overstated. Business schools
can accelerate mainstream adoption of the change by turning this definition of success into the
new 'business as usual'.
RM: This is a tough question and I can only point to the two periods since Adam Smith
(1776) when business got it rightthe early period of business in the US prior to the Civil War
and the immediate decades after the Great Depression and WW II. Business education got it right
in those periods by using the best examples of firms and business owners. In the early days of
business growth, many of the inhabitants had come to the new world to escape the excesses of the
industrial revolution and both firm owners and employees were sensitized to the consequences of
excessive competitive behavior. In the 1950s and 1960s the human values and experiences from
the Great Depression and WW II were fresh in the mind of the populace and government
leaders. The depression demonstrated the benefits of sharing at work and with the fruits of that
labor. After WW II, the GI Bill brought former military personnel with their values shaped by war
time into firms and the Marshall Plan and the Japanese recovery program brought those values to
Europe and Asia.
Business education brought these insights to business students in business schools as well
as the broader population. Through the 1950s and 1960s, business professors demonstrated that
they could be taught in corporations. By the 1970s the reformation in business schools had begun
to wain and modern business education, with its tolerance of excesses, was born in the 1980s.
No one would advocate repeating either the Great Depression or global conflict to restore
an emphasis on appropriate managerial or business behavior, but the current attacks on the
excesses of modern capitalism can be pointed out with references to the consequences of
indifferent behavior and the pursuit of personal gain at the expense of others. At the moment, it
appears that there are only a few professors in business schools that grasp the full extent of the
consequences embedded in a continuation of current practices and are prepared to speak out against
PA: I see three ways in which we can help rather than impede the change we need so
First, in our research, we can recommit to ensuring that our scholarship addresses the big
issuesrather than aiming at accumulating as many A-level journal publications as possible
(RRBM, 2020).
Second, in our education activities, we should be doing more to sensitize future managers
to the tensions and dilemmas they will face at work and in life, and offer them a range of
perspectives that can help them make sense of those tensions. Business school should not only
"train"transmit technical knowhowbut also "educate" equip our students to deal
constructively with the tensions that flow from accountability to multiple stakeholders. If some of
our colleagues want to preach market fundamentalism, that should not deter others from offering
a wider range of interpretive lenses (Adler, 2015).
Finally, in the governance of our business schools, we could broaden the range of
stakeholders represented on our governing or advising boards and councils. At the moment, our
institutions seem oriented almost exclusively to the big corporations and accounting and consulting
firms who recruit our graduates and to the donors who support this orientation. If we included
representatives of the local community, faculty, staff, students, and local government in these
forums, we would be encouraged to broaden our educational and research mission along the lines
I've just suggested.
CF: Management theory, business administration and economic science generally should
be re-embedded into their broader interdisciplinary context and historic origin, which is political
economy and philosophy. Adam Smith was a moral philosopher. A good economist isan ethicist,
ecologist, psychologist, gender expert, a political scientist and democracy expert. Then, heading
for more complex and holistic goal sets would be a natural consequence, and finance, money, and
capital could be identified as means to serve higher and more important goals and values.
They would transmit alternative views of organizations, with a purpose instead of a
financial bottom line, as "evolutionary organisms" instead of linear projects, and as a space of co-
creation of equal humans in which every person contributes according to her or his capabilities,
every person takes over specific responsibilities, and every person has a say in the whole and not
only in the area where she or he is working directly.
They would also transmit innovative skills from emotional competence, appreciative
communication, moderation skills, efficient decision-taking methods,and listening leadership from
their hearts.
RS: We need to start with the idea of business as a noble vocation, that is rooted in a sacred
obligation to truly take care of each other by meeting our real needs. We need to lead with the idea
of serving others, meeting the real needs, creating value for them, whether it be customers,
employees, suppliers, communities, society or the environment. We need to craft business models
that enable us to realize our self-interest by doing those things in efficient and effective ways.
CHW: Business schools have an extremely important role in helping to challenge or
reinforce dominant ways of thinking in business. Imagine that a business school starts from the
premise that the purpose of a business is to benefit society and respect people. Then the question
is what kind of a leader you need to become to stay true to such a purpose. The answer is a
combination of competence and character. You need all the competencies traditionally taught. But
if we think of a purpose-led business as a human system, what also matters is the development of
character, as this shapes behavior and judgement. This would place a high emphasis on self
awareness and the cultivation of courage, honesty, vulnerability and generosity through
experiential learning. It would also place a strong emphasis on an understanding of the quest for
personal meaning and the quality of relationships that the business exists to help create, and which
are also the basis of its long-term success.
Reflections and Conclusion
Our interviewees share a common theme in suggesting that the crisis of market capitalism
has arisen largely because of an inversion of means and ends. In this perverse reversal of ontology,
contemporary market capitalism assumes that humanity is understood to serve the interests of
business, when, in fact, market capitalism ought to be an institutional tool devoted to serving the
interests of humanity. Business schools, therefore, need to reduce their emphasis on how to make
businesses more rational and efficient and instead focus on how they can help address more
fundamental questions of the human condition.
Capitalism is an institution premised on the logic of using scientific and formal-procedural
rationality to solve fundamental challenges for human survival how to feed billions of people,
how to cure devastating diseases, and how to impose structure and legal order on tumultuous social
groups. A variety of organizational forms have emerged to address these pressing issues the
modern nation-state, the corporate organizational form, professional expertise all of which are
embedded in an ideology of progressive capitalism in which individual agency and choice are the
ultimate measures of success. But, as Max Weber observed nearly a century ago, the promise of
individual agency and choice created by rationality comes at the price of our humanity. In making
our world more calculable and predictable, more efficient and bureaucratic, we substituting our
substantive value-rationality (Wertrationalität) for formal procedural rationality
(Zweckrationalität). Capitalism has adopted the form and structure, but not the substance, of what
it means to be human.
Business schools, particularly elite US business schools, are the cathedrals of market
capitalism and one common theme from our interviewees is that, just as capitalism needs to re-
embrace fundamental aspects of humanism, so too must business schools relax their obsession
with profits, efficiency, competition, and the inherent supremacy of rational calculability. This
road, Weber (1946, p. 389) observed, leads to disenchantment or "…the knowledge or belief…that
there are no mysterious incalculable forces that come into play, but rather that one can master all
things by calculation." But, once the material challenges of human existence are met, we must be
careful to avoid the artificial substitution of the means and ends of capitalism. Market principles
may offer valid answers to the most efficient means of organizing and distribution resources, we
must be careful that the machine by which this allocation occurs, does not become an ontological
value in and of itself. As John Kenneth Galbraith (2001, p. 429) noted, "One cannot defend
production as satisfying wants if that production creates the wants".
We see this means-ends value confusion play out in the current COVID-19 crises where
the nation-states that have benefited the most from capitalist ideology find themselves struggling
to contain a virus because they must calculate the relative value of loss of life against the loss of
economic productivity. The citizenry, by contrast, uses the logic of consumer choice to justify their
right to endanger others and maintain their taken-for-granted routines of economic activity. For
many, the logic of economic rationality trumps all other forms of reason, including scientific
rationality. Business schools have much to answer for in this perverse reversal of ends and means,
where we have been justifiably criticized for valorizing the individualistic and self-interested
aspects of human nature and ignoring our counterbalancing propensity for altruism, ethics, and
collectivism (Khurana, 2017).
The COVID-19 crisis has provided us with what Karl Weick (1993, p. 633) has termed a
cosmological episode, an event where "people suddenly and deeply feel that the universe is no
longer a rational, orderly system. What makes such an episode so shattering is that both the sense
of what is occurring and the means to rebuild that sense collapse together." As devastating as
cosmological episodes can be, they also offer the insight that occurs when the institutional fabric
of society is torn open and, for a brief moment in time, we have the opportunity to see and critically
re-evaluate the ontological assumptions upon which our core institutions have been built. Our
interviews reveal that the core institutions of capitalism, as exemplified by elite North American
business schools, have lost their connection with fundamental values of the human condition. We
have unquestioningly accepted faulty ontological assumptions from economic theory in which the
human condition is defined by guile, self-interest, and laziness. But we now have the opportunity
to re-discover the ontological assumptions of the business organization, the business school and
the image of the manager, not in the image of a Spartan warrior, but rather in the image of the
Athenian citizen (Murcia, et al., 2018). We need to re-think and go beyond the limited assumptions
of calculative rationality and individual self-interest to reach the deeper ontological assumptions
of practical rationality and harmonious heterogeneous motivation (Rocha and Ghoshal, 2006).
More critically, we need to recognize that we, as academic purveyors of management knowledge,
must acknowledge our role in creating and maintaining the prevailing ideology and affirm our
commitment to greater reflexivity in our pedagogy and our scholarship.
We conclude this article with four sets of questions designed to provoke our assumptions
and our research agendas to embrace a new vision for capitalism and the role of management
At the societal level: How can we reform the assumptive primacy of economic success over
social and humanitarian wellbeing? How does the existence of specific institutional networks such
as the UN Global Compact for Businesses or the Principles for Responsible Management
Education contribute to more meaningful and more humanitarian organizations? What more can
be done to better integrate the collective interests of humanity with the institutional tools of global
At the firm level: How do we make corporations serve the interests of their stakeholders?
How can we reform the narrow and essentialist assumptions of human behavior that have driven
our models of corporate governance? Should the purpose of the firm go beyond wealth creation?
At the level of individual entrepreneurs and managers: What is responsible leadership?
How do responsible leaders create social value? What are the limits to wealth creation?
At the level of the business school: What is our role in redefining the assumptions of
capitalism? How can we introduce an ethos of humanitarianism into management education? Is
our mission to create markets with optimal Pareto efficiency or to create barriers that encourage
the individual accumulation of wealth? How do we fulfill our vision of the Academy of
Management to "inspire and enable a better world" (Adler, 2014)?
We hope that these interviews motivate the reader to unleash their power to create
managers, leaders, and organizations that promote a more humane world, that encourage our
students to ask fundamental questions about the nature of business and society what is a virtuous
corporation? A moral consumer? A good job? Wise decision making? In this way, "we can help a
new generation see that the field of management can be an exciting, worthwhile, and honourable
profession" (Ghoshal, 2005, p. 350).
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... Le imprese governate e gestite come comunità di persone hanno presentato un maggiore dinamismo e una maggiore capacità di sopravvivenza, rispetto a quelle governate come somma di interessi individuali finalizzati al perseguimento del proprio vantaggio (ROCHA et al., 2020). La fiducia nelle persone, il rispetto per gli altri e per l'azienda, la reciprocità, la gratuità, sono stati indubbiamente fattori molto importanti (DI CARLO, 2020b). ...
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It's been a little over 50 years (September 13, 1970) since the New York Times published the article by the future Nobel of economics Milton Friedman, entitled "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits". On the 50th anniversary there were many articles aimed at contributing to the current lively debate on the finalism of the company and, even earlier, on the very nature of the company, to understand the validity that today the Friedmanian theoretical approach can have (better known as shareholder theory) and whether its ascertained limits can eventually be overcome by alternative models, primarily that of the stakeholder theory. However, on closer inspection, Friedman's need to focus on profit as the sole purpose of the company found strong reasons which, at the end of the 1960s, appeared to be central to improving the collective well-being. Obviously, even before Friedman's article, companies were called to make profit, however it assumed a secondary role with respect to other purposes, such as the need to produce goods and services to satisfy the needs of the community. In other words, Friedman marked the transition from profit as a means to the supreme end of the firm. The approach that is gaining more consensus today seems to be, with due distinctions, the one that characterized the pre-Friedman period, namely that of the purpose that leads to customer orientation. There is a clear risk of returning, in a few years, to the same need felt by Friedman 50 years ago, that is to the observation that putting profit in second order, or not framing well its role, produces undesirable effects for the business continuity. This paper aims to examine, through the analysis of the articles published during the pandemic, how the response of companies to the crisis generated by Covid-19 has not only highlighted the weaknesses of the shareholder and stakeholder theory, but it seems to confirm the trend towards what can be defined as the "third way", which, by placing at the center the good of the company and its contribution to collective well-being, tries to reconcile the debate between shareholder theory and stakeholder theory. This third way is based on the real entity theory, in particular on the version which, in line with the business-economic approach of the Italian doctrine, considers the company as an independent entity with its primary interest in pursuing the common good 1. Introduzione Sono passati da poco 50 anni da quando il New York Times pubblicò (13 settembre 1970) l'articolo del futuro premio Nobel per l'economia Milton Friedman, dal titolo "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits" (FRIEDMAN, 1970). Nel 50° anniversario molti sono stati gli articoli volti a contribuire all'attuale vivacissimo dibattito sul finalismo dell'impresa e, ancora prima, sulla natura stessa dell'impresa, per capire la validità che anco-ra oggi può avere l'approccio teorico Friedmaniano (meglio conosciuto come shareholder theory, o pensiero neoliberista) e se i suoi accertati limiti (CLARKE, 2020) possano essere eventualmente superati da modelli alternativi, in primis quello della teoria degli stakeholder (FREEMAN, 1984). Il dibattito sulla natura dell'impresa e sul finalismo aziendale non è fine a se stesso, in quanto ha lo scopo di pervenire alla migliore soluzione, tra quelle proposte, per favorire il benessere collettivo. In proposito, PAINE e SRINIVASAN (2019) sottolineano come tale dibattito abbia implicazioni pratiche di vasta portata, pur potendo sembrare pura-mente teorico. Affrontare, oggi, il tema del finalismo aziendale appare quanto mai centrale in conside-razione della crisi economica e sociale derivante dal Covid-19. In molti vedono nella pan-demia non solo aspetti negativi, ma anche una straordinaria opportunità di cambiamento, potendo ispirare un'economia più virtuosa (FRIEDLAND, 2020) orientata agli stakeholder
... The positivistic research tradition believes that it is possible to generalize the factors causing or influencing such a gap within the student body [53,54] or tools/teaching methods, which could be helpful to eliminate it [55]. However, there seem to be severe problems with contemporary business schools, slowly introducing change and still emphasizing the classical notion of the rational, profit-making business paradigm instead of considering how to improve the human conditions in challenging times [56]. ...
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This paper examines how values and professional socialization in business schools impact the formulation of students’ contextualized view of social responsibility. We propose the empirical concept of a mental gap between the existing and the wished-for level of a business school’s corporate social responsibility and estimate it empirically by using a sample of business school students from Central and South East Europe. Results show that students wish their business schools to reduce their current orientation toward economic outcomes and focus on environmental and social responsibilities. We interpret those empirical results in terms of the students’ wish to balance achieving economic prosperity and enjoyment of life with the prosocial outcomes of their education. New student generations’ perception of corporate social responsibility is not shaped by the professional socialization patterns but rather by the own perceptions, which can be influenced by experiential approaches to academic teaching and learning. Based on these empirical results, implications for academic practice and future research are explored.
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Practitioner surveys suggest that despite well‐intentioned efforts, undergraduate business programs could better equip students with “soft skills.” This research study focuses on the soft skills associated with cross‐functional integration (CFI), where skill gaps are believed to exist but have not been confirmed. As the first study to specifically characterize and measure CFI skills, we argue that even in the best‐case scenario, a small CFI‐skills gap could persist, and that the primary goal of business programs is to minimize, not eliminate, the gap. We assert that an instrument that measures CFI skills on three dimensions (cross‐functional collaboration, cross‐functional coordination, and cross‐functional communication) provides a critical starting point in the identification and management of the CFI skills gap. We adapt and validate such an instrument, test it with a sample of 160 business students and 160 hiring managers, and find statistically significant gaps at the construct and dimensional level. However, the magnitude of the gaps is not large, suggesting that business schools may be doing a good job of managing the CFI skills gap. Our assessment instrument is a valuable tool for companies that wish to diagnose and address CFI skills challenges.
Skepticism toward CSR is increasing. Management research on CSR tends to focus on positive outcomes from the practice of CSR, such as enhanced financial performance and best practice business cases. Less attention is devoted to why CSR is under siege. This paper argues that CSR is intimately connected with the way that capitalism is practiced, and that poor CSR outcomes are often the result of five “shortcomings” of contemporary capitalism: runaway self‐interest, quarterly focus, elite orientation, volume orientation, and one‐pattern capitalism. To evidence this, I employ a two‐stage approach: a “diagnostic” stage that investigates current challenges facing capitalism and how they affect CSR, and a “clinical” stage that identifies potential solutions based on a qualitative data set collected in Asian business contexts. The proposed solutions suggest ways that researchers, practitioners, and policymakers can conceptualize, design, and implement CSR programs that better fulfill CSR’s promise to business and society. Based on these results, I conclude with ideas on how CSR research can be strengthened by exploring the under‐researched linkages among CSR, modern capitalism, and global institutional contexts.
A vicarious 15-hike executive leadership resilience incubator in Mann Gulch, Montana, permits readers to upgrade their resilience leadership skills. Monday's hikes focus on sense-receiving, skills such as the leveraging of received national cosmologies, received community cosmologies, and received organizational cosmologies. Tuesday's hikes focus on sense-losing skills, moving from initial retentive sense-losing through a vicious cycle of selective sense-losing to the brutally honest audits of enactive sense-losing. Wednesday's hikes focus on sense-improvising skills by differentiating among temporality sense-improvising, identity sense-improvising, and social sense-improvising. Thursday's hikes focus on sense-remaking skills, moving from the enactive sense-remaking period through the virtuous cycle of selective sense-remaking to the retentive sense-remaking hinge between the catastrophe and the post-catastrophe. Friday's hikes focus on sense-transmitting skills, leveraging transmitted organizational cosmologies, transmitted community cosmologies, and transmitted national cosmologies. This chapter explores these five resilience leadership skills.
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The article presents a speech by Paul S. Adler at the Academy of Management's annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada on August 9, 2015. Topics of the speech include challenges and opportunities that management educators face, how Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations have caused management challenges, and how sustainable development challenges impact management education. He also mentions the changing institutional field of business schools and universities and greater accountability.
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"Taking a systems perspective to explain globalisation, this book succeeds in demarcating certain assumptions in order to understand globalisation as an ongoing process." -THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS Globalization is more than a buzzword; it is a complex and evolving process that continually reshapes our environment. Developments around the world in religion, politics, culture, macroeconomics, technology and sustainability all impact business at some level; this book helps students understand the bigger picture of our global business world. Written in an engaging style, Globalization: A Multidisciplinary System argues for a careful consideration of the causes and effects of globalization, ending with a review of the debate for and against it. Packed with relevant examples and case studies, this book introduces the multidimensionality of globalization, reveals its complexity, and provides a systems framework that clarifies the context of globalization and helps students understand what globalization entails-and then helps them derive implications for business decisions from it. Features and Benefits Translates the fundamental systems model into an accessible analytical framework so students can clearly grasp the nuances of this area of study Examines the multidimensional nature of the globalization system and integrates the systems perspective throughout the book, encouraging students to think differently and comprehensively about globalization Offers a readable style with brief case studies that clearly illustrate chapter themes and discussion questions that trigger further thought Ancillaries Additional instructor’s resources are available from the author. Please contact him directly at Intended Audience This book is an excellent supplement for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses in International Business, International Economics, International Relations or Cross-Cultural Management.
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Some business schools have come under considerable criticism for what observers see as their complicit involvement in the corporate scandals and financial crises of the last 15 years. Much of the discussion about changes that schools might undertake has been focused on curriculum issues. However, revisiting the curriculum does not get at the root cause of the problem. Instead, it might create a new challenge: the risk of decoupling the discussion of the curriculum from broader issues of institutional purpose. In this article, we argue that the most pressing need facing business schools is not to teach new courses to be responsive to social demands and stay relevant. Instead, it is to revisit their basic mission—the principles and beliefs on which they were founded—and then to re-evaluate their curriculum design choices in this light. We contrast the Spartan and Athenian educational paradigms as a way of shedding light on the nature of a coherent response.
This essay challenges the prevailing view of progressive rationality and disenchantment as set out in Max Weber's social theory and reproduced in organizational neo-institutionalism. We observe that rationality and disenchantment cannot exist in the absence of magic, mystery and enchantment. We argue that the contemporary celebration of rationality and disenchantment is a modernist discourse that has marginalized equally compelling instances of re-enchantment. Drawing from the popular press and management research we identify five themes of re-enchantment in the world; the rise of populism, the return of tribalism, the resurgence of religion, the re-enchantment of science and the return to craft. We use these phenomena to elaborate four alternative constructs – authenticity, reflexivity, mimesis and incantation - that counterbalance the over rationalized and paralyzing concepts in neo-institutionalism – legitimacy, embeddedness, isomorphism and diffusion. Available at:
… Scientific work is chained to the course of progress; whereas in the realm of art there is no progress in the same sense. It is not true that the work of art of a period that has worked out new technical means, or, for instance, the laws of perspective, stands therefore artistically higher than a work of art devoid of all knowledge of those means and laws — if its form does justice to the material, that is, if its object has been chosen and formed so that it could be artistically mastered without applying those conditions and means. A work of art which is genuine “fulfilment” is never surpassed; it will never be antiquated. Individuals may differ in appreciating the personal significance of works of art, but no one will ever be able to say of such a work that it is ‘outstripped’ by another work which is also “fulfilment.”