9/8/2015 – Corporate Efforts to Address Social Problems Have Limits (The New York Times)

Sep 09, 2015 Comments Off by

There is something appealing about the concept of “shared value.” The strategy, first articulated by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and the management consultant Mark R. Kramer, is based on the belief that companies can increase profits and enhance their businesses even as they address pressing social problems. And yet the case for enlisting corporations to address rising inequality and stagnant mobility warrants some skepticism. For starters, social and corporate objectives are obviously not always aligned. If so many so-called win-win opportunities for companies exist, why haven’t more been taken?

Harvard Business School is in a privileged position to explore this issue. On Wednesday, it will release a report based on a survey of its alumni— a notably well-heeled set — about their concern over America’s lack of shared prosperity. While it offers a case for optimism, it also suggests that executives’ enlightened self-interest is probably not enough to bring about social change.Surprisingly, perhaps, executives care about such things. Two-thirds said it was more important to address poverty, inequality, middle-class stagnation or economic mobility than to stimulate economic growth.

Read the full article in The New York Times. 

Financial Landing 2015

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