Column: What’s Wrong with the Harvard Business School and American Business

Professor emeritus Bruce Scott was a pioneer at the Harvard Business School, where he insisted that management training had to include the big picture, and helped craft the school’s now-mandatory MBA course, Business and Government in the International Economy (known colloquially as BGIE or “Biggie”) back in the 1970s.
 
Harvard Business School is the subject of journalist Duff McDonald’s new book, The Golden Passport, which examines … [ Read more ]

Take 5: How Companies Benefit from Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility has been a buzzword for a while. And it’s not hard to see how communities stand to benefit when firms are serious about CSR—be it by participating in a clean water campaign or having a large philanthropic presence.

But what about the firms themselves? How does doing good affect their bottom line? Here, Kellogg faculty share research and perspectives into how companies can … [ Read more ]

The Right Way for Companies to Publicize Their Social Responsibility Efforts

It’s a common complaint. Companies keep trying to show the world that they are socially conscious and keep losing the battle. A major reason companies don’t get credit for their good works is they employ a one-size-fits-all strategy to communicating their efforts, while what’s needed are focused messages that matter to each of their four different audiences:

  1. Corporate watchdogs such as social media activists, NGOs,

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Paying for CSR is Good Governance

More and more firms today are including incentives for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their executive compensation contracts. But is this a worthwhile practice? Who benefits from it? Recent research shows a link between CSR activities and better social performance and the bottom line. But is paying for CSR beneficial for shareholder interests? Accounting and stock-price performance incentives are already common in executive compensation contracts … [ Read more ]

Social Entrepreneurship by the Billions

An audacious effort to provide digital ID numbers throughout India illustrates the potential for large-scale change.

Why Green is the New Gold

By turning sustainability initiatives into drivers of measurable value, some CEOs are outperforming their peers and forging a path for others to follow.

Corporate Digital Responsibility: Doing Well by Doing Good

Accenture has identified five principles that will increasingly define what it means to be a responsible business in the digital economy. Companies that understand and take action on these principles will be positioned not only to manage today’s challenges but also to differentiate themselves for growth in the future.

Circular Advantage: Innovative Business Models and Technologies that Create Value

Accenture research shows that leading organizations are now adopting circular economy models—decoupling growth from scarce resources and, thus, gaining a competitive edge (what we call a circular advantage).

We are rapidly approaching a point where the linear growth model is no longer viable for companies. This is due to the rising global affluence, the inability of many nonrenewable resources to keep up with demand, the strained … [ Read more ]

Getting the Most Out of Your Sustainability Program

Sustainability initiatives won’t create lasting value if they’re poorly managed. Here are four lessons from companies that are doing it right.

Are You Ready for the Resource Revolution?

Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chains

Instead of focusing only on commercial advantage, leading companies are balancing that with environmental impact and local economic development. It’s what we call, “the triple advantage,” where value chains support business goals and contribute positively to the socio-economy. Accenture and the World Economic Forum joined to identify 31 supply chain practices that lead to a triple advantage.

Creating Partnerships for Sustainability

Companies are increasingly expected to join with other organizations—both public and private—to address social and environmental problems. Here are seven ways to make such alliances successful.

Sustainability’s Strategic Worth: McKinsey Global Survey Results

Executives at all levels see an important business role for sustainability. But when it comes to mastering the reputation, execution, and accountability of their sustainability programs, many companies have far to go.

The One-for-one Business Model: Avoiding Unintended Consequences

The one-for-one business model has catapulted to prominence since Toms adopted it. Scores of similar businesses, selling a wide range of products, have followed suit. Many say that from a marketing standpoint, the model is a winner. Still, questions have been raised about whether the social impact aspect works quite as well.

Best Business Books 2014

strategy+business presents their 14th annual best business books special section with picks from seven eminent reviewers.

Editor’s Note: As usual, these pieces offer more than just listings of recommended books. In particular, I recommend you read the entries on strategy and economics.

What Can You Do Better?

Paul Leinwand, coauthor, with Cesare Mainardi, of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy, introduces a guiding maxim for CSR success from Winning Investors Over: Surprising Truths about Honesty, Earnings Guidance, and Other Ways to Boost Your Stock Price, by Baruch Lev.

How to Win the Argument with Milton Friedman

In 1970, in his famous essay, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, Milton Friedman railed against any corporate attempt to promote “desirable social ends” which he argued were “highly subversive to the capitalist system.”

Ever since, folks have argued that Friedman is wrong to make the trade-off between shareholders and the rest of society so wholly in favor of shareholders and that … [ Read more ]

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Research by Christopher Marquis shows that a company’s degree of social responsibility is affected by a surprising factor—the language it uses to communicate.