Philippe de Woot

Can we define the purpose of business only in terms of economic and technological progress? It is interesting to note that in Western myths all the heroes who are catalysts of material progress are doomed: Prometheus, the entrepreneur; Vulcan, the engineer; Ulysses and Jason, the creators of markets; and even Icarus, the hero of the ill-considered risk and abortive progress.

Jean-Paul Larçon, Bernard Ramamantsoa

Corporate governance is not only a European challenge but an international one, because companies ultimately compete for financial resources on the global market. And corporate governance practices, which are strongly linked to local legal and regulatory environments, have a strong influence on strategic management style, as well as on decision-making at board, CEO and middle management levels. Thus, if organization follows strategy, strategy follows governance. … [ Read more ]

Valérie Swaen, Isabelle Maignan

According to Carroll (1979), CSR has an economic, a legal, an ethical and a philanthropic face. Socially responsible companies are expected: (1) to be profitable while providing desired goods and services (fulfill their economic responsibilities), (2) to obey the law (fulfill their legal responsibilities), (3) to follow codes of conduct considered as morally right (meet their ethical responsibilities), and (4) to contribute actively to the … [ Read more ]

Gunnar Hedlund

The current, and justified, fascination with the tacit component of knowledge […] must not cloud the fact that organizations to a large extent are ‘articulation machines,’ built around codified practices and deriving some of their competitive advantages from clever, unique articulation.

Ahmet Aykac

If one looks at the Western experience, one can distinguish several clear epochs: Antiquity, the Feudal order, and the capitalist order in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. In Antiquity slave ownership was the source of power; those who owned the people had a right to the fruits of their efforts. In the Feudal period, the source of such power was the land; those who … [ Read more ]

Ahmet Aykac

Over the past 250 years we in the West have constructed a governance structure whose ‘micro’ aspects are geared to efficiency in acquiring and using capital and protecting the interests of the capital owner (shareholders being a much larger group today than a century ago). We have built a ‘macro’ governance structure based on nation states and which reflects this micro structure. Yet over the … [ Read more ]

Michael Mainelli

Financial decision theory has attempted to put finance forward, with some success, as a meta-decision framework for organizations, encompassing alternative financing and debt/equity trade-offs (Capital Asset Pricing Model), shareholder value added (hurdle rates, risk-adjusted return on capital), time cost of money (Net Present Value) and volatility (risk/reward options). Finance provides a single ‘currency’ for corporate decisions. Can this financial model be reconciled with social responsibility … [ Read more ]

Michael Mainelli

The post-modern risk societal problem is how to hold postmodern organizations to social goals while still permitting them to add value.

Ulrich Beck

In risk conflicts, the central question of power is a question of definition. It is the question of who, with what legal and intellectual resources, gets to decide what counts as a ‘risk’, what counts as a ‘cause’, and what counts as a ‘cost’. The question of determining who is responsible, and who has to bear the burden of paying for damages, has been transmuted … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Beck

Risk acceptability depends on whether those who carry the losses also receive the benefits. Where this is not the case, the risk will be unacceptable to those affected. If even the benefit is in dispute it is not enough to demonstrate that the ‘residual risk’ is, statistically speaking, highly improbable. A risk cannot be considered in and of itself. It is always framed by the … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Beck

Technical experts have lost their monopoly on rationality in the original sense: they no longer dictate the proportions by which judgment is measured. Statements of risk are based on cultural standards, technically expressed, about what is still and what is no longer acceptable. When scientists say that an event has a low probability of occurring, and hence is a negligible risk, they are necessarily encoding … [ Read more ]

Christian Gollier

How can we decide whether a risk is acceptable to society? Using the language of cost-benefit analysis, we can say that the risk is acceptable if its benefits to society exceed its costs. But to say this is merely to re-state the problem, for by assumption the benefits and costs are uncertain. Where these benefits and costs have known probabilities, and where individuals can diversify … [ Read more ]

John Kay

The doctrine of collective dominance is derived from the belief that a concentrated market structure leads to higher prices and higher profits for all firms in that market because it reduces the effectiveness of competition. This doctrine does not imply or require that any particular firm enjoy identifiable market power. Nor does it imply or require that the firms in question collude or co-ordinate their … [ Read more ]

Sir William Castell

It’s clear to me that you can never have a single culture in an international company. Cultures are molded by countries, by fiscal systems, by the systems people work in—they’re different from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States, and they’re different in Sweden, Norway and Japan. Anyone who believes they can impose a single corporate culture across a global company … [ Read more ]

Andrew Campbell

The success of ‘stretch goals’ to power performance in existing businesses can blind managers to the reality that similar techniques cannot be used to drive the creation of new businesses. Stretch goals work in existing businesses because managers get stuck in ruts and the stretch can unlock their thinking. In the search for new businesses managers have no ruts to unlock. Stretch just distracts them … [ Read more ]

Michael Porter

Many companies want to engage in philanthropic efforts because it will improve their reputation. It is easy to agree that we ought to be doing something good, and that we should contribute to doing ‘the right thing’ for society. No one will disagree with this noble ambition. For me, however, that is not the interesting question. Although there is a lot of feeling that ‘we … [ Read more ]

Michael Porter

I believe we in the business world need to be more offensive. Right now we are apologizing for the company. We are defensive, and businesses are engaging in corporate philanthropy to avoid scandals and to be liked. That is a dangerous route. Companies need to move away from defensive actions into a proactive integration of social initiatives into business competitive strategy. Basically I think that … [ Read more ]

Peter Ulrich and Thomas Maak

There are different approaches that may constitute business ethics, just as there are different ways to think about ethics in society. Firstly, there is the widely held view that the sole task of business ethics is to restrain the economic drive for profit in cases which raise considerable moral problems. This perspective restricts the role of business ethics to a corrective factor which needs to … [ Read more ]

Bob Bischof

I think the knowledge-driven economy is an unfortunate phrase because I tell you, making cars or making forklift trucks, or other high positioned equipment, needs, in my experience, more knowledge and more skills than running service sector companies and e-commerce dot com companies. Knowledge economy talk is quite an insult to my plumber and my car mechanic and the farmers and people who do other … [ Read more ]

Edgar Schein

Culture is the outcome of the shared experiences arising out of an organization’s attempts to resolve fundamental problems of adapting to the external world and achieving internal integration and consistency.