Prosperity (2018) examines how business thinking has led to our current state of social, political, and environmental disaster. Drawing on historical, legal, and economic knowledge, it presents a radical new framework in which both corporations and the broader community can flourish together.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Discover how to transform the corporate model into a vehicle for good.
- It’s time for a new business paradigm
- Corporations have lost their connection to community
- Redefining purpose through effective governance
- Creating new metrics for performance
- Transformation through policy
- About the Author
Whether you believe that they hold constitutional rights or that they are simply legal and tax structures, corporations are no doubt among the most important drivers of employment, income and wealth creation. But the same firms that produce the world’s abundance of goods and services also release toxic byproducts into the economic, social and environmental ecosystem. In this thought-provoking work, professor Colin Mayer argues that corporations must set a new course. Executives, investors and elected officials will find this a compelling thesis on the role of the corporation.
- In the “Friedman Doctrine,” economist Milton Friedman set the tone for the modern corporation.
- Corporations must restore trust among their stakeholders.
- The corporation’s history is one of disruption and dynamism.
- Corporations can “do well by doing good.”
- Corporate accounting, law and governance need reform.
- Companies should promote leaders who formulate strategies for nurturing social, human and natural capital.
- Corporations do not exist for the sole accumulation of profit but instead should act in accordance with their fundamental purpose as a business.
Introduction: Discover how to transform the corporate model into a vehicle for good.
There’s no denying that we’re in a time of crisis. The health of our planet is ailing at an alarming rate, and the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has never been so extreme. Business practices have undoubtedly contributed to this state of emergency. The doctrines driving the corporate world have led to the decimation of the environment, and have impacted communities and skewed economic policy.
But it wasn’t always like this, and the corporate model isn’t innately self-serving. In fact, corporations have the potential to do significant good that would benefit many – not only shareholders. We just need to rethink the model we’re using.
This summary will trace how the corporate model has transitioned from a structure that benefited the community to one that has widespread, disastrous consequences. It’ll then highlight ways to course-correct business thinking, and reestablish the corporation as a vehicle for social and economic well-being that still honors shareholder needs.
It’s time for a new business paradigm
Each year, thousands of future company directors begin the next stage of their professional journey – obtaining their MBA. During that first semester of study, they learn about the Friedman doctrine, named after American economist and statistician Milton Friedman. Over 50 years ago, Friedman’s book Capitalism and Freedom presented a concept that not only formed the foundation of business education for the past half-century, but has also defined business practice and influenced government policies on a global level.
This concept states that the sole social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, within the scope of the law. And this is what those future corporate directors are taught – that every decision they make should help generate profits for shareholders. This sentiment is so deeply ingrained that it’s viewed as a natural law – something as innate and unchangeable as gravity.
Following Friedman’s doctrine has undeniably resulted in many benefits. Some corporate shareholders have made huge amounts of money and stimulated the economy. And in the course of doing so, their businesses have provided communities with employment – as well as housing, food, entertainment, and services that make life easier or support our well-being.
But at the same time, following this doctrine has caused immense damage. It has – and continues to – decimate natural resources and harm the planet while increasing inequality and deprivation. Business reporting rarely accounts for this damage. In keeping with Friedman’s doctrine, what matters are financial and material assets – the assets that make money.
Although corporations believe they’re only answerable to shareholders, their decisions affect the well-being of whole communities and ecosystems. That means they should be accountable to those communities and the environment. But to achieve this, the business world will need to replace its old paradigm with a new mindset – one that repositions corporations and their role in society.
Imagine what the world would look like if, as part of their everyday activities, businesses focused on doing good as well as making profits for shareholders. That might sound wildly idealistic, but the reality is that humans invented and adopted Friedman’s doctrine. So why can’t we create a new model that harnesses the good while mitigating the bad?
Businesses have the potential to make significant positive change in the world. They just need to redefine what “success” actually looks like. But before we explore ways to achieve that, let’s look at how we got here in the first place.
Corporations have lost their connection to community
The concept of different people being legally contracted together for business can be traced all the way back to ancient Rome. We’re not going to travel that far back in time, but a quick history lesson can help explain why corporations have lost some of their potential to do good.
A corporation is essentially a structure through which economic activity occurs. What was once an exchange of goods in the market square, or the banding together of different tradespeople to create a building, is now an incorporated company whose activities and output can be studied and analyzed for the purposes of formal education and analysis.
Corporations were once a tool used by a regent and their parliament to promote their nation’s interests. By introducing freedom of incorporation, families were then able to set up their own companies. This was typically done with the understanding that the next generation would take over the business, and continue to generate family wealth and work opportunities for the local community. Things got a little more complicated when corporations became transnational, because they were no longer tied to a state or nation. But for a period of time, they were still largely controlled by families – like the confectionery company Cadbury or financial institution Barclays.
Then along came external investors, which meant the old business families had to relinquish some control. Corporations became co-owned by individuals with no intergenerational interest in the company. These individuals had one sole intention: to make a healthy return on their investment.
And so, over time, local branches of the business were shut down and relocated to cheaper labor markets to increase the profit margin and company value. Western corporations minimized product costs by using sweatshops, and banks maximized their profits by selling financial products that didn’t necessarily benefit the community long-term. In the process, the disparity in wealth distribution widened while the environment was plundered to feed the economic machine.
What’s been lost during this journey is a sense of commitment to the community. As a general rule, corporations no longer see themselves as part of an ecosystem with numerous and diverse stakeholders: their owners, family members, managers, employees, suppliers, customers, and the community. In the past, corporations created long-term goals that supported many – if not all – of their stakeholders, doing good to everyone’s mutual benefit. That’s no longer the case.
But corporations still have this potential. In fact, it’s precisely this capacity for long-term commitment to stakeholders – not just shareholders – that makes corporations a powerful vehicle for good, should they choose to be. Let’s investigate how that might happen.
Redefining purpose through effective governance
One of the main issues with Friedman’s doctrine is that it confuses company directors. When combined with pressure from shareholders, it tricks directors into thinking that the purpose of corporations is to make money. But that isn’t true.
The purpose of corporations is to solve a problem faced by the community. It might be to produce washing machines, so people can clean their clothes. Or it might be to deliver faster internet, or to facilitate travel from A to B. A corporation’s aim shouldn’t be to generate profits for shareholders – that should be a byproduct of it fulfilling its purpose.
In many countries, corporate law states that companies should also have a normative purpose. This is the company’s commitment to doing good in a way that extends beyond their immediate interests, like protecting the environment or offering education programs to the community. But shareholder pressure often means that this gets sidelined, or that a company’s obligations are met in tokenistic ways. And so normative purpose alone won’t transform corporations into a vehicle for good. Governance will need to play a role.
Corporate governance is typically associated with protecting shareholder interests, and policy advice in the US and UK supports this view. However, companies that follow what’s considered best practice corporate governance are the ones that fare the worst in a crisis – like when the dotcom bubble burst, or during the Global Financial Crisis.
The lesson here is that corporate governance shouldn’t be about increasing shareholder value; it should be about supporting a company’s purpose. All the mechanisms designed to govern – like the structure of the board, the appointment of board members, and risk management – should help facilitate the delivery of the company’s true purpose, not shareholder profits.
In addition to this, the corporation must expand its view of who its customers are. A company’s customer base should include everyone its activities impact – like employees, suppliers, the local community, and the environment – not just the direct consumers of its products. A more open attitude like this welcomes growth and innovation, which will help the corporation weather economic storms.
Realigning a corporation with its true purpose takes a visionary leader – someone who shareholders and employees alike trust to roll out this corporate change, and affirm why it’s worthwhile. It takes motivation and commitment. But when it’s successful, it showcases business innovation in its truest form while also shoring up the company’s long-term future.
And while studies that investigate the correlation between doing good and business health are in their infancy, evidence shows that approaching business in a socially responsible way is beneficial for corporations. For instance, high returns, low risk, and low costs are associated with corporate social responsibility, eco-efficiency, and customer satisfaction. And those are things that make all stakeholders – not just shareholders – happy.
Creating new metrics for performance
When it comes to evaluating a corporation’s performance, the standard practice is to report on financial and material assets. But there are so many aspects of a business that don’t end up in the spreadsheet – for better or for worse. For instance, there are three resources that every business needs to maintain to survive, in addition to income and material assets. These three assets are natural, social, and human resources. And yet, when it comes to calculating profit, these assets aren’t accounted for at all. This is a major oversight for both a successful business and an ailing one.
To evaluate performance accurately, corporations need to consider all forms of capital – including natural, human, and social. Just like with any other asset, the cost of maintaining or replacing these three things needs to be factored into net profits. On the flip side, investment in them needs to be visible too – like furthering the education of staff or contributing to the well-being of the local community, many of whom might be a company’s customers or suppliers.
This is the only way to gain a true understanding of a business’s performance. After all, would you want your board to make an important decision based on an incomplete picture? Well, that’s what’s currently happening in most corporations. It also means that profits are likely to be inflated and therefore incorrectly distributed to shareholders, and that resources aren’t allocated in the most effective way. And even more disturbing, it means that national and international economic policy is being developed based on patchy information. This perpetuates damage to communities, the economy, and the environment.
So, how can we redress this situation and gain a better picture of business activities?
First, corporations need to acknowledge eroding natural, social, and human capital as liabilities in their profit and loss statements. For instance, if a business’s annual income is $100 million but it has caused $30 million worth of damage to the environment, then its income should be recorded as only $70 million.
Second, costs associated with maintaining natural, social, and human resources should be recorded as assets. So if a business spends $40,000 on maintaining river health, then its natural assets should increase in value by $40,000.
All companies, landowners, and nations should be responsible for restoring the damage they cause to the community and environment while carrying out their business activities. And the cost of that restoration should appear in their financial records so that profit, liability, and assets are accounted for accurately. After all, the perpetrator of any damage should be the party compensating for that damage – not the victims or future generations.
Transformation through policy
While corporations are diverse in their activities and output, there’s one thing they all have in common: none of them would exist without corporate law, the mechanism that creates corporations. This means that the law holds the potential to influence how corporations operate – and therefore how they impact the lives of everyone they touch.
Corporate law provides a framework by setting out the rules for how a corporation is established, structured, and run. This is the traditional view, at least, that our fresh-faced MBA students learn and will most likely adopt.
But what many people and entities overlook is that the law provides a way for different parties to come together and commit to delivering an outcome that would otherwise be impossible – just as it did in ancient Rome. These commitments are formalized via contracts, ownerships, and governance arrangements.
In addition to this, most companies have corporate commitments. These are statements identifying company practices around the nonfinancial assets mentioned earlier – matters like sustainability and inclusion. But these commitments, while full of good intentions, are problematic. They aren’t governed by contracts, lack metrics for evaluating progress, don’t define who’s responsible for driving them, and rarely include consequences for failure to deliver as a formal contract would. This is why they seldom have meaningful impact.
This raises some important questions. If we want everyone to thrive, should corporations be legally required to conduct themselves in a way that supports and grows social, environmental, and human assets in addition to financial ones? Should they be required to refrain from activities that damage these assets, just as shareholders would want directors to refrain from decisions that devalue financial assets? And should corporations be required by law to make amends and repairs if and when they damage nonfinancial assets?
Three forms of legislation already exist to facilitate the provision of corporate commitments: enabling, empowering, and enforcing legislation. What if three additional forms were added: requiring, refraining, and restoring?
A holistic framework like this would cover the needs of shareholders, other stakeholders, the community in which the corporation operates, and the environment. And it would allow directors to better strike the balance between responsibilities to shareholders and to the corporation itself. That way, shareholders could enjoy their profits while the corporation stays true to its purpose – delivering innovative solutions to society in ways that benefit everyone.
In the “Friedman Doctrine,” economist Milton Friedman set the tone for the modern corporation.
In the 1960s, economist Milton Friedman’s influential Capitalism and Freedom set the tone and direction for the modern corporation. Friedman posited that companies do not exist for social change or environmental stewardship but rather for the single-minded pursuit of profit for shareholders. He asserted that a corporation’s exclusive responsibility is to use its resources to maximize profits, so long as it does so in a transparent, free and competitive market. Yet executives’ reliance on the Friedman Doctrine, with its emphasis on producing gains for shareholders, has created myriad social, governmental, and economic problems and distortions. Strict observance of the Friedman Doctrine has been the source of much environmental destruction and social fragmentation.
“[The corporation] is the source of economic prosperity and the growth of nations around the world.”
The Friedman Doctrine’s time has passed. It is no longer a viable and responsible template for the conduct of business. Commercial, political and social leaders must formulate a new model and dynamic: a commitment to advancing the interests of a diverse population that includes shareholders, employees, consumers, government institutions and community members.
“At the same time, it is the source of inequality, deprivation, and environmental degradation, and the problems are getting worse.” ”
Leaders must rethink the role of corporations, and that must begin with understanding why a company actually does business in the first place. A primary and honest assessment of corporate purpose acknowledges the reality that profit does not stand alone, and that there is a reason and motivation behind profit making.
Corporations must restore trust among their stakeholders.
Over time, the corporate vehicle became the primary facilitator through which to shepherd, leverage and deploy resources in an economy. As recently as the 1970s, the value of most US corporations rested in property and equipment. By 2000, however, the core value of most American companies shifted from physical assets to intangibles such as brands, research and intellectual capacity. The “mindful corporation,” like Google or Facebook, is an entity in which ideas, rather than materials, are the primary assets.
“Forty years ago, 80% the market value of US corporations was attributable to tangible assets…Today, intangibles account for 85% of the market value of US corporations.” ”
Yet today, many people have lost faith in the corporation. They no longer believe that businesses will pay workers fairly, treat them with respect and contribute to the community. The loss of trust in corporations is destructive on many levels. Just as trust is crucial to the healthy functioning of the economy, it is also central to the survival of productive human communities. Governed by the logic of markets and shareholders, today’s mindful corporation lacks humanity.
“A ﬁrm is an evolving entity as much as the organisms of life are evolving systems.” ”
In the future, a “trusted corporation,” in which stakeholders assume priority over shareholders, could produce a value proposition that effectively uses all forms of capital: “human, intellectual, social, material, natural and financial.” This “transformational corporation” will regain the trust of stakeholders as it mobilizes capital inputs for the benefit of community and society. A lot is at stake in the transformational corporation. Without it, the economy, financial systems and the environment will implode.
“Not only were privatization and contracting-out invented two millennia before Margaret Thatcher, so too was popular capitalism.” ”
As biology and conditions in nature evolve, so, too, the corporate ecosystem matures as its foundational human elements develop. Observers of the Darwinian drama of the survival of the fittest often ignore that, in nature and in business, there is also a fundamental interaction and connectivity among group members. Corporations, like individuals, manifest a consciousness, consisting of the thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviors gathered throughout a company’s history. In essence, a corporation develops its own unique persona.
The corporation’s history is one of disruption and dynamism.
During the days of the Roman Empire, citizens created foundational contract systems, forerunners of the modern corporation and the partnership. Societas involved relatively loose, nonbinding commercial agreements, while the collegium centered on an association-based model with a more codified legal framework. A third platform, the societas publicanorum, introduced share ownership of property and 0f commercial and public endeavors. The Roman corporate architecture spread across the empire and created a governing infrastructure for administration. When the Roman Empire collapsed, an Islamic prosperity ensued under the mudaraba model of commercial organization. The mudaraba was a type of partnership whose purpose was to avoid the Islamic prohibition on lending with interest while still benefiting those who provided capital for investment.
“Understanding the stages through which the corporation has evolved…is important in determining what was originally intended of it.”
As various forms of corporations and partnerships blossomed around the globe, business stakeholders in the Middle Ages used the commenda, a share-based system of investing in commercial enterprises. The guilds of the post-Norman Conquest further shaped the corporate structure, as global trade expanded through the financing of merchant explorations. Charters gained a foothold in commercial dealings, and the joint stock company first emerged as a transaction vehicle. In these eras, monarchies and empires secured the power of corporations. In the 18th century, philosopher Adam Smith identified the dangers of a corporate architecture when he recognized the disconnect between the owners of a business and the caretakers of the operation. For Smith, the division between ownership and management was a potential source of conflict. Nonetheless, the Dutch and English East India companies continued to advance global trade, while cementing the process of raising capital, deploying tender, generating profit and distributing cash back to shareholders. Whereas financiers developed the modern forms of banking in Italy, the English and Dutch fueled capital accumulation and powered commerce and investment.
“Corporate law creates the corporation. It would not exist without corporate law because the corporation is a product of the law.” ”
Economic equality and social benefits emerged as dominant themes at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s. In 1900, wealthy chocolate producer George Cadbury set in motion the idea of leaving vast wealth to society as a means to improve economic and social conditions, much as modern-day billionaires have subscribed to the Giving Pledge in the 21st century. Cadbury recognized that vast amounts of money is not a value in and of itself, either to an individual or to a family.
Corporations can “do well by doing good.”
Companies often began as family-owned businesses that then issued additional shares to fund expansion. Despite the vast public ownership of corporations, the family-owned corporate model remains the most common around the globe. Businesses that remain engaged over long periods of time and retain stable family ownership continue to develop and expand. Family ownership makes it possible to maintain a kind of purpose and vision that is management’s principal job to realize.
“No wonder we need regulation. Finance without regulation is a license to steal.” ”
A company’s purpose must be more than shareholder value and profits. A company’s purpose must center on why it exists as a going concern. To put it succinctly: What is the business offering to consumers and clients and, more broadly, to stakeholders? A company may sell oil, widgets or cloud services, but its purpose should also lie in “identifying human, social, or environmental issues.” If addressed through resource allocation, the use of human, social and environmental capital can improve society. In addition, profits can accrue by finding ways to eliminate social ills like poverty, economic inequality and the destruction of the environment.
“In sum, debt and, in particular, long-term debt present companies with the double-edged sword of funding for investment during good times but the shackles of indebtedness during bad times.” ”
Increasing GDP and corporate profits do not necessarily translate into natural human and social capital gains. A proper examination of the use and maintenance of sovereign capital portrays a far different economic picture of the health of nations and corporations. Leaders can best understand natural capital as environmental resources: forests, water and air, among others. Sovereign and corporate officials must work proactively to secure existing natural capital, while continually replenishing renewable resources.
Corporate accounting, law and governance need reform.
Traditional accounting cannot value or price natural, human or social capital. Owners can earn a fair profit by not inflicting negative externalities on stakeholders. But corporations should not register a profit without accounting for and incorporating the cost of damaging and repairing natural and other forms of capital. Innovative companies have an incentive to “internalize the externalities” and generate both profits and benefits for their employees and societies. Corporate leaders must undertake a fundamental reorientation of accounting for social, natural and human capital to equate it with financial and intellectual sources. Traditional accounting has reached its limits. By equally including financial, social and environmental capital, the full value of assets can be acknowledged.
“We have witnessed the noble purposes of the founders of corporations progressively and inexorably eroded to a preoccupation with proﬁt.” ”
Current laws governing corporate behavior benefit mostly shareholders, but these practices should protect stakeholders in the marketplace. Despite the recent trend of corporate CEOs and board members declaring their intentions toward sustainability and environmental, social and governance awareness, few companies are following through on their rhetoric with committed action. Corporate governance must necessarily include “articulation, accountability and attribution.” Leaders who develop corporate synergies with stakeholders, empower the business to achieve profit with purpose. Regulation exists to provide economic guardrails against unfettered free markets. Finance exists to move capital among stakeholders in the pursuit of return, which drives economic growth. Financial system intermediaries play a crucial role in costs, the structure of portfolios and governance. Advances in payments and financial transfers highlight the importance of sound and thoughtful regulation. Effective risk management techniques should operate as safeguards to stakeholders against systemic shocks to the economic ecosystem.
Companies should promote leaders who formulate strategies for nurturing social, human and natural capital.
Long-term debt obligations represent one of the greatest impediments for corporations and sovereigns to implement profit with purpose initiatives, and invest in natural, human and social capital. The small to medium-size enterprise encounters the greatest difficulty in accessing capital where markets are not as fully matured as they are in the United States. In most advanced economies, the corporate tax architecture encourages debt issuance over equity financing, which add burdens to balance sheets. Policy officials can change the interest deductibility feature to remove tangled financial incentives. Companies should promote leaders who formulate strategies for nurturing social, human and natural capital. Corporate realignment entails codifying the pursuit of purpose; removing tax-deductibility debt incentives; and elevating the status of natural, social and human capital.
Corporations do not exist for the sole accumulation of profit but instead should act in accordance with their fundamental purpose as a business.
Nations and the international community have vastly underinvested in critical infrastructure around the world. Leaders need to bolster financing mechanisms, which can consistently raise and transmit funds for priority projects. However, policy officials must also think broadly about infrastructure to move beyond one-off construction considerations. Rather, infrastructure is an ecosystem of communication, transportation, logistics and energy, which together underpin economic vibrancy. Because of the nature of infrastructure as a public good, private financing models are not dependable as long-term facilitators of project development. The public and private sectors must also revalue the asset and liability metrics of infrastructure in the totality of the multiple forms of capital. Government actors can strengthen ties between private and public sectors by operating transparently about timelines, costs, property rights and political motivations.
“Its [the corporation’s] proper purpose is to proﬁt for, not from, its people and planet.” ”
The corporate structure throughout history has created enormous global prosperity, while also producing a mass of negative externalities. Corporations do not exist for the sole accumulation of profit but instead should act in accordance with their fundamental purpose as a business. Through pursuit of purpose, corporations can deliver enormous benefits by growing the reservoir of human, intellectual, social, material, natural and financial capital.
Over the centuries, the role of the corporation has transitioned from a vehicle that brings people together for a specific business purpose to one whose focus is on generating profits for shareholders – often at the expense of others and the planet.
But the corporation is a product of society. As such, we can reinvent it to be a powerful agent of change and support while still benefiting shareholders. By embracing corporate commitment and redefining asset management and corporate responsibility, we can create a healthier, more prosperous future on a global scale.
About the Author
Colin Mayer is a professor of management studies at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.
Economics, Management, Leadership, Society, Culture
Here is my summary and review of the book [Prosperity: Better Business Makes the Greater Good] by [Colin Mayer]:
The book is a critical and visionary analysis of how business can and should contribute to the greater good of society. The book argues that the current model of business, based on profit maximization and shareholder value, is not only unsustainable, but also harmful to individuals, communities, and the environment. The book proposes a new model of business, based on purpose, trust, and values, that can create both wealth and well-being for all stakeholders.
The book consists of three parts:
- Part I: The Problem. This part diagnoses the root causes of the problem of business as usual, and how it has led to social, economic, and environmental crises. It traces the historical evolution of the corporation, from its origins as a social institution with a public purpose, to its transformation into a legal entity with a private interest. It also exposes the myths and misconceptions that underpin the dominant view of business, such as the separation of ownership and control, the efficiency of markets, and the primacy of shareholders.
- Part II: The Solution. This part presents the main thesis of the book: that business can be a force for good, if it is redefined around a clear and compelling purpose that serves society. It defines purpose as the reason why a business exists, beyond making money. It also explains how purpose can be embedded in the ownership, governance, measurement, and performance of business, and how it can foster trust, innovation, and collaboration among all stakeholders.
- Part III: The Implementation. This part offers some practical suggestions and recommendations on how to implement the solution of purposeful business, both at the individual and collective level. It advises business leaders, managers, employees, customers, investors, regulators, educators, and citizens on how to adopt and promote a purpose-driven approach to business. It also outlines some of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for business in the 21st century.
Here is a concise summary of the key points from the book:
- The Flaws of Profit Maximization: Mayer begins by highlighting the shortcomings of the traditional profit-maximizing approach in business. He argues that this narrow focus has led to income inequality, environmental degradation, and a lack of consideration for broader social impact.
- The Purposeful Business Model: The book introduces the concept of the “purposeful business.” Mayer advocates for businesses to adopt a broader purpose that includes creating value not only for shareholders but also for society and the environment.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Mayer emphasizes the importance of engaging with various stakeholders, including employees, customers, communities, and governments. He argues that businesses should consider their impact on all stakeholders and work collaboratively to address societal challenges.
- Environmental Sustainability: The author discusses the crucial role of businesses in addressing environmental issues. He advocates for sustainability practices that reduce carbon emissions, conserve resources, and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.
- Ethical Leadership: Mayer highlights the significance of ethical leadership in driving purposeful businesses. He suggests that leaders should prioritize values, ethics, and long-term thinking over short-term profits.
- Reforming Capital Markets: The book calls for reforms in capital markets to align with the goals of purposeful businesses. Mayer proposes changes in financial reporting, investment practices, and corporate governance to incentivize socially responsible behavior.
The book is an inspiring and insightful read that challenges the conventional wisdom and practice of business as a purely profit-oriented activity. The book is based on the author’s extensive research and expertise as a professor of management studies and a leading authority on corporate governance. The book is written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of examples, anecdotes, data, charts, and diagrams that illustrate the main points. The book is also well-structured and easy to follow, with summaries, key takeaways, questions, and exercises at the end of each chapter.
The book’s main strength is its originality and relevance. The book introduces a new concept of purposeful business that captures the essence of the role and responsibility of business in society. The book also provides a rich historical context that helps to understand the origins and evolution of business as a social institution. The book also offers a realistic and nuanced assessment of the benefits and costs of business as a force for good.
The book’s main weakness is its lack of depth and detail on some topics. For example, the book does not cover some aspects of purposeful business that are relevant for different sectors, industries, or regions. The book also does not provide much guidance on how to measure or evaluate the impact or effectiveness of purposeful business. The book could benefit from more references to external resources or further readings for those who want to learn more about specific topics.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about how business can make a positive difference in the world. The book is a stimulating and informative read that will make you think about your own purpose and values as a business person or as a consumer. The book is also a valuable resource for anyone who wants to improve their leadership and management skills as a purposeful business practitioner.