Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer stated in the Harvard Business Review, Jan 2011 that “the capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together. The solution lies in the principle of shared value, which involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking. A growing number of companies known for their hard-nosed approach to business—such as GE, Google, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Unilever, and Wal-Mart—have already embarked on important efforts to create shared value. Realising it will require leaders and managers to develop new skills and knowledge—such as a far deeper appreciation of societal needs, a greater understanding of the true bases of company productivity, and the ability to collaborate across profit/nonprofit boundaries.”
This new direction of ‘shared value’, which is beginning to gain momentum within the business world, raises important issues for the Engage for Success movement in understanding how to engage employees in contributing to strategies in their organisations on this important topic. It is my view that employees will be able to contribute significant insights into the needs of the communities in which they live as well as those of customers and suppliers. This means that businesses need to engage employees in helping them to create shared value strategies and deliver them.
What do you think?
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