Tomorrow’s Corporation that We Need Today: Getting there from here. David Langstaff, president and CEO of TASC Inc., discusses why understanding the purpose of the corporation is so important and suggests next steps. March 7, 2013.
Today, corporate purpose is being held hostage by the myth of shareholder primacy. Society must decide whether it is to embrace a property, or solely economic view of the corporation, or a citizenship view. If we choose the property view – that the purpose of the corporation is for its shareholders – we are on a path to replay the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ and we all will lose. Even more tragic, in the long run, we destroy our own motivations, beliefs and trust in each other and in our institutions. It becomes our own ‘Faustian’ bargain where we sacrifice our societal ‘soul’ for short‐term, yet unsustainable gratification of the few.
See Rethinking ‘Shareholder Value,’ the Purpose of the Corporation, and the Role of the Board on The Conference Board Governance Center Blog, March 7, 2013. Their post was based on the recent “Kellogg School of Management/Aspen Institute Business and Society Conference,” a joint Kellogg School/Aspen program