The Aspen Institute fosters leadership “based on enduring values” and examines critical issues, such as the purpose of the corporation. Their business and society page is well worth reading and viewing. Here’s the opening narrative:
Business corporations are perhaps the most influential organizations in society and have long been recognized as important contributors to the common good. Society grants corporations unique privileges in order to harness their great capacities to serve its needs. Yet the current narrative of the business corporation tells a different story; corporations have the sole purpose of maximizing profits for shareholders.
Aspen BSP is conducting a series of off-the-record and public dialogues among scholars, business leaders, and investors to explore this divergence and broaden thinking about the corporate objective function beyond shareholder wealth maximization.
The ways a company views its purpose are enormously consequential, not only to ensure corporate accountability, but perhaps more importantly as the architecture for value creation. Purpose is a firm’s vision for the value it seeks to create and how that value is created; it defines what the corporation is and does, whom it serves and how it contributes to the well-being of society.
Their post goes on to list past events, book talk, reading collections, speeches and blogs… all very interesting.
Don’t miss the July 1, 2012 Video – Aspen Ideas Festival Panel: Has Maximizing Shareholder Value Endangered America’s Greatest Companies? Moderator: Joe Nocera (Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times). Panelists: Professor Tom Donaldson (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania), Shelley Lazarus (Chairman, Ogilvy and Mather), Howard Schultz (CEO, Starbucks), Professor Lynn Stout (Cornell University Law School).