Org Theory for Good

I have only started this article in s+b, published by Booz and Company, a consulting firm.  But its premise is very interesting: we are seeing a new wave of organizational forms and organizational technology to support business-social benefit hybrids.

The idea also contains an explicit criticism of business as usual:

The Soul of a New Design
For years, critics of the corporation have argued that the prevailing design of publicly held corporations is innately flawed. That design involves a board that is elected by shareholders — with votes allocated proportionately to the number of shares held — whose members then appoint a semiautonomous CEO as the shareholders’ agent, who in turn delegates authority down through the ranks. In many ways, this has been a highly effective model. The “managerial hierarchy” structure, as corporate historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. called it, has ac­complished more in a short time than any other form the world has known.

But this shareholder-centric model has also contributed over the years to what former Citigroup CEO John Reed has called the “iron triangle of short-term pressures” — hedge funds, stock options, and stock analysts — that keeps companies narrowly focused on quarterly profits.

You are welcome to read and write more on this article for a blog post.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Jordi-

    Funny you should mention this article … I have it sitting here on my desk. I was glad to see it in s+b, which I think of as a fairly ‘corporatist’ magazine (and a good read). Having it appear in s+b suggests that the idea is getting somewhat more mainstream.

    I’ve started to keep track of the growing list of new legal & conceptual organizational forms intended to codify and legitimate the profit plus purpose model … When I first saw the B Corporation, I was excited in part b/c I thought it was novel. Now, with things like ‘triple bottom line’, organizational democracy, forceForGood, there’s a good bit of energy, although scattered and somewhat redundant.

    Who’s out there, what’s going on, and what does this mean? Someone should do a research project on this… or maybe an AMR paper….

  2. p.s. Wouldn’t this have made a great symposium for AOM? Maybe we could do it for next yr’s EAOM……..

  3. Yes, definitely a good symposium. EAOM- Euro AOM?

    There was a track at EGOS for this summer on social entrepreneurship that got cancelled due to lack of submissions. Maybe that terms is cast too narrowly.

    AS for papers- there is the April 15 deadline for “Where will new theories come from.” I am trying to do get something in. We can talk more off line.

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