The latest from Michael Porter, on valuing social responsibility

BVWireIssue #51-3
December 20, 2006

It’s been nearly a decade since the release of Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance (Free Press, 1998), which reviewers still hail as “the most influential management book of the past quarter century,” primarily for its pioneering “Value Chain” concept.

Currently a professor at Harvard Business School (HBS), leader of its Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, author of 17 books and over 125 articles—Porter’s latest release is “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR]” Harvard Business Review (December 2006). Co-authored by Mark Kramer—who also co-founded with Porter the Foundation Strategy Group LLC (Boston), the article proposes an alternative to treating corporate growth and social welfare as a zero-sum game:

If corporations were to analyze their opportunities for social responsibility using the same frameworks that guide their core business choices, they would discover, as Whole Foods Market, Toyota, and Volvo have done, that CSR can be much more than a cost, a constraint, or a charitable deed—it can be a potent source of innovation and competitive advantage.

In other words—CSR may yet prove to be the next decade’s most potent source of value. To purchase a copy of the article, click here.

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