Building a social purpose into a business strategy is just as important in securing long-term success as building in an economic purpose, according to an article in November’s Harvard Business Review.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s article How Great Companies Think Differently, is based on the theory of institutional logic. This theory holds that the best businesses are more than just engines to make money, they are “also vehicles for accomplishing societal purposes and for providing meaningful livelihoods for those who work in them.” Such companies see business as a pillar of society in a similar mold as government, religion or family, Kanter argues.
As a result, during their decisions on how best to make money, the most successful companies consider whether or not they are building long-term institutions of society. As a result they invest in the future while paying attention to the needs of society and people, according to the article.
There are six basic facets of institutional logic that great companies use to their advantage: a common purpose; a long-term view; emotional engagement; community building; innovation; and self-organization, the article says.
A recent column for Environmental Leader by CEO and owner of Miller Consultants Kathy Miller, argues that those companies pursuing sustainable business strategies have employees who are more engaged.
According to Miller, employees are more likely to feel that their work is meaningful and be more engaged in it as a result, when it has some wider benefit other than simply helping profits.
Picture credit: Ingrid Richter