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“股东至上”不再流行,企业转向“利益相关者资本主义”

“股东至上”不再流行,企业转向“利益相关者资本主义”

Bill GeorGe 2020年05月23日
新冠疫情正在促使企业寻找具有创造性的新途径,助力其主流业务更好地满足社会需求。

3月23日,在伊利诺斯州梅尔罗斯公园一家百思买商场的无接触取货区,一位顾客把新买的电视机装入自己的车中。图片来源:SCOTT OLSON—GETTY IMAGES

如果说新冠肺炎疫情带来了什么积极的后果,那就是企业不再一味地强调股东利益,而是将重心加速转向“利益相关者”。

诺贝尔经济学奖得主米尔顿·弗里德曼在1970年宣布,企业的社会责任就是增加利润。自那时起,股东至上和“利益相关者资本主义”的倡导者就一直争执不休。

40年后,迈克尔·波特和马克·克雷默在《哈佛商业评论》2011年刊发的一篇名为“创造共享价值”的文章中,提供了一种旨在整合利益相关者的工具。他们写道:通过满足社会需求,企业能以一种既造福社会,又有利于股东的方式拓展市场,同时为客户、员工、社区,以及投资者创造价值。

2019年,在深刻认识到企业必须向所有利益相关者承担责任之后,由美国主要公司组成的“商业圆桌会议”重新改写了《公司宗旨宣言书》,承诺将致力于满足所有利益相关者的需要,并放弃此前一直秉承的股东至上原则。

如今,新冠疫情对经济造成的巨大伤害让企业更加清晰地意识到员工和客户的重要性,资本主义的钟摆进一步转向多方利益相关者模式。

这场危机正在促使企业寻找具有创造性的新途径,助力其主流业务更好地满足社会需求。此外,首席执行官也在迅速适应将决定未来经济的新常态,更加自觉地把员工和客户的安全和福祉放在首位。尽管相对于健康问题,2020年的盈利能力已经退居次要地位,但各大公司都在竭力加固资产负债表,以抵御这场风暴,并为长远的竞争做准备。

为了增强企业在2021年及以后岁月的竞争和财务实力,首席执行官纷纷祭出新商业模式,利用创新战略来满足客户快速变化的需求,因为这场疫情使他们能够在未来几个月加速推进多年来一直在进行的变革。这一点在数字化转型中表现得最为明显——数字化日益成为企业与客户打交道和经营业务的主要方式。那些处于数字时代前沿的公司,比如亚马逊、沃尔玛和微软,正在蓬勃发展;而那些落后的公司,比如传统零售商彭尼百货、西尔斯和J. Crew,却在苦苦挣扎求生。

接下来让我们逐一解析这场新冠疫情对各利益相关方的影响:

员工

冠状病毒危机进一步强化了员工,尤其是医疗卫生、零售、食品、医疗设备和配送服务等领域一线工人的重要性。众所周知,其中的许多人正在冒着生命危险工作。员工安全已经成为复工复产能否顺利实施的首要因素。今年3月,为表彰一线工人在抗疫战斗中的重要贡献,沃尔玛宣布向全职员工和兼职小时工发放总额超过3.65亿美元的奖金。此后不久,塔吉特百货也宣布向员工支付3亿美元的特别奖金。

在重新投入运营之际,企业将大刀阔斧地重组内部结构,减少中层管理人员、差旅预算和顾问开支,同时提升一线员工的培训、薪酬和福利。鉴于日常工作逐渐实现自动化,工人将变得更加训练有素,尽管总体数量会减少。与此同时,许多在家工作的员工发现,他们不仅避免了长时间通勤之苦,还可以根据自己的时间表更有效率地工作。

客户

一旦重新开业,企业是否会迎来一大批准备购买其产品和服务的客户?失业、无薪休假和减薪带来的破坏性影响,强化了人们对储蓄、现金储备的需求,并减少了可自由支配支出。许多消费者不再购买新房子和汽车,而是选择延长旧车的使用时间,并租住在公寓里。对健康和安全的担忧,进一步加快了消费行为向网上购物、店内取货和送货上门的转变,无论你购买的是食品杂货,还是个人电脑。

等到新冠疫苗广泛使用时,这些新习惯将成为日常消费行为,而且不太可能逆转。以高效、安全的方式满足这些新需求的公司将成为赢家。随着利用电子工具的远程服务逐渐走向主流,服务概念本身也将发生变化。例如,百思买的首席执行官科里·巴里通过私人预约和路边取货等方式,再造了这家消费电子零售商的在线和门店购物体验。

供应商

在疫情期间,关键零部件的供应链短缺阻碍了口罩和药品等关键产品的生产,这主要是原料药生产大国印度和中国的供应链梗阻所致。这些问题将促使企业在多个地区重新平衡供应链——甚至不惜付出更高的成本——并建立首选供应商协议,而不是只选择成本最低的供应商。

社区

新冠疫情重塑了当地社区的重要性,但也剥夺了员工面对面交流的机会。为此,许多公司正在开展虚拟“欢乐时光”等在线活动,希望以此来增强员工的集体意识。其他形式的社区也应运而生。塔吉特百货将其精心制作的重新开张行动手册“安全零售工具包”(SAFE Retail Toolkit)分享给了其他零售商,以帮助它们安全开业,并借此培养雇主之间的社区意识。亚马逊最近宣布投资逾40亿美元应对新冠疫情挑战,而改善员工健康和提高客服效率将成为这项计划的重要内容。

股东

那些迅速适应新常态的公司将成为市场的赢家,从而能够为投资者创造更大的价值。貌似矛盾的是,最大的股东价值创造者并不是那些痴迷于股东价值最大化的企业。相反,这些公司往往专注于长期战略,致力于通过丰厚薪酬等手段激励广大员工为客户创造卓越价值。

这场疫情让首席执行官认识到,利益相关者资本主义是创造可持续股东价值、调整其商业模式以满足客户的新需求、激励员工、与供应商合作,以及建立社区的唯一途径。

本文作者比尔·乔治是哈佛商学院高级研究员,美敦力公司前董事长兼首席执行官,著有《真北》(Discover Your True North)一书。 (财富中文网)

译者:任文科

如果说新冠肺炎疫情带来了什么积极的后果,那就是企业不再一味地强调股东利益,而是将重心加速转向“利益相关者”。

诺贝尔经济学奖得主米尔顿·弗里德曼在1970年宣布,企业的社会责任就是增加利润。自那时起,股东至上和“利益相关者资本主义”的倡导者就一直争执不休。

40年后,迈克尔·波特和马克·克雷默在《哈佛商业评论》2011年刊发的一篇名为“创造共享价值”的文章中,提供了一种旨在整合利益相关者的工具。他们写道:通过满足社会需求,企业能以一种既造福社会,又有利于股东的方式拓展市场,同时为客户、员工、社区,以及投资者创造价值。

2019年,在深刻认识到企业必须向所有利益相关者承担责任之后,由美国主要公司组成的“商业圆桌会议”重新改写了《公司宗旨宣言书》,承诺将致力于满足所有利益相关者的需要,并放弃此前一直秉承的股东至上原则。

如今,新冠疫情对经济造成的巨大伤害让企业更加清晰地意识到员工和客户的重要性,资本主义的钟摆进一步转向多方利益相关者模式。

这场危机正在促使企业寻找具有创造性的新途径,助力其主流业务更好地满足社会需求。此外,首席执行官也在迅速适应将决定未来经济的新常态,更加自觉地把员工和客户的安全和福祉放在首位。尽管相对于健康问题,2020年的盈利能力已经退居次要地位,但各大公司都在竭力加固资产负债表,以抵御这场风暴,并为长远的竞争做准备。

为了增强企业在2021年及以后岁月的竞争和财务实力,首席执行官纷纷祭出新商业模式,利用创新战略来满足客户快速变化的需求,因为这场疫情使他们能够在未来几个月加速推进多年来一直在进行的变革。这一点在数字化转型中表现得最为明显——数字化日益成为企业与客户打交道和经营业务的主要方式。那些处于数字时代前沿的公司,比如亚马逊、沃尔玛和微软,正在蓬勃发展;而那些落后的公司,比如传统零售商彭尼百货、西尔斯和J. Crew,却在苦苦挣扎求生。

接下来让我们逐一解析这场新冠疫情对各利益相关方的影响:

员工

冠状病毒危机进一步强化了员工,尤其是医疗卫生、零售、食品、医疗设备和配送服务等领域一线工人的重要性。众所周知,其中的许多人正在冒着生命危险工作。员工安全已经成为复工复产能否顺利实施的首要因素。今年3月,为表彰一线工人在抗疫战斗中的重要贡献,沃尔玛宣布向全职员工和兼职小时工发放总额超过3.65亿美元的奖金。此后不久,塔吉特百货也宣布向员工支付3亿美元的特别奖金。

在重新投入运营之际,企业将大刀阔斧地重组内部结构,减少中层管理人员、差旅预算和顾问开支,同时提升一线员工的培训、薪酬和福利。鉴于日常工作逐渐实现自动化,工人将变得更加训练有素,尽管总体数量会减少。与此同时,许多在家工作的员工发现,他们不仅避免了长时间通勤之苦,还可以根据自己的时间表更有效率地工作。

客户

一旦重新开业,企业是否会迎来一大批准备购买其产品和服务的客户?失业、无薪休假和减薪带来的破坏性影响,强化了人们对储蓄、现金储备的需求,并减少了可自由支配支出。许多消费者不再购买新房子和汽车,而是选择延长旧车的使用时间,并租住在公寓里。对健康和安全的担忧,进一步加快了消费行为向网上购物、店内取货和送货上门的转变,无论你购买的是食品杂货,还是个人电脑。

等到新冠疫苗广泛使用时,这些新习惯将成为日常消费行为,而且不太可能逆转。以高效、安全的方式满足这些新需求的公司将成为赢家。随着利用电子工具的远程服务逐渐走向主流,服务概念本身也将发生变化。例如,百思买的首席执行官科里·巴里通过私人预约和路边取货等方式,再造了这家消费电子零售商的在线和门店购物体验。

供应商

在疫情期间,关键零部件的供应链短缺阻碍了口罩和药品等关键产品的生产,这主要是原料药生产大国印度和中国的供应链梗阻所致。这些问题将促使企业在多个地区重新平衡供应链——甚至不惜付出更高的成本——并建立首选供应商协议,而不是只选择成本最低的供应商。

社区

新冠疫情重塑了当地社区的重要性,但也剥夺了员工面对面交流的机会。为此,许多公司正在开展虚拟“欢乐时光”等在线活动,希望以此来增强员工的集体意识。其他形式的社区也应运而生。塔吉特百货将其精心制作的重新开张行动手册“安全零售工具包”(SAFE Retail Toolkit)分享给了其他零售商,以帮助它们安全开业,并借此培养雇主之间的社区意识。亚马逊最近宣布投资逾40亿美元应对新冠疫情挑战,而改善员工健康和提高客服效率将成为这项计划的重要内容。

股东

那些迅速适应新常态的公司将成为市场的赢家,从而能够为投资者创造更大的价值。貌似矛盾的是,最大的股东价值创造者并不是那些痴迷于股东价值最大化的企业。相反,这些公司往往专注于长期战略,致力于通过丰厚薪酬等手段激励广大员工为客户创造卓越价值。

这场疫情让首席执行官认识到,利益相关者资本主义是创造可持续股东价值、调整其商业模式以满足客户的新需求、激励员工、与供应商合作,以及建立社区的唯一途径。

本文作者比尔·乔治是哈佛商学院高级研究员,美敦力公司前董事长兼首席执行官,著有《真北》(Discover Your True North)一书。 (财富中文网)

译者:任文科

If there is any positive consequence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the acceleration of the shift to stakeholder capitalism away from companies’ singular emphasis on shareholders.

Ever since Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman declared in 1970 that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, a debate has raged between advocates of shareholder primacy and stakeholder capitalism.

Four decades later, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer provided the vehicle for integrating stakeholders in their 2011 Harvard Business Review article, “Creating Shared Value.” By addressing societal needs, they wrote, companies could expand their markets in ways that benefit society and shareholders simultaneously while creating value for their customers, employees, their communities, and ultimately, their investors.

Recognizing the obligations companies have to all stakeholders, in 2019, the Business Roundtable, composed of America’s leading companies, rewrote its purpose statement around meeting the needs of all stakeholders, dropping its prior purpose of shareholder primacy.

Now the economic harm caused by the pandemic has shifted the pendulum further toward the multi-stakeholder model, as the importance of employees and customers are brought into sharper focus.

The crisis is causing companies to find creative new ways to address societal needs through their mainstream businesses. CEOs are rapidly adapting to the new normal that will define the future economy, giving top priority to the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers. While 2020 profitability is taking a back seat to health concerns, companies are shoring up their balance sheets to weather the storm and compete for the long term.

To thrive competitively and financially in 2021 and beyond, CEOs are adopting creative strategies with new business models to meet their customers’ rapidly changing needs, as the pandemic enables them to accelerate years of changes into the next few months. Nowhere is this more apparent than in digital transformation as the primary way companies engage with customers and operate their businesses. Those on the leading edge of digital—like Amazon, Walmart, and Microsoft—are thriving, while companies that lagged—like J.C. Penney, Sears, and J. Crew—struggle to survive.

Here’s how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting each stakeholder group:

Employees

The coronavirus crisis has reinforced the importance of employees working on the frontlines of health care, retail, food, and medical equipment and delivery services—many of whom are risking their lives. Employee safety has become paramount and the gating factor to reopening workplaces. In March, Walmart recognized the importance of frontline workers in combating COVID-19 when it announced over $365 million in bonuses for full-time and part-time hourly employees. Shortly thereafter, Target announced $300 million in special payments to its workers.

As companies restart, they will be restructuring their organizations to reduce middle managers, travel budgets, and consultants, while simultaneously upgrading training, compensation, and benefits for frontline employees. As routine jobs are automated, there will be fewer but better trained workers. Meanwhile, many employees working from home are finding they can be more productive working on their own schedules and avoiding long commutes.

Customers

When companies reopen, will they be greeted by customers ready to purchase their products and services? The devastating impact of unemployment, furloughs, and pay cuts has reinforced the need for savings, cash reserves, and reduced discretionary spending. Instead of buying new homes and automobiles, many consumers are opting to keep their vehicles longer and live in rental apartments. Health and safety concerns further accelerate the shift to shopping online, at store pickup, and home delivery of everything from groceries to personal computers.

By the time a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, these new habits will become routine consumer behavior—and unlikely to revert. Companies that meet these new demands in an efficient, safe manner will be the winners. Service concepts will change as well, with service delivered remotely using electronic tools and teleservice. CEO Corie Barry has reengineered Best Buy’s online and in-store experience with private appointments and curbside pickups, for instance.

Suppliers

Supply chain shortages of critical parts during the pandemic have hampered manufacturing of critical products like masks and pharmaceuticals, largely due to long supply lines for raw materials from India and China for raw materials. These problems will cause companies to rebalance supply chains in multiple geographies, even at higher costs, and establish preferred supplier agreements rather than choosing only the lowest cost suppliers.

Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has restored the importance of one’s local community, but also has stripped employees of in-person communities at work. In response, many companies are engaging employees through online activities, such as virtual happy hours. Other forms of community have also come to the forefront. Target shared its SAFE Retail Toolkit, a playbook for reopening, to help other retailers open safely—fostering a sense of community among employers. Amazon recently announced plans to invest more than $4 billion in its COVID-19 response, which included improving the safety of its workers and serving its customers more effectively.

Shareholders

Companies that adapt rapidly to the new normal will be the winners in the marketplace, enabling them to create greater value for investors. Paradoxically, the greatest shareholder value creators are not those that obsess over maximizing shareholder value. Rather, they are companies that focus on long-term strategies to create superior value for their customers with highly motivated, well-compensated employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused CEOs to recognize that stakeholder capitalism is the only way to create sustainable shareholder value, adapt their business models to meet customers’ emerging needs, inspire employees, partner with suppliers, and build communities.

Bill George is senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former chair and CEO of Medtronic. He is the author of Discover Your True North.

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