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企业行善,不应只为业绩

企业行善,不应只为业绩

Azish Filabi 2021年09月05日
企业现在是,而且一直是驱动社会影响的强大力量,无论是积极的还是消极的影响。

如今,商业媒体对于为非财务事项提供商业理由的做法非常兴奋。当我在搜索框输入“商业理由”时,谷歌(Google)就会用“种族平等”、“好奇心”和“母乳喂养”等主题自动输完我打算查询的短语。

学术期刊,以及像本刊这类备受推崇的商业出版物经常关注这种理由和报道。个人和机构投资者也越来越关注他们的资金如何帮助推进环境和社会事业,以至于83%的企业领导者表示,环境、社会和治理(ESG)因素将影响他们在未来几年的并购决策。

关注解决社会问题的商业理由,当然出于一番好意,但从长远来看可能是有害的。这意味着,对于困扰我们整个社会的所有问题,都有一个财务成本效益分析,而企业就是解决方案。此外,如果你的财务理由最终没有获得预期的回报,它就会使领导者对投资最重要的事项(也就是人)产生质疑。

我们需要开始问一个不同的问题,专注于企业如何为人类的底线服务,而不是反过来。

企业现在是,而且一直是驱动社会影响的强大力量,无论是积极的还是消极的影响。自“股东至上”在20世纪70年代成为主导观点以来,我们已经取得了长足的进展。这通常被归功于米尔顿·弗里德曼和芝加哥学派的经济学家,他们认为企业的主要目的就是为股东服务。

如今,另一种利益相关者资本主义框架成为主流思潮。许多企业领导者正在与股东和债权人以外的利益相关者进行接触,并有意义地评估企业对所有利益相关者的影响。除了慈善事业,投资者还在优先考虑那些提供好工作或缓解气候变化的公司,而企业领导者也更愿意公开发表他们对种族平等和包容性企业文化等社会问题的看法。

然而,他们往往宣称这些努力不仅有益于社会,而且对各自公司的成功至关重要。一些学者认为,为有意识的资本主义提供商业理由,有损于助力管理者更好地运营组织这一更广泛的目标。正如哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)的罗宾·J·埃利教授和莫尔豪斯学院(Morehouse College)的大卫·A·托马斯教授在谈到多元化的商业理由时所写的那样,专注于底线意味着,“采取一种‘增加多样性和融合’的方法”就足够了。

当多样性在实践中发挥作用时,那是因为领导者允许组织的基本权力结构发生变化,以接纳新的声音。专注于商业理由往往会忽略一项更艰难的任务:为不同的声音和对话、流程,以及更难以衡量的结果创造空间。

相反,让我们为好的企业提供社会理由,通过颠倒等式来确定企业给社会带来的价值。我们可以问:企业如何影响组织中的人和受组织影响的人?这就开启了一场涉及广泛考量的对话,其中包括工作质量、工作场所的尊严、工人的福祉、供应链中的人权,以及其他难以量化的事项。

一个令人鼓舞的趋势是,正如商业圆桌会议(Business Roundtable)发布的更新版《企业宗旨声明》(Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation)所示,政策制定者和企业领导者正在越来越多地讨论商业目的。有意义地专注于商业目的,是一个展示企业有资质在社会中运营的机会。

如果有必要,我们就能够继续使用金融术语、影响措施和商业语言来激励和鼓舞领导者。但切勿忽视真正重要的东西,即把人置于等式的中心。(财富中文网)

本文作者阿齐什·菲拉比是美国金融服务学院金融服务伦理中心(American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services)的执行主任、美国金融服务学院(American College of Financial Services)的伦理学副教授。

译者:任文科

如今,商业媒体对于为非财务事项提供商业理由的做法非常兴奋。当我在搜索框输入“商业理由”时,谷歌(Google)就会用“种族平等”、“好奇心”和“母乳喂养”等主题自动输完我打算查询的短语。

学术期刊,以及像本刊这类备受推崇的商业出版物经常关注这种理由和报道。个人和机构投资者也越来越关注他们的资金如何帮助推进环境和社会事业,以至于83%的企业领导者表示,环境、社会和治理(ESG)因素将影响他们在未来几年的并购决策。

关注解决社会问题的商业理由,当然出于一番好意,但从长远来看可能是有害的。这意味着,对于困扰我们整个社会的所有问题,都有一个财务成本效益分析,而企业就是解决方案。此外,如果你的财务理由最终没有获得预期的回报,它就会使领导者对投资最重要的事项(也就是人)产生质疑。

我们需要开始问一个不同的问题,专注于企业如何为人类的底线服务,而不是反过来。

企业现在是,而且一直是驱动社会影响的强大力量,无论是积极的还是消极的影响。自“股东至上”在20世纪70年代成为主导观点以来,我们已经取得了长足的进展。这通常被归功于米尔顿·弗里德曼和芝加哥学派的经济学家,他们认为企业的主要目的就是为股东服务。

如今,另一种利益相关者资本主义框架成为主流思潮。许多企业领导者正在与股东和债权人以外的利益相关者进行接触,并有意义地评估企业对所有利益相关者的影响。除了慈善事业,投资者还在优先考虑那些提供好工作或缓解气候变化的公司,而企业领导者也更愿意公开发表他们对种族平等和包容性企业文化等社会问题的看法。

然而,他们往往宣称这些努力不仅有益于社会,而且对各自公司的成功至关重要。一些学者认为,为有意识的资本主义提供商业理由,有损于助力管理者更好地运营组织这一更广泛的目标。正如哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)的罗宾·J·埃利教授和莫尔豪斯学院(Morehouse College)的大卫·A·托马斯教授在谈到多元化的商业理由时所写的那样,专注于底线意味着,“采取一种‘增加多样性和融合’的方法”就足够了。

当多样性在实践中发挥作用时,那是因为领导者允许组织的基本权力结构发生变化,以接纳新的声音。专注于商业理由往往会忽略一项更艰难的任务:为不同的声音和对话、流程,以及更难以衡量的结果创造空间。

相反,让我们为好的企业提供社会理由,通过颠倒等式来确定企业给社会带来的价值。我们可以问:企业如何影响组织中的人和受组织影响的人?这就开启了一场涉及广泛考量的对话,其中包括工作质量、工作场所的尊严、工人的福祉、供应链中的人权,以及其他难以量化的事项。

一个令人鼓舞的趋势是,正如商业圆桌会议(Business Roundtable)发布的更新版《企业宗旨声明》(Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation)所示,政策制定者和企业领导者正在越来越多地讨论商业目的。有意义地专注于商业目的,是一个展示企业有资质在社会中运营的机会。

如果有必要,我们就能够继续使用金融术语、影响措施和商业语言来激励和鼓舞领导者。但切勿忽视真正重要的东西,即把人置于等式的中心。(财富中文网)

本文作者阿齐什·菲拉比是美国金融服务学院金融服务伦理中心(American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services)的执行主任、美国金融服务学院(American College of Financial Services)的伦理学副教授。

译者:任文科

There's much excitement in the business press these days about making the business case for nonfinancial matters. When I enter “the business case for” in my search box, Google completes my phrase with “racial equity,” “curiosity,” and “breastfeeding,” among other topics.

Academic journals and highly regarded business publications like this one often focus on such cases and coverage. Individual and institutional investors are also increasingly focused on how their money can help advance environmental and social causes, so much so that 83% of corporate leaders say that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors will drive their merger and acquisition decisions in the next couple of years.

Focusing on the business case for social issues is well-meaning, but it can be damaging in the long run. It implies that there is a financial cost-benefit analysis for all that ails us as a society, and that business is the solution. Moreover, if your financial case ends up not reaping the anticipated rewards, it leaves leaders skeptical of investing in what matters most—people.

We need to start asking a different question, focusing on how business serves the bottom line of humanity, not the other way around.

Business is and has always been a powerful driver of social impact, both positive and negative. We’ve come a long way since the dominant shareholder primacy view of the 1970s. Often attributed to Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economists, they argued that the main purpose of business is to serve shareholders.

Today, the alternate framing of stakeholder capitalism is dominant. Many business leaders are engaging with stakeholders beyond their shareholders and creditors, and meaningfully assessing the business’s impact on all stakeholders. Beyond charity, investors are prioritizing companies that provide good jobs or mitigate climate change, and corporate leaders are more vocal on social issues such as racial equity and inclusive corporate culture.

Yet they often frame such efforts as not only beneficial to society but also crucial to their company’s success. Some scholars argue that making the business case for conscious capitalism detracts from the broader goal of enabling managers to run better organizations. As professors Robin J. Ely and David A. Thomas of Harvard Business School and Morehouse College, respectively, write about the business case for diversity, focusing on the bottom line implies that “taking an ‘add diversity and stir’ approach” is sufficient.

When diversity works in practice, it is because leaders allow the fundamental power structure of the organization to shift to include new voices. Focusing on the business case loses sight of the more difficult task of creating space for dissenting voices and dialogue, processes, and outcomes that are more difficult to measure.

Let’s instead make the social case for good business, flipping the equation to determine the value companies bring to society. We can ask: How does business affect people in organizations and people impacted by organizations? This opens up the conversation to a broad array of considerations, including job quality, dignity in the workplace, worker well-being, human rights in supply chains, and other hard-to-quantify matters.

One encouraging trend is that policymakers and corporate leaders are increasingly discussing the purpose of business, as demonstrated by the Business Roundtable’s updated Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Meaningfully focusing on business purpose is an opportunity to demonstrate a company’s license to operate in society.

If we must, we can continue to use financial jargon, impact measures, and the language of business to motivate and inspire leaders. But let’s not lose sight of what really matters: keeping people at the center of the equation.

Azish Filabi is executive director of the American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services and an associate professor of ethics at the American College of Financial Services.

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