The Weatherhead School of Management’s Chris Laszlo, David Cooperrider and Ron Fry recently co-authored an article titled “Global Challenges as Opportunity to Transform Business for Good.” Using insights from Peter Drucker’s Theory of the Business, the authors show that global challenges such as pandemics and climate change are contributing to a critical misalignment between businesses and their increasingly complex external environments, leading to a growing malaise in many organizations. Central to this misalignment are seven legacy assumptions that no longer serve businesses effectively. Seven new assumptions better reflect today’s external environment and point to how businesses can thrive (“Do Well”) by making a positive difference in society (“Do Good”).
The paper calls into question many deeply held beliefs that shape an organization’s capacity to function and manage change in the face of disruptive global challenges. It asks critical questions about how such beliefs or assumptions affect the relationship between an organization and its external environment. It builds on the work of Drucker and more recently Donaldson and Walsh to advance elements of a New Theory of Business.
The focus on Positive Institutions moves the effectiveness discourse from a narrow definition of economic performance toward the greater purpose of flourishing for business and society. The Appreciative Inquiry Summit method combined with the framing of Sustainable Value offers a powerful approach to change management methods and tools to enable Positive Institutions.
Read the article in Strategic Management for Sustainability: Imperatives and Paradoxes.