Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School Professor and author discusses her new book, ‘Reimaging Capitalism in a World on Fire,’ which explores why we need to, and how we can, build a more profitable, equitable, and sustainable capitalism. In conversation with Paul Washington, head of The Conference Board’s ESG Center, this interview addresses the role of the private sector in tackling some of the biggest environmental, economic, and social issues of our time.
Rebecca Henderson, professor at Harvard Business School, says that both capitalism and democracy are failing us. She argues that it will take public and private leaders working together to simultaneously fix these two systems because free markets don't function well without free politics and healthy government needs corporate support to survive. She is calling on the business community to take the first step. Henderson is the author of the upcoming book "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire." And the March Big Idea article, "The Business Case for Saving Democracy."
Hive Chairman and CEO Ryan Allis interviews Professor Rebecca Henderson, who teaches in the MBA Program at Harvard Business School on the topic of Reimagining Capitalism.
Topics discussed include:
- The research showing a link between company performance and purpose
- What's good about capitalism // why it works relatively well
- What needs to change about capitalism
- The Reimagining Capitalism MBA course at Harvard Business School
- Environmental degradation and Co2 output and how to address it
- Prof. Henderson's advice for rising global leaders
Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School. She’s also a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Rebecca is an expert on innovation and organizational change, and her research explores the degree to which the private sector can play a major role in building a more sustainable economy, focusing particularly on the relationships between organizational purpose and innovation and productivity in high performance organizations. She teaches Reimagining Capitalism: Business & the Big Problems at Harvard, a course that has grown from 28 students to over 300, and is under contract for a book tentatively titled “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire.” In this episode, Stew and Rebecca talk about the ways in which firms have always been values-driven, even if the value was solely profit. Rebecca notes that companies that are actively trying to “make a difference” beyond their bottom line, companies that do not view a social purpose as distinct from their business aims, end up with a more engaged and productive workforce. She observes that society, perhaps led by millennials, is increasingly demanding that companies serve a social purpose that benefits all their stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. And when firms take this approach, there are benefits for employees in their lives beyond work. She is optimistic, if not hopeful, about the long term, if we can take the long term view and not focus entirely on immediate shareholder returns. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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