Raison d’être et profit : quel lien ?

Does pursuing purpose actually boost profits or is there a trade-off between the two? These questions get to the heart of the vigorous and important debate about the role of business in society. New research sheds light on a potential answer. Belle remarque faite par la professeure Claudine Gartenburg !

Dans un récent billet du blogue ECGI (« Understanding the relationship between corporate purpose and profits »), elle partage le résultat de ses recherches et qu’y apprend-t-on ?

First, purpose and profits do appear to coexist and reinforce each other, but only under certain conditions – when innovation and intangibles drive value creation and owners take a long-view.

Second, we cannot assume this positive purpose-profit relationship holds everywhere. Trade-offs exist. In settings with inherent trade-offs, mandating purpose may prove an ineffective tool for achieving social objectives via for-profit entities. Different approaches are likely needed.

Lastly, two sweeping trends appear to be colliding with unpredictable consequences. First, the economy is shifting more toward innovation and intangible assets as the basis of production, conditions that are consistent with purposeful companies flourishing financially. Second, the nature of capital markets is shifting, with many signs pointing toward shorter-horizoned and more engaged owners. How these two shifts combine to support or detract from purpose-aligned strategies remain unclear.

In the end, this study counters the sweeping generalizations of the current debate. The findings reveal that purpose can lead to stronger financial performance given the right conditions – when innovation and intangibles form the basis of value creation and owners take a long-term view. The implications are clear: we should be realistic about where tradeoffs exist, while also encouraging settings in which purposeful, profitable businesses can flourish.

À la prochaine…

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 25 octobre 2023 à 11 h 13 min.


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