Beyond Selfishness

I’ve just been going over some of Henry Mintzberg’s writing and came acros this article (payment required, sorry) by Mintzberg, Robert Simons and Kunai Basu.
The authors argue that the notion of ‘shareholder value’ to the exclusion of all other accountabilities of corporations has only taken hold over the last decade. Before that “corporations [existed] to serve society. Indeed that was the reason they were originally granted charters and why those charters could be taken away from them.” Further, they argue, this notion distorts the operation of corporations, leads to a focus on short term goals and created a myth of ‘heroic leadership.’
With refreshing vigour they call for a balance between self-interest and social generosity. One becuase they believe it is good in itself. Two because they believe it is good for society. And finally because they believe it is in the long term interests of corporations.