Shared Value

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Definition Shared Value. Description

Shared Value is the principle that companies should create economic value by creating societal value.

Credit Crisis: Domino Effect

Background of Shared Value: the Credit Crisis

In the first decennium of the 21st century an unfolding Network Economy and related economic Globalization cause a period of immense worldwide economic growth. Capitalism enables the world to develop quickly. There is a widespread belief that 'the sky is the limit'.

Greedy consumers, investors, shareholders, businesses, banks and even governments are trying to benefit as much as possible from the favorable conditions. They borrow money to buy products (incl. houses) and make leveraged investments in very lucrative, but also very risky ways.

Supervisory organizations, Corporate Governance regimes and Media fail to cope with the optimism, globalization, dynamics, greed and complexities of modern finance.

In 2007-2008 a sub-prime crisis occurs, followed by a mortgage (housing) crisis, credit crisis, bank and inter-bank crisis, and several country crises. Governments and supra-national organizations are taking draconic measures trying to avoid a total collapse of the global financial and economic system.

Consequences of the Credit Crisis. Effects

According to Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer in "The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value" (HBR 2011 Jan /Feb), at the end of the decennium, the reputation of capitalism as an economic system comes under siege. Businesses, in particular financial institutions, are increasingly being viewed as having strived for excessive profits at the expense of society. Even if many businesses embraced Corporate Responsibility, they are still blamed and distrusted. This lack of trust leads politicians to deploy policies that undermine Competitiveness and economic growth.

Porter and Kramer argue companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together by adopting the principle of 'Shared Value', instead of the usual Shareholder Value.

The Prevailing Shareholder Value Principle

At the core of a narrow view of capitalism lies the notion of 'shareholder value'. In short, the Shareholder Value Perspective emphasizes profitability over responsibility and sees organizations primarily as instruments of their owners. Shareholder value proponents believe that the success of an organization can be measured by things as share price, dividends and economic profit. They regard Stakeholder Management rather as a means than as an end/purpose in itself. They believe that social responsibility is not a matter for organizations, and think that society is best served by organizations pursuing self-interest and economic efficiency.

Creating Shared Value

Porter's proposal: The Shared Value Principle

The Shared Value Principle means companies should strive for economic value by creating societal value (see picture). Creating societal value advances the economic and social conditions in the society in which the company operates.


Note that Porter mentions that when corporations are striving for societal value this is not philanthropy but acting in their own self-interest.

An interesting way to understand what Porter and Kramer suggest, is to compare the Shared Value Principle with Strategic (Instrumental) Stakeholder Management and Intrinsic Stakeholder Commitment. Porter's principle appears to have characteristics of both:

  • In the process of creating shared value, creating societal value is 'strategic' or 'instrumental' in the sense that the ultimate goal of any firm continues to be to realize economic value. This will ensure the invisible hand of Adam Smith and the core strength of capitalism as a source of building progress and wealth for all remain intact. Survival of the fittest would still prevail, but the creation of economic value will be done in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges.
  • In the process of creating shared value, creating societal value is 'intrinsic' in the sense that it is not just some initiative to boost the Corporate Reputation, nor merely an act of Corporate ResponsibilitySustainability or philanthropy, but a new philosophy, policy, Corporate Mission and purpose to enhance the competitiveness of a company and to achieve economic success for the firm, while simultaneously advancing economic productivity, growth, innovation and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.

Creating Shared Value

How to create shared value? In general, there are three mutually reinforcing ways in which shared value can be created:

  1. By reconceiving products and markets (see Porter's Five Forces model) beyond their influence on the profitability of companies. Include the impact they have on customers (including those at Prahalad's Bottom of the Pyramid), on productivity, innovation and the business environment.
  2. By redefining productivity in the Value Chain, reconsidering Outsourcing, the level of Vertical Integration, energy use, Logistics, use of resources, Procurement Strategies, distribution channels, etc.
  3. By building supportive industry clusters at the company's locations (see Porter's Diamond Model).

We should not look for a trade-off between economic and societal value: societal benefits need not temper nor be a constraint on achieving economic benefits. Firms must look for intelligent, strategic, reconciled combinations (See: Dialectical Inquiry).

Shared Value Forum
  The Collective Impact Framework to Achieve Shared Value
Creating shared value, both financially and socially, has recently become an imperative for corporations, for two reasons:
  • The legitimacy of business has often been put into question, with companies seen as developing and prospering ...
  Porter's Shared Value Concept is a Breakthrough
I discovered this astonishing concept recently during a sustainable development course at Imperial College (London).
Well, this is a good way to allow the game to go on (remember when you played Monopoly and the game would stop because one had a...
  Alignment Indicators
I am interested in finding indicators of strategic alignment between a business strategy and its CSR strategy, can anyone help me out?...
  Creating Shared Value
We can spend time debating the philosophy of SVP or experiment with integrating the SVP concept in the strategy conversation. As lead chapter author of sustainable globalization we developed 6 lenses for an enterprise to discuss. The assessmen...
  Are Market Forces Forces of Nature?
Just slightly worried by the idea that the market is a force of nature which somehow naturally moves to the point of highest welfare.
Firstly, there is nothing natural about market forces beyond psychology (rather than physics or biology)...
  Is the Shared Value Principle (SVP) New?
SVP is identical to enlightened self-interest, as derived directly from Adam Smith's description of the benefits shared between the producer (Adam Smith's butcher, baker, etc) with the consumer.
And is the 'major economic crisis', not rea...

Shared Value Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group


Best Practices - Shared Value Premium
  On our Way to an Improved Capitalism?
The importance of above summarized Shared Value Principle (SVP) by competition-guru Porter working with with Mr. Kramer can hardly be overstated, and as far as I'm concerned the authors deserve to receive the Nobel Prize of Economics for their...

Expert Tips - Shared Value Premium

How to Create Shared Value? Components

Corporate leaders have realized that the social issues of nowadays present both large restraints and big opportunities to grow. Therefore their Usage (application): Combining Profitability and Society’s Needs

Strategies for Strategic Philanthropy (Norton)

A lot of companies are trying to use philanthropic activities to improve factors as customer loyalty and brand awareness and thereby increasing sales....
Usage (application): Strategic Philanthropy, Corporate Philanthropy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Loyalty

How to Measure Shared Value? Steps

A later article by Porter et al. (2012) explains how to measure a companies’ shared value. This process requires four critical steps that should be fo...
Usage (application): Linking Social and Business Results

Resources - Shared Value Premium

The Dawn of Conscious Capitalism

This presentation provides an introduction into the concept of conscious capitalism, and includes the following sections:
1. Introduction
Usage (application): Conscious Capitalism, Value-driven Consumer, Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Responsibility

Nestlé Chairman on Shared Value

Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe says that the concept of Creating Shared Value has evolved out of the idea of corporate responsibility. It reco...
Usage (application): Best Practice How to Implement Creating Shared Value

Introduction Into Welfarenomics

This presentation elaborates on the concept of welfarenomics. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Contents
2. Welfarenomics...
Usage (application): Welfarenomics

Voluntary Activities of Employees | Employee Volunteerism

Presentation about employee volunteerism, including the following sections:
1. What is employee volunteerism
2. Employee volunteerism is gro...
Usage (application): Employee Motivation, Employee Volunteerism, Employee Commitment, Shared Value, CSR, Corporate Reputation

Examples of Shared Value Projects

Michael Porter, Mark Kramer and Jane Nelson of FSG give their views on shared value and give some examples of companies with major SV initiatives:
Usage (application): Shared Value Creation, Training, Workshops

High-level Summary of Shared Value

What if problems with the environment, society and local economies were not threats to profit but opportunities to make the world a better place and t...
Usage (application): Initial Understanding of what Creating Shared Value Means

Michael Porter on Creating Shared Value and CSR

In this video Michael Porter argues that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was (!) a non-s...
Usage (application): Basic Understanding of the Concept of Creating Shared Value, Capitalism, Shareholder Value Perspective


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Shared Value


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