Moral Purpose
(Mourkogiannis)

Knowledge Center

   

Inspiring and leading an organization toward a long-term competitive advantage. Explanation of the realistic view regarding Moral Purpose from Nikos Mourkogiannis. ('05)

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print

What is Moral Purpose? Description

In an article regarding moral purpose from Nikos Mourkogiannis, he describes four main ideals of leadership. These can be used for inspiring and leading an organization toward a long-term competitive advantage. According to Mourkogiannis in Strategy+Business, Issue 41, Winter 2005, a moral purpose is a value that, when it is articulated, appeals to the innate sense which is held by some individuals of what is right and what is worthwhile. Great leaders have learned how they can use moral purpose to allow them to inspire and lead their organization toward achieving long-term competitive advantage.


Mourkogiannis distinguishes four categories of moral purpose which are most successful and influential in today's business, with four corresponding ideals of leadership:

  1. Discovery. Here the type of morality is "the new". The moral basis for actions is "I have freely chosen it". The philosophical background for this value was provided by the Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Typical examples include innovative, technological companies such as IBM, Sony, Intel and Virgin.
  2. Excellence. Here the type of morality is "the good". The moral basis for actions is it constitutes fulfillment. The philosophical background for this value was provided by the Ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384 B.C. - 322 B.C.). Typical examples include professional and creative companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, The Economist, Apple and BMW. Compare: Clarkson Principles, Seven Signs Of Ethical Collapse
  3. Altruism. Here the type of morality is "the helpful". The moral basis for actions is it increases happiness. The philosophical background for this value was provided by the Scottish Philosopher David Hume (1711-1776). Typical example organizations include many political movements, charities and also Wal-Mart, Marriott, and the Body Shop.
  4. Heroism. Here the type of morality is "the effective". The moral basis for actions is it demonstrates achievement. The philosophical background for this value was provided by the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). Typical examples include ambitious and daring companies such as S.G. Warburg, Microsoft, Ford, and Exxon Mobil. Compare: Strategic Intent

Each moral purpose, in its own way, compels the people who work in that organization to rewrite the rules of their industry's game and generate unprecedented results. It should resonate with the sensibility of customers, employees, and other constituents.


Origin of the Moral Purpose tool. History

The four moral purposes are based on the philosophy traditions as mentioned above.


Usage of the Moral Purpose framework. Applications

  • It contributes to employee morale by establishing a feeling of community and common meaning which is grounded in mutual respect.
  • It fosters innovation by sensitizing people to market conditions and opportunities.
  • It counters risk-aversion in large companies. People are stimulated to search for solutions within the framework of the chosen moral purpose.
  • It provides a unifying theme that allows people to understand and facilitate the complex fit between the organization and its actions, assets and strategy.
  • Company leaders must manage and align the moral purpose with the strategy. The nature of the moral purpose should help the company to advance in its environment.

Strengths of Moral Purpose thinking. Benefits

  1. As stated above, a moral purpose contributes to employee morale, fosters innovation, counters risk-aversion and it provides a unifying strategic theme.
  2. Also: moral purpose is where the big money is made. Outstanding long-term results can be achieved.
  3. It reveals the underlying human dynamics of a firm, which are very important to employee motivation and behavior.
  4. Strong and lasting communication message, especially for CEOs.
  5. Strong basis for achieving strategic breakthroughs.

Limitations of the Moral Purpose categories. Disadvantages

  • There are a number of other moral ideas besides the main four which are described by Mourkogiannis. These include the belief in equality and universal justice, religious morality, obedience to authority and precedent, and patriotism.
  • However these other ideas do not in themselves inspire employees in ways that would make these concepts useful as moral purposes for most competitive firms.
  • Other moral purposes may become a dominant model over time or when circumstances change. Compare: Spiral Dynamics, Contingency Theory
  • The framework of Mourkogiannis is clearly a realistic and a Instrumental Approach to corporate purpose.

Assumptions of the Moral Purpose theory. Conditions

  • Effective corporate strategy starts by identifying what moral purpose is closest to the company's strategic intent.
  • The true business leader's significant role is to be in touch with, and to act on, the moral currents that influence his or her colleagues.
  • If a company's corporate purpose is X, its strategy can not be Y. It will not work and it might even be harmful.

Book: Nikos Mourkogiannis - Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies -


Moral Purpose Forum
  Personal Agendas versus Corporate Agendas
Over the past 18 months I've observed a company go through some changes that some may deem extreme - the company is very unsettled. One area of interest for me was how the leadership of the organization was handling the changes. EMOTIONS DRIVE ACTION...
     
 
  Public Administration Purpose
What is the purpose of a public administration or non-profit organization? Thank you......
     
 
  Evolution Into a Dysfunctional Society
The above article makes several good points and suggestions, however our business community and society as a whole seem to be digressing and moving toward dysfunctional relationships.
Testimony to this observation lies in the operating concepts ...
     
 
  Conflicting Values in Leadership
Values and purposes exist at multiple levels. And normally one tries to conform to all of them.
But ultimately (when forced to choose - because there is a mismatch), do you think a leader must be faithful to the values of the society (s)he lives...
     
 
  How Bad Managers can Render any Corporate Purpose Pointless
No matter what moral purpose is dreamt up by a corporation, there are always those from within that will undermine it. Read " 
   
 

Moral Purpose Special Interest Group


Special Interest Group

Moral Purpose Education & Events


Find Trainings, Seminars and Events


Best Practices - Moral Purpose Premium

Expert Tips - Moral Purpose Premium
 

Functions and Goals of a Mission Statement

Defining the mission statement is a major part of the strategic planning process. A mission has three functions or goals:
1. Market def...
Usage (application): Mission Statement Best Practices, Preparing a Mission Statement
 
 
 

Typical Content of Value Statements

Common Topics in organization’s value statements, include:
- Commitment to such outcomes as customer satisfaction and customer service, q...
Usage (application): Mission Statement Best Practices, Preparing a Mission Statement
 
 
 

The Power of Moral Purpose

In the article "The power of Moral Purpose: Sandler O’Neill & Partners in the Aftermath of September 11th, 2001" Maltz and Hirschhorn argue that mo...
Usage (application): The Role of Moral Purpose in the Recovery of Sandler O’Neill after 9/11
 
 
 

The Impact of Mission Statements on Company Performance

In a comparison of the performance of companies with “high-content” mission statements versus those with “low-content” mission statements, Pearce and ...
Usage (application): Strategy, Formulation Mission
 
 
 

The Maturity Stages of Corporate Responsibility

Simon Zadek provides a useful best practice five-stage maturity model of how organizations deal with Corporate Responsibility:
- Defensive: deny ...
Usage (application): Organizational Development, Corporate Responsibility Maturity
 
 

Resources - Moral Purpose Premium

Leadership, Moral Purpose and Change

By P. Bedford, A. Fossum, L. Maly and C. Rodriquez, 2009 uses definition by Fullan of Moral Purpose:
“Moral purpose relates to both ends and mean...
Usage (application): Leadership: the Role of Moral Purpose and Understanding Change
 

Exceptional Speech by then 13 year-old Severn Suzuki at the UN, 2008 on Environmental and Social Responsibility

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 2008, a 13 years old child, speaking for ECO, the Environmental Children's Organizatio...
Usage (application): Environmental Responsibility, Social Responsibility
 

Martin's Trust Model: The Trust Matrix

An important determinant of the reputation of your brand, company or sector is TRUST. In the financial sector for example, the abuse of public trust h...
Usage (application): Trust, Corporate Reputation, Corporate Branding, Corporate Image
 

Steve Jobs on Brand Strategy and Core Values

In this video Steve Jobs gives a presentation on Marketing and Core Values. He argues that in this noisy and complicated world companies do not have m...
Usage (application): Marketing, Branding, Strategic Vision, Core Values, Corporate Purpose
 

Perspectives on Moral Purpose

Interesting presentation about Moral Purpose. The presentation includes various philosophies of moral purpose and describes in detail the moral purpos...
Usage (application): Moral Purpose, Leadership Development
 

Martin Luther King: I Have a Dream...

Arguably the most famous visionary speech ever, the 'I Have a Dream' - speech by Martin Luther King.
August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.

...
Usage (application): Documentary on Martin Luther King
 
 

News

Moral Purpose
     
 

News

Corporate Purpose
     
 

Videos

Moral Purpose
     
 

Videos

Corporate Purpose
     
 

Presentations

Moral Purpose
     
 

Presentations

Corporate Purpose
     
 

More

Moral Purpose
     
 

More

Corporate Purpose
     

Compare with Moral Purpose: Ashridge Mission Model  |  Seven Signs Of Ethical Collapse  |  Strategic Intent  |  Clarkson Principles  |  Intrinsic Stakeholder Commitment  |  Strategic Stakeholder Management  |  Seven Surprises  |  Stakeholder Value Perspective  |  Shareholder Value Perspective  |  Spiral Dynamics  |  Contingency Theory


Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Ethics & Responsibility  |  Leadership  |  Strategy


More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader

You here


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2016 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.0 - Last updated: 26-8-2016. All names tm by their owners.