The School has opened a new Business Research Hub within its Park End Street campus.
The Hub will act as a central office for three of the School’s programmes that focus on corporate purpose: Mutuality in Business, the Ford Foundation Programme on Corporate Ownership and Purpose and the Oxford/EY programme on Changing Conceptions of Corporate Purpose.
‘The opening of this hub is about exploring what business is, and what business should be over the coming decades,’ stated Colin Mayer CBE, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, at an opening ceremony on 7 November. ‘This is a fortuitous coming together of programmes that have a common purpose but a different way of looking at the same issue, so I’m extremely excited that we have brought them together.’
The Mutuality in Business programme launched in May 2014 in conjunction with Catalyst, the internal think tank of Mars, Incorporated. The pioneering, multi-year research partnership explores the potential for building mutuality into business models, and the study defines mutuality as the aim to create lasting positive benefits across stakeholders through an organisation's activities.
‘Research shows that family businesses like Mars outperform other businesses in terms of innovation,’ explained Mayer. ‘One of the reasons why this appears to be the case is that they have freedom from the pressure of capital markets. So they can be more innovative, and in fact that aspect builds over generations, so the longer these businesses remain family owned, the higher the output of their innovation.’
Mayer stated that the Ford Foundation Programme on Corporate Ownership and Purpose would explore reasons for this difference in depth: ‘It will explore what family businesses have that other businesses don’t and why this is important for families as well as important to the businesses themselves. The research will bring independent, rigorous, and objective analysis to bear on family firms,’ he said.
The ‘Changing Conceptions of Purpose’ research launched in 2015, in collaboration with the Beacon Institute, EY Global. ‘Our work explores how the idea of “corporate purpose” itself has shifted in content and impact over several decades and how global corporate leaders today make use of a values-rich conception of purpose to navigate in turbulent times,’ explained Dr Marc Ventresca, faculty in strategy and innovation and the academic lead for the project.
In closing remarks at the Hub opening, Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean, stated: ‘Whatever an organisation’s form, there is always a way to embed purpose. I’m thrilled that this cluster of activities has been brought into one hub so that we as a School can deepen our work on purpose.’