Professor Colin Mayer leads ground-breaking British Academy report on the current state and future prospects of business.
The British Academy has released a ground-breaking report which sets out a new framework for business in the 21st century. Lead by Professor Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at Oxford Saïd, the report identifies a need to radically reconsider how business will meet 21st century environmental, social and economic demands, in addition to the challenges of technological advances and globalisation.
The research which informs the report questions the notion in the widely accepted Friedman Doctrine that the only social responsibility of business is to increase profits while abiding by laws and social norms.
In conversation with BBC Radio Four, Mayer notes that: 'There has been an excessive focus on profits at the expense of everything else. Business should be a force for social change and for social good, but increasingly over the last few years it has been the cause of inequality, environmental degradation, and growing mistrust in business.'
The report finds that this has damaged corporations’ role in society. Mayer remarks: 'What emerges is a profoundly novel and insightful perspective on business that lays the foundation for a radical reformulation of the concept of the firm.'
The results indicate that the future of business should be based on three interconnected principles and that stakeholders can deploy five main ‘levers’ to achieve change:
- corporate governance
This first phase of research has identified the nature of the problems and a framework for addressing them. Detailed policy recommendations will be the focus of phase two, which will start in 2019.