The Initiative

Born out of the Mutuality in Business project,  the initiative seeks to establish a global centre of bold discussions, contemporary thought and innovative ideas around the operationalisation of purpose through holistic performance measurement and valuation.


  • Research - Creating cutting-edge research to challenge conventional performance theory, measurement, and management.
  • Engagement - Working with our partners to develop frameworks for the operationalisation of purpose and to discuss and test these ideas with a wide network of organisations and thought leaders.
  • Outreach - Shaping thought and practice through novel teaching and outreach programmes, as well as regular convening for the creation of a global platform of discussion, on how to rethink performance.


We undertake cutting-edge research under the core streams of:

  • Purpose relevance at system and investor level
  • Management decision making and strategy
  • Cost-accounting and measurement.

How can we operationalise purpose?

We aim to develop a framework for the measurement and operationalisation of corporate purpose. This will enable sustainable and long-term focussed business behaviour to thrive for the benefit of the economy, investors, planet and society.

In the last ten years, the role and purpose of companies have been redefined. Modern, prudent and long-term oriented companies now need to understand and demonstrate how they create (and destroy) value beyond financials. We examine how existing performance definitions, analyses and measurement systems need to be reshaped to truthfully reflect a company’s performance in relation to its corporate purpose.

To unravel this, the we focus on tensions that arise in relation to measurement and implementation at three levels:

  1. Management – How to embed and operationalise corporate purpose in organisations through measurement, incentivisation and practice
  2. Accounting – How to take into account the cost associated with positive and negative social and environmental externalities, impacts and dependencies that are produced by company operations
  3. Reporting – How to connect internal measures of corporate purpose, management practices and corporate reporting on non-financial as well as financial impact.

Measuring purpose - An integrated framework


Wondering how purpose relates to different measurement frameworks?

We have worked with key academics and thought leaders to create an integrated frame of reference for the measurement of purpose and how it relates to accounting, reporting and valuation.



Partners and projects

  • Neuberger Berman
  • Asahi Europe & International
  • Novartis AG
  • Holcim
  • Schroders
  • MFS Investment Management
  • BSI

Case studies

We work with our member companies on specific research projects of mutual interest. Here are four examples of projects we are currently working on. 

  • Asahi Europe & International
  • Holcim 
  • Novartis 
  • Schroders

Invitation to partner with us

We invite your organisation to join a group of leading businesses to support and engage in an ambitious research programme around rethinking performance at Oxford. This is a unique approach to applied research that will create strong and lasting partnerships between academics and industry.

Who are we?

Affiliate researchers

  • Thea Jung, Research Assistant
  • Jacob Schumacher, Affiliate Researcher
  • Dimitris Giamos, Affiliate Researcher

Purpose conversations


If you are interested in partnering with us please contact