Doctor gives lecture on conscious capitalism
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
In the last four years Americans have experienced trying economic times. In 2009, a Gallup Poll named big business as the thing Americans trusted least, marking the first time business had placed last. The recent Wall Street protests further exemplify the mounting frustration toward corporations.
Dr. Rajendra Sisodia, chairman and co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism Institute and marketing professor at Bentley University, said, "such cynicism and distrust have high societal costs."
On Oct. 7 Sisodia gave a lecture on conscious capitalism at Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall's Cullum Lecture Room.
Approximately 20 people listened to Sisodia reiterate the need for businesses to move toward a more compassionate capitalism model.
Conscious capitalism is a philosophy based on the belief that a more multifaceted form of capitalism can enhance corporate performance, while concurrently continuing to advance the quality of life for people. The conscious capitalism movement challenges business leaders to define their purpose and recognize their companies' roles in the symbiotic global marketplace.
Sisodia put the growing mistrust down to business' failure to keep up with evolving human wisdom. The rise in life expectancy and decline in birth rate dictates that a growing number of consumers are of the age where purpose and meaning compound selfish opportunism.
People "want to work for a company that is making an impact," Sisodia said.
While many companies' bottom line is to make profit, Sisodia said a clear purpose is the true determinant of success.
When Sisodia compiled a list of "firms of endearment," those who invested in their communities and paid their employees well, he expected them to have less money for investors.
However, Sisodia was pleasantly surprised to find the companies, which included Google, Whole Foods and Toyota, continually outperformed the market. Consumers are loyal to these corporations because they work to improve society, rather than simply maximizing profit.
Sean Tremblay, a first year Cox MBA candidate, is planning to start his own business one day and felt the lecture was useful in outlining ways he could improve his work environment.
"It's definitely more theoretical than the finance, accounting and marketing classes that I've been in this semester so far," he said. "Employees should come to work thinking that they're going to make a difference."
Dhia Mahjoub, who recently finished his computer science PhD at SMU, found the lecture useful and enlightening.
"My major was kind of technical but I'm very conscious about the word and what is going on," he said. "The combination of the words capitalism and consciousness, they're kind if opposites, but it made so much sense after listening to the lecture."