Renewal Inside: Companies as Respected Institutions

19 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2016  

Jordi Canals

IESE, University of Navarra

Date Written: April 4, 2016


For several decades, shareholder value maximization has been considered the main goal that companies should pursue. The quest for deeper ethical roots in capitalism, new societal needs, and CEOs who highlight different strategic views for companies are broadening the scope of the firm's goals. Moreover, the global financial crisis calls for a reflection on how to make capitalism work better, creating simultaneously economic prosperity and social value. This paper focuses on the role of firms in society and their contribution to renew capitalism. I argue that firms are not only mechanisms for value creation, but also social institutions that are indispensable for economic growth and social progress. As institutions that aim at their long-term survival, companies and senior business leaders need to be respected by customers, employees and investors. In this paper, I explain why society needs respected companies, why this notion can help improve capitalism and how to develop and assess those companies.

Keywords: Corporate governance, company mission, company purpose, respected companies

Suggested Citation

Canals, Jordi, Renewal Inside: Companies as Respected Institutions (April 4, 2016). IESE Business School Working Paper No. 1138-E. Available at SSRN: or

Jordi Canals (Contact Author)

IESE, University of Navarra ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
34-93-2534200 (Phone)
34-93-2534343 (Fax)

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