Mendoza School of Business

New trends in business in line with Catholic social teaching

Published: January 29, 2013 / Author: Rev. C.S.C.

There are a growing number of companies that not only seek their private good, but also the common good and they embody this expanded purpose in their mission statement and core values.

Cardinal Turkson acknowledged this when he introduced the document The Vocation of the Business Leader based on Catholic Social Teaching on March 30, 2012: “Fortunately, we are witnessing a change in business, a new tendency among organizations, both public and private, to view profit as a means for achieving human and social ends—in other words, as an opportunity to serve the common good.”

Jerry Porras and James Collins in Built to Last (1994) call such companies that have long-term, excellent financial performance and an expanded purpose “visionary companies,” companies that believe that doing well and doing good are not opposites. For example, Merck Pharmaceutical Co. has a mission statement that calls on the company to “devote(s) extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines, but also help deliver them to the people who need them.” Merck sees its purpose as to preserve and improve human life. (See the Merck mission statement on the web). Hewlett-Packard speaks of its purpose as to make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity. In South Korea, Homeplus speaks of “a mission to create increasing value to our customers and communities. . . . We commit to balanced ‘growth’ and ‘social contribution’”. Starbucks opens its mission statement as follows: “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” 

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