Back to the Booklearning: Corporations

So, I’ve started back at university for my second year of study for my Master of Business Administration (MBA). I was both surprised and pleased when I found out earlier in the year that I had passed the first year without to much bother. By which I mean, I didn’t have to retake anything.. There was definitely “bother” when it came to my stress levels! (I do find that I set my own bar too high; I am something of a perfectionist. So when I metaphorically drop the ball, I get really frustrated!).

Now we’re back at the hard graft. For me, this means hours and hours with my head stuck in books. And not the nice easy to read kind, the slow laborious facts and figures kind! I must admit that I am quite lucky to be able to read quite fast (I read The Green Mile in less than 2 days, a few years back – 800+ pages). So actually getting through the quantity I have to read isn’t too bad. Remembering all the content, well that’s another story!

The book I’m currently reading is called “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power” by Joel Bakan. (via Goodreads)

(Now, I had already written the second part of this post.  Thanks to a network glitch on the upload via my Android tablet – it ended up getting “restored” to the previous draft version.. and I lost it all – despite making sure it was saved.  GRR! Technology.  I have therefore attempted to recreate my previous train of thought.. arguably not quite as good as the first time round, but close enough).

The book (above) is relatively easy to read because it is a) quite short, and b) it is written using narrative. Both pluses when it comes to reading difficult subjects. It describes the “corporation” as being “psychopathic” by imbuing it with human-like traits.  In essence, a corporation’s only interest is to make money for its’ shareholders and therefore has no need to think beyond profit. It has no need to consider anything beyond that which serves it’s own interests, no matter who or what stands in the way. The book comes across as something of a one-sided arguement, but does have some interesting case studies and (I’m roughly halfway through at this point).  It was written/published in approx 2005, and therefore some of the perspectives are a little out of date.  There has been much more public and goverment interest in making firms take account of their actions in the broader sense, including social and environmental issues.  Indeed, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental awareness are no longer the taboo subjects they once were in the boardroom.

It could be the fact that I have an idealised view on the world. I do work in the field of Sustainability, after all! But if a corporation can both make money AND strive to make the world a better place, then surely that’s a win-win scenario.

Sustainability FTW!

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