Li Ning Case Study

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Beyond Selfishness
A syndrome of selfishness, built on a series of half-truths, has taken hold of our corporations and our societies, as well as our minds. This calculus of glorified self-interest and the fabrications upon which it is based must be challenged. Henry Mintzberg, Robert Simons and Kunal Basu

O

n Wall Street, where shareholder "value" is vigorously pursued through ever leaner and

meaner organizations, business as usual changed ahruptly on September 11, 2001. Within hours after the tragedy, obsession witb self gave way to serving others. At the very epicenter of self-interest, people became engaged in collective et^brt. There is a message for managemenl in this. Tbe point is not tbat concern lor otbei's is suddenly

going to replace self-interest, but that there bas to be a balance between tbe two. The events of September 11 and the following days belped to make evident how out of balance our society has become. The role of management •— responsible management — is to work toward restoration of that balance. urged to ignore broader social responsibilities in favor ol' narrow sbareholder vaiue; chief executives have been regarded as if they alone create economic performance. Meanwhile, concern for the disadvaiKaged — simple, old-fasbioned generosity — has somebow been lost. A society devoid of selfishness is certainly difficult to imagine. But a society tbat glorifies selfishness can be hnagined only as base. Tbe intention here is to challenge such a society — not to deny human nature, but to confront a distorted view of it. In so doing, we wish to promote another characteristic no less human: engageiucut. A syndrome of selfishness has taken hold of our corporations and our societies, as well as our minds. (See "A Syndrome of
Henry Mintzberg is the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University. Robert Simons is the Charles M.…...

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