Entries in organizational culture (33)


Sustainability and the art of the deal

For an insightful look at one of the ways in which sustainability is becoming a more tangible factor in business deals, I recommend a recent report in the Financial Times on Mitsubishi's acquisition of a 20% stake in Olam International.

Based in Singapore, Olam is a global integrated supply chain manager, processor and trader of soft commodities that has developed some expertise in sustainable agricultural products. The company fosters the notion of sustainability within its workforce from the very start, sending new employees to remote rural locations to foster a sense of "Olam's place in the community and ecosystem," according to Sunny Verghese, Olam's CEO.

This emphasis on sustainability is producing tangible results that can be measured--among other ways--financially. Mitsubishi's $1.1 billion investment was driven in substantial part by its desire for access to Olam's expertise in sustainable and traceable agricultural products. The FT report indicates that Mitsubishi paid a premium for this, and further, that the deal is evidence that the concept of food production based around caring for the environment, efficient use of non-renewable resources and quality of life for farmers and society — is starting to affect deals further up the agricultural supply chain.

-- Graphics source: Financial Times and the International Institute for Sustainable Development

-- Clara Shen


Ashoka on ingredients for social intrepreneurship

We found a recent Forbes article on social intrepreneurship and changemaker companies interesting.

According to Ashoka, a changemaker company, one that is inclusive, adaptive and agile, is the "good soil" that is needed for social intrapreneurship to succeed. A changemaker company is a corporate ecosystem that nurtures new ideas, enables connections with external networks of co-creators, and allows for all employees to understand, recognize and engage in social innovation.

The changemaker company, Ashoka argues, incorporates the following three components:

  • A strong mandate and executive alignment towards creating social value, coupled with institutional infrastructure that prioritizes training and talent development needed for social innovation;
  • Integration of social impact objectives directly into corporate strategy, addressing the "charity" stigma associated with social good initiatives that generate revenue; and
  • Professional development and social impact engagement opportunities offered to employees at different levels of the organization, which include training in problem solving, empathy, innovation, resilience and creativity.

What are your thoughts -- are there other requirements for companies to be changemakers and/or foster social innovation? What about the role of sustainable performance?


Amazon and corporate culture

This week we've watched with interest the attention and debate generated by the New York Times story about Amazon and it's workplace environment that appeared on the front page of its Sunday edition.

The original report cast the retailer as creating an intentionally "bruising" and "thrilling" environment that was an experiment in how far white-collar workers could be pushed. Amazon's founder responded to the NYT piece by saying it didn't describe the Amazon he knows. And, subsequent stories have emerged suggesting that elements of the high-stakes corporate environment can be found in other employers--even some that have recently announced new, kinder policies towards employees.

The issue has clearly struck a chord with a large audience. The volume of the ensuing discussion speaks to the strength of corporate cultures and the importance of how values, assumptions and  expectations regarding ways of working are communicated to employees.

-- Bojan Angelov


Best management practices for reaching, acquiring and retaining rural customers

As a follow on to our last post, How CPG Companies Overcome Challenges to Reach Thriving Rural Markets, which discusses how certain companies are successfully overcoming challenges to reach consumers in rural markets of emerging economies, we want to highlight the management practices these companies have in common.

According to the authors of this Harvard Business Review article, all of who are with Accenture, companies that are successful in reaching, acquiring and retaining rural customers tend to encompass the following organizational and management practices:

The authors point out that reaching rural customers alone is not enough for a company to thrive in these markets. Rather, to be successful, companies must implement transformational strategies and, they must act quickly to secure a first-mover advantage.

Image source: Harvard Business Review

-- Jia Yan Toh


Catalyst Content Briefing 13 April 2015

IN THIS ISSUE » MUTUALITY LAB • BlackRock CEO: Short-term thinking means important long-range goals get pushed to the sidelines • MIT study finds microcredit doesn't lift people out of property, other research suggests cash does » CULTURE LAB • Cross-team diversity greater driver of workplace innovation: Study • Productivity consultant says employees should be encouraged to adopt 'What's in it for me?' attitude about business meetings » DEMAND LAB • Lego-funded childhood play studies building blocks of company success

Click to read more ...