'Creating Shared Value’ by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer took the academic (5000+ citations and counting) and business communities by storm in 2011. Building on their earlier work they propose in the Harvard Business Review article that shared value creation can help to reinvent capitalism by focusing on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and economic progress.
Building on an earlier critique of shared value (Crane, Palazzo, Spence, Matten, 2014, California Management Review), the lens is turned to the case of small business. While small businesses are in many ways charged with being the engines of shared value by Porter and Kramer’s proposals, there is little to recommend it from the point of view of the small business itself.
The paper concludes that creating shared value is an uncomfortable fit for small businesses, and an alternative approach of the ethic of care is proposed as a more productive way of understanding social responsibility in the small business context.
Laura J. Spence is Professor of Business Ethics and Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Management, Economics and Law at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is also Director of Research Impact for the School of Management. Her research is on a range of business ethics and critical corporate social responsibility perspectives, not least Small Business Social Responsibility (SBSR), which she has led scholarly work on in Europe.
Professor Spence has published in Organisation Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Accounting Organisations and Society and Business Ethics Quarterly. She is a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Business Ethics. Her most recent book is the Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility: Global Perspectives (Spence/Frynas/Muthuri/Navare). Laura is a Fellow of the Governing Responsible Business Research Environment, Copenhagen Business School.
Twitter: @ Prof_LSpence