Business Ethics, Innovation, & Creating Shared Value

On Monday this week I have organized a tiny workshop at the Management Center Innsbruck to discuss “Business ethics, innovation & creating shared value”.

In my opening comments “Ethics, innovation & creating shared values” I introduced the topic with strong reference to Fontrodona (2013) arguing that there is a strong relationship between ethics and innovation leading to Porter and Kramer’s (2011) concept of creating shared value. CSV, Porter and Kramer argue, is distinctively different from conventional CSR activities.

George Bragues with his contribution “What would Adam Smith say about contemporary business ethics?” shed light onto the question whether Adam Smith would consider CSR as a task that managers should care about. In short, and as such not unexpectedly, Adam Smith would not consider CSR a relevant task for managers. Yet, Adam Smith, in his moral reasoning would argue that what managers should do is not detached from their environment and is not completely dictated by self-interest. He sees managers as part of their individual network that will finally determine the ethics of management. For more about George’s talk see here.

Michael Redinger investigated whether and how distinct the academic discussion around Creating Shared Value is from the current concepts of corporate social responsibility. In his talk “Creating Shared Value – A paradigm in its infancy?” he used social network analysis on a large citation network. He found that currently Creating Shared Value has not yet developed a distinct body of literature that allows us to differentiate it from CSR. The analysis showed that the CSR literature shows clusters that are comparable to the four groups developed in Garriga and Mele (2004), yet with some tiny nuances.

Roman Haas in his presentation “Creating Shared Value implementation – A cross sectional analysis” introduced us to his measurement of Creating Shared Value activities of the 100 most innovative companies in the German speaking DACH region. His conclusion – although somewhat preliminary in nature – is that an astonishingly high fraction of companies already score pretty well on his CSV-score. This also indicates that CSV cannot be so radical a concept otherwise this could not be explained.

In her presentation “Which ethics for the capitalist system? The proposal of the German neoliberal Wilhelm Röpke” Daniela Ortiz discussed the life, the thought and the legacy of Wilhelm Röpke to the audience. For the audience it was interesting to see the ethical foundations of the German post WW2 economic system, which Wilhelm Röpke has significantly contributed to.

In his brief statement Johannes Dickel covered the PRME initiative and the foundation of a German speaking chapter in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. PRME is currently and will continue to be an important actor to integrate responsible management practices into business education.

Markus Frischhut finally analyzed the ethical implications of moving for health cross border in his presentation titled “Moving for health – Not only legal, but also ethical implications”. Aside from the legal and ethical implications Markus analyzed the different dimensions of cross border mobility for health and the related issues.


Fontrodona, J. (2013). The relation between ethics and innovation. In T. Osburg & R. Schmidpeter (Eds.), Social innovation: solutions for a sustainable future (pp. 23–34). Heidelberg: Springer.

Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1/2), 51–71.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, (January-February).

Image: modified from|Author%20=Markus%20Henkel%20(|Date%20=2013-05-08%20|Permission%20=%20|other_ver… (CC)

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