Ignatian Business Values and Benefit Corporations: A Countercultural and Revolutionary Theory of the Firm
Two hundred years ago, 85 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty; today that figure is less than 15 percent (Mackey and Sisodia, 2013). Capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty and continues to be a powerful system for social collaboration and human development for most people, but not all. It seems to be a perfect time in history to expand the purpose of corporations to be one of true service maximization: that is, serving the interests of people, communities, and society, as well as shareholders. This requires structural changes in business law such as the incorporation of firms into so-called benefit corporations, for-profit companies that pursue social and environmental goals along with profit-maximization. Jesuit business schools have the opportunity to promote awareness of benefit corporations through education and networking aimed at students, alumni, and the wider community. Such approaches can encourage a paradigm shift in business education and practice, supporting a more balanced development of people, communities, and the environment, and moving beyond the imbalances of agency theory, fiduciary responsibility, and shareholder maximization.