Tag Archives: Freeman

Jason DeRulo Talks Dirty to Me

I actually got to meet Jason DeRulo after the concert last week– we talked ethics for a hot sec.

Do you think your goal as an artist is to be the most profitable tour or to express yourself and bring the most joy to your fans? Continue reading Jason DeRulo Talks Dirty to Me

Say vs. Do

Let me start off by saying by acknowledging how much I enjoyed Ed Freeman’s lecture. After reading several of his works I was definitely intrigued to listen to what he had to say, but in no way thought it was going to be as interesting as it was. I felt that his lecture was very down to earth and relatable. I especially enjoyed his use of examples of companies that I was familiar with.

Although I did not get to ask my question someone in the crowd asked a very similar one. I wanted to ask Ed Freeman how one identifies a company that prioritizes ethics and takes their stakeholders interests into serious consideration when making decisions. I found the question that most closely related to this was the one about when interviewing with companies how do you identify the ones that are more stakeholder oriented than shareholder. I found Freeman’s response to be very clear and wise. He said “look at what they do rather than what they say”. He acknowledged how companies will show you pamphlets of their company mission and more information about them. He said that’s when you ask to see their budget. By doing this you can see where they are REALLY allocating their resources and whether or not they are all talk or actually follow through with what they say they do. Being a younger adult who will soon venture into the professional business world I found this to be great advice to have in my back pocket and keep in mind when interviewing with companies.

School or Business?

I want to start off by saying, I expected Ed Freeman’s talk to be significantly educational, but wow….I didn’t know that he was going to have the most awesome beard. After reading many of the posts regarding Freeman’s speech, I wanted to take a bit of a different approach in regards to his theories of ethics for businesses. Continue reading School or Business?

Stakeholderism and the lack of “good” work

Questions for Freeman before watching Stakeholder Theory

  • Do you think the media typically has a negative impact on how the public views companies?
  • How do you think the Internet and social networking sites changed the way companies operate both internally and externally?
  • If Milton Friedman were alive today, what would you want to say to him?

Continue reading Stakeholderism and the lack of “good” work

No Longer Motor City

None of my friends or family quite understand my fascination with the city of Detroit. Maybe this fascination turned borderline obsession could best be explained by this tumblr, which I frequent way too often since Professor Marsh introduced me. As a city that’s literally crumbling to the ground, Detroit fills me with this weird combination of disparity and hope for potential reinvention within its deteriorative state. Continue reading No Longer Motor City

My conflict with conflict

Although the roundtable discussion and lecture with Ed Freeman was way more palpable than I was expecting, I felt slightly unsatisfied with many of Freeman’s answers to questions posed by students and audience members at the night lecture. Continue reading My conflict with conflict

The Real Deal: Ed Freeman on Stakeholder Theory

In a room of twenty something students, Professor Hendry had just opened up the floor for questions for Ed Freeman. I sort of expected the awkward silence, but I didn’t really want to see how far it could go.

“Um, I’m taking a class called stakeholder management and-“

“Wait hold on, you have a class called what?”

“Er, The Stakeholder Organization?”

Ed started to tell us about how he submitted a paper to a publication, in the late 70’s – just a working paper, nothing complete- and the editors thought that the paper title “Stakeholder Theory” was a typo. Surely, the editors thought, Ed must have meant stockholder. He seemed pretty pleased that there was an entire class based on this concept.

“We’ve been talking about the distinction between stakeholder and shareholder theory in class, and how stakeholder is sometimes a catch-all for non shareholder companies. Is there anything you would define specifically as attributes of stakeholderism?

Freeman explained how stakeholderism and shareholderism are not mutually exclusive; shareholder value is definitely a part of stakeholder values. He asked, as a start-up business, “How are you going to make money?” There is no such thing as an entrepreneur that only cares about making money. You have to think about the various groups that have a stake in creating or receiving value from your business proposition. Specifically, he mentioned customers, community, employees, suppliers, and financiers as important groups to make relationships with when starting a business. Freeman alluded to the “soft, squishy stuff” that seems superfluous to traditional, capitalist business models, which really should be at the core of the company (stakeholders). The best companies, he went on to say, are high purpose companies led by fanatical, passionate individuals.

Later, I went to the microphone and asked a question after his lecture in Trout. I was perfectly fine until I started to speak into the microphone, so I think I phrased my question something like this, “Companies are doing additional things like CSR reports, but not as part of the original business model. How can we change the org structure to adopt a more stakeholder point of view?”

I was hoping that Freeman would talk about some of the ways in which companies have integrated CSR into their core business practices, and how organizational structures have changed to reflect these new practices. That is not how Freeman interpreted my question- which is fine- but it left me feeling less that satisfied. He talked about how changing a business takes time, and that our generation would be a part of creating that change. He noted that CSR stood for Corporate Stakeholder Responsibility, which confused me because I thought CSR stood for corporate social responsibility. Which are similar, but at least for me, not the same. I get his message, though; stakeholder theory in practice takes time. He mentioned that there is a disconnect between what we know to be a great business and how to run a business. I think Freeman was answering the question of how to transition from our current business models to an excellent business, and that really the only solution is that it takes time to change cultural norms.

I really do think my management education has made me more cynical, in that I thought Freeman’s lecture has a rosy glow about it. He spoke about opportunity, and well-intentioned people, but in the face of all that we’ve read for this class alone, I can’t help but think that not everyone is as well intentioned as the few companies he highlighted. I think actual implementation of stakeholder theory is complex, for any number of reasons, and Freeman skipped over a lot of those problems. Maybe he was intending his lecture as an introduction to the topic, but I would have liked to hear more about the actual barriers and successes of changing from shareholder to stakeholder that companies have and will face, and how I as a manager can anticipate and react to those changes. All in all, I am grateful I had the opportunity to hear about this concept from the man who literally invented it.

Cheers!