Balancing value and values

We live in turbolent times that are characterised by inequality, climate change and social unrest. There is an increasing need to regain a sense of purpose in what we do and what we do in the organizations and communities that we belong to. That sense of belonging is also at risk. We increasingly work ‘in’ organizations rather than ‘for’ them, as atomised units who compete for resources, which are increasingly defined in and reduced to monetary terms. There is therfore an increasing and urgen need to reconcile value with values.   

I am exploring such themes both in all of the spheres of my activity: research, teaching, engagement and policy.

In terms of research, I am exploring the role of the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI), the largest state owned Italian conglomerate privatised in the 90s, in providing alternative forms of social and economic order, in between capitalism and socialism. At IRI, a new system of planning and budgeting based on value added was developed as a platform for mediation and compromise. The Italian Miracle was not achieved only by the private sector but thanks to an illuminated industrial policy of the State which balanced profit and social issues, which balanced value and values. The same can be said for the work I did on the Society of Jesus.

I am also seeking to influence policy through my work at the Financial Reporting Council, at the AICPA-CIMA and in collaboration with the Natural Capital Coalition, where we are testing the feasibility of a new reporting format highlighting how organizations can generate Value Added for Nature in addition to other stakeholders as conventionally defined (i.e. labour, equity capital, borrowed capital, the State, and the firm as institutional locus where the mediation of various interests happens).