Is your organization just starting on your shared value journey? Use these resources—based on rigorous research and proven company case studies—to get up to speed on the latest thinking.
What is shared value?
Shared value is a management strategy focused on companies creating measurable business value by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business.
“Creating Shared Value.” This 2011 Harvard Business Review article was instrumental in bringing the approach to the mainstream. Authors Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer explain: “The purpose of the corporation must be redefined as creating shared value, not just profit per se. This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also reshape capitalism and its relationship to society. Perhaps most important of all, learning how to create shared value is our best chance to legitimize business again.”
Creating both business and social value helps a company's offering stand apart from the competition. Watch the following video from the 2015 Shared Value Leadership Summit, in which Prof. Michael Porter explains how shared value creates competitive advantage:
What is not shared value?
Shared value is not philanthropy or corporate social responsibility (CSR), because in these cases an organization's social contributions are not necessarily intrinsic to business value. Mark Kramer wrote about the difference in this FSG blog post. Carol Moore of Heifer International also tackled how to differentiate the terms in her whitepaper "CSR and Creating Shared Value: What's the Difference?"
You may have heard some other terms that are similar to shared value; for example, Sustainability, Inclusive Business, and Conscious Capitalism all relate to business' role in society. At 1:28 in the video below, Mark Kramer explains shared value's relationship with these other terms. (Watch the entire video for a good primer on the most frequently asked questions on shared value.)
What do companies need to know?
Is your organization ready to take on the shared value approach? Take this Readiness Assessment to gauge how prepared your organization or your team is for shared value planning or implementation. Then read these articles on the essentials:
“Innovating for Shared Value.” At its best, business is about innovating to meet society’s needs and to build a profitable enterprise. But many corporate leaders are struggling to achieve those twin goals. In a study of more than 30 companies that have succeeded in creating so-called shared value, this Harvard Business Review article by FSG identifies five mutually reinforcing elements. Read full article.
“Measuring Shared Value: How to Unlock Value by Linking Social and Business Results.” Measurement approaches that link social and business results are vital to unlocking shared value for companies and scalable solutions to social problems. This 2013 article by FSG offers a step by step process for measurement, starting with a well-developed shared value strategy. Examples from leading companies demonstrate this framework in action. Read full article.
Who is creating shared value? How?
- Browse Shared Value Resources: A collection of research, case studies, presentations, and videos, all crowd-sourced from top thinkers in the shared value community and curated by the Initiative.
- Browse Shared Value Case Examples: A collection of short case studies from the global organizations that implement shared value thinking.
How does the Shared Value Initiative help?
We connect practitioners in search of the most effective ways to implement shared value. Read About the Initiative, or watch this brief 90-second video that explains what we do:
If you have a specific question about shared value:
- Join the community and post about it there. You'll get feedback direct from the practitioners.
- Contact the Initiative directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.