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February 04, 2004

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afriye quamina

Interesting. I, too, have been observing the transformational move to a oneness of all things business via an authentic ecology. The ecology of business means - to me - the interrelationships of ALL things, with this one exposure on business and business dealings. Sustainable business seems to rely on natural principles folded in the world of doing business that has definite effects on us all. Move one, and another one is moved. Sales is to marketing as customer satisfaction is to the balance sheet. There is no separation.....anywhere. Money plays a significant role in all of it. The idea of money stimulates an energy both random and ordered, and they are both necessary. Continue the dialog.

David

Great post, as usual.

Very useful idea, this ecology of a business. Every corporation has its own ecosystem.

Using this concept, one gets a more comprehensive view of the interactions resulting from any corporate decision.

It also explains the presence or absence of unions in a given corporation.

Jennifer Rice

Tom, thanks for your comment. However, I don't view interest to mean the same thing as money. Employees, customers and communities all have varying interests in the activities of a company, which might include loyalty, pollution, ethics, quality, overseas outsourcing, etc. Of course, money plays a part: getting paid, getting good value for the money, keeping a strong economy and high employment... but this is what complexity and obliquity is all about. "Money" by itself is meaningless, a means to an end.

Tom Asacker

There's something about the word "stakeholder" that rubs me the wrong way. In it's simplest business definition, a stakeholder is someone who has an interest ("stake") in a firm. And interest and "stake" refers to what? Money. The origin is from gambling, where stakeholder was someone entrusted to hold the stakes for two or more persons betting against one another.

David Foster

In general, it's true that people with a passion for business do better than people whose only interest is in "making money"--I'd carry this down a level and say also that the passion is usually associated with a specific *kind* of business. One person may get turned on by the fashion industry; another by the software industry; another by automotive. Yes, there are many skills which cross industries (negotiation, financial analysis), but the culture of industries differs, and for most people there are certain ones that will energize them more than others.

Bear in mind also when considering "stakeholders" that corporate officers have a specific legal (fiduciary) responsibility to their shareholders.

John Moore

Great post, Jen. John Kay is very convincing on obliquity; also his challenging of the either/or mentality towards doing good/making money is helpful too.

I am fascinated by complexity approaches and the idea of the ecology of a business. That Dunlap quote is fairly grim isn't it; I wonder how many errors and mistakes were made by underlings of his who felt unable to challenge such ex-cathedra statements?

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