Audio Interview

Deep purpose: why pursue it, and how to implement it

Published on November 24, 2022   25 min

Other Talks in the Playlist: Interviews with business leaders and scholars

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Interviewer: Today, I'm interviewing Professor Ranjay Gulati. Paul R. Lawrence MBA class of 1942, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Professor Gulati is the author of an article in the March, April 2022, issue of the Harvard Business Review titled, "The Messy but Essential Pursuit of Purpose". Listeners are expected to read the article before listening to this interview. Professor Gulati, thank you for sparing the time for this interview. Mashed up with this fundamental question. Assuming a company wishes to adopt, what you describe as deep purpose, who must agree, and how do they make those agreements? I have in mind the power to use terms in your article, stakeholders, shareholders, management, employees, and customers. You fetch tradeoffs. Some stakeholders may benefit or suffer more than others. Who must agree and to what? Prof. Gulati: Thank you for that question and thank you for the invitation, Neil. Here, first of all, the title of the article is the messy, right, as in the messy nature of purpose. That's the central theme here. This is not going to be a clean contract. We think of the conventional view of firms for many years has been what is called a firm as a nexus of contracts where it tries to clarify the nature of its contract with each stakeholder. It tells shareholders,"Here's my quarterly guidance on the numbers you can expect to have." It tells employees,"Here's

Deep purpose: why pursue it, and how to implement it

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