This course addresses these questions, the first being: who should solve big social problems? Will markets solve climate change? Governments, the enormous flow of immigrants? Can activists and NGOs solve inclusion ? Will financial markets and innovation solve inequality and gender gaps in pay? Local governments can provide subsidies to firms to locate a plant, or laboratory, or headquarters in an economically depressed community. The truth is that each of these actors, firms, governments, markets, NGOs, stakeholders, unions are needed for solving big social problems. The class makes the case for thinking innovatively rather than hoping that solutions can be imposed. We will discuss issues of today’s world and will seek to identify what are the successful business strategies, or failing strategies, for firms who take it as their business, and sometimes also as their passion, to improve people’s lives.
The class relies on original cases that look at Tesla and climate, Chancellor Merkel’s decision to accept 1.1 million immigrants, public-private partnerships and racing for a vaccine. The material, while sometimes not easy, is at the frontier of discussions. We will also rely on guest speakers to provide us with their perspectives, often regarding their own actions during a crisis. The class is for those who want to consult on policy and strategy, who want to lead or start businesses to solve tough social problems as part of their business strategy, investors who want to invest in large social projects because they are sometimes profitable, and for those socially-engaged who want to understand how markets provide the scale to make a difference.
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Bruce Kogut is the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School. He teaches courses on Governance, Governance and Ethics, and Business Strategies and Solving Social Problems. He has taught in executive programs in the US, Europe, and China.
His current research focuses on governance and corporate compensation, social capital markets and social metrics, and the...