Why Humanity Needs More Powerful Global Corporations
The world faces serious and complex problems that are difficult to address. Existing organizations are not effectively addressing these problems. National governments fracture the world into regions that show little concern for the world as a whole. Non-governmental organizations scatter their efforts in pursuit of additional funds. Global corporations bind the world together with trade and cooperation, and they shift wealth from the wealthiest nations to the poorest ones. However, only a minority of global corporations treats global bonds as an important goal, and many large corporations are making the world’s problems worse.
Humanity needs to improve all forms of organizations, but large global corporations offer the most potential for significant benefits because they have been the most powerful and flexible organizational form ever created. In principle, large global corporations could become powerful tools for reducing inequality, alleviating stresses, and making wars less frequent. However, corporations are focusing too strongly on short-run, parochial goals. We need to change the governance of large corporations to broaden their global perspectives and lengthen their planning horizons.
Academia can make important contributions toward such improvements. Scholars are thought-leaders who emphasize rationality and persuasion; they could be debating options for improving the governance of large corporations. Academics could be creating programs that inform the senior executives in large corporations and help them to analyze recent events and to think through the complexities they confront.
William H. Starbuck is one of the world‘s leading scholars on organizational behavior and management, Professor Emeritus from the Stern School at New York University, and a former president of the Academy of Management. He is currently a guest of the WZB Research Group “Science Policy Studies”.