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Schumpeter: Taking the long view | The Economist

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Taking the long view
The pursuit of shareholder value is attracting criticism—not all of it foolish
Nov 24th 2012 | From the print edition
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HE IS the chief executive of a multinational corporation, but Paul Polman sometimes sounds more like a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. The boss of Unilever (an AngloDutch consumer-goods firm with brands ranging from Timotei shampoo to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) agonises about unemployment, global warming and baby-boomer greed. He puts some of the blame for these ills on the most influential management theory of the past three decades: the idea that companies should aim above all else to maximise returns to shareholders. He appears to mean it. Since taking charge in 2009, Mr Polman has stopped Unilever from publishing full financial results every quarter. He refuses to offer earnings guidance to equity analysts. He has introduced a lengthy “sustainable living plan” and attracted a new cadre of long-term investors, particularly in emerging markets. He even told an audience in Davos that hedge-fund managers would sell their own grandmothers to make a profit. Mr Polman was one of several titans to decry the cult of shareholder value at the Peter Drucker Forum (an annual gathering of admirers of the late Austrian-born management guru) in Vienna on November 15th and 16th. Roger Martin, the dean of the Rotman School of…...

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...General" (Murphy,1986). Since then, entrepreneurship was given a definition in the perspective of behavior, including decision-making, sound judgment, supervision of production, innovation, and resource reallocation (Herron, 1993). The new definition of the "entrepreneur" credited by French economists was put by Jean Baptiste in the 19th century "the entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield". In this time, entrepreneurship was given the meaning of "creating values"(Dees, 1998). In 1911, “entrepreneur as innovator” was put forward by Schumpeter. In his theory, entrepreneurship nearly the same as innovation is thought to be a critical factor in the promotion of economic development. This theory was unceasingly completed by Schumpeter. Through the process of “disruptive innovation” (Schumpeter, 1942), entrepreneurs create economic opportunities and obtain economic benefits by causing a series of disturbances to the market equilibrium. These disturbances are caused by five categories of discrete change, which includes innovation of product, production, market, raw materials and organization (Hagedoorn, 1996). From this theoretical prediction, entrepreneurial innovation is the key for the increase of economic development. The neo-classical tradition founded by Solow (1956) contributes further explanation to the impact of technological innovation on growth. According to Solow's study, the inputs of......

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