SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good

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Overview

Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the answer to the global crisis of business and American-style capitalism.

Out of the ashes of conventional business models arises a set of companies using their power not only for profits and sustainable growth but also social good.

If you think business corporations are doomed to be lumbering, bloated, and corrupt, think again.

Based on an extraordinary three-year investigation, interviewing more than 350 key people at major companies around the world, Rosabeth Moss Kanter provides encouraging and astounding evidence that this assumption is completely outdated. The businesses that are agile, keeping ahead of the curve in terms of market changes and customer needs, are the businesses that are also progressive, socially responsible human communities.

Take IBM. When the tsunami and earthquake struck Asia, IBM didn’ t just cut a check for relief funds and call it a day. The company used its technological expertise and skilled people to create what government and relief agencies could not: information systems to effectively track relief supplies and reunite families. While IBM did this with no commercial motive, its employees’ desire to serve people suffering during these crises stimulated innovations that later benefited the company.

Or Proctor & Gamble. Despite a decade-long commitment to research and development of a water purification product, commercial prospects were unpromising. But because it was so consistent with P&G’s statement of purpose, people within the company persevered. And when the tsunami struck, it was then able to deliver roughly a billion glasses of drinking water for the victims, earning plaudits from aid partners, the media, governments, and crucially, P&G employees.

SuperCorp captures the zeitgeist of the emerging twenty-first-century business. For example:

• The strong potential synergy between financial performance and attention to community and social needs
• The unique competitive advantage from embracing the values and expectations of a new generation of professionals
• The growth opportunities that result from stressing values and supressing executive egos when seeking partners and integrating acquisitions

SuperCorp is a remarkable look at the business of the future and the management skills required to get there. IBM, Banco Real, P&G, Cemex, Omron, and other companies reported on now move with the rapidity and creativity of much smaller enterprises. These companies are not perfect, but when people are empowered and values drive decisions, everything can come together in magical “Rubik’s Cube moments” of deep satisfaction. Kanter’s compelling and inspiring stories show that people are more inclined to be creative when their company values innovation that helps the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Rosabeth Moss Kanter puts a new and welcome human face on the many ways companies can serve a public purpose while also prospering financially and building an enduring culture of success.”
—Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products

“A brilliant report from the front lines of companies creating the future by accomplishing the seemingly impossible.”
—Daniel Vasella, chairman and CEO of Novartis

“Rosabeth Moss Kanter . . . breaks new ground in SuperCorp by envisioning the corporation of the future that creates long-term value through breakthrough strategies that help solve intractable social problems.”
—Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic and author of True North

“This is the book that the world has been anxiously waiting for, perhaps Kanter’s most notable, certainly one of the most important books of this decade.”
—Warren Bennis, University Professor at the University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader

“Kanter makes a compelling case about the role played by corporate culture, values-based decision making, and larger societal issues in the creation of sustainable success.”
—Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon

“Innovative insights on how companies–and their leaders–can be at the vanguard of the twenty-first century. . . . Timely, informative, and uplifting–all of the qualities of a great read!”
—David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and White House counselor to four U.S. presidents

“Kanter’s careful analysis goes beyond the platitudes by offering solid examples and important insights.”
—Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman, p­resident, and CEO of IBM

“Unless your business is also serving a social purpose you miss an opportunity for innovations that bring profits. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, one of our most outstanding scholars, excels in her characteristic manner by taking the lead and developing practical ideas for the leaders of the future.”
—Ram Charan, coauthor of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Publishers Weekly

Harvard Business School professor Kanter (Confidence) offers cutting-edge insights on corporate competitiveness in this timely and captivating assessment of what it takes to succeed in the face of rapid technological, cultural and economic change. Asserting that "globalization increases the likelihood for shorter organizational life cycles," Kanter argues that companies must be more nimble than ever to survive. Drawing on stories of such businesses as Proctor and Gamble, Digitas and Cemex, she describes how "vanguard" companies exploit their strong cultures to adapt and innovate, often harnessing the momentum of change to capture market share or squash competition. Those companies that will thrive in the future, maintains Kanter, have "stamina, energy, long lists of contacts, an appetite for communication, comfort with ambiguity, and a belief that the company's values and principles mean that they are part of something bigger than just a job." This dense work may be demanding for many, but the opportune lessons within are worth the effort for readers seeking to compete in a global marketplace that is changing more rapidly than ever before. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307382351
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 982,036
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Named by the London Times as one of the “50 most powerful women in the world,” ROSABETH MOSS KANTER is the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor at Harvard Business School. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Confidence, The Change Masters, named by the Financial Times as one of the most influential business books of the twentieth century, and Men and Women of the Corporation, which won the C. Wright Mills Award for the year’s best book on social issues. Dr. Kanter chairs the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, offering innovative collaboration across business, education, government, law, and public health.

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