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Management as a Calling

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Management as a Calling

Leading Business, Serving Society

Stanford Graduate School of Business,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Business leaders, professors and students must pick up the mantle of social and environmental leadership before it’s too late.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
  • Bold


Professor Andrew Hoffman draws on his unique knowledge of the intersection of sustainability and business to deliver a powerful argument for corporate activism. Bolstering his engaging writing style with well-referenced facts, Hoffman leaves little doubt that humanity’s profound social and environmental challenges demand corporate leadership solutions. This, he contends, starts in business school, where curricula and attitudes must change to emphasize social and environmental responsibility alongside investor returns. This succinct, emotive work may challenge your politics – and open your eyes.


Business schools must reorient toward stakeholder capitalism and corporate social activism.

Today’s generation of business students reflect the concerns of youth worldwide who have grown tired of leaders’ empty social and environmental promises. Few business schools, however, address the role of business and executives as change leaders beyond their companies. Business school curricula must evolve to include core courses in ethics, sustainability and social impact; to teach about multi-stakeholder capitalism rather than simply investor capitalism; and to focus on healthy partnerships between business and government.

Professors should disabuse students of the notion that questioning and seeking to improve capitalism equates to promoting communism or socialism. They must equip future corporate leaders with the knowledge and tools for critical thinking about their positive role in society, and to live that role effectively. Business school students must enter their studies with a pro-social mind-set, viewing their future career as a calling rather than allowing themselves to become instruments of faceless ...

About the Author

Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Andrew J. Hoffman received the Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business and the ONE Teaching Award.

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