Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Value of Other Values to Business

Businesses exist in civil society, not just in the market economy. Thus, it is important to understand the values supported by other social orders within that society--orders such as the philanthropic order or the democratic order--if one wants to maximize profits.

A great example of this is reported here that corporations that engage in philanthropy can create goodwill that can overcome negative experiences with the company. That is, customers may ignore bad service if they like things the company is doing in the realm of philanthropy. Companies don't just need to accumulate physical capital and human capital, but moral capital as well.

In fact, the above linked research showed that when customers were given an opportunity to have a portion of their payment for their purchase go to a philanthropy of their choice (say, among three offered), customers were particularly forgiving.
"Offering customers a choice of their favorite good cause is a true win-win-win solution to the inevitable service failure," the authors conclude. "Customers win, firms win, and society as a whole wins."
A company can of course compete on cost and/or quality of their product or service, which is the typical way of doing things, but now they can compete on generosity--or at least aiding customer generosity--as well. Give yourself that extra margin over your competition, and help out your fellow man. Now that's a great way to profit.

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