We have proposed a universal business ethics principle:
“A basic duty of every organization is to earn stakeholder trust.”
This principle is offered to provide a way to operationalize business ethics, a field which to date has been limited to awareness and analysis, but not action. Daily headlines make it clear that this approach is not working!
This principle is intended to address these topics:
- Trustworthy behavior is proposed as a proxy for ethical behavior.
- Trust is measurable, therefore provides a way to operationalize ethics.
- “Stakeholder trust” as a unified and quantified concept is offered as a complement to “shareholder value”, which currently dominates business management and which, taken by itself, is at best inadequate and at worst self-destructive (e.g., 2008 financial crisis).
- The stakeholder trust score will be based on crowd-sourced evaluations of an organization’s performance. This represents a shift from compliance, a top-down rule-driven approach; to culture, a bottom-up values-based approach.
The project’s goals are
- to promote “stakeholder trust” as a unifying theory that will provide momentum and synergy for many types of organizational metrics, analogous and a supplement to the panoply of financial measures associated with the “shareholder value” concept.
- to do research to identify trust values that are universally shared and which could become the core of a stakeholder trust score.
This concept was initially introduced on the Russian International Affairs Council website, the think tank of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topics are:
- Stakeholder Trust Metrics: An Approach To Operationalizing Business Ethics