Deeply Responsible Business, chapters' overview

Deeply Responsible Business: A Global History of Values-Driven Leadership (Harvard University Press, 2023)

The book starts with a chapter entitled Profit or Purpose, which introduces the historical debates about the responsibility of business and introduces the concept of deep responsibility.

Chapter 1 The Value of Human Dignity. George Cadbury and Quaker Capitalism, discusses the responses of some business leaders to bad social conditions in nineteenth century Britain before focusing on the work of the chocolate manufacturer George Cadbury.

Chapter 2 Redistribution of Power. Edward Filene, Retailing and the Creation of Credit Unions, examines the response of the Boston retailer Edward Filene to growing inequality in late nineteenth century United States, including his promotion of credit unions.

Chapter 3 Promoting Choice and Facing Dictatorship/ Robert Bosch in Imperial and Nazi Germany, explores the career of the innovative German industrialist Robert Bosch including his extensive welfare programs for employees, wide-ranging philanthropy, and the moral dilemmas posed by Nazi Germany.

Helmy Abouleish

CEO, SEKEM Initiative (Agriculture). See page, Creating Emerging Markets

María Emilia Correa

Co-Founder, Sistema B International (B-Corp). See page, Creating Emerging Markets 

Chapter 4 The Challenge of Newcomer States. J.N. Tata and Shibusawa Eiichi, studies how the pioneering Indian industrialist J.N. Tata and his Japanese counterpart Shibusawa Eiichi reinvented the traditional tenets of the Parsee religion and Confucian philosophy respectively to create new models of business responsibility.

Chapter 5 Educating Future Leaders. Wallace Donham, Harvard Business School and the Push for Ethical Capitalism, examines the efforts of Wallace Donham, the interwar Dean of the Harvard Business School, and the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead to embed deep responsibility in the MBA curriculum.

Portrait of Shibusawa Eiichi, before 1922

See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dean Wallace Brett Donham and George F. Baker at the Campus Dedication, June 4, 1927. 

See page, Baker Library. 

Chapter 6 Building a National. Addressing Disparities. Kasturbhai Lalbhai in Colonial and Independent India, explores the career of the Indian industrialist Kasturbhai Lalbhai, motivated by Jain values, to build modern industry in the country adhering to the highest ethical values, while supporting the independence struggle and investing heavily in the cultural and educational infrastructure of his home city of Ahmedabad.

Chapter 7 Modest Consumerism, Urban Blight, Tech Solutions and the Quest to Improve Society, set in postwar America where Corporate Social Responsibility became the new normal, this chapter looks at three business leaders who went further than the norm – the auto manufacturer George Romney and the computer pioneers An Wang and William C. Norris.

Chapter 8 The Rise of Values-Driven Businesses. Anita Roddick and the Challenge of Growth, explores the career of Anita Roddick, the British beauty retailer and founder of The Body Shop, who challenged stereotypes in her industry and advocated for social and environmental causes, although was also prone to over-claiming and exaggerating her firm’s achievements.

Chapter 9 Social Three-Folding. Biodynamic Farming and how to build a Flourishing Community, examines business inspired the Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, including the Egyptian biodynamic community of Sekem, established by Ibrahim and Helmy Abouleish.

Chapter 10 From ESG to B Corps. Benchmarking and Scaling of Virtuous Practices, examines endeavors to build deeply responsible systems, including ESG investing, B Corps, the Economy of Communion, and the steward-ownership movement.