IBM Distinguished Professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice and Director of the Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship, Daniel Diermeier  

Our Purpose

In recent decades, corporations have replaced states as the leading agents for global political and social change. Increased globalization and technological innovation will further accelerate this process. Increasingly, societal actors have recognized these developments and have begun to hold companies accountable for the social consequences of change. In addition to being responsible to shareholders and employees, companies must address the concerns of the media, activists, public officials and the public. Examples of areas that now involve business range from environmental standards and sustainability, diversity and privacy concerns, to global labor relations and human rights. Consider the example of biotechnology. Biotech companies not only need to obtain regulatory and political approval for their products, but also must secure acceptance of their products by the public via the various media channels.

These developments present new opportunities and challenges for managers. The social environment of business is complex and involves actors with different motivations. In this context, ethical concerns play a critical role. Both political activists and consumers frequently are motivated by moral concerns. Firms must be able to anticipate these concerns, predict their effects and incorporate them into overall strategic planning, from communication strategies to coalition building, from industry-alliances to the development of organizational solutions and corporate structures.

By their very nature these issues do not fit existing research categories. The Ford Center is therefore committed to addressing these issues on an interdisciplinary basis, bringing together researchers from social psychology, ethics, organizational behavior, accounting, political economy, economics, management strategy, medicine and public policy.

For more information about the Ford Center, please contact Professor Daniel Diermeier, the Center's director.