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The balanced company and balancing the corporation
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Society and Business Review, Volume 5, Issue 3
About the Guest Editor
Jacob Dahl Rendtorff Associate Professor and Dr Scient. Adm. and PhD, Mag. Art. and Diplom Pol. Head of Study and Head of Research Group. Jacob Dahl Rendtorff is doing research in business ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the legitimacy of corporations in society. Rendtorff has recently published Responsibility, Ethics and Legitimacy of Corporations, Copenhagen Business School Press 2009.
This guest edition of Society and Business Review is about problems of balance and balancing different concerns in companies, business and corporations from different perspectives. We work with the problem formulation: “What is balance and balancing in corporation and how to we design organizations in order to achieve a balanced company”? It is important to conceive balance not only in static terms but indeed also as a dynamic notion so, therefore, we talk both about the balanced corporation and about balancing the company. When we define balance we refer to a company that has balanced relations with its internal and external environment. This company is in good relations with its environments and it develops its relations with the environment. The guest issue focuses on the conditions and possibilities for the balanced company by discussing the concept of balance and of balancing different concerns in the corporation from the conceptual and from different interdisciplinary perspectives in the business and organization sciences. This involves the following problems and themes for the treatment of the balanced company in management sciences:
The concept of balance and its application to business corporations. In this context, we deal with the concept of balance and balancing and we discuss the scope of application of this concept. What is the definition of the concept of balance and how does it apply to different business disciplines? What are the elements of the idea of balance and balancing and how is it defined?
Organization science and the concept of balance. In this context, we will apply the concept of balance and balancing to the idea of organization science. What does it mean to introduce balance into the idea of organization science and what are the elements of balance in organization science. Balance can be used to determine the structure and development of an organization and this is the aim of the discussion of the role of the concept of balance in organizational design.
Institutional theory and the concept of balance. Here, it is possible apply the concept of balance and balancing to institutional theory and discuss what role the idea of balance may play in the concept of institution. What use can we make of the idea of balance in institutional theory and can the idea of balance contribute to the understanding of balance between institutions in institutional research?
Management of the balanced company. In this context, we will discuss the management of the balanced company in different settings. The issue is what kind of management tools and management ideas that are important for the balanced company. Here, we can refer to ideas of the triple bottom-line, sustainable development in the company, CSR, corporate citizenship, business ethics and other models for formulating balance and balancing between the company and its environment.
Leadership in the balanced company. What does balanced leadership imply? Here we can mention the relation between leadership and recognition, involvement and leadership, leaders who are working closely with their employees in horizontal visions of leadership. We can also mention stakeholder management and other efforts to work closely with all constituencies of the corporation.
Business economics and the balanced economy. What are the economic requirements for a balanced company? Or what is the bottom-line of the balanced company? How should economic management deal with the concept of balance? Does the economic concept of balance include sustainability and new relations to the externalities of economic production?
Business accounting and balance. What kind of reporting procedures do we need to account for corporate balance and the balanced company? Here we could deal with non-financial reporting and the importance of such kind of evaluations for producing balance in a corporation. The concept of reporting can also be used as a tool to develop balance in the corporation.
With this focus on the concept of balance and balancing of the corporation we have selected six articles for this special issue. Some of the articles are prepared by members of the research group Corporations, Leadership and Change from Roskilde University. But also other people have found it relevant to contribute to this issue about the balanced company. We have ordered the contributions around their different aspects of the balanced corporations and balancing the company. This leads to the following structure of the special issue.
We begin with the contribution of Till Talaulicar about the “The concept of the balanced company and its implications of corporate governance”. In his article he discusses the concept of the balanced company in relation to corporate governance of the firm. The paper develops new insights into the appropriate design of corporate governance that fits with the notion of the balanced company. The article includes discussion of the need for a principle-based balancing of competing interests when the stakes of diverse constituencies collide.
In the article by Anders Bordum “The strategic balance in a change management perspective” presents analysis of the development of strategic management and a rational reconstruction of the assumptions of such an approach to balance in management. The paper looks at the historical origins of the planning and change schools in strategic management. It also discusses different aspects of a strategy for balance and balancing the company. Moreover, the paper relates the problems of balance and balancing to different dimension of change management in order to propose a framework for balancing change management in corporations.
In his contribution “Balancing trust and control in organizations: towards a process perspective” Søren Jagd presents a conceptualization of the relation between trust and control in an interactive process that is opposed to a static conceptualization of the relation between trust and control. He shows how the literature has conceptualized trust and control and he discusses how trust and control must be seen as mutually interrelated concepts in order to work with balancing and rebalancing in relation to the corporation. An important element of this contribution is the focus on the process perspective for researching the trust-control nexus.
Carsten Koch addresses in his article “An ethical justification of profit maximization” the problems of balance and balancing in relation to the problem of whether we can have an ethical justification of profit maximization. He wants to investigate how we could look at profit maximization from the point of view of ethical theory and to what extent it is possible to justify profit maximization within consequentialist ethics. The article proposes a number of institutional requirements in order to define ethical justification of profit maximization.
In his work John Damm Scheuer treats in “Actors’ balancing criteria when translating an idea” the problem of balance and balancing within hospital management and health care organizations. He works with the problem of balance with the model of association as point of departure and he discusses the role of translators and their criteria for choices in the translation of clinical pathways in a psychiatric ward. The analysis is based on interpretation of empirical material and the article demonstrates how human and non-human factors influence the translation process.
In the their article with the title “Balancing values and economic efficiency in the public sector! What can public welfare service institutions learn from private service firms?” John Storm Nielsen and Jacob Dahl Rendtorff deal with the balance between values an economic efficiency in the public sector in comparison with the private sector. The article demonstrates how the public sector can learn a lot from the private sector with regard to finding the right balance of the organization with regard to balance the relation between values and economic efficiency.
So, we see that the concept of the balanced company and balancing the company represent important ways to deal with the relation between society and business. Management of balances in the company is central to the achievement of sustainability and this is a dynamic approach to the social study of business. The articles represent different methodological approaches to balance from different interdisciplinary perspectives in the business and organization sciences. We can say that concepts of balancing and balance provide important external and internal understandings of the relation between the corporation, the market and its societal environment.
Jacob Dahl RendtorffGuest Editor