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Teaching Cases On Shared Value

Written by Mark Kramer, Founder and Managing Director at FSG

This article was originally published on


Professor Michael Porter and I are very excited to announce a new executive education course on creating shared value to be offered at Harvard Business School, December 10-12, 2014.  This is the first time that Michael and I—along with other Harvard faculty—will develop and teach a 2 ½ day course on this topic.  The course is intended for senior corporate executives in strategy, operations, and new business development, as well as select leaders from NGOs and government.

While the course is a milestone in itself, it’s also given us the opportunity to write a new set of teaching cases on shared value which will be distributed through the Harvard system to business schools around the country.  The initial set of cases will include Dow Chemical, Walmart, and the Norwegian fertilizer company Yara as examples of shared value at the product, value chain and cluster levels, respectively. We will also develop cases on Novartis in India, Novo Nordisk in China, and Discovery Health in South Africa as more comprehensive examples of shared value that cut across all three levels.  As you read this, the case writing team from Harvard is flying around the world to conduct on-site interviews in Michigan, Arkansas, Norway, Tanzania, Denmark, India and South Africa, which they will supplement with videos and photographs that bring the cases to life. The course will be filmed and archived at the Business School.

Developing these six teaching cases is the first step in the development of a full course curriculum on shared value to be offered at Harvard and, we hope, at leading business schools around the world.  Although there are many examples of shared value that have already been written up in one form or another by FSG, the Initiative, and our global network of Consulting Affiliates, few if any of these write ups have been taken to the depth of a full teaching case, complete with financial data from the company, quantifications of the social impact, and detailed descriptions of the organizational and strategic challenges that shared value can create.  The existing business school cases that have been used to teach shared value already are drawn from a mix of topics in CSR, sustainability and philanthropy.  They may be very good cases about the role of business in society, but they do not present the levels and principles of shared value cleanly, and can easily contribute to the existing confusion among approaches.

Please let your networks know about this upcoming opportunity to study with Professor Porter and me, and to help us pioneer an entirely new shared value curriculum. And please send me your suggestions of additional companies around the world that might serve as subjects for the twenty other teaching cases we hope to develop 2015.

Learn more and apply to attend the Harvard Business School course: “Creating Shared Value Economic Success and Social Impact.”


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