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Book Cover of "From Me to We"

January 25, 2022

"From Me to We" A New Book by Ricardo Ernst

by Cristina Ruiz (G'21)

In their new book, "From Me to We: How Shared Value Can Turn Companies into Engines of Change" (Ernst & Haar, 2022), Georgetown McDonough School of Business (MSB) Professor Ricardo Ernst and Florida International University (FIU) Professor Jerry Haar expand on the concept of creating shared value (CSV) and make a case for businesses, governments, and societies to embrace CSV to respond to the 21st-century challenges and opportunities.

In the past, the sole purpose of a business used to be about capital gains, but businesses today are expected and need to embrace other elements of society for the sake of their own development and the development of the community. As a company enhances its own profitability and competitiveness, it must also advance the communities it operates in.

Fifteen years after Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer introduced the concept of shared value strategy with its central premise of the interdependence between business competitiveness and the progress and welfare of society (Porter & Kramer. "Strategy and Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility"), researchers and experts have dedicated themselves to study how to reconcile these two goals to achieve economic and social progress and respond to the current and future needs of our societies.

The authors of "From Me to We" present a theoretical framework to introduce the concept of “Me to We” (also abbreviated as “M2W”) through a variety of case analyses across different industries while taking a step forward to identify some specific actions organizational leadership can take to create shared value as they aim to navigate through the three disruptive forces of the 21st century, as identified in their previous book "Globalization, Competitiveness, and Governability" (Ernst & Haar, 2019). 

In particular, Ernst and Haar highlight five strategies, or what they refer to as the "Quintet of M2W" to achieve this goal. 

 We broaden Porter's and Kramer's trio by adding the indispensable features of ownership and accountability. In upgrading and broadening the concept of shared value, we refer to it as the shorthand “From Me to We.”

In addition to endorsing Porter's and Kramer's three shared value opportunities of 1) reconceiving products and markets, 2) redefining productivity in the value chain, and 3) enabling local cluster development, the authors add to the original model two more CSV opportunities: 4) embracing a broader meaning of competitiveness, and 5) elevating the role of governability. 

With their worldview and business expertise, the authors present a solid case for a win-win strategy in which companies redefine what it means to create value for all and put theory into action.

The “From Me to We” concept could drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It opens managers’ eyes to immense human needs that must be met, large new markets to be served, and the internal costs of social deficits — as well as the competitive advantages available from addressing them. This will require managers to develop new skills and knowledge and governments to learn how to regulate in ways that enable a Me to We approach rather than work against it.

LALP program participants get to explore CSV with MSB Professor Ernst as part of their GCL, ILG, and custom program academic sessions.

About the Authors:

Ricardo Ernst is Baratta Chair in Global Business and Professor of Operations and Global Supply Chain, Managing Director of the Global Business Initiative, Executive Director of the Latin America Leadership Program, and former Deputy Dean, all at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, USA. He is the author of over 35 papers in academic journals and author/editor of Global Operations and Logistics (also translated to Chinese and Portuguese), Innovation in Emerging Markets and Globalization, Competitiveness and Governability.

Jerry Haar is a Professor of international business and Executive Director for the Americas in the College of Business at Florida International University, USA. He is also a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a senior research fellow at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He is the author/editor of 17 books, including Innovation in Emerging Markets, and Globalization, Competitiveness, and Governability.