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Contesting the Value of “Creating Shared Value”


This article critiques Porter and Kramer’s concept of creating shared value. The strengths of the idea are highlighted in terms of its popularity among practitioner and academic audiences, its connecting of strategy and social goals, and its systematizing of some previously underdeveloped, disconnected areas of research and practice. However, the concept suffers from some serious shortcomings, namely: it is unoriginal; it ignores the tensions inherent to responsible business activity; it is naive about business compliance; and it is based on a shallow conception of the corporation’s role in society. [Michael Porter and Mark Kramer were invited to respond to this article. Their commentary follows along with a reply by Crane and his co-authors.] (Keywords: Business and Society, Corporate Social Responsibility, Stakeholders, Philanthropy, Partnerships, Ethics)

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