Consumerist.com, a online forum focused on consumer issues, is hosting an online bracket-style competition to deem the “Worst Company in America 2012.” This tournament focuses on issues of poor customer service, unreliable products, excessive surcharges and fees, and overall distrustful business practices. Four contestants remain, including:
- a cable/internet/phone provider with a reputation for poor customer service and high surcharges
- a substantial financial institution plagued by controversy and hidden fees
- a multi-national retailer tarnished by labor practices and unreliable products
- video game developer and distributor known for buying and destroying smaller companies.
Watching the tournament unfold is almost as interesting as viewing the comments posted below. Voters express a deep-seeded distrust with these organizations and associate their companies with corruption and irresponsibility. The comments express that profit is the only goal of these companies, and little else matters. However, this negative view does not translate to all corporations.
Companies you do not see in the running for “Worst Company in America” are Zappos, Whole Foods, and The Container Store, perhaps because these corporations have achieved a conscious capitalist business model and affiliation with Conscious Capitalism®. The Conscious Capitalism® organization says these companies are generating every form of value that “matters” – emotional, social, and financial. These companies are not green washing or showcasing corporate social responsibility; they are sincere in their complex business model to make a positive impact on the lives of all of their stakeholders.
Conscious Capitalism® is a growing movement, as well as an expanding organization, whose leaders believe a new and more elaborate style of capitalism is gaining momentum. Not only will companies work to advance society and stakeholder’s quality of life, but they will do this in congruence with becoming a more profitable and better performing organization. While still advocating the foundations of free market capitalism, practitioners of Conscious Capitalism® believe companies that adhere to the four tenets of conscious business will achieve a synergistic win-win approach. The four tenets are: higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership, and conscious culture.
At the forefront of the Conscious Capitalism® movement are business professionals, instructors, CEOs, and thought-leaders. However, the true pioneer of the initiative is the Conscious Capitalism® Institute itself. The Conscious Capitalism® Institute describes itself as “a community of learning and practice, of research and teaching, of deep conversation and reflection – a rapidly growing global group of scholars from leading business schools, corporate executives, and CEOs, as well as consultants, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.”
The Conscious Capitalism® Institute began in the summer of 2009. Their international mission is spread through research, education, and development of programs and practices. The institute hosts a number of multi-national events and conferences, allowing users to attend online or in-person. An international community of advocates is being created to share best practice and an online media outreach is currently in development. A series of teaching material is currently being produced to assist academic instructors, business leaders, and consultants in articulating the conscious capitalist message. They hope to have a master’s class available in the near future, as well. The goal of the Conscious Capitalism® Institute is to develop an abundance of resources, including books, videos, conferences, classes, simulations, programming, documents, presentations, newsletters, social media, and networking platforms to assist companies beginning the journey towards a conscious business model.