A research partnership between confectioner Mars, Incorporated and University of Oxford will look at the benefits of mutuality to business.
As part of this, it will look at how natural resources are under pressure, and therefore businesses will need to look at how businesses have a focus that goes beyond profit.
The study defines mutuality as the aim to create lasting positive benefits across stakeholders through an organisations activities, including its employees, suppliers, customers and communities.
Although a family-owned company rather than a mutual owned by its employees, Mars has this definition of mutuality as part of its five core principles that also include efficiency in terms of resource use and human productivity.
Both partners are aiming to explore a new business management theory based around its definition of mutuality that might inform the next generation of business leaders, and engage industry in ongoing learning about what is possible for business when it comes to bettering society.
The project seeks to expand managerial focus beyond simple profit to take into account the full cost and potential benefit for business, society and the planet by doing business according to principles of mutuality, and addresses the new forms of scarcity – human, social and environmental.
University of Oxford Saïd Business School’s Professor Colin Mayer said: “Saïd Business School is dedicated to teaching and research on responsible capitalism. As part of this it is developing innovative programs of teaching and research that seek to embed responsible, inclusive capitalism in business school education and thinking.
“This collaborative research program with Mars on mutuality will be fundamental to that process. It will develop measures of mutuality, evaluate its effect on business practice and performance, and examine the factors that influence its adoption in corporations.
“We are extremely excited about this partnership with Mars which we believe could be instrumental in educating a new generation of business leaders.”