CREATING SHARED VALUE IN THE PRESENCE OF CONFLICTS AND TRADEOFFS: A PARADOX PERSPECTIVE ON BUSINESS AND SOCIETY
Karen LaPierre Naomi Wakayama Toshiro Wakayama
While business and society may engage in mutually beneficial, synergistic interactions, they also face the challenge of managing contentious, tradeoff interactions when their objectives are not aligned. In the diverse fields of studies in business and society, these two modes of business-society interactions have been conceptualized rather separately: mutual gains and synergies in concepts such as social innovation and shared value creation on one hand, and tensions and tradeoffs in studies that involve, for example, competing dimensions of corporate sustainability, conflicting priorities of various stakeholders, and opposing institutional logics in hybrid organizations on the other hand. Grounded in paradox theory, which views contentious and synergistic relationships of dual elements such as business and society as two sides of the same coin, we develop a framework for capturing the two types of business-society interactions at the fine-grained micro level. Our extensive case studies, based on publicly available information, illustrate the framework in detail, i.e., how contentious and synergistic interactions occur and their interplay over time within a context of a specific firm and its interactions with the society around it. Our key observation is that synergy creation and tension management are mutually-influencing and tightly integrated processes in the discourse of fine-grained, business-society interactions.