Public Lecture by Rebecca Henderson


Thursday, April 13, 2017, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Emerson Hall, Room 210, Harvard Yard

Title: "Reimagining Capitalism: Business, Purpose and the Big Problems"

As a world we face a number of “big problems” including accelerating environmental degradation and rising inequality. The private sector has traditionally treated these problems as externalities and relied on the public sector to address them. But governments around the world are finding it increasingly difficult to address them with any success. Could the private sector play a major role in addressing them? Would it make a difference if firms were “purpose driven”? What would purpose driven firms look like, in a world in which many managers believe that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits? Would they be legal? Could they survive? Could they change the world?

Rebecca M. Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units and is the Co-Director of the Business and Environment Initiative. Professor Henderson is also a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her work explores how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment. She teaches Reimagining Capitalism in the MBA Program.

This event is co-sponsored with the Mahindra Humanities Center.