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Yale School of Management Establishes Program on Stakeholder Innovation and Management

Developing new thinking that helps leaders become expert in creating long-term value for the stakeholders who matter to the success of their organizations.

Preview image for the video "Introducing the Yale Program on Stakeholder Innovation and Management".

The Yale School of Management (SOM) announced the establishment of the Yale Program on Stakeholder Innovation and Management (Y-SIM), a comprehensive effort to develop and disseminate new knowledge that advances the practice of long-term stakeholder value creation.

The program begins its work at a time when the purpose of business and its responsibilities to customers, employees, investors, civil society, and other stakeholders are being reexamined. A major premise of Y-SIM is that this reexamination presents opportunities for innovations that will enhance the long-term success of all enterprises.

“This important new program is the latest manifestation of the Yale School of Management’s mission to educate leaders for business and society,” said Kerwin Charles, the Indra K. Nooyi Dean and Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Economics, Policy, and Management at Yale SOM. “The Yale Program on Stakeholder Innovation and Management will leverage scholarship across Yale SOM and play an important role both in educating future leaders and in helping to inform and operationalize the alignment of company priorities with stakeholder commitments. We are grateful for the generous support that makes the program possible. Its founding could not be more timely.”

Y-SIM’s mission is to develop new thinking that helps leaders become expert in creating long- term value for the stakeholders who matter to the success of their organizations. The program will do so by:

  • Supporting relevant academic research into how businesses manage and engage stakeholders;
  • Developing a robust set of case studies to be used in business classes around the world;
  • Infusing principles of stakeholder innovation and management into education for students, executives, and entrepreneurs; and
  • Convening faculty, students, and leaders from all sectors to advance how business leaders can improve practice and increase the long-term value of their enterprises.

All intellectual capital developed by the program will be made freely available.

Ravi Dhar
Jon Iwata
Edward A. Snyder
From left: Ravi Dhar, Jon Iwata, and Edward A. Snyder

Y-SIM is being led by:

  • Ravi Dhar, Co-Faculty leader; the George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing and Director of the Yale Center for Customer Insights
  • Jon Iwata, Practice Leader; Lecturer and Executive Fellow at Yale SOM and former IBM Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer
  • Edward A. Snyder, co-faculty leader; the William S. Beinecke Professor of Economics and Management and former Dean of the Yale School of Management

“There is considerable discourse today on the responsibilities of business to its stakeholders,” said Iwata. “This discourse is important, but we believe that leaders’ most urgent need is the development of new skills, capabilities, and management systems. The result will be businesses that are at once more responsible and more enduring, distinctive in character, and authentic in action.”

According to Dhar, “Consistent with Yale SOM’s mission, we do not view the question of stakeholder management as an ‘or,’ trading off shareholders versus other stakeholders, but rather as an ‘and.’ Collaborating with, and creating value for, key stakeholders broadens the ways in which organizations can create and sustain value for their shareholders more effectively.”

“Y-SIM is not about endorsing a particular view about stakeholders,” said Snyder. “Instead, it is based on a recognition that current and future business leaders will operate in contexts that are complex and divergent. We intend to take a broad lens to stakeholders—in established and new ventures—and do so on a global basis.”

To guide the program, Y-SIM has established an Advisory Board of experienced leaders.

  • John Seifert (Chair), former CEO, Ogilvy Group
  • James Breyer, Founder and CEO, Breyer Capital
  • Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Managing Director, General Catalyst; and former Chairman and CEO, American Express
  • Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Chairman, Gerstner Philanthropies; and Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation
  • Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, Center for Global Enterprise; and former Chairman and CEO, IBM
  • Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CEO, Advanced Micro Devices

“Today’s employees, consumers, shareholders, and citizens expect more of companies and those who lead them,” said Seifert. “The Yale Program on Stakeholder Innovation and Management will play an important role in helping leaders meet and exceed those expectations.”

“The scope of this program is both ambitious and pragmatic,” said Chenault. “Supporting entrepreneurs to start and grow mission-driven companies is critical work. We have an opportunity to ensure that the next generation of leaders and businesses operates with responsible innovation at their core, and to demonstrate that, for companies to withstand the test of time, it is not just possible, but necessary, to create both economic and societal value.”

“The proposition that an organization exists to create value for the stakeholders that matter to its success is hardly new,” said Gerstner. “What is new is the landscape—one shaped by new levels of complexity, interdependence, speed, and transparency. That calls for new leadership practices—new kinds of learning, new management skills and systems, new approaches to innovation. Y-SIM is a promising step toward addressing those needs.”

“Newly appointed CEOs are often surprised to learn how much of their role is to lead their organizations at the intersection of many stakeholders,” said Palmisano. “That is not the time to learn how to manage this complex dynamic with skill and responsibility. Y-SIM will help address this need for students and for leaders rising in organizations.”

Y-SIM will foster collaboration among an interdisciplinary group of Faculty Fellows whose teaching and scholarship are aligned with the program’s mission. The Faculty Fellows are:

Y-SIM also collaborates with organizations in a Knowledge Network. Participants provide valuable industry expertise and experience in support of the program’s mission. Knowledge Network participants include the venture capital firm General Catalyst and SYPartners, a consulting firm focused on organizational transformation.