Why Value System Maps are Vital

The Associate Press wins Pulitzer Prize for exploring The Value System of the seafood industry

Today it was announced that the Associated Press has just won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on Seafood from Slaves. Aside from wondering how in the world companies could let such atrocities happen within their supply chains (and I've spent a while mulling this since seeing the AP stories when they were published), these type of horrific situations have convinced me that even if your company's value system doesn't include slave labor, it's time to check and confirm all of the processes that help you bring your products and services into the market and reclaim them when they reach the end of their lives meet with your Core Values that are guiding your business.

This is more than being about avoiding being caught for doing the wrong thing, and suffering the negative consequences that such allegations or insights bring. This is about truly committing you and your company to creating value not only for your shareholders and perhaps your customers, but also for your partners, society and the planet. This thinking is at the heart of The Value Plan, and it is a philosophy that I hope today's Pulitzer Prize announcement helps reinforce for executives globally.

Since I began teaching marketing, I've always used the example of Nike getting caught for hiring child labor in Pakistan back in 1996 to explain this point. But last year's revelations that even Patagonia (which is one of my favorite examples of a values-driven, responsible business) was found to be using wool from sheep that had been tortured, while simultaneously promoting the fact that all of their wool had been shorn from ethically farmed sheep. Even though their response was quick and clear, the lesson that we should take away from this is that it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of what is happening within our larger value system. And if a company like Patagonia has struggled to create a truly ethical and responsible value system, what is the status of yours?

If a company like Patagonia has struggled to create a truly ethical and responsible value system, what is the status of yours?

Creating a value system map takes time and energy, but the outcome will ensure that you and all of your company's stakeholders become deeply aware of what is happening along the entire path of the creation, sales and reclamation of the products and services that you make. Please see Step 4 of The Value Plan for a detailed discussion of how to create such a map. This is a process that every company will benefit from following. Rather than finding yourself in a crisis situation when surprising facts are learned about your company's value system, isn't it time to find and fix these problems before such a crisis arises?

About The Author

Philip Sugai

Dr. Sugai joined Doshisha Graduate School of Business in 2013 where he teaches Marketing, eMarketing, Marketing Research, and Sustainable and Responsible Marketing to Global MBA program students. Prior to joining the Doshisha University faculty, Dr. Sugai taught at the International University of Japan in Niigata since 2002, where he taught similar courses and served both as Dean and Associate Dean for more than 6 years. He received his Doctoral degree from Waseda University’s Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunications Studies and his M.B.A. in Marketing and Operations Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has worked as a marketing executive at American Express, Muze, Inc., and Lightningcast, Inc., and as a marketing consultant for Advantage Marketing Information.

Leave A Response