One of the students that I met in Stockholm 2003 was Niklas Egels-Zandén. Today Niklas is a celebrated doctor, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Business Administration at the School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg.
At the time – 2003 – Respect was deep involved in a Global discussion regarding Corporate Governance, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. Together with Tom Cannon in Respect’s London consultancy team we raised the issues of Corporate Governance at a seminar in London entitled Enterprising Europe – A New Model for Global Business. Other contributors at the seminar and to the book that was published after the seminar included Robert Monks, John Elkington and Simon Zadek. For me it had a special interest to link this discussion of a new model to the 1930th model, what we called the Saltsjöbadsandan, a consensus model based on the relations between government, businesses and the trade unions.
In London Tom Cannon had just chaired the New Vision for Business study initiated by Tony Blair in 2001. At that time Respect engaged Niklas to delve deeper into the subject and in 2003 he chaired an initiative together with the Second Swedish National Pension Fund. The report, Corporate Governance, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, was one of the first Swedish studies of a New Construct of Corporate Governance.
In late February 2010 Niklas presented a study as his doctoral dissertation that looked deeper into the subject. With a more global society he had been looking at the role of corporations in managing the interaction between various organisational functions and stakeholders at global and local levels. His focus has been on Swedish multinational companies and exploring the work of MNC in China and Africa. His study is important for the necessary dialogue that needs to continue, particularly when the focus is more on the MNC work in the supply chain. Hopefully, in the future we will see stronger Swedish values based on the Saltsjöbadsandan and welfare models when businesses act on the global market and in the supply chain. As Niklas said, it makes business sense in both economical and social terms.
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