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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 231–267 | Cite as

Literature Review of Shared Value: A Theoretical Concept or a Management Buzzword?

  • Krzysztof Dembek
  • Prakash Singh
  • Vikram Bhakoo
Article

Abstract

Porter and Kramer (Harv Bus Rev 84(12):78–92, 2006; Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2), 62–77, 2011) introduced ‘shared value’ as a ‘new conception of capitalism,’ claiming it is a powerful driver of economic growth and reconciliation between business and society. The idea has generated strong interest in business and academia; however, its theoretical precepts have not been rigorously assessed. In this paper, we provide a systematic and thorough analysis of shared value, focusing on its ontological and epistemological properties. Our review highlights that ‘shared value’ has spread into the language of multiple disciplines, but that its current conceptualization is vague, and it presents important discrepancies in the way it is defined and operationalized, such that it is more of a buzzword than a substantive concept. It also overlaps with many other (related) concepts and lacks empirical grounding. We offer recommendations for defining and measuring the concept, take a step toward disentangling it from related concepts, and identify relevant theories and research methods that would facilitate extending the knowledge frontier on shared value.

Keywords

Bottom of the pyramid Business and society Epistemology Literature review Ontology Shared value Theoretical concept 

Abbreviations

BoP

Bottom of the pyramid

CAS

Complex adaptive system

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

CSV

Creating shared value

NAB

National Australia Bank

SVC

Shared value creation

TRM

Total responsibility management

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krzysztof Dembek
    • 1
  • Prakash Singh
    • 1
  • Vikram Bhakoo
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of MelbourneCarltonAustralia

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