Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Maybe maximizing shareholder value is okay, if...

Maximizing shareholder value is a way that some executives think of their purpose as managers of a firm. There’s a lot of criticism of this doctrine.

I think applying constraints to decisions is actually a good thing because they provide criteria with which to make a decision.  

Maybe the constraint of maximizing shareholder value is workable, even helpful, if acting with integrity is a constraint applied first.  

If we are a manager making a decision and we throw out all options that compromise our integrity, even a little, it probably isn’t a bad thing to choose the most profitable option that’s left.

Maximizing shareholder value is a doctrine that seems workable, so long as it’s applied after the doctrine of acting with integrity.

The problem with this approach, is that executives and managers need to understand and act with integrity at all moments and in all decisions. But I think that’s a conversation worth having anyway, irrespective of its relationship with the doctrine of maximizing shareholder value.