Last month I participated in a panel on business-government relations at a conference sponsored by the International Academy of Management, a global forum dedicated to the advancement of the science and art of management. Despite pressures to decrease the size of government, its influence on business continues to increase around the world. So does government’s dependence on business to help address society’s most complex and important problems, including job creation and the development of healthy, sustainable environments.
In capitalist, democratic economies, the private and public sectors have different objectives, one focusing primarily on profits and customer relationship, and the other on improving the quality of life of individuals and societies. The pursuit of these seemingly different objectives have often led to contentious relations. But, given the complex societal challenges we all face in the 21st century, business and government must learn to better collaborate and understand each other. They must realize that we’re all in this together. The implications, I believe, are profound, not only to business and government, but to the very nature of capitalism.