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Case Study
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Week 2 discussion response and student response. Case Study (Case Study Sample)


Week 2 Case Discussion
This week's case is from Novozyme, where they have aligned much of their work with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Questions for this Week:
1. Corporate Purpose and Governance: Please discuss how corporate governance structures and requirements support (or not!) the pursuit of a corporations purpose. Do the structural requirements and management systems that companies must adhere to make it easier or harder to aspire to, articulate, and succeed in living up to ones core purpose?
2. Supporting the business case: How does a well articulated purpose support business performance? Can you generalize whether it is good or bad for financial, operational or strategic management?
3. Using Novozyme as an example, does aligning ones aspirations (and purpose?) to a framework such as the Sustainable Development goals make living up to ones aspirations easier or more difficult?
Remember to support your answers by citing your source in APA style citations.
Please respond to the following discussion post, talk about what you agree with what you disagree with BACK UP YOUR RESPONSE WITH SOURCES FROM THE ATTACHED CASE STUDY OR OUTSIDE SOURCES
Under general conditions, aligning corporate goals with outside, top-level goals on a global scale such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be either helpful or instill difficulty. The degree to which they may be helpful or harmful depends in large part on how the outside goals align with the existing corporate vision and goals, as well as how will they fit with the corporate/institutional culture (Posner, Kouzes, and Schmidt, 1985). If there is, for example, an entrenched institutional culture, and the outside goals clash with it, then it is possible that the culture will push out the “foreign body” and return to its status quo (Flache and Macy, 2006). On the other hand, if the outside goals seek to establish and/or promote a new paradigm on a large scale that is in line with the corporate vision, goals, intentions, culture, etc., then adopting and aligning those outside goals may very well strengthen both the morale and the effectiveness of the company’s efforts (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). The latter appears to be the case with Novozyme.
Novozyme was an early adopter of sustainability technology, albeit apparently as a means of improving the business side of things, as well as being a positive public relations activity for reputation management (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). As a member of the sustainability vanguard, they were among the first to adopt triple bottom line accounting – a staple of sustainability-based corporate procedure (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). Eventually the corporate culture, already used to sustainability principles, began to shift their underlying motivation from simple business concepts alone to business concepts married to environmental impact (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). Thus, when they adopted the UN SDGs, it appears to have been not only aimed at growing their market share and profitability, but also done out of a sense of purpose, i.e., that Novozyme could make a positive impact on the environment (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017).
In the case of Novozyme, aligning with the outside goals, i.e., the SDGs, likely helped to fuel their efforts to pursue the goals that they already had. Additionally, those on the cutting edge often experience difficulty of acceptance and/or implementation. Then, as those concepts become more mainstream, companies often find more acceptance and more efficiency in implementation (Kallis, 2013). It appears to be the case with Novozyme. Yet, such outside support that bolsters their existing goals and fuels the existing passion nevertheless also appears to be somewhat of a double edged sword. Novozyme seems to have used the SDGs not only as justification for their existing corporate philosophy, but also took on making the SDGs a reality as almost a sacred mission (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). Therefore, they appear to have gone beyond simple triple bottom line accounting and moved towards judging their own corporate success based on the outside measuring stick of the SDGs and how well they put them in place (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). Although, it could be argued that it is still a basic triple bottom line approach, with the SDGs considered as part of the environmental component. Even if it is so considered, the presence of a measurement metric based outside the company still remains. In that framework, the environmental component of the triple bottom line seems to have taken over for Novozyme as the principal component.
Yet in volatile times, such strong corporate culture may be detrimental (Sørensen, 2002). One particular problem for Novozyme was that evolution of government policy could have a negative impact on their efforts to implement the SDGs (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). Indeed, government policies can be harmful, and private institutions can lead change (Ostrom, 2009). Additionally, they were concerned that their SDG efforts were being sidetracked in people’s minds due to both changing perceptions of customers and general problems in the economy (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017). That has led to a challenge between two opposing points of view. On one hand, there are those who realise corporate limitations in creating environmental change and believe that the company should place additional emphasis on its own financial health. On the other hand, there are those who wanted to continue the earlier trend of Novozyme being in the vanguard of sustainability by placing even more emphasis on the environmental component of the triple bottom line, taking risks in the belief that they will be worth it in the long run (Zelleke and Billaud, 2017).
No matter which choice Novozyme it makes, public perception will play a significant role. The company has a brand identity that is very well established, and to retain effectiveness, it needs to be protected (Ries and Trout, 2001). The choice facing Novozyme, then, is also a choice of which path will result in better public relations. That is likewise tied to the reasonable need to maintain the financial element of the triple bottom line, for without sound finances, Novozyme is unlikely to be able to play the role that it wants to in promoting sustainability-based economic growth and positive environmental change in the world. It is ultimately a balance that is needed between the activists on one side and the fiscal conservatives on the other.

Flache, A. and Macy, M.W. (2006). Why more contact may increase cultural polarization. Mathematical Sociology Session of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal.
Kallis, A. (2013). Breaking Taboos and ‘Mainstreaming the Extreme’: The Debates on Restricting Islamic Symbols in Contemporary Europe. In Wodak, R., KhosraviNik, M., and Mral, B. (Eds.) Right-Wing Populism in Europe. London: Bloomsbury.
Ostrom, E. (2009). A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems. Science, 325(5939).
Posner, B.Z., Kouzes, J.M., and Schmidt, W.H. (1985). Shared values make a difference: An empirical test of corporate culture. Human Resource Management, 24(3).
Ries, A. and Trout, J. (2001). Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. New York: McGraw Hill.
Sørensen, J.B. (2002). The Strength of Corporate Culture and the Reliability of Firm Performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(1).
Zelleke, A. and Billaud, E. (2017). Passion and Strategy: Novozymes’ Embrace of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Harvard Business School.
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Discussion Response and Student Response
Due Date
Discussion Response and Student Response
Part 1
Corporate Purpose and Governance: Please discuss how corporate governance structures and requirements support (or not!) the pursuit of a corporation's purpose. Do the structural requirements and management systems that companies must adhere to make it easier or harder to aspire to, articulate, and succeed in living up to one’s core purpose?
A corporation’s purpose is tied to its corporate governance. As defined by Mayer (2020), corporate purpose means “to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet, and not to profit from producing problems for people or planet.” Corporate governance, on the other hand, refers to the policies, rules, controls, and processes that govern the day to day operations of a company. 

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