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Defining Success through Corporate Philotimy

December 4, 2020

Companies have their own measures of success. Most companies especially in the past, measured their success solely in financial terms.   How would you define corporate success? Would you use the same measurements as the East India Company with all their tyranny, to measure your corporate success? Today, in order to be recognized as successful company you not only need to be financially sound but also need to be socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. These aspects are currently been assessed by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrices.

However, an article by Karageorgiou and Selwood describes these metrices as ‘merely the observable result of a more fundamental set of values; a notion called corporate philotimy’. ‘Philotimy’ or ‘Philotimo’ is a Greek word that has been described by an English Broadcaster at BBC as ‘the Greek word that can’t be translated’. Loosely translated as ‘love of honor’ it is a word that encompasses a number of virtues such as honor, dignity and pride, the ideal actions and behaviors, integrity, empathy, hospitality and warmth received by another. Applying this to the corporate context, ‘corporate philotomy’ is what determines how the organizations behaves or operates at cellular level.  It is the values or the culture that directs the company’s sustainability behavior which in turn can be measured by ESG metrices.

Companies with strong cultures rooted in values such as empathy, integrity, hospitality will treat their employees well. With time such companies will be recognized as employers of choice, enabling them to attract and retain the best human capital which in turn will result in an effective and efficient workforce introducing innovative products and services to the market. Such companies are able to interact and collaborate smoothly with the communities they operate in, as they tend to respect the demands of their communities. Having a culture rooted in compassion and conscientiousness will encourage these companies to address the concerns of all stakeholders including humans and environment. Thus, resulting in a more sustainable success. Companies operating with transparency and accountability will allow the stakeholders to take more informed decisions that are beneficial to the company and all the stakeholders. 

Companies operating under corporate philotimy are able to build trusted brands, loyal customer bases, increase the levels of employee engagement and encourage supportive shareholders. With the increasing pressure from stake holders to improve their ESG profiles, some companies tend to publish shiny corporate social responsibility reports. However, it is impossible to reap the actual benefits of corporate philotimy without actually living it in the long run.

By Samira