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Michael Crooke's 



Values are fundamental to both individuals and organizations (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Defined as enduring beliefs about end-states or modes of conduct, internalized values guide behavior and influence decision-making and judgment (Rokeach, 1968). Values have been called “the most distinctive property or defining characteristic of a social institution” (Rokeach, 1979, p.51). Many values are universally held, but the relative importance assigned to particular values varies considerably across individuals, organizations, and societies. Scholars have offered various frameworks to represent how individuals and organizations understand and prioritize values. This study proposes a new framework relevant to today’s business context. Rooted in the work of Allport, Vernon, and Lindzey (1960), this research attempts to distill Allport et al.’s six basic value types (theoretical, economic, aesthetic, political, social, and religious), into four macro-values: environmental stewardship, corporate citizenship, product/service quality, and financial strength.

Download Dr. Michael Crooke’s Dissertation

June 7, 2013

In little over a decade, businesses have gone from seeing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes and environmental stewardship as, at best, desirable add-ons to regarding them as central to strategic planning.

“Early on, this movement was probably very much driven by individuals who had a personal passion,” says Linda Livingstone, dean of the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University, and vice chair of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. “Some of them created their own companies around that passion, whereas others brought it into the companies they were part of. But I think as it has developed and become more widespread, companies began to realise it can also be good for business and it can be profitable.”

Some businesses are still accused of “greenwashing” – misleading PR exercises where they spend more on advertising their environmental friendliness than on actual sound practices. Such deceptions, though, are increasingly counter-productive.

“There is a paradox here,” says Raymond Fisman, director of the social enterprise programme at Columbia Business School. “If consumers and/or employees get the sense that it is just about making more money, CSR loses its efficacy in bolstering the company’s image – and its profits.”

As organisations and consumers get wiser to the benefits of genuine initiatives in this area, business schools are also recognising this development in their MBA programmes.

“There was no social enterprise programme when I arrived at Columbia a dozen or so years ago,” says Fisman. “Now it is a major presence at the school. That should give you a sense of how attitudes have changed.”

Nikolai Sobolev, a recent MBA graduate at Pepperdine University, focused on entrepreneurship and took the certificate in socially, ethically and environmentally responsible (SEER) business. He was already committed to social responsibility and sustainability, but wanted to lean more from the best, in this case Dr Michael Crooke, the former CEO of Patagonia who leads the university’s SEER programme. It focuses on profitability and quality products along with CSR and environmental stewardship

“I had seen CSR as stand-alone, one-off initiatives such as charitable contributions and didn’t see social or environmental initiatives as part of an overall business strategy,” Sobolev says. “Obviously, I knew about companies where a social mission is embedded in the fabric of their business, but I didn’t know that companies which build their business strategy on a foundation of corporate social responsibility can strategise better in a competitive market place.”

However, integrating all these elements into an effective business plan is no simple task.

“The closer you can get to the sweet spot, where these components come together, the better off you’re going to be in the long run,” Livingstone says. “But we teach students about the trade-off. For long-term sustainability, in financial terms and in other ways, you really need to think about all of those elements. We see it as an integrated strategy; you really can’t think about them independent of one another anymore.”

Since the SEER programme first began at Pepperdine, there are clear signs that student concern about concepts like environmental sustainability has grown substantially.

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The Rise of CSR in Business Education — Education Post, Hong Kong

By John Brennan

Michael Crooke, the inspiring CEO from Patagonia, Revolution Living, and more, joined the college as the inaugural Avamere Professor of Practice in late 2012, and he wasted no time developing and teaching a new cross-diciplinary business strategy course, Oregon Advanced Strategy 2.0, that redefines how to innovate and succeed in today’s business climate. 


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The Best of Class: Strategically Innovative

Proceedings for the International Association of Business and Society, Volume 23, 2012

Personal Responsibility for Improving Society: The Role of Graduate Education
Dr. Michael Crooke and Dr. Mark Mallinger

Pages 39-47

This paper develops the case for establishing curriculum in business school that includes systems-based strategic decision-making. Pepperdine University’s certificate in Social, Environmental and Ethical Responsibility at their Graziadio School of Business is an example of a program that espouses values-based leadership, using the SEER lens as a framework that includes social and environmental values in the process of crafting a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Pepperdine University 2014 SEER Symposium Highlights - Positive Entrepreneurship

LOS ANGELES –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Socially-conscious entrepreneurs and business leaders who have successfully combined profitability with environmental stewardship and social responsibility in their business practices will be the spotlight of Pepperdine University’s 2014 Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) Symposium on November 7th in Malibu, CA. The one-day event, to take place on Friday, November 7th, will feature C-level executives offering practical, real-world advice from diverse areas including healthcare, sports, entertainment and non-profit industries, to name a few.

“Positive Entrepreneurship—first coined by SEER Symposium speaker Gregg Latterman—focuses on values and positive impact providing an exciting foundation for a virtuous cycle through all four quadrants of the SEER cycle.”

The Fourth Annual SEER Symposium continues its exciting exploration into next generation business strategy, gathering the experiences of a broad spectrum of world-changing innovators, executives, thought-leaders and entrepreneurs to engage, challenge and inspire its audience of MBA students and members of the business community. This year’s theme, Positive Entrepreneurship, strikes at the heart of SEER thinking, expressing one’s values and tapping into one’s strengths to start businesses that solve problems, generate profit and create a life of meaning.

“The symposium is a platform to introduce some of the brightest, most inspirational, socially-minded, and successful business leaders in today’s industries to Pepperdine students, faculty and the region’s socially responsible business community,” says co-host Dr. Michael Crooke, former CEO of Patagonia, Executive Professor of SEER Business Strategy at Pepperdine University, and founding faculty lead of the SEER Certificate program available to MBAs at the Graziadio School of Business. “Positive Entrepreneurship—first coined by SEER Symposium speaker Gregg Latterman—focuses on values and positive impact providing an exciting foundation for a virtuous cycle through all four quadrants of the SEER cycle.”

The 2014 SEER Symposium provides a forum for exploring the complexities of issues such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility and ethics – and how to tie those disciplines to entrepreneurship, innovation and producing a superior product that generates financial growth.

SEER Symposium Speakers Include:

Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, Founders, Back to the Roots

John Figueroa, CEO, Genoa Healthcare

Sal Giambanco, Partner, Omidyar Network

Naveen Jain, Founder of Moon Express, World Innovation Institute, iNome, TalentWise, Intelius, and Infospace

Michelle Kydd Lee, Director, Foundation for Creative Art Agency (CAA)

Gregg Latterman, Founder and CEO, Aware Records

Stig Severinsen, 4-time World Champion Freediver and Author

of Breatheology: The Art of Conscious Breathing

Michael Crooke

October 20, 2014 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

"Organizational Dynamics" (2015) 44, 146-115

Michael Crooke, Mihaly Csikszntmihalyi, Robert Bikel

Leadership in A Complex World: How to Manage “The Tragedy of Choice”

Contrary to popular notions, leaders do not lead people: They lead organizations that in addition to people include social roles, cultural values, beliefs, hopes and expectations. For instance, the oldest continuing organization on earth, the Catholic Church, is led by a Pope who need not have such traditional leadership qualities as being charismatic, visionary, decisive, ambitious, or well connected. He is chosen in large part because he shows promise to keep the Church solvent and perhaps even growing; and because he is committed to the values that the followers expect the Church to provide. A good Pope will need to have different qualities from a Genghis Khan or from a John D. Rockefeller, who led organizations that were very different from the Catholic Church. Yet the most important task of both Genghis Kahn and Rockefeller, like that of the Pope, was to convince people that it was in their best interest to follow them and keep the organization they led (e.g., the Mongol Horde, the Rockefeller financial empire) prosperous. Over time, human social organizations have changed in the direction of increasing complexity. Complexity, as used in systems theory and in evolutionary science, includes two independent but complementary processes: one toward increasing differentiation, the other toward increasing integration. In terms of the evolution of human organizations, differentiation involves such processes as the division of labor, the specialization of functions, democracy and individual rights and responsibilities. Integration, on the other hand, involves the development of legal systems, nation states, religions, ideologies, and the current trend toward globalization. When differentiation occurs without integration we have anarchy, chaos and conflict; when integration proceeds without differentiation we have stagnation and oppressive conformity. A successful organization is one that is able to maintain equilibrium between specialized, differentiated functions, and a unity of purpose provided by a common purpose and shared values. To return to our earlier example, the Roman Catholic Church achieved a degree of complexity that allowed it to survive two thousand years of challenges. On the one hand, the church kept a high degree of integration by establishing a single central authority whose task was the preservation of the faith–—faith being the main ‘‘product’’ of the organization. The decisions of the Pope in matters of faith were supposed to be divinely inspired and therefore final. On the other hand, the church was also differentiated: The Pope is elected by a college of cardinals representing different nations and cultures; monastic orders like the Franciscans, Benedictines, Jesuits and Salesians have arisen to emphasize different applications of Christianity such as helping the sick, educating the young, or simply to worship the Supreme Being. More.

By July 2012, the founder of Clover Food Lab (Clover) had created a profitable business that served locally sourced, organic, vegetarian fast food. Over the course of four years, Clover had grown from one food truck parked on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge to five food trucks and two brick-and-mortar restaurants in the metropolitan Boston area. With loyal customers advocating for the brand, the CEO knew that his company was well positioned for continued growth. He dreamed of turning Clover into a global fast-food provider, capturing enough market share to compete directly with international fast-food chains like McDonald’s. In 2014, he considered expanding his company into a new market and wondered whether Clover’s vision and operations could be duplicated. More.

Clover Food Lab: Sustainability as Competitive Advantage

Michael Crooke, Mark Chun, Amanda Kastelic

March 28, 2016

100, Michael Crooke | Sustainable Competitive Advantage through Purpose

Tony Loyd

August 8, 2016 

Michael Crooke is a thought leader in sustainable competitive advantage at the intersection of vision, purpose and operational excellence.











The first time that Michael Crooke boarded an airplane, it was to join the Navy. When he saw the opportunity to become a Navy Seal, he took it. At Basic Underwater Demotion Seal training (BUDS), Michael leaned the importance of teamwork that comes from having a shared purpose. After his time in the Navy, Michael joined Pacific Lumber, an over 100 year-old company with strong environmental and social values. Pacific Lumber was eventually bought in a leveraged buy-out. The new company abandoned Pacific Lumber’s values and began practices such as clear-cutting and cutting close to streams. It wasn’t long before the company was bankrupt. This started Michael on a journey to understand the connection between values and financial performance.

Michael later joined Yakima Products Inc, famous for car-top racks. He originally joined the team to do contract work. As he put it, “I found my tribe,” outdoors people who were passionate about their products. He also spent time as an executive at Moonstone, Kelty Packs, Pearl Izumi, Revolution Living and prAna Living. But the role his is probably best known for is as CEO of Patagonia from 1999 to 2005.

By focusing on values alignment, strategy and operational excellence, he turned around the company and made it a “Best Place to Work.” At times, he told me, Patagonia would receive 300 – 500 applications for a single opening.

It was while at Patagonia that Michael developed the theory of organizational flow. According to Michael, flow happens in organizations when people have values that are aligned, when there is transparency and when people feel like the strategic decisions of the organization are aligned to the values.

Today, Michael Crooke is the Senior Associate Dean of Programs at the University of Oregon He is also the founder of Fifth Normal Form Consulting, counseling high-growth businesses on strategic issues, in particular, developing direct to customer strategies that create an emotional connection to the brand.

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Creating Advocates: A Values-Oriented Approach to Developing Brand Loyalty

Customers become advocates of brands because they develop an emotional connection with their core purpose. Brands that elicit advocacy provide a value beyond just product quality and experience. This connection is something that deserves analysis, as it is the foundation of true loyalty. Customers see this association as something that makes their world a little bit better and, in so doing, creates satisfaction and motivates them to take action. It turns out that customers want to be part of something bigger than themselves, to help achieve something that they can’t necessarily achieve on their own. When this relationship is found, consumers move beyond being casual customers and become advocates. Advocates show a high propensity to repurchase, a reluctance to switch brands, and they demonstrate a high likelihood to recommend. In the end, advocates contribute to profitability at rates up to 10 times greater than casual customers. And, from a brand management perspective, they are the source of long-term financial success.

By Michael Crooke & Craig Wilson

Households’ Willingness to Pay for “Green” Goods

We would like to improve our understanding of the circumstances under which private individuals will voluntarily pay firms to provide “green” goods, here defined as goods whose adverse environmental impacts, in production, use, or both, are lower than those of competing products. The question is important to business strategists in firms, because, if firms can induce households to pay for green goods, they may be able to profitably differentiate products along environmental or social lines. The question has implications for public policy too. If the ability of firms to induce households to make payments for green goods is widespread, this weakens the normative rationale for government provision of public goods and for government regulation to force public good provision by firms. If, on the other hand, this ability turns out to be rare or nonexistent, the traditional normative rationale for government intervention in markets applies.

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By Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Michael Crooke, Forest Reinhardt & Vishal Vasishth

October 06, 2015

The Oregon MBA program at the UO Lundquist College of Business has earned the top spot in The Princeton Review’s just-released Best Green MBA ranking.

According to surveys administered by The Princeton Review, students say the Lundquist College is best at preparing them in environmental / sustainability and social responsibility issues—and for a career in a green job market.

Our class size and rigorous programming were factors in our reaching the #1 spot, but it is the decidedly “Oregon” approach that helped edge out the competition.

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Best Green MBA - University of Oregon

Guayakí: Securing Supplies, Strengthening the Mission

The case reviews the rise of Guayakí, a company that sells energy drinks produced with leaves from Yerba Mate trees, and a significant decision it now faces. Guayakí’s drinks offer a natural alternative in the energy drink industry, which is dominated by large players selling products mainly made from water and chemicals. The company started very small, had several “near-death” experiences, but eventually thrived, reaching $27 million in sales in 2014. Its products are highly differentiated in the energy drink industry.

From the beginning, Guayakí has had a commitment to social justice and environmental restoration in South America. Mate is grown best under the canopies of rainforests. Difficult to cultivate, it is found natively in a region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. Guayakí has engaged with several local communities that live in or near rainforests, to try to create a downstream market for mate that they harvest. The company’s goal is to create 1000 jobs in this region, and to restore 200,000 acres of rainforest by 2020.

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June 27, 2016

Michael V. Russo and Michael Crooke

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