Academics from Griffith Business School (GBS) collaborated with a leading global consultancy firm to design and implement a survey to discover what one thousand top CEOs think about the power of a CEO’s purpose.

The findings revealed CEOs from leading worldwide brands like The Body Shop, Ernst & Young and Delta Air Lines are now recognising purpose as a catalyst for driving business growth.

GBS Professor Christopher Fleming and Professor Nick Barter partnered with London based firm, Brandpie, to share knowledge and collaborate on issues driving transformation in the field of business.

Responses were gathered from the US, UK, France, Australia, Germany, India and China providing an opportunity for leadership analysis and comparison across the globe.

MBA Director, Chris Fleming, described the new scholarship as an exciting initiative.

Professor Chris Fleming

Professor of Economics and Dean GBS (Research), Chris Fleming said the results were heartening.

“Progressive CEOs are already utilising purpose to grow healthy business ecosystems and we’ve found that many CEOs view employees as more important than shareholders in creating long-term value.

“It’s important that we team with a corporation which aligns with the Griffith vision of innovative and socially responsible business scholarship, contributing to a prosperous, equitable and sustainable future: Brandpie was an obvious fit for us,” Professor Fleming said.

Griffith Business School is ranked number one in Corporate Knights international The Better World MBA top-40 ranking, and Professor Fleming said this demonstrates Griffith is a leader in driving purposeful, responsible leadership.


Portrait of Nick Barter in front of red wall

Professor Nick Barter

Working with Brandpie in the UK, Professor of Strategy and Sustainability, Nick Barter said partnering with Brandpie provides a unique opportunity to explore and measure the intentions and attitudes of CEOs worldwide.

“Businesses face challenges of energy, inequality, pollution and climate change. There’s a societal expectation that business should have a meaningful impact on society.

“Organisational purpose is the ‘Why’ of a company. A CEO’s purpose is increasingly important as we shift our companies toward a more sustainable society,” Professor Barter said.

“We often think that the only purpose of business is money but, solving societal challenges profitably is the new ‘Why’ (purpose) for organisations.

“We’ve found that CEOs are changing their attitudes and values about issues like climate change, diversity & equity and supporting local communities. Business leaders are reflecting and adapting.”