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22 / 07 / 2004
Jordi Canals (IESE): Companies in the 21st century must integrate into society with something other than just goods and services

The general director of IESE Business School has described the essential characteristics of companies in the present century. Carlos Losada, general director of ESADE, also attending the closing ceremony of the Dialogue, agreed on the danger represented by fads in the business world

Jordi Canals, general director of IESE Business School, pointed out today in the closing ceremony of the Dialogue "The Role of Corporations in the 21st Century" that companies must integrate into society with something other than just goods and services." In this respect he pointed to other characteristics that he considers essential for companies in the 21st century: "these goods and services must be valued by clients, the company must obviously generate an economic profit, but in addition to this it must develop people."

In his intervention this afternoon he compared the importance of the profession of businessman to that of doctor, through their capacity to influence the professional and personal development of others, and he went on to differentiate this through the unpredictable rules from the business world. On this matter he summed up by saying, "to be a businessman is one of the most exciting professions in society."

He also talked about the fact that care has to be taken when crating the profile of the industrialist, because "we need to know how to distinguish between the relevant and the essential, that is to say, to take care of fads, to take not to generalize the characteristics of directors and to take care also not to think he is a superhero."

On the other hand Carlos Losada, general director of ESADE Business School, agreed that "the business world must guard against fads, these are very dangerous and at the same time it should flee from leaders, from the leader concepts that are mentioned all too often.

In his intervention he said that companies in the new century will have a certain continuity in terms of present companies, but at the same time there will be a certain breaking away from the past "the ample, changing and increasingly complex environment, the greater demands from society and greater expectations placed on the role of businessmen."

He summed up his speech by saying "we are living in a society where there is less and less confidence, therefore it is necessary to build confidence to be able to gain legitimacy, and the way to gain legitimacy is through exemplary ethics and behavior."

Dialogue "The Role of Corporations in the 21st Century" has been running at the Forum since 19 July.