HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation, HKS; Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration, HBS


In the context of the knowledge and service-based economy, firms cannot operate without the joint investment of capital and labor, and their productivity is determined by how this cooperative investment is organized. While shareholders invest their capital, workers are the ones who invest their labor. Historically, shareholders have been the most salient type of investor, as the conflation of the word “investor” with “capital investor” attests. But the importance of the labor component of this joint investment has become more visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where the investment of labor has been hindered by necessary public health measures, production and distribution of goods and the provision of services has ground to a halt. The concept of “essential workers” has highlighted the absolute necessity of labor in ensuring the continuity and resilience of our societies.


Battilana, Julie, and Isabelle Ferreras. "From Shareholder Primacy to a Dual Majority Board." The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program Report Series, August 2021.