Bringing Long-Term Thinking into Business
This NBS research outlines factors affecting short and long-term thinking in business, respective impacts, and remaining research needs.
Corporate short-termism is one of the most significant issues confronting both business and society today. Short-term action offers quick wins, while long-term action offers lasting success and sustainability. Businesses must take both kinds of action — but too often, they prioritize the short term.
Bringing Long-Term Thinking into Business provides useful tools and authoritative insights into how businesses can better incorporate long-term thinking into their organizational fabric.
Our approach synthesizes existing knowledge about incorporating long-term impacts into today’s decisions, and the benefits of long-termism over short-termism. Based on a comprehensive review of academic journal articles, as well as highly salient industry reports and popular press, the report addresses three research questions:
- What are the contributors to, and consequences of, short-term decision-making in organizations?
- When are the consequences of short-term decision-making at odds with sustainability?
- What are the decision-making processes that incorporate both the short term and long term?
Our approach differs from much of the practitioner literature on short-termism, which puts a lot of weight on actors in the finance chain, or the potential for government interventions. Instead, we view top managers of businesses as the most likely group to initiate changes for the better.
Designed primarily for academics and practitioners, this Systematic Review describes:
- Factors affecting short- and long-term thinking in organizations
- The impacts of short and long-term thinking on organizational outcomes
- Remaining research needs
We hope it will enable practitioners to better communicate their rationale for long-term planning to the key stakeholders and decision-makers in their organization.