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MIT Sloan Throughout the Crisis: Leading the Conversation (continued)

imageProf. Tom Kochan

Building trust is crucial, he notes, but it has to be a sustainable trust. If labor and management don’t take advantage of each other during good times, they can’t draw on that trust later in times of crisis. This does not always happen naturally, however. It takes leadership and courage. History suggests that when called upon, business and labor will not only will help in times of crisis, but also will lay the foundation for a sustainable recovery.

“We have to teach about the dignity of work,” he says, “and the dignity of workers. We have to show our students the fiduciary responsibilities as well as the stewardship responsibilities that management has. We have to lead organizations in ways that protect the long-term interests of the firm and those of the employees, communities, and suppliers who contribute to the firm. This way, we can really start talking about building sustainable organizations, sustainable not only in the environmental sense, but sustainable on a social dimension as well.”