Worries About Short-Termism Are 40 Years Old, but Are They Overblown?

The idea that companies face enormous pressure to deliver short-term results at the expense of long-term health is widespread among executives. McKinsey’s Dominic Barton has made the case, as has BlackRock’s Larry Fink. Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have warned against short-termism, as have scholars at Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute. McKinsey has made its case empirically, finding evidence linking long-term management to superior financial performance. In 2015 Rotman’s Roger Martin reviewed the evidence on both sides here at HBR and explained why he believed short-termism is a problem.

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