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Long Term Thinking in a Short Term World: NBS Report

Feb 26, 2015

NBS report on future thinking - tunnel

Photo courtesy of Chris Malloy (

LONDON, ON, Feb. 26, 2015 – Short-termism is the bane of corporations. It is seen to hurt businesses and financial markets, and yet businesses are increasingly engaging more and more so in it. A new report entitled, "Long Term Thinking in a Short Term World," from the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) based at the Ivey Business School shows how businesses can stop being short term. Unlike most reports, this one argues that being long term isn't the answer. However, it focuses on the notion that companies need to think and act both in the short and long term.

The report authored for NBS by David Souder, Greg Reilly, and Rebecca Ranucci, at the University of Connecticut scanned 6,000 sources to draw on the best articles, reports and books by academics, industry, government and NGOs related to the benefit and pitfalls of short-term and long-term thinking in the practice of business management.

“Making time to think about the long term is just the start – those thoughts only make a difference if they translate into action,” said Souder, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut. “Although there is no secret formula that applies to everyone, we sought to challenge businesses to think differently about how they can act now to set up more opportunities to thrive in the future.”

Serving as a practical tool for business leaders, the report provides a three-step process for achieving the right balance of short- and long-term actions, highlights case studies showing how some companies balance between the short- and long-term priorities, and also identifies common obstacles to long-term action and ways to overcome them.

“Businesses face continuous pressures from analysts and customers to respond to the short term, but by acting in the short term, they often undermine their ability to survive in the long term,” said Tima Bansal, Executive Director, Network for Business Sustainability. “By being able to think both short and long term, businesses secure the success of their business and the sustainability of the planet and society.”

For the full report Long Term Thinking in a Short Term World click this link:

The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) produces authoritative resources on important sustainability issues with the goal of changing management practice. NBS unites thousands of researchers and professionals worldwide who believe passionately in research-based practice and practice-based research.

NBS is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Ivey Business School (Western University) and the École des Sciences de la Gestion (Université du Québec à Montréal). NBS also receives funding from private sector partners in our Leadership, Industry Association and SME (small and medium enterprise) Councils. To learn more about the work of the Network for Business Sustainability visit the NBS Knowledge Centre at

Media Contact:
Ivan Langrish, Senior Manager, Media Strategy
Ivey Business School

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