The Erb Institute is committed to creating a socially and environmentally sustainable society through the power of business. Building on nearly two decades of research, teaching, and direct engagement, the Institute has become one of the world’s leading sources of innovative knowledge on the culture, technologies, operations and governance of business in a changing world. The Institute’s impact is realized most powerfully through our vibrant global network of students and alumni who are the transformative change agents in business, government and the non-profit worlds.

The Erb Institute’s ‘Big Idea’


Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles articulate a roadmap for strategic and operational decision-making that corresponds to the intention of the Institute as embodied in our Mission and Values. While many of the principles are fundamental to the way we operate, we will remain open to amending them as we grow and learn more about our work. The elements of this document should be (1) pointed, (2) meaningful, and (3) instructive, so that as critical and potentially contentious issues arise, the Erb Community may return to the Guiding Principles for clear direction.

  1. Enterprise and Markets

    We prioritize activities and research leading to enterprise- and market-based solutions to social and environmental sustainability challenges.

  2. Impact

    When possible, we quantify activities’ goals and generate measurable outcomes in order to create scalable solutions.

  3. Innovation 

    We recognize that the urgent need for change demands innovation and experimentation, and therefore empower activities and ideas that push the envelope.

  4. Character 

    We pursue academic and extracurricular programming that develops leaders marked by integrity, mindfulness and vision.

  5. Engagement

    We encourage a culture of open, active, and constructive engagement by students, faculty, staff, alumni and advisors with each other, UM leaders and external stakeholders.

  6. Transparency and Inclusion 

    Erb leadership seeks to be transparent and inclusive in decision making related to the Institute. Respecting the authority of senior UM leadership and constraints imposed by laws, rules and agreements, Erb leaders strive to include community members in decision processes that affect them, give them access to relevant information and communicate the outcomes. Erb leaders explain when other considerations limit their observance of these practices.

  7. Collaboration

    We seek interdisciplinary opportunities to leverage the counsel and expertise of outside voices including but not limited to the advisory boards.

  8. Scholarships 

    Consistent with our mission, we use scholarships to incentivize behavior, activities and to attract prospective students.

  9. Change

    We expect and embrace growth and recognize that our mission and guiding principles are living documents.