Portfolio Diversification as Part of Sustainable Economic Development
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In 1904, Max Weber published the thesis “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”. Here he examines the connection between Christian Puritanism and the rise of capitalism. He noticed that the Puritans were accumulating capital through hard work, and that this capital was reinvested into industrial expansion, e.g., extending the portfolio of the firm’s activities. To have a broad portfolio means to have risk mitigation strategies. These can also be seen as diversification strategies. At the same time, diversification of activities can mean that the company will have less profitability, but also less risk than if it is concentrated in a specific market. A crisis always reveals the weakest parts, and it helps to learn from the past to change the situation for the future. The example that is used in this chapter is the companies of the Blue Maritime Cluster (BMC), which is known as the most complete Norwegian cluster – after 2014 many companies were not prepared to be faced with the oil crisis. – However, some of them, that had broad portfolios, could manage to handle with the consequences of it, despite most of them are still struggling, especially after a new global problem – the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The current chapter is to check the following hypothesis: 1) Is risk diversification i.e., broad portfolios a key element for sustainable business development? 2) Did Haugean principles of risk diversification through broad portfolios help Norwegian maritime companies stay afloat while facing great challenges during the negative oil price shock in 2014? The study confirms both hypotheses.