University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
June 11-13, 2008
John A. Ryan Institute for
Catholic Social Thought
Mail #55S
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1096
May 12, 2008
Telephone (651) 962-5712
Dear Participants,
Enclosed you will find 5-page summaries of the conference papers. The summaries provide you
with a better sense of the presenter’s topic and it also relieves the presenter of an extended
presentation so that longer and richer conversations can take place in each seminar session. One
summary is not included. As soon as the summary arrives we will email it to you.
Presenters are reminded that they have a maximum of 15 minutes to present their papers
(the assumption is that the audience will have read the enclosed summary). There will be a 10minute response from the respondent of the session for both papers, leaving approximately 45
minutes for conversation and discussion.
Also included in this volume of summaries is a tentative schedule of the conference
program. You will be receiving in a separate mailing from Notre Dame logistical information
concerning transportation from the Chicago and South Bend airports. As always do not hesitate to
contact Michael Naughton ([email protected]), Patrick Murphy ([email protected]) or
Mary Kay O’Rourke ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns.
Mike Naughton
Pat Murphy
JOHN DIENHART, Teaching Business Ethics in a Catholic Jesuit University ...............................................................1
NICHOLAS SANTOS, S.J. AND GENE LACZNIAK, The Integrative Justice Model and its Relevance to Business
Education at Catholic Business Schools........................................................................................................................6
ANNA BAJO AND JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ, Business Education at Catholic Universities: The Spanish Case...........11
JOHN HAUGHEY, S.J., Ecology and Resurrection.......................................................................................................15
THOMAS O’BRIEN, Paradox or Poppycock: The Preferential Option for the Poor in a Modern Business Context....20
FRANK LAZARUS, JAMES KLASSEN AND BRIAN MURRAY, A President’s Challenge: Case Study on Stewarding the
University’s Catholic Mission in the Business School ................................................................................................25
KEN GOODPASTER AND DEAN MAINES, Catholic Social Thought as a Guide to Self-Assessment by Business
Schools ........................................................................................................................................................................32
FRANCIS HILTON, S.J. AND PETER LORENZI, What Next? Faith, Reason and Catholic Business Education........... 38
THOMAS BAUSCH, A Vehicle of Evangelization: The Professional School of Business on a Catholic University
Campus .......................................................................................................................................................................44
VICTOR FORLANI, S.M. AND JOSEPH CASTELLANO, Business as a Calling: An MBA Elective Experience ............50
THOMAS HONG-SOON HAN, Mission-Driven Business Education at Catholic Universities in Asia ..........................55
PERCY MARQUINA, Catholic Business Schools in Latin America: The Gap Between their Mission and their
Practice .......................................................................................................................................................................59
ANDREW ABELA, Teaching Marketing in a Catholic University: Examining the Tensions Between Christian
Teaching and Promotion of Consumption ...................................................................................................................64
MICHAEL STEBBINS AND PEGGY SUE LOROZ, Mission-driven Marketing Education: Practical Approaches and
Problems ......................................................................................................................................................................68
QUENTIN DUPONT, S.J., The Catholic Mission in Finance Curricula: Towards Ethically-Grounded Finance...........73
ADRIAN COWAN, Student Managed Portfolios in an Environment of Faith ...............................................................78
LINDA SPECHT, The Economy of Communion Project as a Resource for Catholic Business Education ...................83
CHRISTIAN WEBER, An “Entrepreneurial” Approach to Teaching Economic Development: Motivations and
Methods .......................................................................................................................................................................89
ANDREW YUENGERT, Two Barriers to Moral Agency in Management Education.....................................................93
DEAN PETERSON AND DAVID CARRITHERS, Integrating a Social Justice Perspective in Economics Education
Creating a Distinctly Catholic Education ....................................................................................................................99
GREG BEABOUT, How Might a Philosopher Teach Business Ethics in a Manner that Helps Students Identify and
Develop the Character Traits of an Excellent Manager? ...........................................................................................101
GEERT DEMUIJNCK, Teaching Business Ethics in European Catholic Business Schools. How Christian Values May
Interest Students if not Announced as Such ..............................................................................................................106
LYMAN JOHNSON, Educating Christian Business Managers About Corporate Purpose: A Role for Law (and
Lawyers) ....................................................................................................................................................................110
DEBORAH SAVAGE, Affirming the Purpose of Business: The Intellectual Conversion of the Business Student ......112
WINSTON TELLIS, Catholic Social Teaching and Technology? A Service Learning Course at the Dolan School of
STEVE CONROY, Using Immersion Experiences and Community Service Learning to Promote the Principles of
Catholic Social Teaching in an Economics Course ...................................................................................................121
JEANNE BUCKEYE, A Business Faculty Perspective on Catholic Mission, Identity and Social Principles.............. 126
RAY FITZ, S.M., Developing Capacity for Integrating Business Education with the Catholic Social Tradition ......130
DOUG GAMBRALL AND MARK NEWCOMB, A Tenured Faith and an Adjunct Faculty: Successes and Challenges in
Instructor Formation at Catholic Colleges that Offer Business Programs in an Accelerated Format........................135
JOSEPH PHILLIPS AND TERESA LING, Mission Statements—Do They Matter?.......................................................142
STEVE PORTH, JOHN MCCALL AND JOSEPH DIANGELO, Business Education at Catholic Universities: Current
Status and Future Directions......................................................................................................................................147
TODD PALMER AND CHARLES COATE, The Transformative Faith-based Education Mission and One School’s
Journey to Become a Franciscan Institution ..............................................................................................................151
Without Prescribing Values: Management, Marketing and Public Policy Classroom Experiences ..........................156
A Three-Year Longitudinal Study .............................................................................................................................159
BRIAN SCHMISEK, ROB WALSH AND DALE FODNESS, The Search for Identity: Emergent Catholicity in the Modern
Business School.........................................................................................................................................................164
Marilise Smurthwaite and Douglas Racionzer, St Augustine College of South Africa: Notes on Incorporating the
Catholic Social Tradition in Business Ethics Education............................................................................................170
Scott Kelley, Jack Ruhe and Ron Nahser, Pragmatic Inquiry in Business Ethics: Synthesizing Business and
Vocation in Service of the Common Good................................................................................................................174
MARK BANDSUCH, S.J., The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of Teaching “Catholic” Business Ethics at a
Catholic University....................................................................................................................................................178
Road Map for Teaching Ethics in Business Schools .................................................................................................183
JOHN GALLAGHER, The Reframing of a Business Discipline: Can Strategic Management be Made Catholic?......189
DECLAN MURPHY AND MOLLY PYLE, How Catholic Spirituality Can Strengthen Emotional Competence in
Managerial Situations ................................................................................................................................................195
GERALD CAVANAGH, S.J., JEANNE DAVID AND SI HENDRY, S.J., Business Environmental and Workplace
Reporting and Activities and CST: A Practice-based Approach to Education about Catholic Social Thought ........200
BRIAN TOYNE, ZAIDA MARTINEZ AND JAMES BALL, Globalization: A Connecting Theme for Catholic Business
MAURA DONAHUE AND KELLY JOHNSON, Lost in Translation…or in Cultural Differences...................................210
MOLLY PEPPER, MICHAEL HAZEL AND LINDA TREDENNICK, Business Education in a Parallel Universe ...........217
ATHAR MURTUZA, THERESA HENRY AND RENEE WEISS, Integrating GAAP, the Common Good, & Taqwa in
Accounting Curricula: An Interfaith Approach .........................................................................................................222
BRIAN SHAPIRO, Theological Perspectives on the Objective and Subjective Dimensions of the Good
JAMES WEBER AND VIRGINIA GERDE, Mission-driven Business School Education at a Catholic University: The
Role of Ethics and Sustainability in Curriculum Development, Faculty Recruitment and Extracurricular
DANIEL LYNCH, Natural Resources in the Boardroom .............................................................................................239
ERNEST PIERUCCI, Restoring the Broken Image: The Centrality of the Subjective Dimension of Labor and Liberal
Education in Catholic Business Education ................................................................................................................244
WOLFGANG GRASSL, The Study of Business as a Liberal Art? Toward an Aristotelian Reconstruction.................249
RICHARD KEELEY, Arresting ‘The Hot Pursuit of Gain’: The Challenge of a First-year Curriculum for Business
Students .....................................................................................................................................................................254
MANUEL DY AND ANTONETTE PALMA-ANGELES, How Jesuit is AGSB (the Ateneo de Manila University Graduate
School of Business) ...................................................................................................................................................258
JOHN WORKMAN, Exploring the Potential of a Wiki to Support Catholic and Jesuit Identity .................................263
JOHN BUNCH, Catholic Social Teaching, Virtue Ethics and the Rule of St. Benedict: A Framework for Teaching
Applied Ethics based on the Benedictine Tradition of Catholic Social Teaching at Benedictine College ............... 268
MICHAEL RUSSELL, Examination of Current Practices used in Business Schools at Franciscan-based Catholic
Colleges to Integrate Franciscan Values in the Curriculum.......................................................................................273
MARIO MOLTENI, The ALTIS experience: A new Business School, ALTIS (Postgraduate School Business &
Society) of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart .................................................................................................278
SR. HELLEN BANDIHO, The Challenges Faced by Business Schools within Newly Founded Catholic Universities:
The Case of Tanzania ...............................................................................................................................................286
Exploring the Role of Mission-Driven Business Schools
8:00 a.m. Registration-MCKENNA HALL
Pre-Conference Program: The following session introduces participants to some of the
fundamental issues concerning the mission of the Catholic university and Catholic social thought
and their relationship to business and business education. We encourage people who are looking
for introductions to these issues to attend this session.
9:00 Introductory Questions on Catholic Thought and Business Education-JORDAN
• Terrence McGoldrick (University of San Diego), “Does Ex corde ecclesiae have
anything to say to Catholic business schools?”
o Respondent: Don Briel
• Timothy Mahoney (Providence College), “Can Catholic social thought speak to the
secular concerns of business?: The role of natural law”
o Respondent: Robert Kennedy
• Charles Clark (St. John’s University), “Is Catholic social thought compatible with
contemporary economics and finance?”
o Respondent: Lee Tavis
11:00 Opening Mass (Mendoza College of Business)- JORDAN AUDITORIUM
Presider: Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C. (President, University of Notre Dame)
o In Memory of Deacon William Toth (Seton Hall University)
• Welcome: Fr. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Speaker: Fr. Robert Spitzer (President, Gonzaga University)
Respondent: Don Briel (Director, Center for Catholic Studies, University of St.
Chair: Pat Murphy (University of Notre Dame)
3:30-5:00 Concurrent Section I
• John Dienhart, Teaching Business Ethics in a Catholic Jesuit University
• Nicholas Santos, S.J. and Gene Laczniak, The Integrative Justice Model and its
Relevance to Business Education at Catholic Business Schools
• Anna Bajo and Jose Luis Fernandez, Business Education at Catholic Universities: The
Spanish Case
Respondent: Joan Van Hise
Chair: Janice Glynn
• John Haughey, S.J., Ecology and Resurrection
• Thomas O’Brien, Paradox or Poppycock: The Preferential Option for the Poor in a
Modern Business Context
Respondent: Jim Wishloff
Chair: Kelly Johnson
• Frank Lazarus, James Klassen and Brian Murray, A President’s Challenge: Case Study
on Stewarding the University’s Catholic Mission in the Business School
• Ken Goodpaster and Dean Maines, Catholic Social Thought as a Guide to Self-Assessment
by Business Schools
Respondent: Jan Hansen
Chair: Joseph Phillips
• Francis Hilton, S.J. and Peter Lorenzi, What Next? Faith, Reason and Catholic Business
• Thomas Bausch, A Vehicle of Evangelization: The Professional School of Business on a
Catholic University Campus
• Victor Forlani, S.M. and Joseph Castellano, Business as a Calling: An MBA Elective
Respondent: Osvaldo Ferreiro Poch
Chair: Laurent Mortreuil
• Thomas Hong-soon Han, Mission-Driven Business Education at Catholic Universities in
• Percy Marquina, Catholic Business Schools in Latin America: The Gap Between their
Mission and their Practice
Respondent: Catherine Giunta
Chair: Michael Stebbins
6.00 Concurrent Section II
• Andrew Abela, Teaching Marketing in a Catholic University: Examining the Tensions
Between Christian Teaching and Promotion of Consumption
• Michael Stebbins and Peggy Sue Loroz, Mission-driven Marketing Education: Practical
Approaches and Problems
Respondent: John Little
Chair: Tim Gilbride
• Quentin Dupont, S.J., The Catholic Mission in Finance Curricula: Towards EthicallyGrounded Finance
• Adrian Cowan, Student Managed Portfolios in an Environment of Faith
Respondent: Helen Costigane, SHCJ
Chair: John Kevin Doyle
• Linda Specht, The Economy of Communion Project as a Resource for Catholic Business
• Christian Weber, An “Entrepreneurial” Approach to Teaching Economic Development:
Motivations and Methods
Respondent: Robert Gaffney
Chair: Sr. Hellen Bandiho
• Andrew Yuengert, Two Barriers to Moral Agency in Management Education
• Dean Peterson and David Carrithers, Integrating a Social Justice Perspective in
Economics Education: Creating a Distinctly Catholic Education
Respondent: Charles Clark
Chair: Steve Conroy
• Greg Beabout, How Might a Philosopher Teach Business Ethics in a Manner that Helps
Students Identify and Develop the Character Traits of an Excellent Manager?
• Geert Demuijnck, Teaching Business Ethics in European Catholic Business Schools.
How Christian Values May Interest Students if not Announced as Such
Respondent: Andre Ata Ujan
Chair: Rev. William Kaggwa
Speaker: Henri-Claude de Bettignies (Professor, CEIBS and Emeritus Professor, INSEAD)
Respondent: Georges Enderle (Professor of Business Ethics, University of
Notre Dame)
Chair: Ken Goodpaster (University of St. Thomas)
10:30-12:00 Concurrent Section III
• Lyman Johnson, Educating Christian Business Managers About Corporate Purpose: A
Role for Law (and Lawyers)
• Deborah Savage, Affirming the Purpose of Business: The Intellectual Conversion of the
Business Student
Respondent: Steve Cortright
Chair: Tonia Murphy
• Winston Tellis, Catholic Social Teaching and Technology? A Service Learning Course at
the Dolan School of Business
• Steve Conroy, Using Immersion Experiences and Community Service Learning to
Promote the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching in an Economics Course
Respondent: Mark Barnard
Chair: Donna M. Altimari-Adler
• Jeanne Buckeye, A Business Faculty Perspective on Catholic Mission, Identity and Social
• Ray Fitz, S.M., Developing Capacity for Integrating Business Education with the Catholic
Social Tradition
• Doug Gambrall and Mark Newcomb, A Tenured Faith and an Adjunct Faculty: Successes
and Challenges in Instructor Formation at Catholic Colleges that Offer Business
Programs in an Accelerated Format
Respondent: George Garvey
Chair: Fr. MK George, S.J.
Joseph Phillips and Teresa Ling, Mission Statements—Do They Matter?
Steve Porth, John McCall and Joseph DiAngelo, Business Education at Catholic
Universities: Current Status and Future Directions
Todd Palmer and Charles Coate, The Transformative Faith-based Education Mission and
One School’s Journey to Become a Franciscan Institution
Respondent: Robert Till
Chair: Msgr. Richard Liddy
• Catharyn Baird, Christina McCale and Aimee Wheaton, How Ought We to
Live?Exploring Values Without Prescribing Values: Management, Marketing and Public
Policy Classroom Experiences
• Jessica Warnell, Annie Cahill Kelly and Jay Brandenberger, Business Education and
Moral Learning: A Three-Year Longitudinal Study
• Brian Schmisek, Rob Walsh and Dale Fodness, The Search for Identity: Emergent
Catholicity in the Modern Business School
Respondent: Helen McCullough
Chair: Marilina Colella
• Marilise Smurthwaite and Douglas Racionzer, St Augustine College of South Africa:
Notes on Incorporating the Catholic Social Tradition in Business Ethics Education
• Scott Kelley, Jack Ruhe and Ron Nahser, Pragmatic Inquiry in Business Ethics:
Synthesizing Business and Vocation in Service of the Common Good
Respondent: Thomas Bausch
Chair: John Gallagher
12:00 p.m. Lunch- MCKENNA DINING AREA
Speakers: Carolyn Woo (Dean of the College of Business, University of Notre Dame)
and Andre Delbecq (Former Dean of the College of Business, Santa Clara University)
Respondent: Frank Lazarus (President, University of Dallas)
Chair: Molly Burke (Dominican University)
3:30-5:00 Concurrent Section IV
• Mark Bandsuch, S.J., The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of Teaching
“Catholic” Business Ethics at a Catholic University
• Joan Fontrodona, Manuel Guillen and Alfredo Rodríguez-Sedano, Ethics and Ethical
Theories: A Road Map for Teaching Ethics in Business Schools
Respondent: Fr. William Kaggwa
Chair: Christine Fletcher
• John Gallagher, The Reframing of a Business Discipline: Can Strategic Management be
Made Catholic?
• Declan Murphy and Molly Pyle, How Catholic Spirituality Can Strengthen Emotional
Competence in Managerial Situations
• Respondent: Perry Devanesan
Chair: Jack Ruhe
• Gerald Cavanagh, S.J., Jeanne David and Si Hendry, S.J., Business Environmental and
Workplace Reporting and Activities and CST: A Practice-based Approach to Education
about Catholic Social Thought
• Brian Toyne, Zaida Martinez and James Ball, Globalization: A Connecting Theme for
Catholic Business Education
Respondent: Jose Sols
Chairs: Sr. Katherine Feely, SND and Kristin Sampson
• Maura Donahue and Kelly Johnson, Lost in Translation…or in Cultural Differences
• Molly Pepper, Michael Hazel and Linda Tredennick, Business Education in a Parallel
Respondent: David Krueger
Chair: Robert Audi
• Athar Murtuza, Theresa Henry and Renee Weiss, Integrating GAAP, the Common Good,
& Taqwa in Accounting Curricula: An Interfaith Approach
• Brian Shapiro, Theological Perspectives on the Objective and Subjective Dimensions of
the Good Accountant
Respondent: Kevin Misiewicz
Chair: Andrew Allen
7:00 Special Roundtable Sessions
• Andrea DeMaskey, Jonathan Doh, Melinda German, Ronald Hill, Walter Tymon
• John Boatright, Georges Enderle, Roger Huang, Robert Krug
• Patrick Kelly, Barbara Porco, Joan Van Hise
• William McDevitt, Tonia Murphy, James Jurinski
• Arlene DeWitt, Kathleen Fisher and Jeanne McNett,
Speakers: Agnieszka Winkler (Board of Trustees, Santa Clara University)
Respondent: Steve Porth (Associate Dean, St. Joseph’s University)
Chair: Thomas Bausch (Marquette University)
11:00 a.m. Concurrent Section V
• James Weber and Virginia Gerde, Mission-driven Business School Education at a
Catholic University: The Role of Ethics and Sustainability in Curriculum Development,
Faculty Recruitment and Extracurricular Activities
• Daniel Lynch, Natural Resources in the Boardroom
Respondent: John Burke
Chair: John Bunch
• Ernest Pierucci, Restoring the Broken Image: The Centrality of the Subjective Dimension of
Labor and Liberal Education in Catholic Business Education
• Wolfgang Grassl, The Study of Business as a Liberal Art? Toward an Aristotelian
Respondent: Patricia Johnson
Chair: Jörg Althammer
• Richard Keeley, Arresting ‘The Hot Pursuit of Gain’: The Challenge of a First-year
Curriculum for Business Students
• Manuel Dy and Antonette Palma-Angeles, How Jesuit is AGSB (the Ateneo de Manila
University Graduate School of Business)
• John Workman, Exploring the Potential of a Wiki to Support Catholic and Jesuit Identity
Respondent: Esteban Nina
Chair: Nicholas Santos, S.J.
• John Bunch, Catholic Social Teaching, Virtue Ethics and the Rule of St. Benedict: A
Framework for Teaching Applied Ethics based on the Benedictine Tradition of Catholic
Social Teaching at Benedictine College
• Michael Russell, Examination of Current Practices used in Business Schools at
Franciscan-based Catholic Colleges to Integrate Franciscan Values in the Curriculum
Respondent: P.M. Mathew
Chair: Matthew Shank
• Mario Molteni, The ALTIS experience: A new Business School, ALTIS (Postgraduate
School Business & Society) of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart
• Sr. Hellen Bandiho, The Challenges Faced by Business Schools within Newly Founded
Catholic Universities: The Case of Tanzania
Respondent: Michal Michalski
Chair: Br. Ray Fitz, S.M.
2:30 p.m. Closing Plenary Panel Session: THE ROLE OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT IN
Speakers: Robert Kennedy (Business and Catholic Studies, University of St. Thomas) and
Gerald Cavanagh S.J. (Business, University of Detroit Mercy)
Respondent: Gene Laczniak (Professor of Marketing, Marquette University)
Chair: Michael Naughton (University of St. Thomas)
4:00 p.m. Closing Comments: Patrick Murphy and Michael Naughton
6:00 Closing Banquet- MCKENNA DINING AREA
John W. Dienhart
In Part I, I discuss institutionalizing mission and values in a Catholic university. I focus on the
tension between ensuring individuals express the mission and values of the university and the
importance of maintaining a free and open environment where people can express their views.
Resolving this conflict sets up the discussion in Part II, where I describe teaching business ethics
in a way that respects those of different faith traditions as well as agnostics and atheists. I do so
in a way that does not make faith one choice among others. Nor do I suggest ratcheting down the
importance of faith in supporting ethical values.
Part I: Institutionalizing Mission and Values in a Catholic University in a Non-doctrinaire Way
I begin with a simple point that is difficult to implement. Behavior in a Catholic university should actively
promote its mission and values. If the mission and values of the university reflect Catholic traditions, this
will go a long way to ensure that business education has a specific Catholic character. For example, at
Seattle University our mission is the following:
Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to
empowering leaders for a just and humane world.
This flows out of the Jesuit mission to seek systemic changes to end poverty and promote justice. Our
values are care, academic excellence, diversity, faith, justice, and leadership.
By "actively promote" mission and values I mean faculty, administrators, staff, and students
should treat these aspirations as positive, not negative screens. This is a strong requirement.
Policies, practices, and actions need to clearly exemplify these values, not just merely be not
inconsistent with them. It also means all four groups have to think how to engage each other in
ways that communicate the mission and values. As suggested by the themes of "Business
Education at Catholic Universities: an Exploration of the Role of Mission-Driven Business
Schools," these positive screens need to be institutionalized. For example, they need to have
significant weight in hiring and retaining administrators and staff; in hiring, promoting, tenuring
faculty; and should guide processes to review and create new programs and curricula.
Actively promoting mission and values sounds great, but how do we do this without the
university turning into a police state? In recently published research, my co-authors and I argue
that the best way to encourage promoting organizational values is to create a procedurally fair
workplace in which people are treated with care and compassion (Tyler, et al.). In what follows,
I discuss procedural fairness and what it means to treat people with care and compassion. Both
procedural fairness and treating people with care and compassion are grounded on the intrinsic
value of human beings, so central to the Catholic faith.
In order to understand procedural fairness, we need to contrast it with outcome fairness.
Outcome fairness concerns issues and practices were people generally agree on what fairness
means. For example, if inflation goes up 4%, and employees get a base raise of 4%, most people
will judge that as a fair outcome. However, how should merit raises be distributed? This is where
procedural fairness comes in. A procedurally fair process would be one in which the standards
are transparent, known in advance, and applied equally to all in the pool. Ideally, a procedurally
fair process would also incorporate the voices of all those affected by the process. This leads us
to the next element, care and compassion.
When I talk of treating people with care and compassion, I rely on the normal meaning of these
terms: listening to people, incorporating their concerns, and not being verbally or physically
abusive. Another aspect of treating people with decency and compassion, as Nel Noddings
reminds us, is to help them pursue their projects. Noddings is quick to note that we can easily
confuse what we want for person with what that person wants for herself or himself. Helping
others pursue their projects requires rigorous self-examination on our part to make sure we are
not subtly directing the person to reach our goals instead of theirs. Of course, we can disagree
with their projects and refuse to help them. We can also give good reasons why they should
pursue some other project. What we should not do, claims Noddings, is to act as if we are
helping them with their projects when we are really advancing our own, no matter how valuable
we perceive our own projects to be.
Treating people with care and compassion goes beyond actively helping them with their projects.
Nel Noddings also reminds us that sometimes we must leave people alone, without abandoning
them, to struggle on their own. To always be ready to help someone can signal that we do not
trust their skills, or even their character, to complete the project well. Further, letting others
struggle with their own projects is often the best way to help them.
What happens when people in an organization are treated procedurally fair and with care and
compassion as described above? In our research we found that these two factors explained 87%
of voluntary support of the values of the organization. Let me repeat that: 87%. This is an
amazing number. A procedurally fair and caring workplace has other benefits, too. Bottom line
benefits. For example, these kinds of workplaces have a high rate of employees going beyond
their job description to help the organization. On the other hand, compliance and police state
methods encourage virtually no voluntary acceptance of the organizational goals, nor do they
encourage people to help the organization in ways that go beyond their job description. The
message is clear. If we want people in Catholic educational institutions to support the values of
those institutions, we must institute procedurally fair practices and treat people with care and
In the next section, I discuss how procedural fairness and care and compassion are exemplified in
teaching business ethics and social responsibility at the MBA level.
Part II: An MBA Class on Business Ethics at Seattle University
Care and compassion in the teaching of business ethics requires us to avoid any attempt to
indoctrinate students or to even have the appearance of such indoctrination. However, to avoid
the reality or the appearance of indoctrination does not require the teacher or the students to hide
their ethical views and commitments. In what follows I described a procedure for teaching
business ethics that puts my values upfront in a non-doctrinaire and non-coercive way (Dienhart
My procedure relies on two building blocks. First, the ethical frameworks we discuss in the class
come from students. Second, the class and I act as if we are searching for the moral framework
by which to guide our lives. I discuss each of these building blocks in more detail.
The ethical frameworks discussed in class come from the students. To facilitate this, I begin
the course with a case study on layoffs from which we derive ethical frameworks. As the
students work through the case concerning impending layoffs, I write down the ethical
frameworks on which they rely. In 95% of the times I have used this case, the issues of
friendship and organizational loyalty arise first. Then, someone mentions his or her legitimate
self-interest in making a decision about what to do. Lastly, but not always, someone will bring
up the issue of fairness to others on the layoff list. At the end of this exercise, we have four
dimensions of ethics: self development, relationship development, group development, and
human dignity development.
In debriefing the case, I rely on the work of Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, the World
Values Survey, and the GLOBE Project to argue that they have identified four moral dimensions
that are cross-cultural. I make clear that these four dimensions are forms of practical reasoning
and decision-making. They are not necessarily the ultimate ground for motivating ethical
judgments and behavior. For many people, this ultimate ground lies in their religious faith.
Others may stand in awe of human nature without a faith foundation. For the class to be
effective, each student needs to connect these ethical dimensions to their deepest commitments.
They should feel free to discuss these deep commitments in their written work and in class.
The students and I act as if we are searching for the ethical framework that will guide our
lives. Using the work of Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan we examine the three-phase
progression of moral reasoning from the pre-conventional to the conventional to the postconventional. While cognitive theories of moral development have many limitations, they are
extremely good at explaining how our rational and affective capacities influence how we
construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct our moral systems of beliefs. Pre-conventional reasoners
do not understand the conventions of society, nor do they understand how these conventions hold
society together. Conventional reasoners understand these conventions well, and adopt them as
their dominant moral framework. Post-conventional reasoners adopt universal moral values that
they can use to evaluate behaviors and systems across cultures.
We do not focus on the different levels of moral reasoning themselves. Instead, we focus on the
transitions between the levels. The most important transition for the business ethics class is the
transition from the conventional to the post-conventional level of moral reasoning. This is the
transition in which we are most reflective about the ethical belief system we are constructing for
ourselves. Within this context, I offer the class my own view of ethical decision-making in
Ethical business decision-making promotes sustainable networks of stakeholders
(individuals, relationships, and groups) in a context of human dignity and a healthy
physical environment.
I ask them to adopt this as a working hypothesis for the duration of the class. I will not grade
them on whether they accept it, but on whether they understand it. This makes it clear to the class
where my values lie: human dignity. However, I quickly add that we often promote human
dignity through self-development, nurturing human relationships, and promoting group wellbeing. My stance is far from universal. In the next section of the class, we examine philosophers
who argue for the other three dimensions as the foundation of ethics. This will give the students a
chance to see some compelling arguments for other points of view. We discuss selfdevelopment, relationship development, group development, and human dignity development in
Epicurus and Ayn Rand argue for self-development as the foundation of ethics. They are postconventional reasoners because they offer self-development as a solution to the contradictions
and unsupported beliefs of conventional morality. Notice that they focus on self-development,
not self-interest. By self-development, these theorists argue for promoting the excellence of
oneself. Discovering how to promote our own excellence requires us to reflect deeply and
honestly on who we are. This deep and honest reflection will help us identify our essential
qualities and capacities. An ethical life consists in pursuing the excellence of these qualities and
Nel Noddings offers care as the foundation of ethics. She is a post-conventional reasoner because
she offers care as a solution to the contradictions and unsupported beliefs of conventional
morality. Marilyn Friedman offers care and justice as the ethical values that can resolve the
contradictions and unsupported beliefs of conventional morality. As discussed above, Nel
Noddings' view of care is quite sophisticated and anything but a "Hallmark card" view. Care
often means making the hard choices to promote flourishing human relationships.
David Hume and John Stuart Mill argue for group well-being as the foundation of ethics. They
are post-conventional reasoners because they offer of utilitarianism as a solution to the
contradictions and unsupported beliefs of conventional morality. David Hume argues for stability
and property rights. Change at the social level is dangerous, because people's self-interest and
personal relationships will cloud their altruistic motivations. John Stuart Mill is more sanguine
about social change. Still, he is wary of our self-interested motivations. Moral excellence for
these two philosophers, in large part, is knowing our role and fulfilling it.
Immanuel Kant and John Rawls argue for human dignity as the foundation of ethics. We
examine their views to see how they resolve the contradictions and unsupported beliefs of
conventional morality that they identify. For Kant, the existence of God and our divine element
enables us to make free choices in an otherwise causally deterministic universe. This freedom is
the ground of our intrinsic value and our duties. One aspect of our duty is never to manipulate
ourselves or others in ways that interfere with free choice. In business, for example, it means
honest communication and keeping promises. To do otherwise does not merely disrespect the
person, but God. With respect to ourselves, it means paying close attention to our motives and
not rationalizing. Rawls’ challenge is to turn Kant's focus on individual decision-making into a
social and political philosophy. He does so, not surprisingly, through the mechanism of rational
free choice.
In our discussion of human dignity, we come back to the earlier suggestion that we express our
concerns and commitment to human dignity through self-development, relationship
development, and group development. We then discuss the empirical research I mentioned in
Part I of the paper, that shows that procedural justice and treating people with care and
compassion are the best ways to promote their self-development, their relationships, and the
group's development.
Part III: Conclusion
In Part I, we examined how to institutionalize the mission and values into the decision-making of
a Catholic university. I argued that the best way to do this is to express the mission and values
through procedural fairness and care and compassion through all segments of the university.
Giving people the autonomy to adopt the mission is the most effective way for them to express it
in daily decision-making. In Part II, we discussed a procedure for teaching different ethical
frameworks that respects the autonomy of the students to construct their own moral beliefs
systems. I argued that the professor and students should express their deep ethical commitments,
but in non-doctrinaire and non-coercive ways. Far from being a smorgasbord of ethics, I
designed the procedure to help them better understand and recommit to their deepest values.
Nicholas Santos, S.J. and Gene R. Laczniak
A report released by the Aspen Institute in 2007 indicates that the number of business schools
that include material focused on low-income markets, also characterized as the bottom (or base)
of the pyramid (BOP), grew phenomenally in 2007 compared to 2005. According to the report,
the inclusion of BOP-related material is taking place across a wide range of disciplines in the
MBA curriculum as well as in business schools across the globe. This trend reflects a growing
interest of multinational companies (MNCs) in BOP markets, particularly those in developing
countries. The involvement of MNCs in the BOP market affords the opportunity of a more
inclusive capitalism, one that seeks to include groups that were earlier kept at the periphery or
margins of economic development. At the same time the periodic business involvement with
low-income consumers for the last many years is rife with exploitive practices such as predatory
lending, tainted insurance, unconscionable labor practices, and exorbitant rent-to-own
transactions. While such exploitive practices take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the
impoverished segment due to lack of financial resources, education level and even access to land,
they are also driven by the powerful desire of these consumers to reach out for better quality
products and an improved quality of life.
We can be confident that as business organizations embrace the idea that the low-income market
constitutes an economically viable market segment, it becomes critical that exchange situations
that are directed towards such segments be shaped in a manner that is “fair” and “just” to both
parties (i.e., the business unit and the consumer). This is particularly important in an impersonal
economic marketplace that too often exploits the poor due to an “imbalance” of resources,
information or financial leverage on the part of the less advantaged member, typically the buyer.
In keeping with the Church’s preferential option for the poor, Catholic Business Schools (CBS)
are particularly obligated to develop and teach frameworks in a wide range of disciplines such as
economics, finance, strategy, management, human resources, entrepreneurship, and marketing
that aim towards “just” business engagement with impoverished consumers. In this paper we
offer a normative framework for ethically marketing to impoverished consumer segments. This
framework, which we label as the Integrative Justice Model (IJM) for impoverished markets, is a
work-in-progress resulting from a series of conference presentations, articles in press and
working papers.
The IJM is constructed using a normative theory building process in philosophy proposed by the
philosopher John Bishop and is comprised of ethical elements that ought to be present when
marketing to the poor. The ethical imperatives of the IJM are derived from moral philosophy
theories, corporate social responsibility frameworks and religious doctrine. We begin this paper
by briefly presenting the fundamental elements of the IJM. We then discuss the core principles of
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and show how each of the fundamental characteristics of the
The basic elements of the Integrative Justice Model presented in this paper are drawn from other working and
submitted papers that we have co-authored.
IJM emerges from the principles of CST. We finally conclude with a discussion of the
implications of the IJM for Business Education at Catholic Business Schools.
Based on pertinent streams of thought in moral philosophy, management theory, and religious
doctrine we identified five characteristics of “just” market situations. Together they form the
basis of an Integrative Justice Model (IJM) for marketing to impoverished markets. In the ideal,
each of the following elements should be discernable (i.e. palpably evident) in business
organizations when they “fairly” and ethically market to poor and disadvantaged consumers. The
characteristics are:
1. Authentic engagement with consumers, particularly impoverished ones, with nonexploitive intent
2. Co-creation of value with customers, especially those who are impoverished or
3. Investment in future consumption without endangering the environment
4. Interest representation of all stakeholders, particularly impoverished customers
5. Focus on long-term profit management rather than short-term profit maximization
Catholic social teaching comprises of the tradition of Papal, Church Council, and Episcopal
documents that deal with the Church’s response and commitment to the social demands of the
gospel in the context of the world. While CST is rooted in scripture and founded on the life and
teachings of Jesus, a generally accepted starting point of this tradition dates back to Pope Leo
XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891, a moral commentary inspired by several of the social
abuses rooted in the Industrial Revolution. At the heart of the CST corpus are four principles that
are referred to as the permanent principles of the Church’s social doctrine. These are: the dignity
of the human person; the common good; subsidiarity; and solidarity.
A fundamental economic assumption made in the theory of exchange is that both parties to the
exchange are on an equal footing, which is very often not the case. In fact, it is precisely because
of the inequalities that exist in the exchange process, that we see an ever-increasing amount of
injustices. Therefore, a major challenge in the construction of “just” markets is of creating
economic “win-win” situations for all participants. The principles of CST offer a framework for
creating such “win-win” situations. In what follows we show how the fundamental elements of
the IJM (characteristics of “just” market situations) emerge from the principles of CST.
1. Authentic engagement with consumers
If all human persons, as CST points out, have an inviolable dignity, then treating any person as
merely an object or means to the profitability of the company is a violation of the principle of
human dignity. Consistent with philosopher Immanuel Kant’s second formulation of his
categorical imperative, Laczniak points out that “members of the human community, particularly
those most subject to exploitation, should never be used as an expedient means to a financial
end.” The difference between companies that exploit the vulnerabilities of consumers and those
that seek to reduce the vulnerabilities or disadvantages that consumers face is that the latter are
able to view their businesses as serving a greater social purpose than simply the relentless pursuit
of profit maximization. In viewing customers, particularly impoverished ones, not as objects to
be taken advantage of but rather as subjects who have legitimate needs, these companies adhere
to CST’s principles of the dignity of the human person, of the common good, and of solidarity.
Using the example of companies such as the Grameen Bank, an important characteristic of a
“just” market that emerges involves an authentic engagement with consumers, particularly
impoverished ones, with non-exploitive intent.
2. Co-creation of value
In their path-breaking work involving the services-dominant logic (SDL) of marketing, Vargo
and Lusch argue that Marketing is transforming to a new evolutionary logic, “one in which
service provision rather than goods is fundamental to economic exchange.” According to Vargo
and Lusch, “a service-centered dominant logic implies that value is defined by and co-created
with the consumer [emphasis added] rather than embedded in output.” In the SDL, customers are
treated as operant resources (producers of effects) rather than operand resources (something to be
acted upon). Such a shift is in keeping with CST’s emphasis on the inherent worth of each
individual person. Thus, for instance, while the impoverished customers might have limited
purchasing power, they also have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and ideas that can be potentially
beneficial to business enterprises. Therefore, a second key characteristic of a “just” market that
emerges is that value ought to be co-created with customers, particularly, those who are
3. Investment in future consumption
The U.S. Catholic Bishops, in their pastoral letter Economic Justice for All, assert that an
economic system should be judged “by what it does for and to people and by how it permits all
to participate in it.” An authentic engagement with consumers and co-creating value with them
undoubtedly enhances their participation in the economic system. However, the participation of
particularly impoverished consumers is restricted by their lack of access to capital and other
resources. Making capital and other resources available to impoverished consumers increases the
potential of these consumers to participate in the market economy. We see evidence of this in the
example of Grameen Bank. One result of business engagement with the impoverished market
segment is the increase of employment opportunities. This can be either directly, by way of
employment with the business firm or indirectly, as suppliers, distributors, and retailers. Thus, a
third characteristic of a “just” market that emerges is an investment in future consumption.
4. Interest representation of all stakeholders
In the last few decades, multinational corporations have been involved in developmental projects
in developing countries. While many of these projects were meant to help the ultimate
beneficiaries, the poor, it was realized that instead they ended up with the poor being even worse
off than before. A major reason that such projects resulted in the poor being worse-off than
before was that the interests of the poor end client were not sufficiently represented or taken into
account. Together with the interests of the shareholders, it is important for the business
organization to consider the interests of other stakeholders particularly those that do not have
much voice in the economic negotiation process. Considering the interest of the often voiceless
impoverished consumer is in accordance with the principle of the common good and the
principle of subsidiarity. Thus, a fourth characteristic of a “just” market that emerges is that of
interest representation of all stakeholders, particularly impoverished customers.
5. Long-term profit management
CST recognizes the legitimate role of profits in the functioning of the business enterprise and for
economic development. However, a preoccupation with profitability, ironically, can act against
the long-term interests of the business organization. Such a preoccupation is largely the outcome
of a short-term mentality that is driven by quarterly profit increments or even annual ROI targets.
The pressure for short-term profit maximization can lead to various forms of unethical business
behavior as evidenced by the corporate scandals that broke out in the earlier half of this decade.
The market development of impoverished segments is inherently a longer process than one that
is dictated by the length of fiscal reporting periods and/or annualized share performance scores.
According to CST, the individual profit of a business enterprise should never become the sole
objective of a company. Rather, it should be considered together with another equally
fundamental objective, namely, social usefulness. A company is more likely to consider its social
usefulness when it has a long-term rather than a short-term perspective. Thus, a fifth
characteristic of a “just” market that emerges is a focus on long-term profit management rather
than short-term profit maximization.
In their thought-provoking background paper for this conference, Naughton et al. point out that
one of the four critical dimensions of business education at CBS is of integrating business and
the needs of the poor. In a way, the increased involvement of business corporations in the lowincome segment affords CBS the opportunity of aligning strategic business education with CST’s
preferential option for the poor. In this paper, we have offered the IJM as a possible framework
for such an alignment. The IJM, which takes into account economic, ethical and theological
dimensions, is aimed at creating fairness and equity in economic transactions involving
impoverished consumers. Its long term perspective for the construction of just markets is
consistent with a variety of basic, prescriptive marketing approaches including the marketing
concept, customer relationship management (CRM), sustained brand equity and the emergent SD Logic. While the IJM is most applicable to the discipline of marketing, its scope extends to
other disciplines within the business field as well.
In addition to its applicability at the micro-level of business disciplines or even courses within
those disciplines, the IJM provides a framework that is likely to be useful for business education
at Catholic Universities at a macro-level. Business scholars have recently called on academics to
renew their engagement with the connection of business activity to broader social issues and
systemic effects. The IJM succinctly encapsulates the core principles of Catholic Social
Teaching as well as macromarketing concepts such as distributive justice, stakeholder theory,
corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and the triple bottom line. We find it significant
that Msgr. Gianfranco Girotti, regent of the Vatican Penitentiary, recently suggested that
Globalization gives rise to emerging and troubling social sins such as “polluting the
environment” and “causing social inequities”. In postulating a normative ideal, the IJM
implicitly informs the issue of the distinctiveness of Catholic Business Education. Entirely
consistent with the IJM, what should distinguish business education at Catholic Universities-among other things--is that it strives towards: (1) an authentic engagement with consumers,
particularly impoverished ones, with non-exploitive intent; (2) co-creation of value with
customers, especially those who are impoverished or disadvantaged; (3) an investment in future
consumption without endangering the environment; (4) interest representation of all
stakeholders, particularly impoverished customers; and (5) a focus on long-term profit
management rather than short-term profit maximization. Each of these distinguishing
characteristics lends itself to further commentary, research and hypothesis testing. For example,
while interest representation of all stakeholders is a normative ideal, at the practical level it
would involve developing metrics to evaluate whether interest representation of all stakeholders
has indeed taken place via some sort of advocacy protocol. Such research might need to draw
insights from varied fields such as cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology and theology
and could be of a cross-sectional or longitudinal nature. As is often the case, the challenge lies in
the details of implementation and the setting forth of actionable guidelines (based on the IJM
framework) as Catholic Business School faculty experiment with operationally refining this
But the most obvious utilization of the IJM in Catholic business schools would be to inject
discussion of the above listed IJM “justice” dimensions into the wide variety of classes, already
taught in b-school curricula, which touch on impoverished markets in some fashion. Courses
that come to mind are business ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR), social
entrepreneurship, international management policy, and assorted special units that offer “MBA
consultancy teams” to social service organizations. Too often, the thinking of business school
faculty is that the contribution that they best can make is to enhance the economic efficiency of
organizations charged with dealing or helping the poor. Instead, they ought to also consider
motivating their students to examine the factors that contribute to “unfair” marketplace
transactions and the organizational mechanisms that exist for making them more ethical.
Anna Bajo Sanjuán and José-Luis Fernández-Fernández
Introduction and framework
The Spanish university landscape has experienced a profound process of change in terms of
growth and diversification for the last three decades. Before the 80’s, Spanish universities were
totally state-owned, with the exception of the only four that were then called ‘Universities of the
Church’; i.e., University of Deusto, Comillas Pontifical University, Salamanca Pontifical
University and University of Navarra.
Furthermore, out of the four mentioned universities the former three institutions were allowed to
issue academic degrees only once their students have proved their proficiency through an exam
of qualification. A tribunal appointed by the Education Ministry had to validate the qualification
process. Only the University of Navarra was able to issue academic degrees directly; thus
avoiding this compulsory final exam. There was a justification for this preferential treatment: a
great percentage of teachers at University of Navarra were full professors that had taken leave
from employment at public universities to teach in this particular private institution.
Things changed substantially with the modification of legislation in the 80’s permitting the
existence of private universities. The licence issued by the competent authorities was subject to
specific requirements established by law. Since then, the number of state-owned universities also
increased notably and these coexisted with private ones, in a scenario of decreasing student
Interestingly, students from Deusto, Comillas Pontifical and Salamanca Pontifical still have the
requirement of the final exam in front of a tribunal appointed by the Ministry. The three of them,
plus the Navarra University, are officially amongst the ‘Universities of the Church’. All other
universities that are not state-owned are considered ‘private universities’ and their students
obtain their graduations automatically, without the obligation of taking a final exam.
Some of the new private universities created since then are classified as ‘Christian oriented’
institutions; others, as already mentioned, are named ‘Universities of the Church’ and we can
even find a group of them considered as ‘Catholic’. The Ex Corde Ecclesiae and similar
documents precisely define what should be understood under ‘Catholic University’. The reason
why we make such a detailed distinction in this paper is to give the reader a comprehensive idea
of the high education situation in Spain. There is clearly a high degree of competition between
this wide range of institutions trying to find differentiation factors to survive.
This differentiation process has dramatically increased lately as a consequence of the
adjustments carried out for the European High Education Area starting in 2010. Competitiveness
and innovation are always present when universities consider how to adapt programs to the new
European requirements. Contents, methodologies and new curricular objectives need to be
reviewed for all studies, but special focus is put on Business Administration degrees, due to the
importance of business in our society.
These new demands and expectations are hard to align to the ideologic-doctrinal specifications
of ‘Catholic’ universities. Having that in mind, we consider that collaboration between those
institutions sharing similar objectives and visions can help us reach excellence in our
universities. That goal must be achieved not only through generic concern for ethics but also, and
more specifically, applying an ethical dimension to business affairs.
In this regard, we would like to cursorily mention a collaborative project that is being held in
Spain by universities and high education centres of the ‘Society of Jesus, known as ‘Unijes
Group of Ethics for Professionals’.
The aim of this paper is to describe how business ethics and/or corporate social responsibility are
nowadays being taught to executives and entrepreneurs at Spanish universities and business
schools, based on a research held with a descriptive and objective vocation by the Javier
Benjumea (Focus-Abengoa) Chair of Ethics for Business and Economics at Universidad
Pontificia Comillas de Madrid.
We intend to analyse and describe the degree of implementation of these subjects in the most
common academic itinerary followed by executives, i.e. under-graduate studies in Business
Administration degrees and MBA courses within postgraduate studies.
Other works have similarly analysed the implementation of Business Ethics in Europe with
different methodology and objectives, as the ‘EBEN survey of business ethics education in
Europe’2. It collects the responses of several European institutions invited to voluntarily
participate in the research through the answer of a survey questionnaire about their academic
A company is currently regarded as an association of individuals with the purpose of
contributing to the Common Good through the production of goods and services within a
multiple relationships society. Hence, executive education should necessarily include disciplines
related to decision-making in complex situations, as the consequences of business performance
impact a wide range of people in one way or another.
This multi-stakeholder approach to companies, which is becoming more and more accepted at
universities and business schools, has an old tradition in catholic education, as business ethics
has always been compulsory in their academic curricula. Nevertheless, besides considering
ethics as part of the professional philosophy for executives and entrepreneurs, many universities
and business schools are also adding other strategic approaches with a wider scope that embraces
tools and policies which aim to analyse and manage the impact companies have on society,
promoting a more “socially responsible” behaviour.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) pretends to harmonise the interests of different
stakeholders of the company from a ‘triple bottom line’ that includes an economic,
environmental and social perspective. To reach that purpose it is essential to have a solid idea of
the concept “company”, i.e. its (inter)relations and what its role is in society. That wide
Remmé, J. and Nijhof, A.: ‘The EBEN survey of business ethics education in Europe. Results and further
developments’, presented in the EBEN Annual Conference. 19th September 2007. Leuven University, Belgium.
understanding should not be left to individual interpretation and must be formally presented to
business people for reflection and discussion.
For that reason, at the Javier Benjumea (Focus-Abengoa) Chair of Ethics for Business and
Economics we have conducted a survey to know what executives and business managers are
currently being taught at universities and business schools. We have monitored the presence of
business ethics and CSR in the most common academic itineraries specifically oriented to train
executives, excluding other high education programs that could also be attended by business
This research piece has been carried out during March and April 2007 and is divided into two
different sections:
With regards to undergraduate studies, we have analysed the study plans of
Business Administration degrees as published in the websites of the ninety-one
universities, both private and state-owned, which are registered on the database of the
Education and Science Ministry (ECM). A thorough search of every plan was carried out,
looking for subjects related to corporate social responsibility, mainly identified under one
of the following descriptors: ‘(business or entrepreneurial) ethics’, ‘sustainability’, ‘
corporate citizenship’, ‘ corporate governance’, ‘social responsibility’ or ‘deontology
(professional ethics)’.
Although corporate social responsibility refers to economic, social and environmental
objectives, in this paper we have focused our interest on the social area and not
considered subjects related to the other two.
The universities included in the research are those listed in the ECM’s website. We have
not examined foreign universities with presence in Spain.
Due to the difficulty that a detailed search of subjects of free election entails, given that
not all the plans specify them, we have only considered core, required and elective
subjects, which is relevant enough for our research.
On the postgraduate section we faced greater difficulty trying to identify which
plans should be analysed, as there is no official database containing all the MBA courses
on offer. Only the ‘officially-recognized’ MBAs are detailed in the ECM, while the ‘nonofficially recognized’ postgraduate courses given by universities and business schools
can only be found in rankings from several publications. We have chosen the “Guía de
Escuelas de Negocios y Centros de Postgrado 2007-2008”, a guide produced by Gaceta
Universitaria with the collaboration of Círculo Formación, who organizes the
Postgraduate Courses Fair held every year in several Spanish cities.
There are many different kinds of programmes offered by the business schools, but only the most
generalist ones have been selected for this work, as they are specifically oriented to train
managers; i.e. MBA, Executive MBA and International MBA programmes.
As the database where the selection comes from is not official, we ran the risk of not including
all of the possible programmes. What is mainly left out are expert and specialization
programmes, as well as those that last less than 500 hours.
In spite of this clear set of criteria, we have observed that the attempt by universities and
business schools to adapt to the EHEA reflects a very heterogeneous postgraduate landscape in
Spain where official and own programmes coexist at universities and business schools. Official
postgraduate studies started in May 2006 in Spain and only universities are allowed to offer
them. This restriction forces business schools to sign agreements with universities supervised by
their regional government. On the other hand, some schools have decided to acquire or create
universities in order to easily absorb the ‘official’ category of their programmes and therefore
increase their prestige to better compete with other European centres.
In any case, there is an evident gap between the postgraduate offer of Spanish universities, which
is already adapted to the EHEA, and the undergraduate curriculum that still needs to be
modified. The lack of coordination of these two legs of the academic curricula for executives
demands an urgent and deep review that should be orchestrated by public authorities in the
autonomous regions and the central government. Otherwise, by 2010 the shortcomings in
Spanish executive training will be too important to be competitive in a global world.
Data Findings and Conclusions
The outcome assessment of the Study concludes, that business ethics and responsible behaviour
are not being taught in depth in higher education, specially at undergraduate courses, where only
21% of the Spanish universities are including these subjects among Business Administration
degrees. 63% of those offering these subjects are private universities, all of them catholic,
because all catholic universities in Spain must include these subjects to be recognised as
‘Universities of the Church’ by the Spanish Episcopal Conference (eight of the twelve catholic
universities in Spain have reached that distinction).
The landscape is more positive within postgraduate education, where 46% of the generalist
programs analysed have at least one subject fulfilling any of the descriptors. Here catholic
institutions offered only 18% of the 197 programs included in our selection, where 21% of the
programs include no subjects related to ethics and CSR3. On the other hand, considering only
non-catholic centres, the percentage of programs without these subjects raises to 72%.
In summary, Spanish universities and business schools have a better track record in teaching
business ethics and CSR compared to secular education. Nevertheless, this should not lead us
into self-indulgence but be considered as a good starting point from which to progress towards
the objectives of catholic universities proposed by the Catholic Social Thought.
As explained before, it is worth highlighting the existence of a joint venture amongst universities
and high education centres of the ‘Society of Jesus’ in Spain. This initiative, known as ‘Unijes
Group of Ethics for Professionals’, deserves to be mentioned as an example of successful
Curiously, we have observed that some business schools do not mention their actual catholic orientation at the
institutional presentation on their web sites.
John Haughey SJ
There is much concern these days about global warming and the role of human agency in the planet’s
becoming more and more unhealthy for humans and all other species. This paper takes for granted that
the data is true and proceeds to point out several ways in which Christian faith needs to be revisited so
that light can be shed on this problem. The business community in particular needs this light to be wiser
and more helpful ecologically.
One cut into ecology and faith is to ask about the where of God? The religions have spent much time on
the who of God, on who God is. Where God is, however, has received less attention and this inadvertence
has contributed to the deterioration of the planet.
In just a few lines of John’s Gospel the problematic of the where of God can be seen. Jesus tells his
apostles at the last supper that he is going away to prepare a place for them but that he will come back and
take them to where he is. John 14:1-2) Where is this? To his Father’s house which has many mansions.
The place or spatial imagery seems to point to an up there, an away, a heavenly home. But just a few lines
later he assures his companions at this their last time together with him that “if you love me my Father
will love you and we will come and make our home with you.” (14:23) These two references alone open
up the whole question of the where of God.
“Everywhere” is what the Baltimore Catechism has taught Catholic Christians about the where of God but
this simplicity left the question of the different modes of God’s presence unaddressed. There is the
presence of God as creator in what has been created, even a continuing presence of God in that which
continues to be. But the next where-is-God questions are: is God absent from what had been and is no
more? How does what was once existing and is now extinct get factored into “the new heavens and the
new earth”? Is extinction “it” for infra-human species and not for the human species?
The Catechism taught what God had taught the people of God from the beginning. Think of Moses’
awakening to the where of God in the burning bush. The scene is still touching. It is caught by a New
Zealand poet, Joy Cowley, in a poem she called Sacred Ground:
We are standing on sacred ground.
Let our hearts take off their shoes
and come bare, trembling with awe,
into the Presence which burns too bright
and too close for ordinary vision.
Only a naked heart can see
that all round us, each clump of grass,
every leaf, twig, stone and flower,
is a blazing torch, incandescent
with the one fire which has no name
except “I am.”
And only a naked heart can know
that it too, is a burning bush,
all of us caught in the one fire,
“we are” burning into “I am,”
brighter than a galaxy of suns.
Words cannot contain the moment
but let’s take with us
the feeling of awe and wonder.
Tomorrow’s might be dark,
difficult and sharp with stones,
but in this sacred place we feel
we may never wear shoes again.
What she experiences is God’s Presence in created things, the leaf, the twig, the stone, the flower. She
seems to have appropriated the same mystery of the “I am” that Moses learned. She savors savoring the
wonder of creation in all its particulars, with her shoes off. The mystery includes knowledge of herself
and her own naked heart as a burning bush caught in the fire of God’s holy presence. She also takes in the
“we are” who are caught up in the “I am” .
Like Cowley and before her Moses, many have learned to be stewards of the mystery of God’s presence
and agenda for earth. Which brings us to this term steward. It is the English translation of a picturesque
Greek word: oikonomos which is a combination of two words, house or household or estate (oikos) and
norm or rule or law (nomos). So the faithful steward is one who manages the household of the master
according to the master’s mind or norms or agenda. Stewards are entrusted with another’s resources.
Business persons are stewards managing another’s resources. How do they do this if their faith teaches
them that these resources are ultimately God’s?
St. Paul informs his readers and hearers that they are to be stewards of God’s mysteries. (I Cor. 4:1) So
business leaders have the responsibility to see themselves and the resources they manage in light of these
mysteries. It’s trouble enough managing anything but managing a business in light of these, so how can
this double feat be accomplished? The One who has bestowed on Christ’s followers this responsibility,
has sent the Spirit into their hearts and minds to teach them. Nothing is impossible for them, therefore,
since the Spirit who indwells “scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.”(I Cor 2:10)
Jesus became flesh to teach such things as what it means to be a steward. I assume the reader understands
enough about modern Christology to know that most New Testament scholars view Jesus as coming to an
understanding of God and his uniqueness only gradually through his human understanding, helped by the
Holy Spirit, of course. Though his intellect like his person was not tainted by sin still “he was like us in
all things,”so what he came to understand he came to in his human consciousness. The New Testament
conveys both what the Spirit enabled Jesus to understand about the mysteries of God as well as what the
first communities came to understand about him from the same Spirit.
Jesus’ stewardship of the divine mysteries enabled those who believed in him to plumb the character and
agenda of God more profoundly than had ever been done before. His was neither an ornithologist’s
knowledge nor a botanist’s knowledge of nature but he was a seer- thru-er, seeing the sensible and more
than the sensible. He saw sacred ground where others saw only ground. He sensed a Presence where
others saw only a clump of grass or a flower or a twig or a bird. He was sacred-minded, seeing the divine
agenda in material nature.
Joy Cowley beautifully captures this sacramental mind with her “all of us caught in the one fire, “we are”
burning into “I am”. ” When Jesus saw his knowledge of his intimate relationship to the “I am” is not
clear. In the Synoptic gospels it was only a gradual unfolding, probably peaking at the time of his
resurrection. Paul, in Romans 1:3-4 has him”descended from David according to the flesh, but established
as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead.” The
Gospel of John, on the other hand, has him knowing his personal, unique connection to the fire of the “I
am” throughout that Gospel. In fact he sublates the “I am” into his own identity. “I am the way, the truth
and the life.”(Jn. 14:6) So there is detectable movement of Jesus’ self-knowledge in the Gospels from his
being a faithful steward of the mysteries of God to being the conduit into plumbing them. In that same
Gospel, Jesus learned the divne mind so well that he became the way into and the truth about stewardship
for the life of the earth. He became such a good steward that he eventually took over the old man’s
business, as it were. Now he is in charge of the stewards and with the Father, sent the Spirit to be their
There are two ways of reading the new data being gathered by science, one is through a theology of
creation, viz. God created this and that and everything, hence one’s use of resources is according to their
character as coming ultimately from their Creator/Owner. As more and more cosmological and
environmental data cascade into human consciousness, a new theology of creation is emerging along
with it. It is beginning to be evident that green was not an ideal cooked up by humans in the late 20th
century. It was the divine agenda as far back as God’s commitment to Noah. “Behold, I establish my
covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the
birds, the cattle, and eery beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.” (Gen. 9:8-10)
Covenant is an embrace initiated by God and responded to by those to whom it is extended. Humans have
not understood the scope of this embrace as clearly as they do now. This covenant is with “you and your
descendants after you” but also with all other species. From the myth of the ark a new creation story
developed and humans were to be its stewards.
The second way of reading the same data is through a theology of redemption. Both of these theologies
help to form the identity of a steward. But the redemption should make one doubly beholden to God and
grateful because it will enable one to see the earth in a new light since something irrevocable and
dramatic has happened to it. The passion, death and resurrection of Christ was intended to make “all
things new” definitively.
If this mystery of redemption began to sink in on the planet, in particular into those planetary creatures
whose distinctiveness is consciousness, the planet could be renewed because it would be reverenced in all
its particulars, and reverenced as one. But this requires an understanding that the redeemed includes the
whole of creation of which everyone and every species is a part. It would help if theologians were to
become geologians, and ecologists theogeologist. It would help if Christians became amazed at the good
news of the transfiguration of the creata by the one fire of God’s loving all of it. The mysteries of
creation, the resurrection and redemption would have one never look at water the same way again, nor air,
nor grapes, nor oil, nor one another. Seeing with “the eyes of flesh” sees things only in their transiency;
seeing things with “the eyes of the Spirit” sees that the whale and our flesh are all material creation
vectored to a similar destiny. To see things with the eyes of flesh is to be ignorant of the mind of God
about them. “If you live according to the flesh you will die” and all resources will be wrongly seen and
used as heading to the same fate, death.
All of this insight can come from the same scriptural locus, Romans 8. The whole chapter is thrilling
because of the crucial connections it makes throughout. These seem to have escaped most generations of
Christians who as pre-greenies used the earth as if it were a booster rocket that could be exploited
heedlessly before they shuffled off this mortal coil to land on an immaterial heavenly planet. The Romans
text would now have us hear the groanings coming from the creata. Paul hears them as labor pains. What
is needed is for those who have probed the mystery of the redemption to become convinced that the
divine agenda is that all will be set free from corruption and share in the glorious freedom which God’s
children are awaiting with eager expectation but not only they are eager and expectant. Like spring the
first fruits of this expectation keep popping up in human affairs and nature just when it seems like decay
from both of these are inevitable and inexorable.
But mostly what’s here is hope, not hope that sees the new heavens and the new earth but doesn’t. Oddly
enough, it is hope that isn’t sight that is the evidence the Spirit gives of its presence. The basis of this
hope is the already that has been accomplished, viz.the incarnation and the resurrection and the
redemption. These generate the convictions that the hegemony of sin and its consequence, death, are not
the end and that the ransom for sin has been paid and that death does not have the final word. The
Owner/Creator does.
What’s new is the realization that the groanings of creation which are increasing exponentially are due not
only because of Adam’s sin but because of the massive ecological sinfulness of one species, homo
sapiens. This has come about because this species has misconstrued itself as if it were not part of the rest
of the species but their owners. The air is groaning as are the seas and all that tries to live in them, as are
the species whose extinction this one species is egregiously effecting. What is the mind of the Master/
Owner/ Creator given this relatively recent data? The preciousness to God of all creation; God’s dream
has always been green and our responsibility to dream and enact the same dream. Until the connection is
made between God’s raising his Son from the dead and the reverence due to all the creata, ecological
concerns will be understood superficially and pre-theologically. The mind of the Owner of the world’s
resources which the Spirit would teach the human stewards is that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the
signal and sign to all creation that corruption and death is not the destiny of any of it.
So there are three sources of testimony in Rom. 8 about these convictions. One is the groaning of nature,
now groaning louder than ever because of human hubris and its species arrogance. The second is the
groaning of humans and the hope they find in themselves, moving them to act with the energy of hope not
because they can see the contours or know the time of the full appearance of the new heavens and the new
earth. Their energy is not from sight since “hope is not hope if its object is seen.” The third testimony is
from the prayer of “the holy ones,” howsoever inept, since “the One who searches hearts knows what is
the intention of the Spirit who intercedes for them.” Hearing their prayer, the Owner continues on with
the green agenda of bringing about the new heavens and the new earth and enlists the pray-ers to see the
connection between nature’s species and the human species so that both can be set free from slavery to
corruption and have a share in a glorious freedom of God’s children..
What does all this have to do with the everyday work of business? Everything! Businesses without
resources, especially material and financial wouldn’t exist. Its resources can be looked at either in terms
of their groanings or simply as expendable in function of the profits that can derive from their use. To
right the wrongs business can wreak on society, business schools teach business ethics. One of the best
recent books in this field speaks of teleopathy as a sickness about ends, confusion about purposes,
rationalization about projects. (K. Goodpaster’s Conscience and the Corporate Culture Blackwell, 2007)
Teleopathy infect business personnel like the rest of us who separate our faith from our work. This
separation jeopardizes the integrity of creation, not to mention personal integrity. The surest antidote for
teleopathy is an organizing story that can be inhabited in depth so that every part of one’s life is informed
and formed by it. If there is an in-depth personal appropriation of the Christian faith, for example, one’s
life can be formed by its mysteries and the earthly implications of the mysteries of creation, incarnation,
resurrection and the redemption. This foundational data can permeate the deepest reaches of one’s
identity and, thereby, the agendas of business. It is difficult to see how Catholic business schools can
overlook the value of these organizing stories in their curricula and offerings.
The organizing story suggested here is one of stewardship. It can shape one’s identity in its deepest
reaches by inculcating a self understanding that sees oneself not as an owner of anything but as
responsible for what is ultimately “owned” by God and proximately by those who have invested
themselves in generating or carrying on a legacy of profit and service. The Christian faith should be able
to see all peoples and things as both created and in via to being redeemed. The depths of these
foundational truths can never be exhaustively plumbed. Business ethics courses, if they want to reach to
the identity of the student, would have to honor the organizing stories of the students in their courses, lest
their interaction with them remain merely intellectual and personally ectopic. How a given faith views the
ecological data or the resources on which the world of business is wholly dependent seems to be critical
for the education of the business student. If the religious identity of the student is simply considered a
private matter, the alarmingly public character of ecological change will fail to have the faiths of the
students marshalled to understand the problem and possible solutions to it.
I say faiths here in the plural. There are ingredients in all the organizing stories of the faiths that can move
the hearts of believers to green. From the Qur’an 99:1-4: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the
Compassionate, when the earth shall quake violently, and the earth shall bring forth its burdens, and man
shall say: What is happening to it? On that day, it shall relate its tales, that its Lord has inspired it to tell.”
The faiths believe and teach that God has an agenda for the world. Which includes the use of the world
resources. Some help in knowing God’s agenda can come in the form of the intermediate principles of
the social teachings the Catholic Church. These have been gathered over time about labor, the economy,
human dignity etc. I say some help because these teachings are usually taught independently of the
mysteries of the faith. This leaves the deeper implications of the mysteries unnoticed. Like what?
Physical death is not the end but the beginning of something new because sin’s ransom has already been
paid. The ephemerality of materiality, therefore, is not its last word. Hence, a sustainable use of material
resources provides a new ideal for businesses to shoot for to complement the divine agenda of a new
heavens and a new earth. .
The complementarity between God’s and human’s agendas is well captured in the 2nd Vatican Council’s
eschatological insight. “When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise...we
will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured when
Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom of truth and life...Here on earth the
kingdom is mysteriously present; when the Lord comes it will enter into its perfection.”G&S 39
Green is not a new ideal; it is God’s anciently pronounced word but it is being heard as if for the first time
today after centuries of human deafness. Aquinas said that a mistake in our understanding of creation will
necessarily cause a mistake in our understanding of God. He was right; we have misunderstood our
relation with creation and this has made us mis understand the mind of God about the relation between
our salvation and the creata. Now that we are understanding our species’ emergence from the earth some
four and a half million years ago as part, ok the apogee part, of the emergence of life we are also
understanding what it has cost the planet which has nurtured us. There are pieces of God’s agenda
coming together which previous generations of Christians did not know. But we can and business
leadership can take this information and assist us through the Spirit’s guidance “to renew the face of the
Thomas O’Brien
It is hard to imagine two more incompatible systems than those that form the foundations of
capitalism and the preferential option for the poor. Rarely, have I ever heard discussions in a
business ethics setting that made mention, let alone took seriously, the radical and potentially
prophetic notions of the option for the poor. When the poor are discussed, it is almost exclusively
within the more romantic and circumscribed conceptions of charity, or the slightly more
progressive ideas of enlightened charity where the poor are given ‘a hand up rather than a hand
out.’ In the end, if Catholic social thought even gets a place at the business ethics table, it is
usually in a cleansed and stripped down state that has either replaced the option for the poor with
some version of charity, or completely edited out this offending, alien notion altogether.
The preferential option for the poor is the proverbial elephant in the living room anywhere
Catholic social theorists attempt to address business ethics. This paper is an attempt to honestly
explore the apparent incompatibilities between Catholic and capitalist social theories. At the
same time, I will examine some recent developments in what is known as social business, or
social enterprise, that challenge and expand the narrow classical notion of laissez faire
capitalism, precisely by turning to the poor in a way that closely mirrors what is called for in
Catholic social theory. These contemporary developments challenge the belief that the
preferential option for the poor is, by its very nature, an enemy to markets, competition,
companies, and the law of supply and demand. These social enterprises suggest that capitalism
has been suffering from a myopic social vision that can be corrected by the application of a new
kind of social lens that not only makes room for the poor, but recognizes that the poor can
represent some of the best possible opportunities in the emerging global economic climate.
Catholic vs. Capitalist Social Praxis
Although there are significant differences between these two distinct visions of economic
society, both are idealistic conceptions that make utopian claims about the potential resultant
society if and when their theories are thoroughly and rigorously applied. Because of the inherent
idealism at the root of both systems, I thought it would be interesting to begin this comparison
with a discussion of power.
In unusual and even ironic ways, theoretical capitalism has a relatively impoverished and naïve
conception of economic power, and the problems associated with its unbalanced accumulation.
While it is true that self-interest may be a significant culprit behind the readiness of capitalists to
avoid conversations that focus on income disparity and uneven resource distribution, it is also
true that capitalist theory has little to say about the elite accumulation of economic power and
how this can easily distort the fundamental laws of the market. Capitalism does have a fairly well
developed critique of government power and its minimal and strictly limited role in a market
economy. Nevertheless, aside from basic anti-trust and taxation theories, capitalism has few
conceptual resources to confront and prevent the emergence of dictatorial economic power.
By contrast, the principle of the preferential option for the poor has a more critical and developed
notion of power that includes deep suspicions of the concentration of both political and economic
power. These deep suspicions are grounded in a thoroughgoing critique of hierarchy that draws
some of its theoretical inspiration from an interpretation of Scriptures. For instance, the critique
of political hierarchical power frequently makes reference back to the power struggles at the
heart of the narrative of the Book of Samuel where two factions among the people of Israel vie
with one another over whether or not Israel should embrace the monarchical political structures
of their rivals, or if they would continue to trust that God would send charismatic leaders to
deliver Israel. The monarchists win this battle in Samuel, but the subsequent narratives of Israel’s
monarchy tell the story of God’s ongoing displeasure over the fact that Israel had displaced
God’s egalitarian reign with human kings who would reign, almost without exception, in corrupt,
impious and ruthless ways. According to the deuteronomistic historian, God would eventually
hand the kingdoms over to their enemies and bring an ignominious end to Israel’s experiment in
political hierarchy.
Following closely on a discussion of issues of the accumulation, distribution and exercise of
power are the related issues of social structure. For capitalism the question is: in what sort of
society does a laissez faire economy thrive? Neo-classical capitalist theory assumes that
genuinely unencumbered markets functioning purely under the guidance of fair competition and
the laws of supply and demand will result in a society organized according to some kind of
meritocracy. The markets will favor those who are innovative, industrious, risk-takers, and
conversely, they will punish those who are lazy, stupid and timid. A kind of social Darwinism
determines who is the fittest competitor in the commercial ecosystem. In this way, free market
social theory can be understood as a type of natural law, with “nature,” in this context,
represented by the market itself. Like other versions of the natural law, once the “natural”
behavior has been identified, in this case, behavior that is competitive, innovative and
industrious, then it becomes morally incumbent on those who exist in the natural world, in this
case virtually everyone, to abide by these norms, or face the consequences. The consequences
are economic marginalization and poverty. Therefore, actual poverty is not simply an
economically tragic status in this system; it also represent a moral failure. Evil, therefore, comes
in two flavors: 1) on the systemic level, evil is any law, policy, regulation, tax, tariff or other
externality that interferers with the freedom of the market to deliver the highest quantity and
quality goods and services at the lowest possible cost; 2) on the personal level, evil is any kind of
anti-competitive behavior or trait. In fact, any behavior that does not make one a more
competent, agile and ferocious competitor is morally suspect.
Not surprisingly, the social structures called for by the theory of the preferential option for the
poor are entirely and diametrically different from those proposed by neo-classical capitalism.
Unlike the competitive social Darwinism of capitalist markets, the preferential option for the
poor posits a cooperative vision of economic relations based on a theology of divine creation.
This theology asserts as its first principle that the goods of creation are the common inheritance
of all human beings. All other principles of ownership and distribution are subordinated to this
foundation of the universal destination of the created order. Therefore, while it is good and just
that human beings create private property by mixing their labor with “capital,” the private
property that is produced is always under a “social mortgage,” that is, it is legitimately the
property of the one who created it only insofar as there are not others in society who have a
significantly greater need for those resources. In this way, the right to private property, an
absolute right in neo-classical capitalist theory, is subordinated in Catholic social theory to the
common good and the universal destination of goods.
The Quest for a Capitalist Option for the Poor?
A close examination of the practices of non-governmental, or “citizen” organizations serving the
needs of poor and marginalized populations yields four distinct structural models. The most
common model is the traditional charitable social service agency that pursues an exclusively
social mission, embraces a two-tiered management/direct-care organizational structure and
depends financially on fund raising and donations. A second model labeled, “Bottom of the
Pyramid” business by some, pursues profits in markets that treat the poor as consumers, while
otherwise embracing the organizational and cultural milieu of competitive capitalism. A third
model is the traditional cooperative organization that pursues a social mission on behalf of a
particular constituency, embraces flat, participative structures. and relies financially on the sales
of goods and services. The final model is the freshly minted “social business” that pursues an
exclusively social mission on behalf of the poorest, but otherwise embraces the cultural milieu of
competitive capitalism, financially sustaining itself through the sale of its goods and services. In
this section of the paper, I will explore each of these models for their potential both to take a
preferential option for the poor while concurrently embracing the efficiency and vibrancy of
capitalism. All of this is done in order to answer the question: is there such a thing as a capitalist
option for the poor?
Probably the most familiar organizational structure of our four alternatives to standard free
market profit-maximizing capitalism is the traditional nonprofit. In recent years, there has been a
growing movement within the nonprofit sector that has been advocating the ideas of “social
entrepreneurship,” which takes many of its cues from the world of mainstream profitmaximizing capitalist business. However, even after adjusting for this new opening to insights
from capitalist business method in the nonprofit sector, these movements make a poor match in
our search for a capitalist option for the poor since these organizations are neither self-sustaining,
nor revenue generating. Therefore, they will always require the constant influx of fresh
charitable gifts, which, in turn, will demand a bloated management structure that includes
massive fund-raising and donation collection. As well, nonprofits are frequently a poor match for
a preferential option for the poor due to the fact that a large number of them are still focused on
charitable giving, or providing free services, which, in turn, often leaves the poor in a dependent
relationship to the organization, rather than fostering human dignity through independence or
An alternative to the nonprofit organization has been a movement within profit-maximizing
capitalism itself that is sometimes referred to as business at the “bottom of the pyramid.” (BOP)
These are businesses that claim to be capable of serving both the traditional capitalist profit
motive as well as a social mission aimed at improving the quality of life for the poorest people of
the world. Obviously, BOP businesses are a perfect fit for mainstream, free-market, profitmaximizing, capitalism since it is not essentially contradicting any of the central tenets of this
system. BOP businesses are self-sustaining enterprises that claim profit-making as one of their
primary missions. However, the characteristics that make BOPs such a good match for free
market capitalism, are the same ones that make them a poor match for a preferential option for
the poor.
The cooperative movement dates back to the middle of the 19th Century, and has existed since
that time as a viable alternative to the individualistic model of capitalist ownership. Cooperatives
are employee and/or consumer owned organizations that exist for the benefit of an
undercapitalized class of people, so that they are able to establish and operate businesses in order
to provide fair remuneration, just wages and affordable prices for the producers, employees and
customers of these businesses. Because cooperatives already coexist in the same social and
financial space as profit maximizing capitalist businesses, it would appear, at least on the
surface, that cooperatives should represent a good match for free market capitalism. However,
there is often significant friction between the two in both theory and in actual practice. In relation
to the preferential option for the poor, there is a similar ambiguity concerning cooperative
enterprises. From this perspective, there are many things about cooperatives that are appealing,
like their participative governance and democratic decision-making processes. However,
cooperatives were not originally geared towards the needs of the poorest. To the extent that
cooperatives are focused on serving the needs of the poorest, they can be outstanding examples
of a capitalist option for the poor.
The fourth and final model I want to explore is one that is currently under development. In fact,
much of what I have to say about this model is very contingent because this is such a nascent
movement. Its founder and first implementer, Muhammad Yunus, refers to the model as “social
business.” Simply stated, a social business is designed to produce socially desirable dividends
rather than profits for investors. Social businesses are like other capitalist businesses in most
ways. They are not charities and unlike traditional nonprofits, the aim to fully recover their costs
from the sale of products and services. A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend business, in
which any surplus is reinvested in the business operations and can be “passed on to the target
group of beneficiaries in such forms as lower prices, better service, and greater accessibility.”
For these reasons, there appear to be few obstacles in the way of the social business model
receiving full blessings by neo-classical capitalist theory. Social businesses were originally
conceived and continue to thrive in the context of discussions about solving the problems of the
poorest. By definition, they are not allowed to pay out profits as dividends to investors; therefore,
the focus of these organizations can remain targeted toward the social mission without
concerning themselves with distractions from outside forces. To the extent that the social
business movement remains close to its founding spirit, it appears to be a very good fit for
Catholic social theory’s preferential option for the poor.
At first glance, Catholic and capitalist social theory and practice seem hopelessly at odds with
one another. Catholic social thought and practice has consistently condemned capitalism as an
elitist individualistic, materialistic, reductionistic, ideology that undermines human dignity by
exploiting and excluding the poor. Capitalist social thought and practice retorts by claiming the
option for the poor is a socialistic, paternalistic, nostalgic, regressive and plebian ideology that
threatens human dignity by restricting economic initiative and human freedom. Until recently,
Catholic business leaders were forced to either choose between these two diametrically opposed
conceptions of the marketplace, or simply ignore one of the other – or both. However, with the
recent dawn of the social business and the citizen sector of society, practitioners are exploring an
economic model that seems fundamentally compatible with both social theories. Through the
development of these new corporate structures, these practitioners are exploring a new social
space that exists somewhere between the business and government sectors. Social enterprises
seek profits, but reinvest them in operations that are designed to create social value for the
poorest sectors of society. They compete with other companies to bring products and services of
the highest value to people who have never had this kind of corporate attention for their entire
lives. In so many words, they seek to lift up the lowly in small incremental ways, which closely
mirrors the vision of the Kingdom of God in the Gospels, and the preferential option for the poor
in Catholic social theory. With the emergence of these new models of capitalism from below, the
preferential option for the poor may still be experienced as paradoxical, but it can no longer be
dismissed as mere poppycock.
Frank Lazarus, James Klassen, Brian Murray
The Opportunity
At the University of Dallas, the President stands currently at a pivotal point in the development
of business studies. Under the leadership of the former President, the University designed and
implemented an undergraduate business program where one had not existed before and was
resisted strongly by some on its traditionally liberal arts campus. It subsequently submitted a
description of the program as its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to the Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for accreditation reaffirmation. The design of the business
program was distinctive and innovative out of necessity to marry professional studies with liberal
education and Catholic social teaching. The new business program became the bridge joining a
bifurcated University between the liberal arts and the Graduate School of Management. What
set the program apart from others was the incorporation of a traditional liberal arts core
curriculum and Catholic social teaching with contemporary and practical business study. Like
many programs, which typically include some form of ethics studies, this program incorporated
the study of business ethics, but then went further with specific required coursework in Catholic
social justice. The QEP was accepted by SACS and the program is currently in its sixth year.
By several standards it has been successful at both bringing together a campus around its liberal
arts and Catholic mission and providing a distinctive business education designed to develop
“competent and responsible managers who are principled and moral leaders.”
On the heels of the successful development of an undergraduate business program firmly
grounded in Catholic social teaching and liberal education, the new president now faces the more
daunting challenge of transforming the culture and climate of the long standing Graduate School
of Management to better reflect the University’s mission and purpose. Among the opportunities
he faces include guiding the school’s dean, encouraging the school to affirmatively attract and
hire Catholic faculty, developing an understanding of and appreciation for Catholic social
teaching among a faculty of which more than two-thirds are not Catholic, and balancing an
openness to a global community of students of all faiths, which has been a hallmark of the
program, with the mission’s call to “help students acquire a mature understanding of their faith,
develop their spiritual lives, and prepare themselves for their calling as men and women of faith
in the world.”
The University of Dallas Mission
The University of Dallas’ mission includes both a broad statement for the institution and specific
statements of the missions of each of the major academic units. The broader mission emphasizes
the pursuit of wisdom, truth, and virtue as the proper and primary ends of education. It
highlights the importance of a liberal education that is committed to the recovery and renewal of
the Western heritage while being committed to professional programs that are dedicated to
reflecting critically upon the ends governing one’s own profession, to fostering principled, moral
judgment, and to providing the knowledge and skills requisite for professional excellence.
Authors: Francis M. Lazarus, President; James Klassen, Assoc. Provost; Brian Murray, Assoc. Dean. University of
Specific to a Catholic affiliation, the mission calls the University to be dedicated to the recovery
of the Christian intellectual tradition, and to the renewal of Catholic theology in fidelity to the
Church and in constructive dialogue with the modern world. Likewise, it calls the University to
maintain a dialogue of faith and reason in its curriculum and programs without violating the
proper autonomy of each of the arts and sciences.
Expressing the Mission in Undergraduate Business Education
The development of the undergraduate business program was a greenfield project. Prior to the
program, business study was provided through finance-oriented courses in the Economics
department and the use of Graduate School of Management (GSM) courses as electives toward a
business concentration for undergraduates, which facilitated matriculation into the MBA
program. The program was conceived from financial necessity as a means to diversify and
broaden the academic offerings of the University in order to attract a new population of students.
However, a concern about a disconnect between the undergraduate college and the GSM
preceded the financial motivation to create a business major. During the 1994 accreditation
review by the University’s regional accrediting body (SACS), the SACS review team noted that
it was difficult to see any connection between the two academic halves of the University. They
observed that the only thread weakly tying together the University was the undergraduate
business concentration that acted as a conduit into the MBA. Consequently, in 2000 and 2002,
there were discussions of whether there was a way to bring together the disparate perspectives
across the University. Resulting from these deliberations, the University’s president announced
to the faculty that the Provost had been asked to prepare for the Board of Trustees a proposal
considering the question of whether a business degree should be considered to address both the
University’s financial and organizational needs.
In June 2002, a faculty committee recommended to the Board a Bachelor of Arts in Business
Leadership program, which the Board subsequently charted for the University and created a
College of Business (COB) to house the program along with the existing Graduate School of
Management. Continuing liberal arts students began declaring the major during the Summer of
2002, and the first freshman business class was enrolled in the Fall of 2003. Within two years,
the program became the second largest major on campus. Its first three alumni graduated from
the program in December of 2004.
The official governing body of the undergraduate business program is the Joint Committee on
Business Education (JCBE). The JCBE was commissioned by the Board of Trustees and
composed of those faculty members who originally volunteered to study the question of a
business major. The JCBE expressed its role by focusing on three objectives. First, it made its
decisions with respect to ensuring that the program fits with the broader liberal education
mission of the University. Second, it paid attention to the quality of the professional
development of the students. Third, it aligned the curriculum with the distinctively Catholic
character embraced by the undergraduate student body. By focusing on these priorities, in this
order, anecdotal accounts of the assessment by faculty who were originally opposed to the
program indicate that the JCBE has been a successful guardian of the mission and character of
undergraduate studies at the University while providing a valuable addition to its education
Most notably, the degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership (BA) rather than a BBA.
The JCBE recommended this distinction for several reasons. First, it reflects the liberal arts core
curriculum that is the largest part of the students’ study. Second, it embraces the University’s
mission to develop leaders. Third, it draws on the shared interest in leadership studies among
business and liberal arts faculty. Fourth, implies a more dominant focus on critical reasoning,
rhetoric, and ethics relative to the BBA’s traditional emphasis on administration and technicalprofessional skills. Catholic social teaching is included in the curriculum as a theology course
titled Social Justice, which was developed for the business program. Its original form was a
comparative course of social justice across world religions, but in implementation has become a
study of Catholic social teaching on business and economics.
The operational strategy of the program has been led primarily by the Associate Dean for
Undergraduate Business Programs. The first Associate Dean for the program held a portfolio of
skills, experience and characteristics that fit the challenge of implementing the BA, including
experience in undergraduate academic policy and curriculum development and a Catholic faith.
This latter characteristic, surprisingly, was most relevant to the majority of concerns and
questions expressed by prospective students’ parents. Leadership of the program has recently
been passed to a new Associate Dean. Although possessing a different portfolio of skills,
experience, and characteristics, which better fit the mature program, she shares with her
predecessor a dedication to the mission of a liberal education grounded in Catholic social
teaching that prepares responsible, competent, principled, and moral leaders.
The program’s original faculty was borrowed from the GSM, but the Board made provisions for
the hiring of a faculty specific to undergraduate education. Like many small business programs,
the College has had difficulty attracting qualified and interested faculty. The staffing challenges
and the immediate need for course coverage, accordingly, demoted the question of whether
Catholic affiliation should be a consideration in hiring. As it turned out, of the four faculty hired
for the program, only one possessed direct experience with the Catholic faith.
Recruitment of students for the program can be divided into two phases. In the early years of the
program, the University’s Office of Admission pursued a major-specific strategy. They
consequently marketed the program as a “business” major, which was relatively
indistinguishable from the marketing of any business program. In the more recent years, the
Admission Office pursued a strategy of marketing a unified message without regard to major,
which resulted in a more homogeneous expression of the educational experience at the
Two very different outcomes were experienced within the program from the alternate recruiting
strategies. The former approach yielded students who were interested in studying business, but
had no particular interest in the liberal arts core curriculum or the Catholic student life. The
latter approach yielded students who fit well with the overall student experience, appreciated or
understood the liberal arts education, and were active participants in the University’s religious
life. For example, in an annual survey of incoming freshman, business students in 2003 and
2004 included “Catholic” on their list of reasons for selecting the University, but it was the
lowest or second lowest ranked factor. In 2005 and 2006, “Catholic” rose to the fourth and first
rankings, respectively. Retention of students from the former strategy was difficult, because the
students were “surprised” and “disappointed” by the emphasis on liberal arts study. They
wanted the majority of their coursework to be technical-professional business study. Retention
of students from the latter strategy has been consistent with majors university-wide. The number
of business students attracted by the latter strategy is proportionately slightly less, but they seem
to fit better with the University. They continue to demonstrate some differences, which may be
related to the attraction to business as a field of study. On average, business students are more
often male and athletes, and the percent of business leadership students who are Catholic (62%)
is less than the undergraduate population (76%).
Retrospective assessment
There are several aspects of the program and its implementation that worked well for supporting
the mission of the University. First, the joint-committee model of governance was especially
useful for integrating diverse elements of the University and supported broader faculty buy-in of
the implementation. Second, the inclusion of Catholic social teaching as required coursework in
addition to general philosophy, theology, and business ethics helped to define the program’s
place within the Catholic character of the University. Third, the appointment of a Catholic
leader for the program provided both a basis of knowledge and legitimacy for the initial design
and implementation and for a self-motivated dedication to the Catholic mission. Successful
ongoing leadership, moreover, can be provided when the leader is strongly committed to the
Catholic mission of the organization regardless of his or her own religious affiliation. Fourth,
recruitment based on the mission and culture of the broader University yielded better retention
and satisfaction outcomes for students relative to recruitment for “business majors.”
There likewise are aspects of the program and its implementation that did not work well to
support the mission of the University. First, marketing messages based on studying business,
without regard to the liberal arts or Catholic nature of the University, yielded more positive
immediate enrollment outcomes, but led to negative long-term retention and satisfaction
outcomes for the students. Second, and most important, the failure to attract and hire Catholic
faculty has limited the program’s ability to fully express Catholic social teaching throughout the
business courses and has relegated it primarily to the liberal arts coursework.
Expressing the Mission in Graduate Business Education
Graduate business study at the University began as the Business Department in 1966 and evolved
into the Graduate School of Management (GSM) in 1969. The first MBA degrees were awarded
in 1968. The GSM grew to be the largest MBA program in the southwestern U.S., boasting a
class size of over 2,000 enrolled students in 2000. Throughout its existence the GSM
consistently has held to an educational objective of providing developmental opportunities for
working adults, and of a belief that the best providers of that education are instructors with
practical business experience. It has been an innovator in providing MBA education as
evidenced by its early use of field experiences with corporate clients for MBA students in the
1970’s and the pioneering use of the internet for delivering online graduate education in the
1990’s. The emphasis on practical content and meeting the needs of the working professional,
however, has been a source of tension with the liberal arts component of the University, but has
been tolerated because the GSM is regarded as a cash cow that provides substantial funding for
the institution.
Several trends and events occurring between 2000 and 2008 initiated a paradigmatic shift for the
GSM. First, the competition for MBA students in the education market intensified such that in
2004 there were at least 19 regionally accredited schools providing MBA programs in the
metropolitan area. The GSM, accordingly, lost some proportional share of the market and was
no longer the sure bet for paying the University’s bills. Second, the GSM realized the strategic
importance of business school accreditation within the intensely competitive landscape. It
consequently began a systematic evaluation of its faculty and curriculum, which led to the hiring
of a greater proportion of professional academic faculty with an interest and ability in applied
and discipline-based research and the redesign of the MBA core curriculum to emphasize valuebased management and integrated learning. The GSM was accepted into candidacy with the
AACSB in 2008. Third, the College of Business (COB), composed of the GSM and the
undergraduate business program, was established in 2002. This new connection with the greater
University through undergraduate studies both served to elevate and improve its academic
relationships with liberal arts colleagues and to emphasize the disparity between the academic
and organizational identities of the professional and liberal arts academic units. Fourth, in 2004,
the University welcomed its seventh president, Dr. Frank Lazarus, who committed his tenure to
vitalizing the Catholic character of the University and its expression throughout all of its units.
Administratively the College of Business and GSM are governed by a dean, four associate deans,
and an assistant dean. The organization is structured functionally, rather than by academic
fields, so there are no departments or chairs. Faculty governance is achieved through standing
committees and ad hoc task teams at the College and University levels. All rank and tenure
deliberations are at the University level, with no College level committee. General curriculum,
faculty development, and academic policy governance is provided through the Faculty Senate,
onto which business faculty are eligible to be elected.
The GSM awards three graduate degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of
Science (MS), and Master of Management (MM). The MBA is the dominate degree program
and offers nineteen associated concentrations. The Master of Science program is a newer and
small program that offers majors in three technology areas and accounting. The Master of
Management program is a post-MBA degree program that offers majors in fields for which MBA
concentrations are offered. None of the graduate programs provides instruction in Catholic
social teaching. Prior to the reformation of the MBA program, which was inaugurated in 2007,
an ethics course was absent from the MBA core, except a three-hour workshop requirement,
which could be fulfilled by viewing a videotape. The revised MBA program has integrated the
study of ethics as a unit in its Business and Society course. The MM and MS-accounting
programs require a business ethics course, and the MS-technology programs require the study of
ethics in research methods.
The general leadership of the GSM always has been embodied in the dean. There have been nine
different deans of the GSM/COB, of which none have been Catholic. Their support of the
Catholic mission has ranged from quiet respect to outright, public hostility. One dean is alleged
to have referred in an open faculty meeting to her colleagues as “those [blank]ing Catholics”.
The current dean, in many ways, is an outstanding example of the Christian mission of the
University. He has a strong and authentic commitment to Christianity, and is an ordained
minister in the protestant tradition. From this perspective he is a powerful advocate and
articulate representative of Christianity. He maintains a scholarly interest in spirituality at work,
and has published in the area of Paulistic leadership. He lives his faith through extensive service
in his community, and accordingly is an exceptional example of witnessing Christ in one’s life.
The GSM faculty is composed of 34 full-time faculty and 80-100 adjunct faculty, depending on
instructional needs. Of the full-time faculty, seven identify themselves as practicing Catholics.
No Catholic faculty member possesses substantial graduate training or degrees in Catholic
theology or social teaching. One Catholic faculty member has advanced education and
experience in the teaching of ethics and business and society. Of the non-Catholic faculty, none
has graduate education or a scholarly record in Catholic social teaching.
The culture of the GSM is not currently supportive of expressing the Catholic mission in the
business school. Some faculty members openly oppose associating the word “Catholic” with any
marketing or other descriptions of the School. Others are heard to regularly mock or speak
uncharitably in regard to Catholic initiatives or issues at the University, and go unchallenged for
their statements. At a more subtle level, a substitution of general Christianity for Catholicism
has taken root.
The GSM maintains an active recruitment and marketing program. It includes print materials,
information sessions, on-site education fairs, international recruiting tours, and a website – but it
does not include “Catholic.” For example, the University’s general website prominently displays
the University’s slogan, The Catholic University for Independent Thinkers, and includes in the
student resources/campus life dropdown menu a link for spiritual life (Campus Ministry), but
both of these disappear when one moves to the GSM page. The word Catholic and support for
the graduate students’ spiritual life are nowhere to be found. Likewise, the word Catholic is
absent from the presentation at the MBA information sessions. One would not know that the
GSM was not a unit of a secular university, and certainly would not know that it was affiliated
with a Catholic university.
The President’s Response to the Leadership Opportunity
Leadership for mission can be understood in a number of different contexts, each of which
presents a different opportunity or challenge for expressing the specific religious identity or
character of a university, college or component unit of an entire institution. The responsibility of
the president is to provide positive and effective stewardship of the mission of the institution,
and, for our purposes, that means defining, articulating, and promoting the Catholic character of
the college or school of business. The fact is, however, that there are more similarities than
differences in exercising stewardship of the mission of a component academic unit and of the
institution as a whole. And the reason why similarities predominate is that the essential quality of
effective stewardship of mission is embodied in unit leadership.
The president’s distinctive responsibility and challenge in providing effective leadership to the
business school is in the selection and mentorship of the dean. Decanal leadership is a position of
singular privilege, authority, and responsibility in American higher education, and the increasing
autonomy of professional schools within the aegis of the university’s central administration
magnifies and emphasizes the importance of the dean’s role in reflecting and implementing the
president’s vision and plan for stewarding the Catholic mission of the college or school.
An effective dean of a Catholic business school can make a positive contribution to and exert
distinctive influence in all of the areas of mission relevance that we have outlined to this point.
Curriculum, faculty hiring and development, research, strategic planning, special programming
in centers and institutes, and fund raising all fall within the dean’s responsibilities and sphere of
influence. The dean is also the chief academic and the chief executive officer of the school and
his or her position parallels that of the president in many respects. The president, for his or her
part, must always respect the dean’s prerogatives and attend to the principles of delegation and
subsidiarity in dealing with the dean and his other staff. The president must select as dean not
only someone who has the intelligence, experience and good judgment adequate to administer
the school, but also a person with the integrity and humility to accept the president’s leadership
in assigning specific aspects of the mission to the dean for implementation.
The President’s presentation to conference attendees will address aspects of the Catholic
character of the institution that the president can and should assign to the business dean and for
which to hold him or her accountable. Additionally, he will address presidential influence, dean
selection and mentoring, and maintaining accountability. Finally, he will emphasize the
importance of fostering and maintaining culture as a primary role of the President.
Kenneth E. Goodpaster and T. Dean Maines
It is our conviction that business schools operating within Catholic universities are called to
honor ideals and values rooted in scripture and tradition, including the Church’s social teaching
and its broader intellectual tradition. The challenge that this conviction presents is: How can we
ensure that the values and ideals of the Catholic tradition fully inform the operation of a
Catholic business school in all its dimensions (education, research, outreach, administration)?
How do we shape our business schools to permit an affirmative answer to the question asked by
Benedict XVI as he addressed Catholic educators during his recent trip to the U.S.: “Is the faith
tangible in our universities?” For the faith to be tangible in a university, it must be discernible
to an observer, and to those who learn, teach, and work there. If faith is to inform the school’s
identity, it cannot be merely a veneer. It must shape both what the school teaches and how it
operates. Ultimately, what is sought is a deep (even if imperfect and incomplete) integration of
faith, reason, and practice.
B-Schools are Not Value-Neutral
In the Great Books Seminar that is offered to MBA and law students at the University of St.
Thomas, we use a heuristic device for organizing our discussions about modern society and its
many institutions. We call it the “Ladder of Reflection.”
The four rungs on the ladder descend from high-level shared ideals through core values to social
arrangements and finally to pragmatics –concrete policies
and guidelines for human cooperation by which individuals
and groups “get things done.” If the conversation descends
Human Dignity,
the ladder toward concreteness, the objective is usually the
the Common Good
Happiness, Virtue
implementation of higher order aspirations. If the
conversation ascends the ladder toward ideals, the objective
is usually the justification of lower order policies and social
arrangements. (The figure at right depicts the principal
features of the “Ladder.”)
Mass Media,
Market Economy,
Public Education,
The Family
The institutions we have known in the 20th Century and
now in the 21 Century as business schools are dedicated to
the furtherance of certain social arrangements –
Political parties,
Gov't regulation &
specifically, a market economy – identified on the second
tax policies,
Corporate policies,
rung from the bottom of the Ladder of Reflection. But
social arrangements are not value-neutral – and neither are
the institutions that seek to pass on the expertise required
for their continuation. Just as social arrangements call for
justification in core social values and ideals, so too do
business schools, as vehicles of higher learning in a market economy. We might make similar
observations about medical schools and law schools.
Often it is the upper half of the ladder that distinguishes business schools from one another, since
the lower half of the ladder is usually about technical expertise in areas like marketing, finance,
operations, accounting, and communication. Some business schools, of course, pay little
attention to the values and ideals that lie behind the technical education that they provide. Such
schools certainly pass on certain values and ideals by default, but they do not do so intentionally
and by design. Alasdair MacIntyre characterized the “default position” of the modern university
in the following passage from his essay “Catholic Universities: Dangers, Hopes, Choices.”
What the Catholic faith confronts today in American higher education . . . is not primarily
some range of alternative beliefs about the order of things, but rather a belief that there is
no such thing as the order of things of which there could be a unified, if complex
understanding, or even a movement towards such an understanding. There is in this
contemporary view nothing to understanding except what is supplied by the specialized
professionalized disciplines and sub-disciplines. Higher education has become a set of
assorted and heterogeneous specialized enquiries into a set of introductions to these
enquiries together with a teaching of the basic skills necessary for initiation into them,
something to be got through in order to advance beyond it into the specialized disciplines.
(cf., Sullivan (ed.), Higher Learning & Catholic Traditions, University of Notre Dame
Press, 2001.)
Schools that are mindful that their educational programs span the entire ladder of reflection
appreciate that behind the social arrangements of a market economy lie particular views of the
human person, of the moral ideals that should guide individuals toward virtue and organizations
toward a just and prosperous society.
A Self-Assessment and Improvement Process for Catholic Business Schools
We believe that Catholic business schools need a process that helps them shape their operations
mindfully, in light of the ideals and values which are their inheritance as Catholic institutions.
While it is beyond the scope of this brief article to give a full account of such a process, we will
sketch what its structure might look like and suggest some of its features.
Our approach is based upon the Self-Assessment and Improvement Process (SAIP), a method
designed to help leaders institutionalize ethically responsible conduct within organizations.
Building upon the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, the SAIP extends the tools of
total quality management to corporate ethics. The SAIP is a multistage process, involving
evidence collection, scoring, feedback, and action. It provides institutions with a structured
inventory of questions that address issues of ethics, compliance, and social responsibility.
Answering these queries, and then scoring the responses using a set of evaluation guidelines,
helps reveal the degree to which an organization has integrated ethical aspirations into its
policies and practices. By highlighting strengths and deficiencies, the SAIP enables leaders to
launch initiatives that can help their firms realize these aspirations more fully.
The SAIP is flexible, and can employ different sets of ethical standards. To date, the method has
been used by approximately 25 organizations, drawn from both the for-profit and not-for-profit
sectors. Their workforces range in size from less than ten to over 100,000 employees.
The SAIP Institute was founded in 2007 at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of
Business. The Institute promotes the utilization of the SAIP, improves it based on client
feedback, and extends the process to new uses. Since its inception, the Institute has been
collaborating with a set of partners to apply the method to the needs of Catholic healthcare
institutions. The goal has been to develop an approach that will help these organizations
strengthen their identity as Roman Catholic ministries. The resulting process allows Catholic
healthcare systems and facilities to evaluate how well relations with patients, employees, and
other stakeholders are shaped by the ethical aspirations articulated by Catholic social principles.
A modified version of the process was implemented recently within Ascension Health, the
largest Catholic healthcare system in the United States. The outcomes of this application are
both positive and promising.
Moving From Aspirations to Assessment…
An assessment and improvement process patterned after the SAIP could help Catholic business
schools transform their intellectual, moral, and spiritual heritage into a presence that is tangible
and animating. Like the assessment for Catholic healthcare institutions, the method we envision
for business schools would use principles drawn from the Catholic social tradition. This
tradition is especially relevant here, for business schools are themselves social institutions which
serve a set of social arrangements, i.e., enterprises operating within a market-based economic
system. The social principles point toward a particular view of the human person and of human
flourishing within community – in other words, they supply the guiding ideals and values which
occupy the higher rungs on the Ladder of Reflection. Explicitly brought to bear upon a business
school, these ideals and values would shape both how the school conducts its affairs and how its
students understand the role of business leaders and institutions within a market economy.
While there is no universally-accepted list of Catholic social principles, it is possible to identify
plausible candidates for such a canon. Drawing upon collaboration with colleagues at the
University of St. Thomas, we will suggest a few of these “core” principles and briefly describe
them. This list is only partial and our explanation of each principle is only illustrative.
The principles of human dignity and the common good serve as first order principles within the
Catholic social tradition. The former articulates the tradition’s conviction that each human being
possesses intrinsic worth simply by virtue of his or her existence as a human. We possess this
inherent dignity precisely because we are made in God’s image. This God is personal, so every
human is a who, not a what, a someone, not a something. The dignity of the human person finds
its most radical confirmation in the fact that, though fallen, we are called through Christ for
union with God. The common good highlights two realities about human existence. The first is
that human persons, made in the image of the Trinitarian God, are by their very nature relational:
we are born into communities, and we develop through communities and institutions. The second
is that whatever our current state of division and fragmentation, God intends humanity to form a
community in which persons work together for goods held in common (e.g., security, strong
families, a vibrant culture, etc.). Thus, we are created with an orientation both toward our own
good and toward the good of others. When we begin to order our particular or individual goods
to a common life, we begin to form relationships that transcend contractual or mutually selfserving exchanges.
From these two primary principles flow standards which provide more specific guidance for
institutions. The principle of subsidiarity guides the distribution of authority, responsibility and
accountability: It insists that decisions in hierarchical institutions should be made at the most
appropriate level, and that higher-level authorities should help those at lower levels exercise their
responsibility effectively. Subsidiarity is implied by the principle of human dignity: Created in
the image of God, humans develop authentically only if they are allowed to use the intelligence
and freedom God has bestowed upon them.
The common good also implies certain organizational principles. The community of work
principle challenges leaders to treat their organizations as more than a mere collection of
interests that must be balanced and managed. Rather, they are to foster a genuine community by
helping their employees engage with others in a common task that is directed toward serving the
authentic needs of those in the broader society. The principle of the universal destination of
material goods stresses that God’s gift of creation is intended for all people. It calls
organizations to serve as effective stewards of the resources entrusted to them, e.g., by
generating greater outputs from inputs and by constantly reducing waste. It also suggests that
those who lack material goods have a special claim on our moral attention. Most organizations
honor this claim through the work they create and the products and services they provide. But
they also may act in solidarity with the poor through advocacy, or through philanthropic actions
that directly mitigate poverty or ameliorate its consequences.
Our assessment process would bring principles such as these to bear upon a business school by
juxtaposing them against the three tasks which constitute the moral agenda of leadership:
orienting the institution toward a set of ethical values and aspirations; institutionalizing those
values within operating processes and practices; and sustaining those values over time, so they
become an enduring part of the institution’s identity. The result is a matrix that can provide a
systematic examination of how the principles of the Catholic social tradition inform a school’s
operations (Exhibit 1a).
…And from Assessment to Improvement
With the leadership tasks and principles of the Catholic social tradition arrayed in a matrix, the
self-assessment tool is constructed by fashioning a set of questions for each intersecting cell.
Exhibit 1b breaks out for illustration the preliminary content of one of the cells. Cell 1.2 stands
at the intersection of the leadership task of “institutionalizing” with the principle of respect for
human dignity. The two questions in this cell are how-questions. The first question leads the
school to examine the specific ways in which its administration, faculty, and staff weave respect
for human dignity into the institution’s processes and practices, those which directly affect the
curriculum and those which are wrapped around the curriculum. It underscores the
multidimensional nature of the institutionalization task, explicitly calling out the various
operational aspects which must be considered if a Catholic understanding of human dignity is to
suffuse the organization. The second question calls the school to reflect upon how it identifies
points of divergence between its belief and practice, between what it espouses and what it does.
This question signals the dynamic nature of the transformation the assessment is intended to
foster. What is being undertaken here is not a once-and-for-all event, but an ongoing process –
specifically, the process of an institution growing into the fullness of its vocation. And a vital
part of this process is a willingness to examine practices systematically and honestly and
acknowledge where shortcomings lie, so that the steps necessary for improvement can be
identified and pursued.
Each of the other cells of the matrix is constructed in a similar way, and we will propose contents
for those cells in the longer version of our paper. The cells corresponding to the subordinate
principles (subsidiarity, work community, stewardship, and solidarity with the poor) are, in
effect, deeper specifications of the operational meaning from the Catholic tradition of the two
main principles of human dignity and the common good.
Responses to these questions would be articulated in empirical terms – that is, based on evidence
that indicates the state of the school’s current practices. Following the model of the SAIP, data
collection is succeeded by evaluation. In other words, a school’s responses would be compared
against a set of evaluation guidelines to determine its relative performance level. This evaluation
could be either quantitative or qualitative in nature – that is, it could yield either a numeric score
or a more qualitative index (e.g., “needs improvement,” “making good progress,” or “significant
success”). Either way, the evaluation helps the organization detect areas of strength and
weakness, thereby enabling it to acknowledge where it has made progress and where further
progress is needed. Periodic use of this process – for example, on an annual or biannual basis –
would help establish it as an organizational discipline and facilitate ongoing, continuous
We have offered some preliminary reflections on a process for practical awareness on the part of
mission-driven business schools. This process allows institutions to identify salient intersections
between Catholic social principles and key leadership tasks. Next steps will focus upon giving
fuller definition to the assessment matrix, the contents of each cell, and the overall application of
the process, working from the template provided by the SAIP’s method. It is our hope that
eventually, this tool will offer a platform for business schools at Catholic universities to grow
into the fullness of their unique calling – intentionally and courageously. It also is our hope that
this process will promote greater accountability for this growth, at all levels of a business school
and within all of its functional units.
As mission-driven business schools complete self-assessment journeys, journeys mapped by
Catholic social principles and leadership tasks, something much more than a “score” will be the
result. For during such a process, if it is done honestly and carefully, a new kind of culture is
likely to emerge. Just as Plato’s cave dweller found a less shadowy, more three-dimensional
world at the conclusion of his upward trek, the ascent of the “Ladder of Reflection” will allow
schools to see their policies and operations in a “new light.” And like the escapee from the cave,
such institutions may eventually want to share their experience with others.
Institutional Identity and Accountability:
Catholic Social Thought as a Guide to Self-Assessment by Business Schools
Exhibits 1a & 1b
Leadership Tasks
The Catholic Social Tradition
(see cell content
• Subsidiarity
• Community
of Work
• Universal
• Universal
Solidarity with
the Poor
Cell 1.2
How does the school embed and reinforce the importance of human dignity in
its operating processes?
•Published literature
•Student and Faculty handbooks
•Honor codes
•Grievance procedures
•Ethics in the curriculum
•Specific courses
•Special faculty/staff seminars on the Catholic intellectual tradition
•Invited speakers
•Research incentives
•Service incentives
•Faculty, Staff, and Student recognition programs
•Student career/vocation services
How does the school identify and improve upon gaps between aspiration and
practice in relation to human dignity (as understood within the Catholic
Hank Hilton and Peter Lorenzi
Tradition tells us that Catholic colleges and universities nurture the interplay of faith and reason.
Vatican Two reminds us that Catholic colleges exist so that “the convergence of faith and reason
in the one truth may be seen more clearly” and that this claim “follows the tradition of the
doctors of the Church and especially St. Thomas Aquinas.” (Gravissimum Educationis, n. 10).
The tag line – that Catholic universities feed the interaction of faith and reason – has endured for
But that phrase’s meaning has changed. Much has been written about faith, reason, and
universities, but little has been written about the evolution of the tag line’s meaning or about its
relevance to business programs. That dearth of analysis motivates this paper. The essay surveys
the recent evolution of the phrase’s meaning and then considers its future relevance for Catholic
business programs. The paper concludes that business programs can imbue the phrase with
exceptional meaning and that, by doing so, business programs can lead a graced revival of
Catholic higher education.
The Evolving Meaning of “The Interaction of Faith and Reason”
The history of Catholic higher education in the United States breaks, so far, into two periods.
Stage One began with the founding of Catholic colleges, the first major wave of which began in
the middle of the nineteenth century. Stage Two started to replace Stage One after World War
II. By the early 1970s, Catholic higher education had moved completely into Stage Two.
In analyzing how the meaning of “the interaction of faith and reason” has evolved, it is useful to
focus on three markers of that change: the balance of faith and reason, the nature of intellectual
formation, and the nature of faith formation.
The Balance of Faith and Reason in the Faith-Reason Partnership
Faith formation started out as the senior partner in the faith-reason partnership. The pursuit of
intellectual formation mattered but, throughout Stage One, faith formation was the more equal of
the two partners. The emphasis on faith formation reflected the raison d’etre of the orders and
dioceses that founded the colleges. Evidence of that emphasis comes from many sources.
Prior to the 1970s, “Catholic psychology and sociology textbooks . . . always started with
Catholic teachings on morality and the nature of man and only then proceeded to issues specific
to the subject matter” (Morris p. 269). The curriculum promoted faith formation by requiring all
students to complete the equivalent of a minor in Philosophy, a discipline that took students to a
deeper, stronger, and much more precise understanding of their faith. Catholic colleges assumed
that their students already knew their religion and that philosophy would carry students to a
deeper understanding of their faith. Sodalities, co-curricular life, and liturgical life furthered the
faith formation.
Staffing practices also revealed the primacy of faith formation. Prior to World War II, priests and
religious were almost automatically granted the rank of full professor and religious superiors, not
boards of trustees, chose the college presidents. The schools reserved the most cherished ranks
for those most qualified to advance the faith.
Stage Two then made intellectual formation the senior partner in the faith-reason partnership.
Faith’s promotion and reason’s demotion reflected a concentrated desire to correct what John
Tracy Ellis referred to in the 1950s as the:
“overemphasis which some authorities of the Church’s educational system in the
United States have given to the school as an agency for moral development, with
an insufficient stress on the role of the school as an instrument for fostering
intellectual excellence. That fact has at times led to a confusion of aims and to a
neglect of the school as a training ground for the intellectual virtues.”
The ensuing effort to make reason the more equal partner took many forms. Professors stopped
using specifically Catholic texts, even in theology and philosophy. Students no longer had to
complete the philosophy minor and used most of the newfound electives to study their majors.
Faculty hiring focused on recruiting scholars who could enhance the school’s academic
reputation, regardless of their ability to contribute to faith formation. Priests and religious had to
compete like everyone else for jobs and for promotion and the board of trustees replaced
religious superiors as the ultimate authority. Reason displaced faith as the more equal of the two
partners. The changes cleared the way for a recent, classic Stage Two claim by a Boston College
business dean, “Religion plays no role in the curriculum at the graduate level at Boston College.”
Neither Stage One nor Stage Two put faith and reason in a balanced partnership. Stage One
made faith the more important partner. Stage Two put reason in that role.
The Quality of Intellectual Formation
Stage One Catholic colleges provided an unconventional intellectual formation. It differed
significantly from the intellectual formation occurring at the benchmarks of their day, the Ivy
League colleges and the major public universities.
Philosophy requirements made Catholic colleges unusual. So did the presence of priests and
religious. Most Catholic schools had meager budgets, endowments, laboratories, and libraries
and so, for the most part, could not recruit or retain the type of world-renowned faculty whose
presence announced conventional success. Moreover, the Catholic schools’ best graduates
tended to pursue advanced studies in medicine, law, and other professions rather than in arts and
sciences. Graduates’ preference for professional schools, which became an additional emblem of
their unconventionality, suggested to John Tracey Ellis that Catholic colleges failed to produce
“scholars of distinction,” (p. 375), “true intellectuals” (p. 361), or a corps of graduates who
pursued “pure scholarship” (p. 355). Ellis believed that, compared to the most reputable
colleges, Catholic colleges were terribly unconventional in not producing renowned scholars in
arts and sciences.
Ample evidence indicates that the most influential educational organizations regarded that
unconventionality as unacceptable. The Association of American Universities (AAU)
accredited very few Catholic colleges in the 1920s. In 1934, the AAU certified sixty-three U.S.
schools to offer “doctor’s degrees.” Only two were Catholic, Catholic University and Notre
Dame. While it is unlikely that Catholic colleges offered an inferior education, it is clear that
they offered an education that many regarded as unacceptably unconventional.
Pressures from inside and outside the world of Catholic colleges subsequently stirred an
energetic pursuit of conventionality. Rather than question the prevailing criteria, Catholic
colleges decided to satisfy them. The decision steered some schools away from their core
competencies and comparative advantages, but it also made many schools acceptably
conventional and yielded undeniable enhancements in terms of instruction, facilities, reputation,
applications, and ability to increase tuition and salaries. U.S. News and World Reports’ annual
survey of U.S. colleges, the new bible of academic acceptability, currently ranks many Catholic
colleges among the country’s best. That survey shows that Catholic colleges have become
acceptably conventional.
The intellectual formation at Catholic colleges and universities has thus undergone one major,
evolutionary change. It evolved from unacceptably unconventional in Stage One to acceptably
conventional in Stage Two.
The Nature of Faith Formation
Faith formation, both at Catholic colleges and in other parts of the Catholic world, has changed
in innumerable ways. One particularly important marker of that change – the balance of freedom
and accountability – has itself changed considerably.
In Stage One, students experienced faith formation as a process involving much accountability
and relatively little freedom. Those charged with the task of faith formation, faced a three-part
job description. They had to instruct students in the precepts of the faith, encourage behavior
that aligned with those precepts, and hold students accountable for what they knew and did. A
1972 lawsuit against religious colleges in Maryland points to the perceived primacy of
accountability over freedom:
“Each of the institutional defendants is a sectarian, educational institution
engaged in the teaching and practice of religion, a substantial purpose of which is
to inculcate religious values. Each is controlled in whole or part by a particular
church. Each compels obedience to the doctrines and dogmas of a particular
religion, requires instruction in theology and doctrine, and does everything it can
to propagate a particular religion.”
Stage Two, largely a product of the 1960s and 1970s, then provided a new model of faith
formation, one rooted in freedom rather than in accountability. Schools stopped holding
students accountable for their faith formation. Students faced no requirement to explain
their faith or their choices either inside or outside the classroom. The above-mentioned
legal case found that:
“. . . Academic freedom prevailed on campus. (Loyola) admitted students and
hired faculty who were not members of the affiliated church, (does not) require
attendance at religious services (but does) require students to study theology …
according to the academic requirements of the subject”
Neither Stage One nor Stage Two truly blended freedom and accountability. Stage One stressed
accountability. Stage Two stressed freedom.
No stage, in Catholic colleges or anywhere else, lasts forever. Stage One gave way to Stage Two
and Stage Two will give way to Stage Three. The prospect of the next transition stirs three
critically important questions: what might “the interaction of faith and reason” mean in Stage
Three; what role might business schools play in the schools’ transition into Stage Three; and;
what exactly might business schools do in Stage Three?
What Might “The Interaction of Faith and Reason” Mean in Stage Three?
All three markers – the balance of faith and reason, the nature of intellectual formation, and the
nature of faith formation – have undergone significant change and are poised for more. Past
changes suggest likely directions for upcoming changes.
In terms of the relationship between faith and reason, Stage Three could be the first in which
faith formation and intellectual formation strike authentic balance and become truly equal
partners in the “interaction of faith and reason.” Neither Stage One nor Stage Two provided that
In terms of intellectual formation, Stage Three could move Catholic schools beyond the Stage
One situation of unacceptably unconventional and beyond the Stage Two experience of being
acceptably conventional. Stage Three could be the one in which intellectual formation at
Catholic colleges is acceptably unconventional. They could, for the first time, be true to both the
call from Athens and the call from Jerusalem.
Finally, in terms of faith formation, Stage Three could allow Catholic colleges to enter the still
untested realm in which students are both free to pursue their religious convictions and
accountable for their choices.
Table One summarizes what has already happened in Stages One and Two and what “the
interaction of faith and reason” might mean in Stage Three.
Faith is more
equal partner
trumps freedom
Reason is more
equal partner
Freedom displaces
Faith and reason
are equal partners
Freedom AND
What Role Might Business Programs Play in the Upcoming Transition?
The inevitable transition from Stage Two to Stage Three calls for capable leadership. Business
programs have the numbers, the credibility, and the skills to lead it.
Stage Two has not only created most business programs at Catholic colleges – there were only a
handful during Stage One – it has also given them great popularity and great enrollments.
Business programs at Catholic schools are more popular than they are at most other schools.
Nationwide, business degrees account for roughly 12 percent of all undergraduate degrees
conferred. At Jesuit schools, the share now stands at 25 percent. At the graduate level, the story
is similar. The typical U.S. university confers 25 percent of its graduate degrees in business.
The typical Jesuit school confers 50 percent. Business programs have become a major presence
at most Catholic colleges. Prevailing perceptions frequently fail to acknowledge the enrollments
in business programs, but they are, in fact, very large. Business programs are not side show
boutiques. They are big enough to lead Catholic colleges into Stage Three of the faith-reason
Business programs, despite their numeric prominence, are generally not regarded as part of the
inner sanctum of Catholic colleges. They are not part of the proverbial old-boys humanities
network that many regard as the soul of the Catholic college. Business programs are something
of the outsider. That status yields definite disadvantages. But it also provides one major
advantage. It places business programs in the category of likely leaders for the upcoming
transition. Philosophy, Theology, and other humanities departments have, for decades if not
centuries, carried most school’s Catholic banners. The new stage calls for new leadership,
credible leadership that has no major ties to past transitions and no Stage Two status quo to
defend. Business programs enjoy credibility.
Business programs also have the skills required to facilitate institutional change. Business
faculties possess much of the expertise and experience required to facilitate productive transition.
As agents of organizational transformation, they are very well qualified to lead schools’ efforts
to revitalize their understanding of “the interaction of faith and reason.”
What Exactly Might Business Programs Do in Stage Three?
Stage Three – in which faith and reason become equal partners, intellectual formation becomes
acceptably unconventional, and faith formation blends accountability and freedom – will require
business programs to undertake actions that suit their mission. The actions could include
anything from the small scale development of optional retreats and suggested readings to the
institutionalization of think tanks and academic journals.
This paper endorses a more middle-of-the-road option, one that commits the schools to Stage
Three, does not initially make enormous demands on resources, and enables schools to conduct
the right experiments, collect the right data, refine the project, and grow with a wisdom that
enables them to develop quality programs that interact faith and reason. We advocate the
development of courses in Faith and Business.
The courses we envision are not about business ethics and not about social responsibility.
Neither are they specialized efforts in scripture studies or systematic theology, per se. Rather,
they are about requiring students to identify their own belief systems and to connect the dots
between those systems and their work. The program would, of course, treat atheism and
agnosticism as it treats all other faith traditions, as belief systems that require the student to
understand how that tradition understands many truths, including how it regards the interaction
of human and divine labors, what it asks of workplace decision making, and what it demands of
the work/leisure trade-off.
Properly delivered, such a course would change faith and reason into mutually respectful
partners, would make business programs at Catholic colleges acceptably unconventional, and
would cultivate an exemplary mix of accountability and freedom. This course could easily mark
the first moment of business programs providing a new and much needed renovation of the
meaning of “the interaction of faith and reason.”
Thomas A. Bausch
The following dialogue is found in a rather popular British novel of the early part of the current decade:
“Your religion, Ms G, is Order.”
“Yes, that is the god you worship. That is what your life is all about. You live in a chaotic
jungle, the financial killing-fields of the City of London, but your whole life is dedicated to
bringing Order out of chaos. You’re like one of those nuns who fearlessly, day after day, bring
Christ to the teeming hordes of Calcutta.”
“I started to laugh, I have never heard such—“
“You exercise your reason, your logic and your intelligence to make an enormous success of your
profession. And what does this success generate? Money, power, and status, but not for the
usual greedy, self-indulgent reasons … (They allow) you to luxuriate in Order – to commune
regularly with your god. You go to worship every day for hours on end at your office. Your
Holy Trinity is money, power and status and over and above your trinity is the Godhead, Order.”
(Susan Howatch, The High Flyer, Time Warner Books, London, 2004)
For those of us in Catholic higher education for business, this short dialogue captures well the religion
that we teach in our business schools, not unlike what happens in most business schools. It is a religion
born of the enlightenment, positivism, the holy doctrine of profit maximization and the adoration of the
tools of economics. Yes, there are a few fools among our administrators, faculty and students who desire
money, power and status for self-indulgent reasons, but most desire them to be in control, to have order,
and yes, even, to do good, many defined by the values of our day. Most are St. Ignatius’ “Second Type of
Person” saying, I certainly would like to be free of all attachments which get in my way of relating to
God. I think if I work harder or I say more prayers or give more money to charity that would do it.”
This paper is neither anti-wealth nor anti-competence. As a matter of fact, a premise is that the first
characteristic of being a Catholic professional school is an absolute dedication to competence as a
necessary condition. This paper should be put in the context of two great saints named Francis. Both had
an intensive love of God and the things of God as their highest priority and both set all aside for God.
They were the Ignatian third class of persons. One, St. Francis of Assisi, gave it all away and moved in
the direction of a life of actual poverty. The other, Francis Borgia, like his brother saint, totally detached
himself from all of the money, power and the status of his family, but then used them for great good
works of a boldness hard to imagine, all for the kingdom of God, all to tell the good news, because this is
what God asked of him.
To call persons, and to prepare those called, to the stewardship and organization of material and spiritual
resources, especially the talents of human persons, is the special work of our business schools. Those of
us in business schools on occasion get the “to prepare”, but seldom accept the “to call”.
This paper argues that:
The sole purpose of a Catholic University is to discover, reflect upon and tell ”the good news” in
communion with the Magisterium. If it does not do this it has no raison d’etre worthy of support
from students, faculty, parents, benefactors or anybody else. We are called to call and to prepare.
Since a business school on a Catholic campus is part of that Catholic University, it also has no
raison d’etre except that of discovering, reflecting upon and telling the good news in matters of
business, commerce, trade, economics, and management and leadership of all organizations. The
good news must be intentionally passed on in the specific work and material of the business
school. To suggest that the good news can be passed on through the culture of the institution,
somehow through osmosis, is dysfunctional nonsense.
Telling the good news, can be, and should be, defined as evangelization. Therefore, the purpose
of the business school on a Catholic campus is evangelization. To abuse a great rock and roll
song of the late 1950’s, “Roll over John Locke and tell Milton Friedman to move.” (Smith would
have empathy with my point of view.)
The work of our Catholic business schools is more than teaching undergraduate students, it is
very complex. This paper does not argue that all Catholic business schools should be doing all
things. All aspects of our work must be considered as evangelistic activity or we should not be
engaged in them in the first place, if for no other reason than the fact that we have limited
resources and specific activities must be chosen out of our specific missions.
The starting point for the development of Catholic business schools is the identification and
development of leadership appropriate to the mission, vision and core values. To date the grade
of F- should be given our Catholic universities on their abilities to develop leadership.
Limits of This Paper
This paper is an exploratory and conceptual paper designed as a first to define carefully what we are
doing as Catholic business schools with an eventual attempt to measure where and in what activities the
concept Catholic is operative and to describe successful practices of manifesting the concept. The paper
will be considered successful if it raises questions and involves others in the project of being Catholic. A
secondary purpose is to work with the concept of evangelization with the hope of enriching the entire
conversation of what Catholic business schools are doing and should be doing.
If We Are True to Our Mission as Catholic, What Should We Be Doing as The Work of a
Professional School of Business or Management?
The question is answered by the Acts of the Apostles and one of the results of the 35th Congregation of
the Society of Jesus, recently concluded. In the first averse of the first chapter the author of Acts
addresses his message to you and to me very specifically through the use of the name Theophilus. This is
Christ’s call to us and this book is our playbook. In the eleventh verse of the first chapter “we are bluntly
told to stop staring at our navels and to get to work. The challenge of our work in business schools is
found in the eleventh chapter when Peter has his “behind the veil” experience, “What God has made
clean, you are not to call profane.” His audience listened and declared, “God has declared life giving
repentance to the Gentiles too.” At the recent Congregation of the Jesuits, Benedict made it very clear
that they are go to all frontiers, all new and risky areas, but in the context of obedience and his full
recognition that mistakes will be made as the Order accepts new challenges. This perspective and
mindset is one not just for our Jesuit professional schools, including business, but for all us calling
ourselves Catholic. We are going to make some big mistakes, but if we are going to redeem the money,
power and status of business, no one of which is profane, then we have no alternative than to deal with the
most powerful force in today’s world, one impacting all.
I have been privileged to be in and around Catholic business schools as student, faculty member,
administrator and consultant since 1956 as well as involved, as a professional with the “establishment” of
higher education for business for many of these years. I understate the truth when I say I have been
privileged to know and work with some of the greats in both groups, and they deserve to be called great.
I have had the opportunity to work with business educators on every continent except Antarctica, in more
than 30 countries. Business schools differ greatly among themselves and the range of activities and
programs seems at times to have no end. As the AACSB accreditation process began to recognize with
intensity 20 years ago, the last thing needed for quality education is a “cookie cutter” approach to
business education, both as to the set of programs offered and the manner in which individual programs
are offered. So it also is with telling the good news.
The foundation, the core of the good news is always the same. However, the good news must be told
using means appropriate to the specific work an institution is doing, the audiences it is trying to reach and
the circumstances in which it works. Each institution must ask, are we teaching undergraduate, MBA,
Executive Education or PhD students? Are our students part-time or full-time? What is the commitment
of resources to research in our institution? Are our students Catholic, Christian but not Catholic, nonChristian but believers, agnostics or atheists? What is our commitment to public service as professionals?
Is this commitment realized primarily through our students or otherwise? What does it mean in our
concrete situation to exercise an option for the poor? These questions and many others shape how we do
the work of evangelization in, through and for stewardship and what it means to be a Catholic business
school of mission and vision. All of these means or intermediate ends are good, not one of them is
This Paper Builds on and Complements the Work Already Done on Curricula in Catholic Business
Much of the thinking and writing to date about Catholic business education has been excellent, but it is
incomplete, and it has not taking root nor had sufficient impact on Catholic business schools. The work
to date has been focused on undergraduate students, deductive, in the abstract and is in need of being
complemented and informed by the reality of what we are as Catholic business schools. We need much
more consideration of what it means to be Catholic in the variety of the work we are doing, and the full
environment in which our mission and vision become concrete and in which our core values take on a
life. Although our core curricula tend to be out of the same cookie cutter, Catholic business schools are
amazingly diverse in their sets of activities and circumstances in which we operate, yet amazingly similar
in not being vibrantly Catholic. But this is not the fullness of my argument.
Any one of the works or set of activities of a business school is informed by all of the other works and
sets of activities of that school and should be the better for it. The total mix provides the culture of
professionalism and evangelization of each specific activity, as do the strategies and characteristics, be
they planned unplanned, emergent or realized, as Mintzberg informs us. To tell an undergraduate
accounting student that accounting exists for the common good is almost useless, as is having students fill
out forms for the poor during tax season, if the faculty is not doing the evangelistic research for the
intellectual and conceptual ground-work necessary to reform regulation to bring about a more just set of
regulations. For a faculty member, under the pretense of “this is the real world”, to teach that economic
activity is for the sake of the person rather than the person for economic activity, and then not work with
the MBA student whose wife walks out leaving him with three children, is not an act of evangelization,
but of cruelty. If PhD programs in Catholic business schools are not designed to develop professionals
who will both be prepared to enhance the Catholicity of undergraduate business schools in the future and
able to focus the power or our MBA programs, research and professional organizations on the common
good, they are failures. Many Catholic business schools have internship and coop programs. Properly
administered these can be powerful instruments of human dignity as they enable undergraduate students
to find purpose in work and life.
Catholic business school administrators and faculty obviously must have a very conscious intention of
being Catholic and being an institution of evangelization and all that is done must be for the greater honor
and glory of God. Like anything else, “Catholic” begins with mission and vision and then requires the
work of implementation and constant review and discovery of better emergent strategies. As Peter Senge
would note, a Catholic business school must be a learning organization or its activities will soon be
dysfunctional. Being a learning organization in the context of Mintzberg’s models of emergent strategy is
a necessary condition for being Catholic. This is especially true in Jesuit business schools, the
environment and manifestation of Catholicity most familiar to me. The fact that we are not learning
organizations grounded in mission and vision is most obvious in the insane drive many Catholic business
schools have to be in the top 50 in “the rankings”. This is a total confusion between final and
instrumental causality. Our greatest challenge is to move beyond this very secular, “personality”, secular
approach to a focus on final ends. One way of doing this is to focus on evangelization through the reality
of all we are called to do as business schools.
Six Models of Evangelization in a Professional School of Business
The models of evangelization proposed as tools for considering the entire mission of any Catholic
business school were used in a presentation by Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. when he addressed the
Evangelical Catholic Institute 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin. He was drawing on the work of a book soon
to be published by Paulist Press by Father Timothy E. Byerley and entitled The Great Commission. The
essence of what Dulles presented provides a framework for the core of my position. (Note: The material
I am using from Dulles and Byerley all was reported on pages 2 and 3 of Catholic Trends published by
the Catholic News Service, May 19, 2007.)
The six models of evangelization presented by Dulles and Byerley are:
• Personal witness
• Verbal testimony
• Christian worship
• Community
• Inculturation
• Works of Charity
Personal Witness
A colleague of mine recently received a letter from a former student, whose first language is not English,
that began, “Dear Professor, thank you for forcing me to rewrite my MA Thesis five times. It taught me
the skills and the attitudes that have made me successful in my profession.” Dulles said that personal
witness is, “the good example of a life totally dedicated to Christ. While its pre-eminent form is
martyrdom, “it more often takes place in less dramatic ways.” Reading a MA Thesis five times is a form
of witness. I recently worked with an elderly American Jesuit who has formed the Public Relations
Profession in Tanzania who, despite 81 years and over 200 students, works with them one by one to
educate them as competent and caring professionals. In both cases the personal witness of individual
professors has made a difference for the common good through the professionalism of their graduates.
The common good, in many ways, is the purpose of a Catholic business school. In two institutions where
I have worked, the Small Business Institute Program and similar programs have played an important role
as part of the outreach of the business school. In both cases the programs were successful because of the
inner drive of vocation of the two professors involved. I can document in both cases that the former
students have become leaders in service to others in business because of the witness of the professor. Our
business schools must be designed so that this personal witness comes alive in the various works in which
we are engaged. The question we must ask is quite basic. How does the professor who demonstrates
personal witness by doing the research, which is important rather than that easy to publish, so that she can
impact the various groups she reaches in a business school?
Verbal and Written Testimony
Dulles pointed to the many “heralds who have courageously and tirelessly preached the Gospel in
difficult circumstances,” beginning with St. Paul. But he also included the great essayists … “who
evangelized not so much by the spoken word as by the power of the pen.” How do we in business
schools use not just the power of the pen and the power of the spoken word to evangelize, but also the
power of modern technology and social science as we evangelize business, the most powerful institution
in our society? Even with the commitment to being Catholic firmly in place and operational, in seems to
me that an Executive MBA program in South Bend, an MBA program in a free-standing business school
in India and an MBA in a university established by a bishop’s conference in Africa, all call for different
approaches to verbal word, written word and technology. What are they and how do we evangelize? As
Paul used slavery to teach truth in the Letter to Philemon, how do we teach truth through our lectures and
journal articles on LBO’S?
Christian Worship
This is not a call for daily Mass in the rotundas our b schools. Rather it is a call to ask questions and take
actions in other manners. For instance, how many of our business schools have a Meditation Room in the
business building that is suitable for the use of persons from all faiths? Dulles says that this model is “an
activity of the believing community directed primarily to God … (and) not conducted for the sake of
making an impression on outsiders.” How many business schools start classes, meetings and other
activities with a moment of prayer or silence recognizing the transcendent? Worship leads to honest
consideration of purpose. Should we not be asking, what are the activities to immerse people in the
mysteries of the transcendent helping participants to center their lives on meaning and purpose? How
through every activity we do, can we, remind participants of, or invite them into, a moment of ultimate
purpose? There must be many ways of doing this as evangelization. One I often use is to sign off on my
correspondence with “peace and courage”. It does not take much energy, but I am regularly amazed by
the positive impact it has.
This model of evangelization may be the most important of the six for a school of business. Dulles
argues that offering friendship and support to people seeking a refuge from the “anonymity of our
secularized and mechanical world” is a very important work and a very important means of
evangelization. This development of community in a conscious way is critical to being Catholic.
Authentic community is grounded in the basic definition and reality of the human person. We are social
or communal beings. No one of us can become fully our potential in God’s eyes except in community. I
teach executive education, executive MBA, MBA and undergraduate students and know that they all need
community, but that it cannot be cultivated in the same manner for each group. In most business schools,
to emphasize community is to go counter to the culture of the place. It is through conscious attention to
community that integrity and how to achieve it can be taught. The need to provide executives with a
concept of true community, a true community of work, is critical. The logic for this model can be
grounded in part in the work of Bellah.
The fifth model of inculturation means “the incarnation of the Gospel in the cultural forms familiar and
intelligible to those being evangelized.” Dulles continues, where “the evangelization must come from
within by committed Christians thoroughly familiar” with the field or discipline. This model brings us
back to the quote that opens this proposal and the perceived job that today’s professionals have to bring
order out of chaos in the killing fields of finance in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Mumbai or
Buenos Aires. Just as killing the culture of Native Americans and Australian Aborigines was a total
disaster, so killing the culture of Wall Street, Silicon Valley or Madison Avenue would be a total disaster.
John Paul II’s many calls for inculturation begins with learning the culture and its language. Competence
as a professional is a necessary tool of evangelization through inculturation, but it needs the radar of
moral truth to guide all of the techniques and qualities. Since the issues are so urgent, it seems to me that
business schools have a very special challenge in and through their executive education and executive
MBA programs, business advisory councils and other outreach efforts to reach those professionals and
executives now or soon to be in positions of power. Is a Catholic business school serious about being
Catholic if it is not combining the models of Inculturation and Community to form groups based on
Catholic Social Thought that are equivalent to YPO, TEC and other peer self-education groups on the
secular front? Why are not more business schools working with groups like UNIPAC? We teach and
study Jack Welch. Why do we not study Enrique Shaw as an executive who totally integrated Catholic
Thought into being an executive?
An overused word, although one critical to these efforts, is common ground. Our business schools should
be working to find the common ground between catholic social thought and the Koran, as an example.
Should our marketing research be more focused on finding the common ground between advertizing and
our Christian anthropology? These are the frontiers for research that both Benedict and the Acts are
calling us.
Works of Charity Including Public Policy
Dulles writes, “Although evangelization may never be reduced to the dimensions of a mere temporal
project, the Gospel has necessary implications regarding peace and justice in the human community”. He
continues on to note that laypersons bear special responsibility. It is my observation that too many of our
Catholic business schools earn F- through non-existing attempts to do this type of work, despite having all
of the tools to do it, if we had the determination. I am particularly concerned with how little work is done
applying the principles of Catholic Social Thought to public policy and regulatory issues. This must be
the work of Catholic business schools. I currently serve on a dissertation committee for a PhD student
asking how our major consumer products corporations can reach and serve the poor. This is a work of
charity. I am bemused by persons who are unable to recognize how Wal-Mart serves the poor while at
the same time they praise Mother Therese
A Note on Potential Tensions and Complexities
Too often Catholic business schools back away from any serious attempts to be Catholic with the excuse
that the faculty and administration of the school is either not Catholic and we do not desire to offend
them, or Catholic and not prepared and we cannot force them to prepare. The lack of properly prepared
faculty to staff a Catholic business school is a very serious reality that must be recognized and fully
explored. Of course the rights of faculty members already involved must be fully recognized. Faculty
members also face the tensions of expectations from the community of their academic discipline and the
tensions of remaining competent in any discipline in a world of change. The proposed paper will not
deny problems or propose easy answers; rather it will seek to begin laying the foundation for intelligent
The problem of staffing a business school is compounded by the lack of faculty members able to grapple
successfully with the full range of activities and work required of a modern business school, Catholic or
secular. AACSB International, despite some heroic efforts, has not been dramatically successful in its
encouragement through accreditation of diversity in models of business schools, and of course the same
has been argued by many critics of business schools.
These tensions and complexities will not be resolved without good leadership grounded in the concepts of
what being Catholic is all about and able to function within the context of the rituals and economics of the
modern university and business school as we know them. Any proposal for action must focus on
Victor Forlani, SM and Joseph F. Castellano
Many organizations are confronted with issues of how to balance the needs of shareholders and
stakeholders, how to develop real purpose and meaning for employees, and how to overcome the
fragmentation, distrust, fear, and internal competition that robs an organization of its ability to
continually create and share the new knowledge and innovation that is so necessary for survival.
These issues recognize the intersection of business practice, ethics, organizational culture and
societal concerns. These intersections have important consequences for both business and
society especially in light of the corporate frauds and financial scandals of the past seven years.
Since many of the issues noted above involve the role that a firm’s culture can play in
encouraging/discouraging certain behaviors, the issue of how organizations create healthy ethical
cultures and the importance of “tone at the top” are also inextricably linked to the intersection of
business practice and societal concerns.
The challenge for Catholic business schools is how to address these issues in core business
courses both at the undergraduate and graduate level given their Catholic identity and religious
heritage. More specifically, the question becomes how Catholic business schools can use
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and their religious heritage to inform and enhance topics that
bear on the issues noted above.
The authors were drawn into a consideration of these issues through their work with a School of
Business committee at the University of Dayton charged with addressing how to more fully
integrate CST and the school’s Marianist heritage into the core business curriculum. One of the
primary outcomes of this effort was the development of a very successful MBA elective course
titled, Business as a Calling. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to share the development
process for the course, and (2) to describe the course, its objectives, and its methodology.
The Theme: Business as a Calling
While it may be much easier for students pursuing degrees in one of the “helping professions”
(i.e. nursing, medicine, teaching, social work) to see their careers as a vocation or calling than it
is for business students, we should not be comfortable with this difference for the following
• Business is one of the major sectors of society
• Each sector is integrally related to the others
• Cooperation and collaboration among all sectors of society is needed for a
healthy and fully functioning economic system
• Business has obligations to its stakeholders and to the welfare of society as
a whole
In an October 1998 Harvard Management Update about spirituality in the workplace, titled,
“Corporate Soul: Meaning Behind the Buzzwords”, Judi Neal noted that, “I am sensing a real
hunger for people to connect to something greater than themselves….a huge hunger to nourish
the soul and spirit.” Seeing one’s profession, their life’s work as a vocation is essential to
nourishing both soul and spirit. In an interview in 2000, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope
Benedict XVI) said…”For a true calling, income is not the criterion, but the practicing of some
skill in the service of mankind.”
The authors were also convinced that while good ethical coverage in core business classes and/or
a required ethics course is necessary in a Catholic business school, it would not be sufficient to
address the following issues:
• Can values and beliefs improve the workplace and enhance performance?
• Can we create organizational cultures wherein people really look forward to
getting to work each day?
• Are there other management and leadership models besides those rooted in
traditional thinking and conventional wisdom that can empower employees to
excel and to find pride, joy, and fulfillment in their work lives?
• Is the moral, spiritual, and character development of those aspiring to leadership
positions just as important as the technical/functional skills of leadership?
The authors also believed that Schools/Colleges of Business should respond to the challenge of
helping their students recognize the importance of seeing their chosen professions as a spiritual
calling. Capitalizing on this opportunity would not only help students develop as whole persons
but also see their life’s work as more than just a means for income and advancement. A well
designed course could also identify their responsibility as business professionals not only to their
firms but also to society.
Course Development Process
A decision was made to develop the course as an MBA elective. A target date of fall, 2006 was
established for offering the course for the first time. The development process resisted the
temptation to begin by looking for texts and articles in support of our views and beliefs and then
building a course around these materials. We wanted to begin with a blank slate so that we could
create both a unique experience and course. We decided to begin by identifying course themes
that later would develop into specific course objectives. This process took several meetings
before agreeing on the following themes:
• Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and our Marianist heritage can be useful in
exploring issues related to the role and purpose of a business, its relationship to
the common good, and the need to see one’s entry into a business profession as a
spiritual calling.
• Work has an important spiritual dimension.
• It is important to identify and study individuals and businesses that are known for
exemplary practices associated with the theme Business as a Calling.
• Examine how CST and our Marianist heritage can inform and enhance
organizational cultures, leadership development, and our economic system.
We also decided that if we were going to create a unique experience for our students it would
also be necessary to develop a pedagogy that went beyond a format of just lecture, readings,
class discussion, films, and case analysis. Guided by our third theme, we believed it was
important to find individuals both in the alumni and business community that could speak to our
themes and objectives and be a part of the course. Consequently, we decided to seek alumni and
business community input early in our development process by sharing our ideas and themes. A
series of breakfast meetings were held over an eight week period with key alumni and business
leaders that helped gather input about our themes. This input proved very helpful in developing
final course objectives. Not only was the idea for the course and themes enthusiastically
received but also permission to use their input in helping to market the course was granted. We
were also able to secure numerous commitments during this development process for guest
speakers once the course was scheduled.
Course Objectives
The following course objectives emerged from our original course themes:
To explore the relationship between the growing interest in spirituality in business,
particularly in the mainstream business press, and the search for deeper meaning and
personal fulfillment in our work lives
A recognition that the long-term solution to the fragmentation, conflict, fear, and
intense personal competition found in most organizations is an awareness of the
importance of creating cultures that recognize the importance of building a workplace
Recognizing that one’s calling/vocation into a business profession is a necessary first
step toward a process of integrating one’s professional and personal life---a critical
element in finding the deeper meaning and wholeness in our work lives
As business professionals we are called to use our gifts and talents to improve both our
organizations and our economic system. Our Catholic and Marianist identity and
tradition contains many useful principles/practices/philosophies that can be used to
inform and enhance our firms and our economy.
The real role of leadership is to create the necessary workplace community that allows
the individual the space to find the deeper meaning and search for wholeness in one’s
work life. Such efforts are not only beneficial to employees but also critical to the
firm’s efforts to create the kind of culture that fosters deep personal commitment,
innovation, a culture of ethics, and a learning organization.
Leadership is not values neutral. Therefore, we can not separate discussions about
one’s leadership ability from discussions about the moral and character development of
individuals who aspire to leadership positions.
Since the University of Dayton is rooted in a Catholic and Marianist tradition, we wanted
our course to demonstrate that Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and our Marianist heritage
require us to see our work as a calling and that in so doing we can make significant contributions
to developing a leadership model that can build healthy corporate cultures.
Course Methodology
Guest Speakers
We decided from the outset that to achieve our intended objectives we would have to involve
business men and women who would be willing to share their calling as business professionals.
To implement this component to the course we decided to invite nine business professionals to
spend from sixty to ninety minutes sharing their experience with the class. These individuals
came from a variety of backgrounds: Chief Executive Officers and owners of successful family
owned businesses, a prominent law partner, the former CEO of a major bank, retired executives
from industry and the Air Force, a current vice-president of a local firm, and a physician and
CEO of a national blood and tissue bank.
Credo and Vision Statements
Another unique aspect of the course was an assignment, in lieu of an in-class final exam, that
required each student to develop a credo and personal vision statement. Not only was the
assignment well received but the outcome exceeded our expectations. One student wrote
that….”The most important assignment of the class was without a doubt the credo and vision
statements. I will be carrying these with me when I go on job interviews to make sure the firm’s
values match up with my own.” Other students commented on how they benefited from having
to surface issues and feelings they had not addressed or thought of previously. One student
wrote………..”It was the first class that challenged me to find myself---to realize what I really
stand for.” Another wrote…”You challenged us to think in a way we’ve never been challenged
to. You affected not only my work/career, but my home life as well.” Clearly the use of both
the credo and vision statement assignment was responsible for this “going deeper” experience.
Challenging Conventional Thinking
Since most of our students take elective MBA classes near the end of their program, we wanted
to find a way to engage them in a reflection and discussion of topics that are usually presented
from a conventional business and management viewpoint in other business courses. We decided
to address the issue of the role and purpose of a business in order to begin this reflective process.
Two assignments in particular helped to jump-start this discussion. Marjorie Kelly’s book The
Divine Right of Capital, and Centesimus Annus, John Paul II’s encyclical were assigned course
readings. We asked students to contrast both of these readings with concepts and theories
presented and discussed in other MBA classes that dealt with such issues as agency theory,
stockholder verses stakeholder theory, leadership, and the role and purpose of a business.
CST and Marianist Values
Our final course theme centered on how CST and our Marianist values could inform and enhance
a firm’s management philosophy and its policies and procedures. The primary purpose of this
exercise was to demonstrate the “practical wisdom” of using CST and our Marianist values to
help organizations develop healthy corporate cultures, enhance leadership, and improve
performance. We used examples from Joseph Bragdon’s book, Profit for Life, to show how
some of the best run companies in the world used many of the principles and practices that fall
under the rubric of CST and our Marianist values. Finally, we used both CST and our Marianist
values to address an aspect of leadership that is often not covered or taken for granted in
management courses, namely, the moral and character development of the leader.
Course Results
Formal course evaluations scheduled by the School of Business both semesters have been very
positive. However, the authors have conducted their own form of evaluation and feedback by
sponsoring a dinner outside of class the evening the final assignments are due. These dinner
meetings have been extremely helpful in assessing both course content and methodology.
Moreover, the discussion during these gatherings served to sharpen students’ understanding of
calling and to solidify their commitment to that perspective in their chosen professions.
Summary and Conclusion
We launched this course in the fall 2006 semester not knowing what to expect or how it would
be received. Our underlying premise was that we could use CST and our Marianist heritage to
inform and enhance the educational experience of those students desiring careers as business
professionals. We wanted to challenge our graduate students to extend themselves beyond just a
consideration of ethical issues and dilemmas. We wanted them to see how approaching one’s
profession as a calling would not only make them a distinctive graduate but also help them see
the integration that is possible between one’s personal and professional life.
We have been both gratified and humbled by the experience. While we have achieved a degree
of success there is much that still needs to be done. In the final analysis, we know that what we
really brought to the class was a passion and conviction that as a Catholic/Marianist School of
Business we had an obligation to help our graduate students to become more fully integrated
business professionals. The rest of the story and the ultimate success of the course was more
about a group of students who were willing to accept the challenge and enter into the process,
experience, and space that we provided. Perhaps this final student comment best sums up what
we ultimately brought to the course…………..”You touched each one of us in that class--partially because of the passion you have for the subject---but mostly because you challenged us
to think in a way we’ve never been challenged to”.
Thomas Hong-Soon Han
The Asian Context: A Challenge to Catholic Universities
1. The Asian continent is home to nearly two thirds of the world’s population with their different
cultures, religions, social structures, and political systems. It is a continent of sheer contrasts.
While there has been enormous economic and technological progress, there still exist situations
of extreme poverty and injustice. Most of the developing countries in Asia are evaluated as least
democratic. About 1.9 billion people, or 60 % of developing Asia’s population, still live on less
than US$ 2 a day. Most of the countries in Asia rank low in terms of human development. In
terms of the Corruption Perceptions Index score compiled by Transparency International, most
of the Asian countries ranked rather “highly corrupted”.
2. The Church in Asia is a very tiny minority among the major religions of the world such as
Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism. Catholics constitute a mere 3.1%, or 118 million out
of 3.8 billion. If we take out the Philippines as an exception, Catholics are a mere 1.3%, or 50
million. 10.8% of Catholics and 82.8% of non- Christians in the world live in Asia.
In all over Asia, except in the Philippines, despite her centuries-long presence and her many
apostolic endeavours, the Church is still considered as a foreign religion, and indeed is often
associated in people’s minds with the colonial powers. While in some countries the Church
carries out her mission in peace and freedom, in most other countries she is regarded as a danger
to be curtailed, sometimes for religious reasons, sometimes for political reasons. Therefore, she
is experiencing intense tensions, conflicts and persecutions in the practice of their faith.
3. Quite distinct from the tendency prevailed in the past decades that embraced Western ways
unconditionally as the key to material progress, the Asian Way is now pursued in every aspect of
life in Asia. As Asia is modernizing, the Asian conscience is rising. It is very much the
Asianization of Asia. Especially for young people who comprise half the population, it is a
rediscovery of Asian roots in their way of life.
4. Such state of affairs calls on the Church in Asia to enter into the saving dialogue: the dialogue
with the cultures, the religions, and the peoples of Asia, especially the poor. The Catholic
university is entrusted with a vital task to serve the Church in carrying out such a dialogue. In
order to carry out this task, it must provide her with necessary theoretical basis. It can also serve
in itself as an effective channel of such a dialogue. In fact, university community of many
Catholic institutions in Asia is composed mostly of members of other religions and those who
profess no religious belief. The Catholic university is called to become a significant interlocutor
of the academic, cultural and scientific world. The university’s life itself constitutes an arena of
such a dialogue through interdisciplinary approach involving therein all the related faculties and
5. Among them, faculties and institutes of business administration are assigned to a primary role,
while engaging in mission-driven business education. Mission-driven business education at
Catholic universities can be carried out both at undergraduate and graduate levels. It can also be
carried out at special programs for ongoing studies. It is expected to address itself to the
evangelization of culture in socio-economic life, and more specifically in the world of business,
in Asia. It aims at the integral formation of people who are called to active participation in the
life of society and business leaders, potential and actual alike, so that they may become
conscious of their responsibilities both at local and global levels. It calls for an effective
collaboration of the means of social communications with a view to conscientizing the public,
thereby creating a “social ecology” more favourable for mission-driven business education itself.
6. An indispensable instrument of this education is undoubtedly the Catholic social doctrine. The
Catholic social doctrine, therefore, must constitute the basic course in general education for all
students of the university. It must constitute a core course of ongoing studies program. And
particularly for students majoring in business administration an advanced course must be offered.
A Balance Sheet of Responses
7. What Catholic universities in Asia have achieved in this regard fall short of our expectations.
It is true that in some countries Catholic universities and institutes have engaged in research and
teaching in the social doctrine, mostly through the faculties of social sciences including the
faculty of business administration and the related institutes, but this research and teaching has
rarely been given a proper attention.
8. To some extent, such a situation may be due to the fact that they are destined to work in
adverse conditions caused by religious reasons and at the same time most of them are subject to a
strict state control. They are low in numerical terms. And they seem to be rather sensitive to their
being of a minority group in society except in the Philippines. Even in naming the universities of
Catholic inspiration in Asia, they seldom identify themselves as “Catholic”. More often than not,
they do not seem to be sensitive enough to their Catholic identity. Their faculties of business
administration seem to fail to properly incorporate the Catholic social doctrine into their
9. Closely related to this is the lack of human resources capable of taking charge of the education
in the Catholic social doctrine at the university level. The Church in Asia has failed to dedicate a
considerable part of its human and financial resources to education, not to mention the formation
of educators in the field of such a crucial importance for her life. The Catholic social doctrine has
thus remained as the “best kept secret” of the Church.
What Is To Be Done?
10. For mission-driven business education to be effective in the Asia, it is essential to promote by
the historical and scientific religious research the knowledge of peoples, cultures and religions in
Asia. Catholic universities need to research into the common values shared by Catholicism with
the cultures and religions in Asia with regard to the realization of common good of peoples
through economic activities.
11. The values central to the lives and cultures of Asian peoples, such as harmony of all peoples,
harmony with the whole universe, familism, are relevant to promoting the dialogue and
collaboration with non-Christians in the formulation of ethical and juridical norms for regulating
the free markets and for establishing the moral code of conducts in the business world, thereby
realizing the social reform for the common good of peoples in line with the Catholic social
12. For example, Confucian views of economy and its role in the realization of the ideal society
are in line with the Catholic social doctrine which focuses on the realization of the universal
common good. The Catholic vision of the business can be supported by the Confucian ethics of
social harmony. The Confucian idea of the organic unity of nature, human, and society can be
adapted for the business realm, thereby reinforcing the Catholicism in the field of business ethics
in the East Asian context. Familism, complemented by the Catholic belief in brotherhood of
humankind, can be extended beyond the boundaries of business into the society at large, and
eventually into the global dimension. Thus, Catholicism and Confucianism complement each
other in the matter of social concern such as business ethics.
13. The Catholic social doctrine and the cultures and religions in Asia have many elements to
complement and enrich each other. These common elements will facilitate the inculturation of
Catholic social doctrine in the sphere of the Asian values, on the one hand, and the development
of Catholic social doctrine itself, on the other. They will also facilitate dialogue and cooperation
among the peoples in Asia so as to implement the business ethics for the sake of the common
good of peoples. Mission-driven business education, therefore, must include the dimension of
inculturation and interreligious dialogue as well.
14. Programs of mission-driven business education must include such a dimension. They must
promote interdisciplinary researches, religious and cultural encounters, in-depth studies of other
religions. Cooperation with non-Catholic universities is to be pursued. These initiatives, fostered
also on the basis of social analysis, can thus serve as a valid instrument for explaining and
applying the Catholic social doctrine in the Asian way with discernment to diversified social
realities of Asia.
15. In fact, the social analysis conducted on the basis of reason can propose solutions for grave
social problems for which all religions in Asia must agree to work together in solidarity. Thus
the social analysis, strengthened on the basis of interdisciplinary approach, can bring forth
interreligious collaboration. And this in turn makes it necessary for Catholic universities to
engage in in-depth studies of other religions. And these studies will certainly enrich the social
doctrine of the Church and make it more relevant to pluralistic societies in Asia.
16. By properly carrying out its task, mission-driven business education will enable the Church
to effectively respond to the criticism often raised in Asia to the effect that the formulation of her
social doctrine is rather Eurocentric. It can certainly contribute to the Asianization of social
doctrine in its adaptation to the Asian realities, thereby convincing the peoples of Asia that the
Church is not foreign but was founded in Asia by Jesus Christ, who was an Asian like
17. Education cannot be seen merely as a transmission of knowledge. Catholic identity can not
be equated simply with orthodoxy of content of the course offered for business education at
Catholic universities. Far from being “informative” — just a communication of the Catholic
teachings on business and economy, business education must be creative and life-changing —
“performative” (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). For any mission-business education to be performative, the
educators themselves, the Church leaders, universities themselves must first show witness of
actions. Witness of life is particularly important in Asia, where “people are more persuaded by
holiness of life than by intellectual argument”. There is urgent need for the Church in Asia to
provide Catholic universities with competent educators, especially in the Catholic social
doctrine, who bear witness to a clear Catholic identity, in addition to pursuing the academic
excellence on the basis of harmony between faith and reason.
18. Equipped with such educators, mission-driven business education at Catholic universities
will be able to prepare business leaders more properly as "co-workers in the truth" (3 John 8), the
truth about human being, business, and society. And at the same time, it will be able to address
all its interlocutors in a more effective way, thereby greatly contributing to the authentic
development of business culture for Asian societies of the new century.
19. Catholic universities in Asia should urgently commit themselves with courage and
intellectual creativity to the prophetic tasks of business education, while developing a spirituality
of minority to “be not afraid” to work as evangelizers in adverse conditions. Leaders in the
Church in Asia must be imbued with a common sense of mission with regard to indispensable
role of Catholic universities in rendering the Church in Asia to be a Christian leaven in Asian
societies. (END)
Percy Marquina
The objective of this document is to provide an overview of the Catholic thought about the
mission of Catholic universities and their business schools in Latin America, and to compare
these thoughts with their actual practice. The first section summarizes the statements of the Latin
American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) on the issue, while the second part discusses the
relationship between this theory and their practice in two Latin American countries. For this
purpose, the authors interviewed the authorities of four universities in Peru and Ecuador. Two of
them are Pontifical Catholic universities, and the remaining two have important authorities who
belong to religious congregations and apostolic movements authorized by the Church.
The Mission: Catholic universities and their business schools have a universal approach mission as is expressly
stated by the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae:
“…to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the
great problems of society and culture”. Every Catholic university, as Catholic, must have the
following essential characteristics: (a) a Christian inspiration not only of individual but of the
university community as such, (b) a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the
growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute to its own research, (c)
fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church, and (d) an institutional
commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the
transcendent goal which gives meaning to life …In a word, being both a university and Catholic,
it must be a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an
academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative (John Paul II, 1990,
However, the specific reality in which any Catholic university develops its activities influences,
enriches and forces the institution to search for the ways to understand and carry on its universal
mission. The Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) has understood this matter and
since its first General Assembly, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1955, until its latest one, held in
Aparecida (Brazil) in 2007, has given notice on the fact and the particular challenges that the
Continent of Hope has towards Catholic higher education. Latin America “shows a big paradox,
90% of its population believes in God” (V CELAM Assembly, 2007) and practice growing forms
of piety and popular religiosity, but very noticeable inequalities exist, as Pope Paul VI pointed out:
“…Latin America seems as though it is still living under the tragic sign of underdevelopment,
which not only parts our brothers and sisters away from the enjoyment of material goods, but also
from their very human fulfillment. Despite the efforts being made, there is a confluence between
hunger and poverty, mass diseases and child mortality, illiterateness and marginality, deep income
inequalities and tension between social classes, violence and scarce participation of people in the
management of common welfare.” (Paul VI, 1968).
The Church, through CELAM and the Magisterium, has suggested that Catholic universities, and
the children of the Church working within them, without harming their universal mission, must
have into account the following guidelines aimed to contribute in a better way to the
evangelization process in Latin America:
To develop a higher education aimed to evangelize culture, understood as the profoundest and
most global way to evangelize society for throughout it the message of Christ penetrates
consciences and projects itself in the ethos of the people, in their vital attitudes, in their
institutions and in every structure (John Paul II, 1986).
To develop a kind of education “that results into a renewed diffusion and defense of the
fundamental values of mankind as well as the relationships among each other and with the
physical environment in which they live. It is necessary to present, in its right image, a culture of
being and of acting. And a culture of being does not exclude having: it considers it a means to
reach a true and integral humanization, so that having will be put in service of being and of
having. In concrete terms, this means the promotion of a culture of solidarity covering the entire
community and that contributes to secure the common welfare: the bread, the roof, the health, the
dignity, the respect to all men, listening to the needs of all that are suffering” (John Paul II,
To develop an education that is sustained by the principle of equity and equality of opportunities
(CELAM, 1968).
To encourage the development of a critic approach to study the Latin American reality (CELAM,
To continue pursuing the objectives of a Catholic university: “quality, scientific and professional
competence; the research of truth in service of everyone, the shaping up of persons in an
environment of integral conception of humankind, with scientific rigor and a Christian vision of
mankind, of life, of society, of moral and religious values; and the participation in the mission of
the Church in favor of culture. The identity of faith without any adulteration, the generous
openness to as many external sources of knowledge could enrich it, and the critic discernment of
those sources in regards of such identity, thus avoiding the temptation to look for atheist
ideologies, those based on theoretical-practical materialism, or those captive to the principle of
immanence, which is incompatible to the Christian faith” (John Paul II, 1987)
To set up the dialogue among human disciplines, on one hand, and with the theological
knowledge on the other, in an intimate communion with the most profound exigencies of
mankind and society. Theological teaching must be present, in harmonic integration, in every
sector of a university (CELAM, 1968).
To enlighten the changes of dehumanizing structures through the shaping up of leaders capable
to build a new society (CELAM, 1979).
To stand out in scientific rigor, commitment to the truth, preparation of competent professionals
to the working world and in the search of solutions to the most urgent issues in Latin America
(CELAM, 1979).
To generate admiration for its coherence by being and example of a living and working
Christianity (CELAM, 1979).
To develop “the integrating labor, as proper to true science, that shall support the basis of an
authentic humanism and shall accelerate the always renewing process of evangelization of
culture” (John Paul II, 1987)
It is necessary that its scientific research might cover (a) the integration of knowledge, (b) the
dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and d) a theological perspective
(CELAM, 1992).
The education taught at a business school must be a tool for decision-makers in the designing of
public policies to use it to defend the dignity of men, since their conception, thus prompting the
humanization of social relationships in the continent so that they could promote political
participation, solidarity, justice, forgiveness and peace inside communities (CELAM, 2007).
To end up this characterization of the mission of business schools, some central ideas of the
Inaugural Lecture that the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Paul Poupard,
gave at the University of Murcia, Spain, on November 22nd, 2001, are extracted:
Any Catholic business school that aims to remain faithful to its vocation shall
not have to question itself solely about how to improve its academic
performance, augment its market share, enroll new students or get better
results in getting jobs for its graduates.
A business school is not a factory of graduates and shall not guide itself
solely on efficiency and economic performance criteria, regardless how
necessary they must be. The ones who teach there are not functionaries but
professors, which means that their profession is to devote themselves to the
study of truth.
The objective of a business school is not solely to get jobs for its graduates,
but first and foremost the search for the truth in that unique relationship that
is established between professor and student, a true life communion. Nothing
related to humankind can be disregarded by a business school, beginning with
the person. What kind of business school would be one that ignores man as an
object of study, one that pursuing a better performance aimed to cover the
demand of jobs does consider as superfluous the big questions of human
existence, God, the sense of life and death, justice, peace and how these
questions present themselves in the economy, in marketing, in ethical
reflection and in the search for the fundamentals of things? What kind of
managers would be those who know how things work but do not know what
for? What is the use of establishing businesses or companies if we do not
know what do we want them for? A society that forgets the ends and commits
just to the means, puts itself at risk to become into some of the worst
nightmares designed by the novel of anticipation: a hyper-specialized world
in which the horizon of the ultimate sense of existence has been lost. Perhaps
one day we will have to regret it by saying: you have given us computers and
cellular telephones, but you have taken out our souls from us.
The Praxis: With the objective to have a closer knowledge of how Latin American Catholic
universities work, the authorities of four universities in Peru and Ecuador were interviewed: two
of them bear the title of Pontifical Catholic universities while the remaining two are not entitled
catholic but have in their sponsorship and among their authorities people who belong to religious
congregations and/or societies of apostolic life that are recognized by the Church.. A summary of
the main results of the interviews is presented below.
The responses obtained are very suggestive of the issues that Catholic business schools in Latin
America are currently facing. Only one of the schools agreed to be qualified as Catholic while
the other were very concerned in remarking that they were not Catholic universities in the sense
that in their organization and activities they were free and were not subjected to the surveillance
of the ecclesiastic hierarchy. Regarding the juridical aspect, only one of the four schools
interviewed could be accurately considered as a Catholic university.
Besides the administrative or formal aspect, three of them considered themselves as Catholic in
spirit in the sense that they carried out their activities without compromising the Church, and one
of them, more than Catholic considered itself as Christian for it regarded itself as nonconfessional given that it respected all religious confessions, even though the officially promoted
faithful practices inside this university were exclusively Catholic.
In the opinion of 75% of the persons interviewed, there does not exist or there should not exist a
formal difference between Catholic business schools and the ones that are not because the
principles on which they must base their work are common to all of them: the search for and the
promotion of truth based on ethical values universally accepted. From this point of view there
would not exist a difference neither a special mission for a Catholic business school to
accomplish, which would also make unnecessary the use of the term Catholic in its institutional
promotion. The remaining 25% considered that the teaching of the school might be coherent to
the social doctrine of the Church and that both the coincident and the divergent aspects might be
pointed out.
All the institutions interviewed have courses on ethics or professional deontology and promote
diverse activities of social responsibility and/or social promotion. Only one of the schools
manages programs of pastoral guidance for post grade students.
Although the interviews are only an exploratory mechanism to have an idea of how Catholic
business schools in Latin America are working and the results obtained can not be generalized,
they do give light on the apparent divorce that exists between both the role and the mission that
the Church takes for granted from these schools and what they are doing concretely to achieve
those objectives. It seems that the evangelizers of culture will find it difficult to accomplish their
task for them, apparently, are the first ones who need to be evangelized.
Andrew V. Abela
At first glance, the Catholic faith does not appear to encourage the practice of marketing and its
encouragement of material consumption. For example, in Holy Scripture we read: “‘How hard it
is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Luke 18:24). St. Thomas Aquinas
wrote: “…trade in itself has a certain quality of baseness since it does not of its own nature
involve an honorable or necessary end.” (II-II, q. 77, a. 4). Yet Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical
letter Rerum Novarum, said that “when Christian morals are completely observed, they yield of
themselves a certain measure of prosperity to material existence” (#42). Is there such a thing as
a Catholic perspective on marketing?
The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges faced when teaching marketing in a
Catholic university. Specific considerations include: (i) how does one teach students to become
effective marketers without them promoting consumerism? (ii) What aspects of Catholic Social
Teaching are relevant to marketing? (iii) What are the implications of this teaching for
marketing, and can it be generalized for an audience that is not exclusively Catholic?
Pope Benedict XVI’s recent address to Catholic educators during his April 2008 visit to the
United States made clear just how high a standard all Catholic education should be held to, as the
following quotations from this address illustrate:
“First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the
living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth.”
“A university or school’s Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of
Catholic students. It is a question of conviction – do we really believe that only in the mystery of
the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22)? Are
we ready to commit our entire self – intellect and will, mind and heart – to God?”
“Yet we all know, and observe with concern, the difficulty or reluctance many people
have today in entrusting themselves to God. It is a complex phenomenon and one which I ponder
continually. While we have sought diligently to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we
have neglected the will.”
Catholic education cannot be “equated simply with orthodoxy of course content. It
demands and inspires much more: namely that each and every aspect of your learning
communities reverberates within the ecclesial life of faith.”
“When nothing beyond the individual is recognized as definitive, the ultimate criterion of
judgment becomes the self and the satisfaction of the individual’s immediate wishes.”
The Pope spoke of the importance of “‘intellectual charity,’” which “calls the educator
to recognize that the profound responsibility to lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act
of love. … [This] upholds the essential unity of knowledge against the fragmentation which
ensues when reason is detached from the pursuit of truth. It guides the young towards the deep
satisfaction of exercising freedom in relation to truth, and it strives to articulate the relationship
between faith and all aspects of family and civic life.”
The Pope also reaffirmed and qualified “the great value of academic freedom. In virtue
of this freedom you are called to search for the truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads
you. Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to
justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even
betray the university's identity and mission.”
According to Pope Benedict, as Catholic educators, we are called to foster our students’
encounter with Christ. But perhaps this call applies only to student life, and to their theology
classes. Can it really apply to the marketing curriculum? The quotes above would seem to
indicate that it should. As educators, we are called to commit our entire selves to God.
Presumably, our teaching and research efforts should proceed from this standpoint. The ecclesial
life of faith is to penetrate “each and every aspect” of our institutions—which does not admit of
an exception for the marketing discipline.
Is it really appropriate that marketing classes in a Catholic university be an occasion for students’
encounter with Christ? As unusual as this may sound, it is a plausible notion. First of all, in
non-academic settings there are several organizations and numerous texts ordered to promoting
exactly this. Groups like Legatus, Christians in Commerce, and the Catholic Business Network
attempt to promote their members growth in Christian faith within the marketplace. Numerous
trade books have been published on how to be a good Christian in the workplace. If this is
occurring in practice, then perhaps it is appropriate to reflect it in the theory we teach.
Second, even if one were reluctant to take such a stand in a marketing class, it would seem that
one could at least uphold as bare minimum avoiding the promotion of worldviews that are
actively hostile to the Christian worldview. In particular, our classes should demonstrate a rich
understanding of the consumer as a human person with integrated physical, mental, and spiritual
dimensions, all of which have to be respected by marketing activities.
Third, belief in Christ is in a certain sense necessary to provide a firm ground upon which to base
ethical judgments. As Nietzsche and more recently MacIntyre and Rorty have demonstrated,
absent the foundation of faith, there is no way to ground such judgments. While ethical theory
can propose what is the right thing to do, it cannot answer satisfactorily why it should be done.
(i) How does one teach students to become effective marketers without them promoting
One important issue that Catholic marketing educators have to grapple with is whether
marketing, as currently taught and practiced, promotes consumerism. The Church criticizes
consumerism for leading people to a materialistic, selfish existence, which does not promote true
human fulfillment. While there is no empirical evidence of a necessary causal connection
between marketing and consumerism, it is reasonable to assume, and anecdotal evidence
suggests, that certain types of marketing activities do in fact promote consumerism.
While historians have noted that the phenomenon of consumerism appears to arise whenever
material prosperity has occurred throughout history, there is something about the steady and
concomitant growth of consumerism and mass marketing over the past two centuries that
suggests that the two are closely interrelated, although perhaps in a way that is more intricate
than a simple causal relationship in either direction.
The Church’s criticism of consumerism is supported by empirical evidence of consumerism’s
harms. Victims of consumerism tend to have lower wellbeing than the general population, and
the spiritual harms of consumerism are likely to be even greater.
Of course consumerism is only one among many issues that have to be addressed to determine
how to approach teaching and research of marketing in a Catholic university. There are many
others, including very large questions such as what is the purpose of marketing; and what are the
benefits and harms of marketing to society? Each of these questions can be answered in ways
that build on Catholic teaching and are consistent with it, or in ways that contradict it.
(ii) What aspects of Catholic Social Teaching are relevant to marketing?
In working out the answers to these questions, the richness of Catholic Social Teaching is of
great assistance. At the Catholic University of America, we are working on a project to develop
a “Catechism for Business Executives.” In this project we are collecting relevant sources from
Catholic Social Teaching to respond to a list of 100 “difficult ethical questions faced by Catholic
executives,” developed through a series of interactions with Catholic business leaders, in
particular members of Legatus.
Some example questions, with associated quotations, include:
1. Are we morally obliged to maximize profits? In accepting investors’ money, are we
taking on the duty of making as much money as possible for them?
“The Church acknowledges the legitimate role of profit as an indication that a business is
functioning well” Centesimus Annus, 35
“.. the purpose of a business firm is not simply to make a profit, but is to be found in its
very existence as a community of persons who in various ways are endeavoring to satisfy their
basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society.” CA, 35
“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is
morally unacceptable.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2424
2. Do we have any obligation to pay staff anything beyond the market rate, in order for
them to receive a living wage? Is it moral to pay employees more than the market rate for the
sake of paying a living wage, if in doing so we would reduce the amount of profits that the firm
would earn otherwise?
“In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be
taken into account. ‘Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a
dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level,
taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the
common good.’ Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to
be received in wages.” CCC 2434.
“Let it be granted then that worker and employer may enter freely into agreements, and,
in particular, concerning the amount of the wage; yet there is always underlying such agreements
an element of natural justice, … that the wage shall not be less than enough to support a worker
who is thrifty and upright.” RN 63
3. Are there any moral obligations about where or how we should invest our firm’s
capital, beyond considerations of profitability? (E.g., in deciding where to build a new
manufacturing plant, should we allow any other considerations beyond what is going to reap the
most profit for the firm?)
“… even the decision to invest in one place rather than another, in one productive sector
rather than another, is always a moral and cultural choice. Given the utter necessity of certain
economic conditions and of political stability, the decision to invest, that is, to offer people an
opportunity to make good use of their own labor, is also determined by an attitude of human
sympathy and trust in Providence, which reveal the human quality of the person making such
decisions.” CA, 36
“Goods of production - material or immaterial - such as land, factories, practical or
artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest
number.” CCC 2404
“… whoever has received from the bounty of God a greater share of goods, whether
corporeal and external, or of the soul, has received them for this purpose, namely, that he employ
them for his own perfection and, likewise, as a servant of Divine Providence, for the benefit of
others.” Rerum Novarum, 36
One of the most useful guidelines from Catholic Social Teaching for marketing is from
Centesimus Annus, 36: “It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth,
beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors
which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.” In other words, rather than
leaving the determination of the value of particular needs and wants to the subjective evaluation
of consumers, the Church proposes the guidelines of truth, beauty, goodness, and communion
with others as a more objective measure of the value of the lifestyles promoted and facilitated by
(iii) What are the implications of this teaching for marketing, and can it be generalized for
an audience that is not exclusively Catholic?
How do we allow for the fact that some proportion of the marketing classroom in a Catholic
university will be non-Catholic? The Church recognizes that her teachings have to be intelligible
to those who do not share her fundamental assumptions. Accordingly, her social teachings in
particular—which by their (social) nature require collaboration with and acceptance by others in
a pluralistic society for their successful implementation, can be justified without requiring a
Christian foundation. What is required, however, is an understanding of the natural law as a
universally applicable framework.
Peggy Sue Loroz and J. Michael Stebbins
One of the stated purposes of this conference is “to provide practical curricular models and ideas
that reflect the mission and identity of business education at a Catholic university.” In this paper
we wish to present some approaches we have used to help undergraduate and graduate business
students integrate the mission values of a Catholic university into their way of thinking about the
field of marketing. Specifically, we describe several discussion topics that, in our view, are
useful for laying the groundwork for mission-driven marketing education. In addition, we
describe a few assignments that prompt students to reflect more deeply on marketing issues.
These discussions and assignments relate to understanding the general scope of business ethics
and the role of marketing in society, as well as to fostering students’ skill development in making
marketing decisions that are consistent with both Catholic values and business acumen. We
conclude this paper by sharing some challenges we have faced in our attempts to promote the
integration of mission and marketing education.
A prior issue: What is the scope of business ethics?
One of the obstacles that has to be overcome in teaching business ethics in mission-driven
schools is the common tendency to imagine that ethics has to do primarily with obeying laws.
Most of the attention that business ethics has received in recent years has been due to the
occurrence of large-scale, high-profile ethics scandals. In almost all of these cases, there was a
combination of law-breaking and grossly unethical behavior on the part of the perpetrators. The
public response to the scandals has been outrage, and Congress, the SEC, and other regulators
have scrambled to put in place a set of laws and regulations (with accompanying sanctions)
designed to present further scandals from occurring. Many companies have adopted codes of
ethics, appointed ethics officers or ombudsmen, and put various types of ethics training and
compliance measures in place. The primary focus of these efforts is to identify and prevent, or at
least substantially decrease the likelihood of, criminal or blatantly unethical activity.
This standard approach could be called an “ethics of compliance.” It views the goal of ethics as
getting people to follow laws and rules, and it usually relies on the fear of punishment as the
motive that will induce people to comply. The ethics of compliance is generally negative in tone:
“Don’t break the law, or else!” Compliance is a good and absolutely essential thing; but
restricting the meaning of “ethical conduct in business” to the avoidance of illegal or obviously
unethical activity hinders business people from seeing the full scope of their ethical obligations.
An ethics of compliance can be contrasted with a more demanding “ethics of surplus,” which
goes beyond compliance by recognizing the good of being generous with one’s extra resources.
Its motive is the desire to be generous, at least from time to time, or to “give back” to the
community. This is a praiseworthy approach. Nevertheless, it tends to encourage the notion that
being ethical is something extra that people are supposed to do once they’ve taken care of their
own needs. As a result, this approach can lull business people into thinking that if they’ve
complied with the law and been generous to a charity or some socially responsible cause, there
are no further challenges of ethical performance to meet.
But beyond an ethics of surplus is what Bernard Lonergan has called an “ethics of achievement.”
According to this approach, the goal of ethics is not just to avoid evil, nor even just to give one’s
extra resources to those who need them, but to add value in all situations and relationships. As
applied to business, being committed to an ethics of achievement means trying to view every
stakeholder relationship and every transaction as an opportunity for doing good by operating in
an intelligent and responsible way. This is not about spectacular gestures; rather, it’s a matter of
seeing ethics not as an “extra” but as an intrinsic component of business performance.
Students are asked to find and discuss examples of each of the three approaches to business
ethics. They usually discover that the approaches are not pure types, and that a number of
companies are operating in a way that indicates a “stretching towards” the standard of the ethics
of achievement. The goal of the assignment is for the students to realize not only that an ethics of
achievement is compatible with the needs of a successful business, but also that it connects with
their own desire for good in a deeper and more direct way than the other two approaches to
business ethics.
What is marketing’s role in society?
Marketing and Society Reflection Paper
In their 1999 article, “Marketing’s Contributions to Society,” Wilkie and Moore illuminate the
breadth of the impact of marketing on the daily life of consumers as well as on the aggregate
economic system. This assignment stems from the perspective offered in that work. Students are
asked to consider the effects of new products on society by reflecting on a product (or service)
developed roughly in their lifetimes that has actually made their lives better or has changed how
they live in some significant way. (Parents’ lives and lifetimes may also be included to broaden
the set of products that students choose.) They also consider both the positive and negative social
and cultural ramifications of the widespread use of these products in order to recognize the
importance of marketing in modern life. This assignment works best when given early in the
course, and when preceded by a fairly lengthy class discussion in which students examine a few
examples (e.g., cell phones, microwaves, and automobiles) as a group to facilitate their thinking
about the ways that a product can actually change a society. In particular, this discussion serves
well as a lead-in to a unit on ethics because it helps students appreciate the fact that marketing
often involves making decisions that can dramatically impact society, even when no clear ethical
dilemma is present.
Discussion of Society’s Perception of Marketers
Every year since 1976, Gallup has conducted a poll on the ethics and honesty of various
professions, and the results are publicized each December. Perhaps not surprisingly, marketing,
advertising, and sales professionals rank near the very bottom of the list each year (along with,
but even lower than, business executives, lawyers, and politicians in the most recent poll).
Presenting these results in class creates an opportunity for students to consider the factors that
contribute to society’s unfavorable view of the marketing field. Furthermore, the professor can
initiate a meaningful classroom discussion on professional duties and get students thinking about
their future careers and what role they, as graduates of a Catholic business school, might play in
changing the practices that give rise to these perceptions.
How can we help students develop skills to make mission-consistent marketing decisions?
Bernard Lonergan’s model of authentic knowing and deciding
This model, which students can validate on the basis of their own experience, helps people focus
on the specific activities of the mind and the heart that lead to good decisions, and learn to
identify internal and external obstacles that tend to prevent them from performing those activities
effectively. Those activities are paying attention to data, exploring in order to understand,
verifying the correctness of one’s understanding, and deliberating/deciding. These activities can
be mapped as a pair of loops, one devoted to diagnosing situations, the other to planning how to
deal with situations. Each loop is essentially a pattern of questions and answers that occur
spontaneously in any person who is seriously trying to solve a problem and do the right thing. In
other words, Lonergan’s model purports to be an accurate description of what human beings do
when they are at their best. It provides a template for helping people avoid decision failures of
the type discussed in Paul C. Nutt’s book, Why Decisions Fail: Avoiding the Blunders and Traps
That Lead to Debacles.
If one is oriented to the ethics of achievement, trying to do good with one’s business insofar as it
is possible, then making good decisions – decisions that don’t waste resources of time, energy,
money, and so on – is crucial. Students can be given exercises in which they use Lonergan’s
model to evaluate their own experience of situations in which they did a better or worse job of
learning, problem-solving, or reaching a decision. In doing so, they discover typical obstacles –
some external, some internal – that they encounter in getting around the loops. The students then
are asked to identify steps they could take to diminish the influence of those obstacles.
Consumer Sovereignty Test. Craig Smith’s 1995 article, “Marketing Strategies for the Ethics
Era,” outlined the Consumer Sovereignty Test as a practical tool for making ethical decisions in
marketing. This framework proposes three dimensions that marketing managers must consider in
order to achieve ethical outcomes in their marketing decisions. The first is consumer capability,
which considers whether consumers are vulnerable with respect to any aspect of the current
decision context, perhaps due to factors such as age, education, experience, income, etc. In order
to remain on the “right” side of the ethics line, marketers must ensure that consumers remain
sovereign by not taking advantage of consumers’ vulnerabilities. The second dimension is
information, which concerns whether consumers have adequate information to make a good
decision in a given situation. Marketers must ensure consumer sovereignty by not deceiving or
misleading consumers but also by not withholding information which consumers would need to
adequately judge whether their expectations will be met by the good or service about which they
are deciding. The third dimension is choice, which considers whether consumers truly have more
than one alternative about what to buy or from whom to buy in the present decision context, or
whether their options are constrained by lack of competition or switching costs. Marketers must
ensure consumer sovereignty by not seeking to eliminate consumers’ abilities to take their
business elsewhere if one provider’s goods or services are not desirable or if any aspect of a
transaction leaves them dissatisfied.
This three-point test provides students with a fairly simple way of analyzing the ethical
dimensions of any decision about marketing to consumers. In addition, the Consumer
Sovereignty Test framework can also be combined with a traditional stakeholder analysis to
examine how other stakeholders (e.g., employees, shareholders, community) might be impacted
by a marketing decision. If students are familiarized with this framework early in the term, it can
be used throughout the rest of the course to examine potential ethics pitfalls in marketing
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Advertising Assignment
The social and ethical criticisms of advertising are numerous: it promotes materialism, it
encourages impossible standards of beauty, it reinforces negative stereotypes, it preys on
consumers’ insecurities, it takes advantage of the vulnerability of children and other groups, it is
distasteful and undermines standards of decency, etc. On the other hand, some companies have
taken the lead in trying to counter some of these criticisms with their advertising efforts. For
example, Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” has tried to take a proactive approach in building
the self-esteem of women and girls by featuring images of ordinary women rather than models,
and by actively promoting positive and affirming messages. After a class discussion of both the
criticisms of advertising and its impact on society, and of some of the general benefits of
advertising and examples of positive campaigns, students are given an assignment to find and
write about three ads: one Good, one Bad, and one Ugly. Bad and Ugly ads are those that serve
as examples of the approaches that are the target of many social and ethical criticisms of
advertising: Bad ads perpetuate problems, and Ugly ads go beyond that to being offensive. In
contrast, Good ads are those that proactively counter one or more of the criticisms; that is, Good
ads don’t just fail to offend or perpetuate problems, they promote positive images and meanings.
For each ad chosen, students write a commentary in which they thoughtfully discuss the ad and
its implications. The objective of the assignment is to help students learn to recognize the
underlying messages present in the advertising that consumers are exposed to each day, and at
the same time to raise their awareness of advertising that rises above the “lowest common
denominator.” Hopefully, those who pursue careers in this field will think about these concrete
examples and hold themselves responsible for their own contributions to advertising’s
conversation with consumers.
For further discussion: What are the challenges in integrating mission-related material into
marketing courses?
1. It is difficult to address the problems of materialism and over-consumption (e.g., the value
placed on having more over being more, the threats to the environment from over-consumption),
particularly in the context of a marketing manager’s objectives, which may be contrary to these
concerns (e.g., to maximize sales). And more broadly, how does a professor get students to
notice a blind spot that is shared by so much of our culture?
2. How can we help marketing managers incorporate the “preferential option for the poor” in
their strategic decisions? Talking about this issue in the context of the ethics of achievement
rather than the ethics of surplus might help, but it is difficult to get managers to think about this
issue on a regular basis, especially in view of the reigning “shareholder view” of the purpose of
3. Faculty members often are not clear as to whether they should specifically discuss “Catholic
social teaching” rather than taking a more general “common good” approach that does not rely
on explicit Catholic tenets. Many faculty members feel that they are already being asked to
stretch beyond their comfort zones in addressing ethical or normative issues, which seems to
them a violation of the idea that in the classroom, teachers should generally remain neutral with
respect to value questions.
4. The fact that there is a scattershot approach to ethics in many business schools makes it
difficult to deal with ethics in any depth. Students come with different levels of ethical awareness
and education, and most business curricula either do not weave ethics throughout their courses in
a systematic, integrated way, or else they offer a stand-alone business course that comes
relatively late in the sequence and does not connect organically with what faculty in various
departments are doing to cover ethics topics in their particular courses.
Quentin Dupont, S.J.
In his book On Ethics an Economics, Economics Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen points back to
two origins of economics. On the one hand, the “engineering” side is systematic and quantitative.
On the other hand, the “ethics” side is characterized by its qualitative features and its normative
function. Sen goes on to explain that the latter side has been abandoned, leaving economics to be
a purely quantitative science, uprooted from moral systems of good and bad, and even attention
to needs. Utility and the rule of “limitless wants” centered on the individual have trumped what
some may call solidarity and communal well-being.
The discipline of finance, which is a sub-set of economics, illustrates very well Sen’s description
of economics as a quantitative science. Like Sen’s call for a reappropriation of ethics in
economics, our goal is to allow for an ethically-grounded discipline of finance. One way to
implement the necessary changes in finance might be that of business schools in Catholic
universities, since Catholic moral thought is grounded in a rather unified tradition (Catholic
social teaching), and change can be implemented under the banner of the common mission of all
Catholic schools. We will offer three ways in which Catholic business school might reform their
finance curricula in order to introduce ethics in the discipline of finance.
I. The Discipline of Finance and the Need for its Reform.
A. An Overview of Finance Through Finance Curricula.
a. The Importance of Finance Today.
Finance can be broadly defined as the science of managing monetary inflows and outflows of
institutions and individuals. It is usually divided into two branches: investments—the allocation
of money into financial instruments and their valuation—and corporate finance—the
management of resources and needs of money in companies. Usually, the goal of finance can be
stated as maximizing monetary value for the agent, by investing money in the most profitable
way or borrowing it at the lowest cost. The framework of finance, thus, is a utilitarian-based
comparison of projected qualitative costs and benefits.
In the past decades finance has become such an important part of the economy in the world, and
especially in the U.S. Moreover, the contribution of the financial sector has been growing very
strongly since the end of World War II. In a recent article, finance professor Thomas Phillipon
writes: “over the past 60 years, the value added of the U.S. financial sector has grown from 2.3%
to 7.7% of GDP.” This shows the growing importance of financial services in the economy,
relative to manufacturing, which contribution to the GDP has been cut in half between 1947 and
b. The Need for Reform.
Catholic ethicist Daniel Finn, in his book The Moral Ecology of Markets, shows that the
proponents of “laissez-faire” capitalism (promoted by members of the “Austrian school,” or the
“Chicago school”) contradict themselves in rejecting the moral aspect of economics. For, Finn
argues, in their systems, such thinkers still assume some sort of moral order and discipline, at
least that individuals will obey laws and behave rationally. There is, then, an implied sense of
normativity and morality imbedded in the systems even of those economists who are the most in
favor of an exclusive “engineering” take on economics. This is to say, in turn, that these systems
cannot, and do not in practice, reject the ethical claim that Sen labels the primary origin of
economics, dating from Aristotle’s “concern with wealth,” preceding the domination
mathematical developments in economics of the nineteenth century onward. For Finn, then,
morality is an integral part of any economic system. Partisans of the “laissez-faire” capitalist
system cannot, therefore, dismiss moral claims concerning justice, distributive or otherwise, on
the ground that these are irrelevant to the market system.
c. What Kind of Reform?
How shall financed be reformed? Finn’s description of the “laissez-faire” schools shows us that
economics, strictly perceived, are blind to the need to consider ethics. Michael Naughton and
Helen Alford, on the other hand, underline the fact that religious sentiment and professional
practice can, and must, come together in order to offer an integrated life for women and men in
the workforce. Religion, and the practice of religious ethics in the workplace, thus seems to be
key to offer an ethically-grounded practice of finance.
The religious argument for a morally based economics/finance entails a stronger claim than
Sen’s argument in On Ethics and Economics. Catholic developments on the topic, based on
natural law and a sense of rights and duties inspired in creation and demanded by God, aim at a
universal claim for the duty of pursuing justice in the world, be it economic or otherwise. This
point might be disputed by non-believers. However, as Paul Knitter wrote, “the mind cannot bear
the suffering of others” such as the sight of a child falling in a well. Underneath human desire to
achieve and to dominate, there is a natural desire to wish the good not just of oneself but also of
others. There seems to be, therefore, a solid basis for the claim that human beings are more built
for solidarity than they are for fierce and ruthless competition, ultimately.
B. Finance Through Finance Curricula.
a. How to Reform Finance?
Current practitioners of finance (bankers, traders, corporate financial managers, scholars
developing valuation models, etc.) are already part of a system with processes and goals well in
place. Arguably, therefore, the most effective way to introduce change may be by changing the
formation of young people learning about finance. If teachers can integrate ethical considerations
into finance curricula as part and parcel of the overall discipline, then learners and practitioners
of finance are much more likely to adopt moral and ethical views not just in their private lives
but also at work. But are not business schools already taking into account the ethical side of
finance, especially in side of the Enron scandal and all the financial scandals have arisen ever
b. Assessing the Current State of Finance Curricula: A Sample.
In order to practically gauge the extent to which business schools take the above-mentioned
ethical side of economics into account in their finance courses, the best immediate way is to
sample some course syllabi, and to study course outlines and objectives. To give a limited but
fair view of the current state of finance courses, we have taken a sample of three schools. These
business schools chosen are the ones at New York University (Stern), at the University of
California at Berkeley (Haas), and at the University of Notre Dame (Mendoza). This sample
allows for a double cross-section of business schools in the United States. First, it provides a
geographical diversity, which should allow us to detect regional differences and concerns about
finance, if those existed. Second, and maybe more importantly, these schools provide an
overview of different types of university systems. U.C. Berkeley is a stellar public university;
N.Y.U., the largest private university in the country, is a non-denominational private school;
Notre Dame is a private school with an explicitly Catholic mission.
In studying the course outlines and objectives of the syllabi previously mentioned, we notice
immediately their similarity. It seems, then, that the institutional nature of the university (public
vs. private, denominational vs. non-denominational) has little, if any, impact in the material
students first encounter with regard to finance. Moreover, there is no mention of the ethical
component of finance. Finance is presented as a purely quantitative discipline. The fact that
students in finance are presented the discipline as one that is solely a matter of “engineering” can
only leave unquestioned the lack of consideration towards the other, and especially the poor, or
the less knowledgeable. This has also proved problematic for financial institutions themselves:
considering the fact that balance sheet write-downs for banks due to the subprime-mortgage
crisis are estimated total $285 billions as of March 2008, we may not have such a hard time
convincing finance executives of the need for reform!
II. A Moral-Based Finance Curriculum in Catholic Business Schools.
A. The Potential For Change in Catholic Schools.
a. Catholic Social Teaching in Catholic Education
Catholic institutions of higher education in the U.S. are eager to claim their religious heritage,
both in their mission statements and through various requirements for students: philosophy and
theology are often part of the curriculum, and some classes require community service. These
requirements reflect an understanding of a “Catholic” education as rooted in certain intellectual
traditions and values such as the concrete love for the neighbor, now expressed more specifically
as “the preferential option for the poor.” Catholic universities around the country are successful
in recruiting students and contribute a significant percentage of college graduates each year. This
gives Catholic education a powerful ability to change the views of many young people.
b. Integrating Moral Values Throughout The Curriculum and in Life
It is the duty of Catholic schools to educate students in a way that reflects the values of the
Gospel. If a Catholic university decides to have and maintain a business school, it must then
teach the curriculum at this school in a way that reflects this commitment to the Gospel and to its
developments in the social doctrine of the Church. If one were to attempt to persuade businessschool cynics about this, one could argue in terms of marketing. Catholic universities sell a
product with a “brand”, Catholic education, that claims a certain difference vis-à-vis public or
other types of private schools. This in turn, for parents and presumably students, create certain
expectations with regard to the characteristics of this education. In order to continue to attract
parents and students to their “product,” Catholic educators must live up to the promises of their
specificity and teach in a way that is, specifically but not exclusively, Catholic.
Our claim, as we have shown with the help of Sen and Finn, is broader than this argument.
However, considering the resistance that some faculty, staff, parents and students oppose to a
“thick” Catholic identity to our universities, one might need to satisfy these critics with the
argument given above! Let us now see how we can implement changes towards ethically
grounded finance curricula.
B. Processes of Change
a. Teaching For the Mission.
Mission statements are now a standard in Catholic universities and they tend to be articulated by
each college of the university. This explicit definition of what a given university—and
specifically its school of business—stands for is helpful to allow faculty and staff to work
towards a common goal. Mission statements are usually written in a way that allows people from
different religious and cultural backgrounds and beliefs to partake in the mission.
A desire to contribute to the mission of the school and of the university, we contend, should be
an essential factor not only in the hiring of new faculty and staff, but also in their daily work. For
teachers, this means planning course objectives and syllabi in a way that promotes the mission of
the school and the university. Faculty and staff should not be constrained to do so, but should be
invited to contemplate the greater purpose of higher education, the explicit Catholic label of the
education they help provide, and the implications of this specific education for teaching and
research, and the way one carries out one’s work as an agent of education in the school.
b. Foster Critical Thinking Rooted in the Moral Dimension.
The Catholic moral system—based on the tradition of the natural law and on theological
developments—promotes the dignity of all human beings and the preferential option for the
poor. This view of moral duties towards others, and especially towards the poor, must be
adequately communicated to teachers, and then to students. The moral character properly
imbedded into finance, but often time concealed by financial “engineers” for their own material
profit and “peace” of mind, must be an explicit part of education in finance. Students must be
taught about the necessary moral hypotheses and consequences of financial decisions. Teachers
must aim at making both sides of this same dimension more explicit into their own research and
reflection. A Catholic finance teacher at a Jesuit institution with whom I talked said “I don’t
know how to teach finance without stating that the goal is to maximize shareholder value.” This
causes us to wonder: can research help find a way in which to include ethical assumptions into a
maximization model?
c. Presenting the Ethical as Professional Practice.
Teachers must learn to balance the precise and clear-cut “engineering” side of finance
(equations, problem solving, etc), with the qualitative and sometimes not obvious ethical, or
moral side. Students must be taught to take into consideration the human element in measuring
the consequences of their acts as future professionals. Lay-offs are not just a way to reduce a
firm’s costs. They also dramatically impact lives. The same goes for providing employees with
benefits, or stripping these benefits away. The consequences of the financial goal of
“maximization of the stock price” for the firm must also be thought about by students.
Finance practitioners trained in Catholic business programs will be questioned on the need for
ethics in their business. They must be prepared to respond, and must also learn to question others
about it. They must feel the need to ask a CEO guest lecturer about his or her views on ethics in
business and financial decisions. They must be able to ask a fund-manager about “responsible
investment” policies. In order to do this, students must know their subject matter and what is at
stake. Teachers must teach them not simply a way to solve problems, but a methodology to raise
issues in both the engineering and the ethical aspects of finance, search for information, and
properly ask questions. Employees, firms, and the business world in general, then, can gain from
a morally grounded practice of finance. Educators of the executives and managers of tomorrow
must be able to effectively communicate this message, and train students to be articulate,
sensible, and sensitive business people.
This study has sought to advance a perspective seemingly absent in the world of finance: that
decisions are not just a matter of efficiency and bottom-line, but also—dare we say rather—an
issue of people, and ethics. Finance has become one of the major fields of work today. It has
dramatic impacts on all sorts of other businesses and their employees, and the economy in
general, as the current economic crisis shows. The call for reform in economics, from a Nobelprize winner such as Sen, and from scholars rooted in different religious traditions, shows that
the subject matter treated here is not just limited to Catholic concerns. However, given the
importance of Catholic education in the world and in the U.S. in particular, Catholic business
schools can be a key tool in this reform. Ethically-grounded finance curricula in Catholic
business schools can be a powerful source of improvement in the practice of finance and in
economics in general.
We have offered three main ways through which Catholic business school can start to reform
finance curricula, and through this, the world of finance and economics. The first step is to make
faculty and staff aware of the need for reform, and of their duty to broadcast this need as
educators in a Catholic school rooted in a mission that encompasses a commitment to justice and
betterment of the world. The second step is to make ethical theory a key point of the teaching in
business school, including in disciplines that would seem to be exclusively relying on issues of
“engineering” such as finance. In such disciplines, attention to ethics remains essential,
especially in educating students for decision-making. The third step, then, is one of emphasizing
the practical aspect of ethics in financial decision making, by allowing students to consider and
discuss ethical issues in the classroom.
These ideas are a basis for dialogue, and would need to be adapted to particular conditions of
different business schools. This study offers, nonetheless, a base for discussion on the reform of
finance education, starting in Catholic business schools, but ultimately aimed at reforming the
practice of finance and business throughout the world.
Adrian M. Cowan
Traditionally Catholic social thought is seldom linked with business education in a direct way.
The proliferation of student managed portfolios at universities throughout the U.S. and the world
represent a significant opportunity to correct this. The management of investment portfolios
allows professors at Catholic universities to directly link Christian values into the experiential
learning process. Although the importance of the educational opportunities of student managed
portfolios in the development of professional competencies has recently been recognized (Siam
2005), this is the first paper to investigate the importance of the opportunities presented by
student managed portfolios for the development of tomorrow’s ethical leaders.
As a Catholic Marianist University, our goal is not simply to educate, but to educate for the
formation of faith. A Business School must embrace this mission as fully as every other school
on campus. If discussions of faith are limited to the classrooms of religious studies, we will not
prepare students who are confident in their faith to go forward and become examples of Christ’s
love in this world. Student managed portfolios create a natural avenue for the integration of
Catholic Social Thought in the Business School. Socially responsible investing adds a
dimension to portfolio management courses, while still requiring students to maintain the rigor
necessary to adequately evaluate the financial soundness of an investment. It introduces an
experiential learning that incorporates Catholic values in each decision.
The socially responsible investment guidelines, as set forth by the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops, provide a very natural integration for professors seeking to provide students with an
ethical context in an investment course. However, it is not totally sufficient as it does not
provide a complete roadmap between overarching goals and investment policies. For example,
the USCCB investment policies state, “The Conference will, therefore, avoid investment in firms
primarily engaged in military weapons production or the development of weapons inconsistent
with Catholic teaching on war.” However, “primarily engaged” is not defined. Ultimately, there
are many practical instances in which students must seek to determine the “correct action.”
Additional resources are incorporated in the decision process to give direction when the USCCB
guidelines are vague or silent. These include the socially responsible investment guidelines of
the Society of Mary, the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Bible. All of this invigorates
the discussion in student managed portfolio courses and causes students to wrestle with their
faith when there is sometimes a conflict between a possible financial gain and social welfare.
If business schools at Catholic universities are to educate students who will incorporate values in
their thinking, it is imperative that their students are provided with opportunities to do so while
in school. Ethics courses may allow the students to practice evaluating ethics through a myriad
of ethics cases. In contrast, student managed funds require value decisions that have actual
consequences for students. Consistent with Rundel and Steffen (2003), we need to empower our
students by allowing them to understand their financial vocation. Student managed portfolios
present the opportunity to engage in experiential learning that according to Kolb (1984) can
result in the student making the link between theory and action. In the case in question, we are
concerned with the ability to link values and financial concepts and decisions. It is the very
process of making investment decisions and reflecting on these decisions that promotes an
expression of faith in the daily lives of the students. Students can extend that experience to other
financial vocations outside of investment portfolio management.
A Framework for Faith Consistent Investing
Socially responsible investing is, in fact, an outgrowth of Christian, ethical investing. Quakers
screened business partners and refused to do business with companies engaged in slave trading,
alcohol, gambling, or tobacco. The Pioneer Fund Group established the first religious
investment screen in 1928. The fund had a negative screen for firms involved in tobacco or
alcohol. Numerous mutual funds now have screens that include Catholic social teaching with
both positive and negative screens. The following are excerpts from the websites of two such
“Ave Maria Mutual Funds are designed specifically for morally responsible investors who are
looking for financially sound investments in companies that do not violate core teachings of the
Catholic Church5.”
“The LKCM Aquinas family of no-load funds has two missions: To achieve its investment
objectives (profits) and to promote Catholic family values as outlined by the United State
Conference of Catholic Bishops’ investment guidelines.6”
The university can thus draw upon the experience of the investment community to support
financial vocations in the business school. As a result, several opportunities exist for the
integration of Catholic social thought into a student managed portfolio. First, students can
examine their beliefs relative to each investment decision. Second, students can become active
shareholders for the promotion of a common good. And third, students can become involved in
direct community investments. Given the relative infancy of our program, St. Mary’s currently
engages its students in the first opportunity. However, there is no reason that a university
program should be limited in this respect.
We use three basic references to frame our socially responsible investment criteria. We
originally selected the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Investment Guidelines but found
that these guidelines were silent on several issues that we encountered. Thus, our socially
responsible investment guidelines are directed through reference to the following:
¾ U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Investment Guidelines
¾ Guidelines for Socially Responsible Investments established by the Marianist
Province of the United States
¾ Catholic Church Teachings and the Bible
We challenge the students enrolled in the student managed portfolio course to engage on a
rigorous path of financial and social critique. Such a course would not be functional in a
business school and serve the mission of the business school if it did not require excellence in the
financial aspect as well as the socially responsible aspect. It is the integration of the two and the
maintenance of high academic standards that will sustain the program over the long run.
The course is a small group, experiential approach to learning. The goal is to stimulate higher
level learning through reflection and conceptualization as discussed by Kolb (1984). Catholic
values and teachings are introduced in a method that parallels the way asset management firms
incorporate social screens to define a socially responsible approach. We utilize a top down
approach to investment management. Given the time commitment required to continually
monitor the portfolio and the markets, we find that team teaching the course is the best
alternative. It also provides additional support for students in an environment in which they
make decisions that have actual consequences. The professor(s) serves as a facilitator for the
discussion. Although professors may guide the conversation, the decisions belong to the
students to engender stewardship.
The students strive to invest in a faith-consistent manner within the context of the socially
responsible investment standards in a complex world with many shades of grey. We have
discovered that supporting financial vocations in the business school through a faith-based
student managed portfolio course is more complicated than it appears on the surface. Once we
began to implement the approach, we encountered difficulties in standards, difficulties in faith,
and difficulties in purpose through the integration of faith and finance.
Difficulties with Standards
Many of these guidelines make it difficult to invest in particular industries, many of which would
be considered target industries for other funds. An excellent example of this is the
pharmaceutical industry that includes firms that develop the “morning after” pill or the
healthcare industry that includes hospitals that perform abortions. As a result, students struggle
with concepts of materiality and best in class.
Materiality seeks to answer the question of how important is the activity to the overall operations
of the firm. For example, if 50% of a firm’s revenues are derived from weapons sales, it is easy
to conclude that this is a material aspect of operations. However, what if the proportion is 10%
or 5%? And given that all students will not have the same opinion of what constitutes
materiality, this can lead to heated debates.
These investment policy guidelines also establish dilemmas of their own. Perhaps the best
example of this is the provision of same sex partner health benefits by firms. The Christian
mutual funds typically place a negative screen on same sex partner health benefits. This includes
the Ave Maria Mutual Funds. The thought is that by providing this insurance, corporations are
promoting gay lifestyles and working against the traditional family. However, the socially
responsible investment guidelines of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Marianist
investment guidelines are both silent on this issue. Thus, a deeper understanding of Catholic
Social Thought was required by the students to reach a decision. Articles by Catholic bishops
throughout the United States appear to be clear that Catholics should not support “domestic
partner benefits.” The students struggled with discrimination versus promotion of acts that the
Catholic Church would teach are immoral. Theresa Notare wrote a thoughtful piece on the
treatment of homosexuality in 2000. Her reflective summary was as follows:
We need to read scripture with minds and hearts open so that we might truly know
what God is saying to us. Homosexual men and women can never have a marriage in the
biblical sense, but they are our brothers and sisters who deserve respect as children of
God, and human rights accorded on the basis of our humanity.
Students are not always satisfied with an outcome born from this tension. Having guidelines will
not always provide easy answers or even answers at all. The students are left to struggle with
their faith and their understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches as right and wrong.
Differing Faiths
There are numerous challenges to promoting critical awareness and thinking, while at the same
time maintaining the teachings of the Catholic faith. Many of our students and faculty are not
Catholic or Christian. But the Judeo Christian teachings that find their foundation in the Bible
are applied more generally as Jesus stated in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what
you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Although this
approach to life can begin the conversation, it cannot always bring consensus among those of
differing faiths. For example, the restriction against usury interest in the Koran cannot easily be
accommodated in a student managed portfolio unless a majority of the students agree that such a
restriction should apply. It is always possible to add an investment screen, but it is not always
possible to get a consensus.
It is the fact that students and educators at Catholic business schools differ in faith that makes the
Catholic investment guidelines a critical tool for implementation. It is these guidelines that give
our conversations context and a strong foundation within the student managed portfolio course.
The students recognize that they have a fiduciary responsibility that is both moral and financial.
Although there are many points to argue within the guidelines, the guidelines provide a
safeguard against venturing outside the Catholic faith. And if the guidelines are silent, then we
review Catholic Social Teachings and the Bible and then allow the democratic process to dictate
the outcome. Although it is certainly not a perfect solution, it actually has a pedagogical value in
that students must grapple with a fiduciary responsible that may be in conflict with their personal
feelings. It is important for students to grow in their ability to apply and even question their
faith. The student managed portfolio course provides a safe haven for this conversation.
Engaging Community to Promote Successful Business Students
St. Mary’s University as a whole is engaged in and committed to the process of the student
managed portfolio. Developing future leaders requires not only faculty committed to a mission
driven business school, but the university and business community engaged in the process.
Without the support of the mission from the university, we would not be able to accomplish our
goals of building ethical leaders. And by drawing in and building relationships with the
investment community, the student managed portfolio course infuses both breadth and depth in
the program as well as creating future opportunities for the students.
Alford and Naughton (2001) argue for the importance of community in the development of
The development of virtue, which is learning to use good means toward good ends,
does not come about automatically, nor does it develop through solitary introspection.
Neither does practical intelligence, our ability to recognize ends as ends and to connect
them with means as means, reach the realm of virtue. There remains the task of realizing
the connection in ourselves, and developing that realization into a stable tendency to act
in one way rather than any other.
It is by embracing a common vision as a community that a business school can be a place of
transformation for our students. This community includes the students themselves and the
faculty, but goes beyond to the larger community who will continue to engage our students long
after they leave the business school.
Lessons Learned and Potential Improvements
The idea of community is important in Catholic social thought; i.e., the sense that we are part of
a larger whole and that it is important to work together toward the common good. Extending the
faith-based investing to universities that share this common belief would seem to be an important
way to spread the vision. Villanova University has been a pioneer of socially responsible
investing in a student portfolio. Dayton University, our sister university, provides an incredible
impact on students by sponsoring the RISE Conference each year. Perhaps there is a way to
develop a forum for faith-based investing specifically. It would not only strengthen the
programs within each university, but also strengthen the sense of community between Catholic
universities who share a common vision.
The student managed fund at St. Mary’s is quite new. Whereas others have identified the
importance of local support for university trading centers, such as Siam (2005), it should be
equally important to engage the local business community in a program that is faith-based.
National organizations, such as the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility, as well as
local organizations, such as the Socially Responsible Investment Forum in San Antonio, Texas,
provide opportunities for student involvement beyond the classroom. Perhaps even more
importantly, local businesses desire to find ethical leaders for the next generation of
management. Given that businesses have a demand for such individuals, it is not difficult to
believe that they would support such an endeavor. Without job outlets and a hope of future
employment for our students, all the experiential training will be wasted.
We are very excited as we look forward to continued growth and development. Our students
have great potential; and as educators in Catholic business schools, we have a great opportunity.
Student managed portfolios present the opportunity for universities and colleges to “educate for
the formation in faith” in accordance with the Marianist Educational Tradition7. If we don’t
teach them to apply their faith, then we have failed in a basic tenet of the characteristics of a
Catholic and Marianist education; i.e., “to promote a faith-and-culture dialogue which
illuminates reality from the perspective of the gospel.” This article suggests only a few of the
opportunities and some of the difficulties with integrating Catholic social thought into a student
managed fund course. If we encourage our students to follow the gospel while at the same time
providing them with a superior education in finance, we will have fulfilled our mission of
educating for service, justice and peace.
September 27, 2007, Brother Eugene Frank, S.M., Blogspot – http://usamarianist.blogspot.com/2007/09/fivecharacteristics-of-marianist.html
Linda B. Specht∗
The Economy of Communion in Freedom (EoC) project, begun in 1991, represents an alternative
economic and business model founded on a vision of interpersonal and social relationships in
harmony with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. With over 750 businesses worldwide
and more than one hundred masters’ theses and doctoral dissertations on the subject, the project
also provides many opportunities for mission-driven curriculum development.
The EoC project began when Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement (the
“Movement”), urged its members in Brazil to form businesses that would help to relieve the
abject poverty that she witnessed there. It was her intent that the spirit and way of life of the
early Christians would be manifested in businesses that would be either formed or rededicated
according to a new set of priorities. Their “culture of giving” would be opposed to the “culture
of having” that is predominant in today’s world; and their profits, to be divided into three parts,
would be freely placed in common. The first part would go to people in need, helping them with
such basic necessities as food, clothing, medicine, and jobs. This would not be simply a
charitable endeavor, but a true communion of the many stakeholders of the business, which
would place the human person at its center. The second part of the profits would be reinvested in
the business to provide for sustainability and continued growth. Support for educational
programs intended to form new men and women in a culture of giving would be provided by the
third part of the profits. These practices would be a manifestation of love-agape, not only in the
distribution of profit, but more importantly in the relationships of love that would undergird the
businesses. Thus, communion—“an encounter of gratuity, the result of the love-agape lived by
two or more in reciprocity” (Bruni 2002)—would be the distinguishing characteristic of this
business model. The economic and relational life of the business would be based on Gospel
principles freely adopted by entrepreneurs.
At the time that the pilot project was announced by Lubich (1991a), members of the Movement
were already practicing a communion of goods to the extent that each freely chose to do so, and
to the extent that their various states of life permitted. The EoC project carries this initiative a
step further, into the realm of the marketplace. Thus, the EoC more closely resembles the
“classical Latin tradition” that viewed economic activity as an exercise of “reciprocal assistance
and friendship” (Bruni & Uelmen 2006), than it does the self-interest of the modern marketplace.
Lubich (1991b, 9) cites Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII 1891) and Centesimus Annus (Pope
John Paul II 1991) as inspirations for extending the Church’s teachings about social justice into
the realm of the EoC businesses.
It is from these convictions that the EoC was announced, with its emphasis on the right to private
property as a fundamental human right but, also, as a means to acquire goods so that they might
be used “to fulfill their universal destiny, to see—always in freedom—that all people and all
nations have their share of the world’s goods.” (Araujo 1991, 16) The model is founded on the
The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of John Mundell and Joan Duggan, board members of the North
American Association of the Economy of Communion, who assisted with suggestions, resources, and information regarding the
EoC project and the internship program
belief that resources “should not . . .be abused and destroyed but rather used for the good of all”,
with the caveat that “[a]ll of this has to be done in total freedom” (26). In this context, profit
cannot be a business’s sole objective. Rather, a business must be socially useful and the
individual person is not just a producer or consumer of products.
The inspiration for EoC businesses is grounded in a broader effort to live what has come to be
known as a ‘culture of giving’ (Gold 1996, 15; Gold 2004, 75). Lubich’s proposal was made
against the backdrop of the efforts of the Brazilian members of the Movement to meet the needs
of the materially poor in their own communities. Her proposal emerged not so much from a
deliberate effort to develop a new economic model, but as a response to the needs of the poor in
the community. The two principles that would govern these businesses would be “freedom in the
management of the firm and the sharing of resources in complete freedom” (113). Within a few
short years, a number of positive socio-economic aspects of these businesses were identified.
The EoC business guidelines (see Appendix) have continued to evolve, promoting communion
and reciprocity among the various stakeholders—management, employees, customers,
competitors, and the broader community. Ferrucci (1998a, 27) describes “a capital of
relationships” within and among the EoC businesses, “which cannot be measured in dollars and
cents.” It is a capital based on reciprocity, where needs and resources are shared freely (Araujo
1997, 7). By 2007, there were almost 800 businesses worldwide that followed the EoC
In their Background Paper, Naughton, et al (2007) call for a “profound integration [by Catholic
business schools (“CBS”)] of cultural and economic responsibilities.” They voice concern that
CBS have missed an opportunity to “develop faith and Catholic social thought in relation to
business,” lamenting that many programs lack a Catholic identity and may even contradict the
Church’s teaching. The EoC project, founded on the social teachings of the Catholic Church,
offers a response to these concerns. Central to the EoC model is the notion that love can and
should be an integral part of economic life (Lubich 1996). More recently, Cardinal Bertone
(2008), speaking at Chiara Lubich’s funeral, described the EoC project as “giving rise to a new
economic theory and praxis based on fraternity, for a sustainable development in favour of all”.
He called for its dissemination, praying that “the Lord grant that many scholars and economic
experts take on the economy of communion as a viable resource to shape a new shared world
order!” Although Chiara Lubich received two honorary doctorates in the field of economics as a
result of the EoC project, she has clearly stated that she was not thinking of economic theory
when she proposed it (Lubich 1999). The EoC developed from a charism, not from economic or
business theory. Unlike many business or economic models that are founded in theory and must
be tested in the “real world”, the inspiration for the EoC project emerged from a lived
spirituality, was immediately brought to life in the “real world”, and has since been the subject of
over one hundred master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. There are also a number of other
publications ranging from books (Gold 2004), descriptive and case-based articles (Ruggiu 2008,
http://www.edc-online.org/uk/testi.htm) to law review articles (Bruni & Uelmen 2006) and
systems analysis (Linard 2003). This availability of resources makes it possible to develop a
course of study in conformity with the Church’s social doctrine that is dynamic and appealing to
students, while providing them with a sound foundation for understanding the implications of the
EoC model for corporate governance and economics. A number of these resources are listed at
the Appendix to this paper. In addition, the classroom might be seen as a laboratory, wherein the
principles of an EoC business as they relate to collaboration and relationships might be applied.
A one hour business course was offered at Trinity University during spring 2008 on the subject
of “EoC: Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Values”. The goals of the course were as
• To encourage students to explore the role of business in our society
• To introduce students to the EoC project and its foundational concepts
• To provide students an opportunity to visit with executives of EoC
• To provide students an opportunity to learn more about internships
with EoC businesses
• To generate outcomes (course projects) that would promote awareness
of the EoC
In designing the course, care was taken to make the requirements reasonable for a one credit
hour course, yet provide opportunities for discussion and dialogue. Students were asked to
provide thoughtful reflections on assigned readings and were told that it was appropriate to raise
questions or disagree, but that courtesy and respect were of utmost importance. Central to this
aspect was the desire to model the “mutual support, respect, and trust” and the “open and honest
communications” of an EoC business. Topics that were central to their understandings and to the
questions posed included:
• development of the EoC from a religious perspective and the
integration of this perspective with business life
• distinctions between philanthropy and “communion” in which each
person gives and receives in equal dignity
• differences between corporate social responsibility and EoC
• principles that govern EoC businesses (for example, reciprocity vs.
• application of economic, legal, and system theories to the EoC model
• “real world” experiences of EoC businesses
One issue of importance to students that was approached with a bit of trepidation was the
question of whether the EoC model required that one be “religious”. This discussion was begun
in student postings and was one of the questions that would be asked of the EoC experts when
they visited during the sixth week of class. The visit with EoC executives also brought with it a
number of opportunities, including the possibility of further collaboration with another university
and the possibility of modeling collaborative behavior—the aspect of “communion”. The EoC
internship program continues in this vein, as it “aims at providing young people with a hands-on
educational laboratory for learning the fundamental ideals of solidarity and brotherhood within
the workplace” (Mundell 2008a).
Six principles of Catholic social teaching have been identified as critical to “any organization
claiming to be authentically human and consequently authentically Catholic” (John A. Ryan,
2008). As Paul VI put it, people today “listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if
[they do] listen to teachers it is because they are witnesses.” (Pope Paul VI 1975) Building on
this idea, the “witness” of how EoC businesses embody the core principles of Catholic social
teaching is proving to be an extraordinarily effective instrument to communicate the principles
themselves. The link between the principles of Catholic social teaching and EoC business
principles (see Appendix) is summarized below:
Human Dignity--the intrinsic worth of each human being “simply by virtue of his or her
existence as human”-- The EoC business places the human person at its center, building
reciprocal relationships where each person is a gift to the other. The introduction to the EoC
principles (see Appendix) calls for the behavior of owners and managers to “express their desire
to respect and value, at all times, the dignity of every human person both within and outside of
their businesses.”
The Common Good--promotion of the common good in the wider community, as well as within
the organization--EoC businesses are grounded in the “golden rule”, where each stakeholder
(within or outside the business) is treated as the decision-maker would like to be treated.
Considering relationships within and outside of the businesses, EoC businesses evaluate the
impact of their products and services based on the “well-being of intended customers”, fair
competition, and other aspects of “relationship capital”.
Subsidiarity—participation in decision-making and encouragement of creativity--EoC businesses
strive to “actively encourage innovation, creativity, responsibility, and planning in a participative
environment.” They focus on building “harmony in the working environment”, promoting the
development of “structures that foster teamwork and personal development” and fostering open
and honest communication within the organization.
Justice—just distribution of goods that meets needs and rewards contributions--For the benefit
of all employees, EoC businesses strive to provide “a competitive benefits package including
specific measures intended to help employees and their families in times of hardship”. The
businesses also address the quality of life and production.
Stewardship—effective use of resources, care for the environment, and sustainability—EoC
businesses strive to focus on ethical issues, quality standards and the impact of services or
products on their intended users, the production of safe and environmentally friendly products,
and the conservation of natural resources.
Solidarity with the poor—to promote dignity and provide opportunities through “solidarity”
rather than simply through philanthropy-- EoC businesses voluntarily share a portion of their
profits with those in need “in an atmosphere of mutual support and trust”, promoting a “culture
of giving”.
EoC businesses, at least as viewed from their stated purposes, may be deemed in conformance
with the description of an authentically human and, therefore, an authentically Catholic
organization. What then is required before this model can make a contribution to Catholic
business education?
Naughton et al (2007) identify four cultural dimensions for an integrating vision of Catholic
business education:
Integration of virtue and technique—“the integration of moral ends with the proper means of
business. . .[with students] ordering their skills and techniques toward the common good and
human development.” The EoC project has much to offer in this area, as illustrated by the EoC
principles, which do not leave sound business practices at the doorstep, but imbue these practices
with Gospel values. As a result, EoC businesses often experience the biblical “hundredfold”
when they choose to go against the current of conventional business practices. They sometimes
experience God’s providence in the form of “unexpected revenue, an unforeseen opportunity, the
offer of a new joint venture, the idea for a successful new product. . .”(Lubich 1999b) as a
manifestation of God’s loving intervention. Furthermore, the integration of virtue and technique
is evident in the shared experiences of EoC businesses, which engage in teleconferences on a
regular basis in order to share experiences and to assist one another. Students can be brought
into this shared experience through student memberships in EoC associations (with their
quarterly newsletters), through EoC speakers, and through various readings (see appendix).
Integration of faith and reason (extension of liberal arts)—“engage[ing] the business student in
the deeper questions of business:
the nature of the human person, property, and
work/profession; the difference between wants and needs; the role of business within society. . .”
The “culture of giving” of the EoC project has been studied from various liberal arts
perspectives; e.g., economics and psychology. Both its foundation, in the social doctrines of the
Church, and its practice offer opportunities to “personalize the meaning of business” and to
engage in a conversation of faith and reason. The aim of the EoC is to “transform from within
[the] usual business structures. . .establishing all relationships inside and outside the business in
the light of a lifestyle of communion.” (Lubich 1999b) Classroom projects not only give the
students an opportunity to integrate their “other” education with their business education, but can
serve as a vehicle for dialogue with other members of the university community.
Integration of faith and work—addressing the “divided life”--a compartmentalization of private
faith and public actions in professional life by introducing students to Catholic social tradition
and Catholic spiritual tradition. There are a number of contributions that the EoC project has to
offer in this area. The EoC project found its inspiration in the social doctrine of the Church and
its manifestation in the lives of those who have chosen to live the spirituality of unity. The very
principles of the EoC businesses find their source in the Gospel and call for a lived faith. Lubich
(1999b, 276) describes the linkage between the practices of EoC businesses and the “view of the
world that comes from [the] spirituality [of unity]”—with EoC business people striving “to make
this aspect of their life consistent with everything else they do.” She expresses the conviction
that it is “necessary to let the values we believe in shape every aspect of social life, and therefore
also economic life, so that it too can become a field of human and spiritual development.”
Business owners are able to participate in “schools”—short term programs held in many
different parts of the world—that help them to learn more and to grow in the EoC lifestyle.
Students are able to explore these connections through the numerous anecdotal articles, videos,
speakers, and internship experiences that provide a linkage between the faith and professional
life of EoC entrepreneurs.
Integration of business and the needs of the poor—forming students “to see the ‘expanding chain
of solidarity’ in which business operates, but not at the expense of its service as a business.”
With its genesis in the slums of Brazil and its goal of forming reciprocal relationships between
those in need and those with means of assistance, the EoC provides a model of solidarity
between businesses and all stakeholders—within the business, outside of the business, and with
the broader community. It has its foundation in the Church’s preference for the poor, but sees
those in need as brothers and sisters who also make a contribution in mutual love. Lubich
(1999b, 277) explains that the EoC “is not based upon the philanthropy of a few, but rather upon
sharing, where each one gives and receives with equal dignity in the context of a relationship of
genuine reciprocity.” The EoC is intended to be an outreach to the world where all people of
good will can work together to eradicate poverty, always being focused on the dignity of each
Christian E. Weber
I’m tired of looking at this whole business as if it were an interesting somethingor- other on a microscope slide.
Lathan Devers in Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov, published by
1. Introduction
This paper proposes a novel and practical model for teaching economic development to business
students. I will suggest that this new model reflects the mission and identity of business (and
economic) education at a Catholic university: Rather than simply teaching students about the
poorer countries and the problems which these countries and their citizens face, the pedagogical
model that I propose below involves business students in developing specific solutions to
poverty and other problems facing the poorer countries. I have already used this model twice to
teach economic development to MBA students, and am in the process of developing a version of
this course for undergraduate business students which I will offer during Summer, 2008.
Briefly, the approach suggested here differs from typical practice in teaching economic
development in the following way: Rather than structuring a course in economic development
around the usual list of topics found in most textbooks, I focus the course on alternative private
sector, business oriented approaches to reducing poverty or otherwise improving the lives of the
world’s poor. In addition, instead of the usual academic term paper, I require students to prepare
a “business plan” which focuses on a specific approach to alleviating poverty in a particular
place or on delivering specific, needed goods or services to the poor in a particular place. Thus,
the use of the word “entrepreneurial” in this paper’s title refers both to the fact that the approach
to teaching economic development which I prose below represents an important pedagogical
innovation (at least so far as I know), so that the approach itself is entrepreneurial, and also to the
fact that this approach requires business students to think entrepreneurially about solutions to
global poverty and efforts to provide needed goods and services to the world’s poorest people.
The idea is to help students develop private sector, business oriented approaches to poverty
The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 makes a case for offering a course or courses in
economic development to business students. Section 3 discusses the specific kind of course in
economic development which Catholic business schools should offer their students. Section 4
2. Teaching Development Economics to Business Students: Why?
Why should business students take a course or courses in economic development? In most
programs, they already have to take a wide variety of courses in accounting, finance,
management marketing, operations management, business law, managerial economics,
quantitative methods, etc. Why offer economic development as well?
There are at least two primary reasons:
First, courses in economic development, with their strong emphasis on learning about and
helping the world’s poorest citizen and countries, are uniquely aligned with my understanding of
the mission of Catholic business education, and particularly with the Catholic Church’s emphasis
on the preferential option for the poor. While it may be possible to gear any (or perhaps almost
any) business course to emphasize ethical behavior, the triple bottom line, just treatment of
employees, customers, and other stakeholders, etc., I can think of no course which so easily and
obviously fits with the mission of educating students so that they can work toward creating a
more just world. Nor can I think of a more pressing or important topic for business students to
study than how they might use their skills and education to contribute to global efforts to combat
poverty and improve the lives of the poor.
The second reason, which is intimately connected with the first, is that by virtue of their training,
business students, especially MBA students, are uniquely qualified to take concrete actions
specifically aimed at improving the human condition in the material-economic sense. As I spell
out below, the particular economic development course I have developed tries to motivate
business students to use their skills and training for the benefit of others in need and provides
students with preparation for this vocation which goes beyond what they receive in traditional
business courses. Who is better prepared than an MBA student to take on leadership in the life
and death tasks of delivering vital goods and services to the poor and helping them to pull
themselves up out of poverty?
Both of these reasons clearly argue at a minimum for including elective courses in economic
development in a Catholic business school curriculum. A more extreme view, which I will
suggest below, is that Catholic business schools should seriously consider going beyond simply
offering (appropriately structured) elective courses in economic development, and instead
require such a course of all of their students. While I do not yet advocate such a requirement,
and view a serious discussion of the matter as well beyond the limited scope of this paper, I do
think that this possibility at least merits serious discussion. What could be more consistent with
the mission of Catholic business than requiring students to learn how they can participate in
improving the lives of billions of their fellow human beings?
3. Teaching Development Economics to Business Students: What and How?
The course I propose here grew rather suddenly out of thirteen years of teaching development
economics at both the undergraduate and masters’ levels. For most of this time, I taught
economic development in a very “conventional” manner, using different editions of fairly
conventional textbooks by authors such as Basu (1997), Cypher and Dietz (1997), Ghatak
(1995), Hogendorn (1996), Kasliwal (1995), Nafziger (2005), Perkins, Radelet, Lindauer (2006),
and Todaro and Smith (2006).1 As a general rule, the topics covered were standard for such
courses, and typically included some subset of the “usual suspects”: data and measurement;
history of the LDC’s; theories of growth and development; poverty; population; labor markets;
human resources; physical capital; natural resources and the environment; trade and trade policy;
monetary and fiscal policy; the Debt “Crisis”; etc.
This set of topics had several obvious advantages: Decades of teaching by hundreds of dedicated
development economists, as well as research and policy analysis in the sub-discipline of
development economics clearly suggested that these were somehow the “right” topics to cover.
It was easy to find good textbooks which covered these topics from various angles. Students
seemed to find these topics interesting and important. There was more course material here than
I could possibly cover in a single quarter, and the topics did not build on each other sequentially.
While these might sound like drawbacks, I had quickly learned to use them to my (and I hope my
students’) advantage: Because of the abundance of material, and the lack of sequential
progression for topic to topic, I find that I could let the class choose some of the topics covered
based on their particular interests. This further heightened student interest in the course material.
In addition, I also adopted a more or less standard pedagogical approach: I used class
discussions built on the required readings, in class written essay/discussion exams, a
conventional academic term paper, etc.
And the results seemed quite satisfactory: class sections for my development courses regularly
filled completely up, even after my department started offering the course more frequently;
course evaluations in my development courses were almost always higher than for my other
courses, and students frequently reported their strong satisfaction with the course material,
teaching style, and approach to grading; I found it much easier to get students to participate in
class discussions than in my other courses, etc. On the surface, such success seemed to argue for
leaving things more or less alone, and making only minor, incremental changes in the course.
However, after a decade or so of teaching the course more or less “by the book”, I began to think
that I could and should do better. I came to believe that a course in development economics
ought to be about something more, especially in a business school, and perhaps even more so in
a Catholic business school. Specifically, for my graduate level course, which I had always
taught primarily to MBA students, I tossed out most of what I had done so successfully in the
past and rethought the course from the bottom up. In place of the traditional list of topics above,
I shifted toward an emphasis on competing approaches to global poverty reduction and toward
trying to provide students with some of the tools they need in order to use their business
education in the war on global poverty.
As I now teach it, the course has three primary objectives:
First, it exposes students to a spectrum of different approaches to the problem of global poverty.
At the moment, the “extreme” ends of the spectrum are represented by Jeffrey Sachs (2005) and
William Easterly (2006), or by “Planners” and “Searchers”, as Easterly puts it.2 The two main
focuses of the course are to encourage students to become Searchers and to provide them with
some of tools that Searchers need. One of several ways I maintain intellectual rigor in the course
is by discussing how these books build on two long, separate traditions of 20th Century and pre
20th Century thought in economics, politics, and philosophy, including different views of the
appropriate role of the state in the economy. For example, Sachs’ approach builds on a long line
of “Big Push” planner thinking which harkens back to P.N. Rosenstein-Rodan (1943). Similarly,
much of Easterly’s analytical approach bears a strong resemblance both to ideas first enunciated
by F.A. Hayek in 1945 and to Joseph Schumpeter’s vision of how the process of economic
development works.
Second, it exposes students to successful efforts to fight poverty and help the world’s poor. The
primary resources here include Smith (2005), Prahalad (2006), and Rangan, Quelch, Herrero,
and Barton (2007). Smith’s analysis of why people are poor and his description of what can be
done to help them improve their lives provide students with an invaluable background for
thinking about ways they can use their business skills and education to fight global poverty. The
books by Prahalad and Rangan et al are aimed specifically at business students and management
professionals. Both books aim to provide very practical, problem/solution oriented approaches
to both poverty alleviation and efforts to benefit the world’s poor by increasing the delivery of
key products and services to them.
Finally, as a major graded assignment, the course requires students to write a complete, well
thought out “business plan” or “feasibility study” which has the specific aim of reducing poverty
or otherwise improving conditions in a specific less developed country or region of a less
developed country. Successful papers accomplish at least the following: 1. they either identify
and discuss either a specific and solvable root cause of poverty in a particular country or region
or they identify a particular, solvable problem other than poverty in a country or region; and 2.
they suggest a specific, concrete, and workable plan of action for reducing or eliminating that
poverty or solving the problem identified.
4. Conclusion
A key motivation for the approach to teaching economic development which I have suggested
above is that by virtue of their training, business students in general, and MBA’s in particular,
are uniquely qualified to take concrete actions aimed at improving the human condition in the
material and economic sense. As I now teach the subject, a course in economic development can
contribute significantly toward motivating students to use their training for the benefit of others,
and, just as importantly, can provide them with some of the tools they need to make concrete
contributions to the war on global poverty.
The connection of this approach to teaching economic development to Catholic solidarity with
the poor should be obvious. Thus, if Catholic business schools are serious about the preferential
option for the poor, then at the very least, they should give their undergraduate and graduate
business students the option to learn about best practices in the war on poverty and thus to learn
how they how they can use their skills and training to benefit the world’s poorest citizens. This
much at least seems obvious.
However, I would go further and suggest the possibility that true solidarity with the world’s poor
implies that it is not enough that Catholic business schools simply offer economic development
as an elective course. If Catholic business schools really want to have an impact on global
poverty and human suffering, then they should go beyond offering such courses as electives and
require that all of their graduates acquire the background required for them to participate actively
in improving the human condition in the world’s poorest countries. That is, I want to suggest we
consider seriously the possibility that a course in economic should be required for every student
in Catholic business schools. Let us excite the next generation of business leaders with the
possibility that they can go beyond simply managing a business or part of business and use their
skills and education where they can really make a difference in the lives of the world’s poorest
As an economist, I recognize that such a proposal has both costs and benefits, and clearly any
conversation on whether Catholic business schools should seriously consider adding one more
required course to their curricula goes well beyond the scope of this paper. However, I would
suggest that this is a discussion that Catholic business schools must consider if they want to take
a leadership role in the war on global poverty.
Andrew Yuengert
One of the mysteries of human nature is that we must give reasons, however flimsy, for our sins.
We must hide from ourselves the true nature of the wrong we do. This is no less true in the
business world than in other human arenas. Thus, when business executives, convicted of
criminal behavior, reflect candidly on their past, they discover a disconnect between they actions
they took and the person they are: “How did I get to the point of rationalizing something I knew
to be wrong?”
This is a perennially human problem, but it is also quintessentially modern. Alasdair McIntyre,
in After Virtue, describes the inability of a person to “square who they are with what they do” as
a very common modern condition. According to McIntyre, the ability to lead a morally sound
and happy life depends crucially on being able to describe a unified narrative of one’s life—
seeing oneself as the same person in each of the very different social environments in which one
must act. Modern society has lost the sense that such a unified narrative is necessary, or even
possible; we wear different masks in different social environments, act out different roles in
varying situations. People who think they can ‘be’ one thing and ‘do’ another, or that they must
‘be’ one thing and ‘do’ another, may find themselves in the situation of the indicted executive
who wonders how he became something he did not want to be.
The solution to the very modern divided self is not ‘balance’. It is integrity—we are each one
person, each of us is living one life, and we need to be the same person in every situation, in
every temptation. This paper describes two potential barriers to integrity in the modern business
environment. Each makes it more difficult to connect actions in business to the moral life. Both
barriers involve useful concepts that have been taken too seriously, and too far. The first arises
from the challenge of living in a culture in which the dominant mode of knowing is technical.
Technical knowledge is deceptively neutral; when important questions are framed in technical
terms, a disconnect is created between morality and action. The second barrier is the challenge
of an economy in which markets rule, and in which the account of markets taught in college
leaves little room for human agency. In the perfectly competitive market of the blackboard,
individuals are helpless, tossed about by market forces. Both of these concepts—the concept of
technical expertise and the concept of perfect competition—may make it more difficult for us
and our students to discern our moral responsibilities and our moral possibilities.
Moral Technicalities
Technique is the application of a systematic method to a narrow problem: the accountant applies
accounting rules to balance the books, the financial analyst runs the numbers, the engineer
calculates the stresses on a bridge, the doctor prescribes a cure. Much of the material and
scientific progress of modernity is founded on relentless systematization, the development of
technical expertise.
It is the nature of technique to be narrow, to be somewhat removed from moral deliberation. We
are attracted to the seeming neutrality of technique in a morally relativistic world in which
reasonable moral disagreements seem impossible. The problem with technique, with
professional practice in general, is that its separation from the moral life (that is, from our lives
as whole persons) is not a complete separation. Technical knowledge encourages us to believe
that the sort of person we are when engaged in technique can be separated from the sort of
person we are at other times, and from the sort of person we are simply. Because such a
complete separation is impossible, and yet we feel constrained to communicate in technical
language, we can fool ourselves that we are being neither moral nor immoral when we are
engaged in technique, even when our techniques conceal moral agendas.
Consider the Groningen protocols, a set of criteria by which Dutch doctors may justify the killing
of severely disabled infants. What is most striking about the description and justification for the
protocols is their technical language. Of course, defenders of the protocols discuss them in moral
terms, referring to the “unbearable suffering endured by newborns with no hope of a future,” and
the need for an open and honest process to protect physicians and respect parents. Nevertheless,
the presentation of the protocols is couched in the language of technique: they are ‘protocols’,
after all; they are drawn up by a committee of ethical, medical, and legal ‘experts’; they delineate
five ‘criteria’, each of which must be satisfied; when a doctor has satisfied the five criteria, he
can be certain that he has exercised ‘due care’. The language of the protocols is that of
professional standards of care.
It is not surprising that discussions of morally significant decisions employ technical language:
morally serious people think carefully about important decisions, and careful thought produces
general rules of guidance. There is a danger in technical discussions of moral matters, though; in
these confused times, technical details tend to crowd out the consideration of moral stakes. In
many different fields, technical discussion drives out, and sometimes substitutes for, moral
deliberation. In academic disciplines like my own (economics), the language of technique
dominates in a different way: to be professional is assumed to be entirely technical, to be
professionally neutral on all ‘values’. Many if not most disciplines are similarly dominated by
I do not mean to belittle the practice of technique. Any morally serious person must become
technical in order to effect many of the goods he intends; Etienne Gilson famously asserted that
“Piety is no substitute for technique.” The modern world is unlikely to mistake piety for
technique, however; today technique substitutes for piety and wise moral judgment. This state of
affairs is undesirable, for two reasons. First, to the extent that we allow technical formulas to
substitute for moral deliberation, we keep ourselves in the dark about the moral stakes in our
decisions and our analysis. Often, we welcome this ignorance: the moral life moral is difficult,
and technique appears to give us a vacation from it. Second, the use of technical language to
describe moral matters can lead to a situation in which technical language is used strategically in
order to conceal a moral agenda.
This culture of technique, which treats its technicians as saviors and avoids moral conflict by
resorting to technical discussion, makes it difficult to recognize the place of moral reflection in
the life of the teacher, the student, or the professional. How can teachers help students to place
their technical training within the context of their lives as human beings – to see the moral in the
ethical? How can teachers order their own technical practices towards their own moral
I have found Aristotle’s observations on technique and prudence to be helpful in answering these
questions. Technique concerns itself with making: making a door, producing notes from a violin,
assembling a coherent economic theory, creating a lesson plan. The end of a technique is fixed,
limited; the technique itself does not determine its end. In contrast, prudence concerns itself with
human action in general. Technique asks “how should one make this particular, limited, thing?”
Prudence asks “what should I, Andrew Yuengert, do with myself?”
The domain of prudence is the acting person’s life in total. It is motivated by the deepest desire
of the human heart for completeness in accord with its created nature. Aristotle devotes the
Ethics to the nature of this happiness, and draws an important distinction between technique and
prudence; his distinctions are of particular relevance to a culture dominated by technique, which
tries to make moral questions into technical questions. These distinctions can help us to discern
when technique oversteps its boundaries and encroaches on moral deliberation—to place
technique at the service of prudence and wisdom.
The term boundary is misleading. Technique and prudence cannot be completely separated,
because the making of technique is itself a type of human action. Since prudence orders all of our
actions toward our happiness, it should also direct technique: technical method is ultimately
judged in light of the human ends its serves. The governance of prudence over technique is
indirect, though: it need only point technique toward a certain end, and then turn it loose. Given
an end specified by prudence, the details of the making are completely contained in the methods
of the technique; making needs direct prudential guidance only if it fails to achieve the person’s
ends, or if its practice undermines other important human goods. Prudence acts on technique at a
distance, by specifying its goals.
Although prudence acts only at a distance, it must act nonetheless. In extreme cases, like that of
the prison guard who follows the torture manual to the letter, we do not excuse the competent
technician wholly for the uses to which his technique is put. Neither do we admire the
technically adept abortionist or human cloning researcher. Considered in the abstract, some
techniques are morally neutral, but technique is never practiced ‘in the abstract’; whenever
technique is exercised, it become the action of a person, and has moral import.
Even this indirect role for prudence, and for ethics, is difficult to discern amid the intensive
technical training of most undergraduate, professional, and graduate schools. It is at this point
that Aristotle’s distinctions can help us to reflect on the role of prudence in even technical
pursuits. He draws two distinctions between prudence and technique which can provoke
reflection on the place of ethics in technique:
1. The end (or artifact) of technique is something external to the technician; the end of prudence
is internal - the development of the acting agent.
2. Technically competent persons may perform their technique poorly on purpose and yet remain
technically proficient; a prudent person will never act imprudently on purpose.
The first distinction specifies the location of the products of the two faculties. Technique creates
something external to the technician: a material thing, a state of affairs, an argument, etc. As a
result of the action of the technician, some thing becomes. In contrast, prudence brings about
results internal to the acting agent; through the actions of prudence, the person who acts
becomes. Because prudence involves the entire person, it is not just an intellectual exercise—it
brings into play all of the moral virtues. This distinction suggests a question useful in detecting
the operations of prudence within technique: “How does the practice of technique affect me as a
person?” There are several ways in which technique can shape us. First, if technique is used for
immoral ends, its practice, however value-neutral in theory, degrades the technician. Second,
training in a technique itself changes the person trained. We pour ourselves into our technical
pursuits. The adoption of technique is a highly personal act; it engages a person’s entire being.
The second distinction between prudence and technique generates another set of questions which
can uncover the role of ethics in technical pursuits: “Can what I am doing be done badly on
purpose?” “Can I do this well without being a good person?” This distinction highlights the
instrumental nature of technique. A technique can be applied badly on purpose precisely because
it is at the service of some higher end specified by prudence. The same cannot be said of
prudence. The goal of prudence—a fully human life—cannot be instrumentalized for some
higher end.
Aristotle’s distinctions highlight the connections between technique and ethics. Technical
pursuits are insulated from ethics in the abstract – calculating a statistic, conducting an
accounting audit – but technique is never applied in the abstract. It is carried out as part of a
project of action in pursuit of someone’s ends; the evaluation of those ends has implications for
the desirability of the technique, and for the happiness of the technician. We and our students
need to reflect on how our technical practice reflects who we are and shapes who we are
becoming, in order to assume full responsibility for our techniques and for our moral lives.
The Market Made Me Do It
A second barrier to moral agency is the economic concept of competitive markets. In the
economic account of competitive markets, the business owner is a price taker: he has no control
over the price, which is revealed in some mysterious way in market transactions. His only
choice is over output, which is chosen to maximize his profits. In the labor and capital markets
the business owner is also a price taker. In the long run, competitive pressures from entry and
exit will drive his economic profits down to zero: he will earn the same rate of return on his
investment that he could have earned in other industries.
There is not much room for moral agency in this model. If the business owner thinks the market
wage is too low, and decides to pay his workers more, or if he resists cutting his workforce when
demand is slack, or if the business contributes to the community out of profits in a truly
disinterested way, his profits will fall below the market rate of return, and he will risk being
driven out of business or bought out by a less scrupulous employer who will act to maximize
profits. What’s a moral person to do? “The market made me do it.”
There will of course be times when market pressures will force a business to make difficult
choices with real human costs: let people go who need the work, for example. We should not
minimize the reality of competitive pressures, and the difficult choices facing the business
owner. Neither ought we to maximize the reality of competitive markets, either: many markets
are less than perfectly competitive, and firm owners are not helpless in the face of competitive
pressure. Sometimes “the market made me do it” will be a cop out.
Most real markets are full of niches: geographic, brand, service niches. Long-term relationships
with customers and suppliers, barriers to entry, and the unique skills and talents of workers and
employers create economic rents—that is, profits that are not easily competed away. They can
provide a space—sometimes only a little space—to give fuller rein for an employer’s desire to
more fully include the interests of employees in his business decisions.
Mainstream economics can easily miss the room for moral agency in economics, because it often
ignores the reality of imperfect competition, and lacks an analytical language to describe the
challenges and contributions of entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur specializes in making things
happen in the messy, uncertain environments in which businesses operate. There is little room
for the entrepreneur in economics, since the messy, uncertain details of business have been
assumed away—we assume that everyone knows what the demand curves and cost curves look
like, and new products, technologies, and business organizations come into being magically,
without any entrepreneurial enterprise.
Many of our students already are entrepreneurs, or soon will be; they are often attracted to the
challenge of making something new happen in environments where no one expected it could be
done, of finding a way. The challenges facing the entrepreneur are similar to the challenges
facing the moral business owner: how to create value where none was before, how to create an
organization that generates benefits not just for the entrepreneur but for customers. The
challenge of creating a business that has aspects of a good community of capital owners,
customers, and workers is the same sort of challenge. There are remarkable people out there
trying to make these sorts of businesses work, and succeeding. Sometimes it will not be
possible, but sometimes it will—it is a challenge worthy of, and big enough for, a morally
serious entrepreneur.
A related but common misunderstanding about markets does not show up in the academic
literature, but is common among students. When asked to reflect on an ethical issue in markets,
students often argue that, since competition among self-interested individuals in markets can
result in certain desirable social outcomes, individuals are obligated to act self-interestedly in
markets. This is a strange reversal of the argument that personal vice can be turned to public
benefit in markets—that one is obligated to be selfish (or at least none too altruistic) in markets
in order for markets to work efficiently. There are a tangle of logical and analytical errors to be
sorted through here, involving the realism of the market model, the nature of self-interest, and
the allocative function and informational content of price signals.
We need to encourage our students not to be intimidated by the techniques they learn and the
expertise of others, not to use them to evade moral responsibility. We need to teach them to be
critical of the claim that technical actions are always morally neutral—admittedly, the moral
stakes may sometimes be small, but often they are not; a person is never just “doing his job.”
Also, students should not be overly intimidated by the market. Those of them who are
entrepreneurial should be encouraged to add one more thing to their desire to start a business and
make it a success; to make it a good, caring place for everyone involved. The business world is a
great place to let their desires to create run free, to the benefit of them, their workers, and their
David F. Carrithers and Dean Peterson
Business schools from Catholic universities, striving to be mission-driven face many challenges
not faced by secular business schools. Over-arching the myriad complexities of teaching
individual disciplinary bodies of knowledge is the question: Is there any meaning to the phrase
“Catholic business education” or is “Catholic” superfluous? In other words, does “Catholic” make
any difference to students, faculty and to the educational outcomes of a business school within a
Catholic university? The call for examination of our Catholicity is not new. Questions of
whether and how our programs are distinct and distinctly Catholic have been asked repeatedly.
This paper suggests two views on the implications of our continual revisiting of these questions,
one more favorable than the other. The favorable perspective: It is borne out of a natural
tendency for continuous quality improvement. The alternative is that it comes from a suspicion
that we are failing; that “Catholic” is in fact, merely a superfluous adjective. Regardless, we
argue that this conference’s call has a better chance to make a difference for three reasons: It is
targeted, pragmatic, and recognizes faculties have to be engaged and supported. This paper
explores these questions in the context of economics education.
The major contribution of the paper however is its proposition that a seemingly separate problem in
the teaching of economics is in fact closely related to the “Catholicity” problem, as we label it, and
any serious attempt to achieve a catholic character in a business school must consider both. We
describe this problem as a disconnect in the teaching of issues related to market economics and
social justice between faculty who support market-based economies and those who believe
capitalism promotes economic injustice. It occurs not just at secular institutions, but also and
even more profoundly in Catholic universities.
The disconnect we describe exists between the teaching of two faculty groups about the
functioning of markets; benefits and harms, the conduct of business within market economies,
which is so out of touch with each other that students cannot reconcile them or even connect the
classroom discussions of the two faculty groups. For convenience, we suggest that this
disconnect occurs between the teaching of courses offered in the unit of the institution that
houses the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the unit that houses the Business and Economics
A thorough discussion of the disconnect thesis can be found in, “Conflicting Views of Markets
and Economic Justice: Implications for Student Learning,” Carrithers and Peterson, Journal of
Business Ethics, Volume 69, Number 4, 2006. This paper will draw from the previous work to
help our audience understand terms and definitions.
After presenting our view of the Catholicity problem and introducing the disconnect problem, we
show how these two are related. At a fundamental level we believe there are inherent tensions
between Catholic thought and orthodox economics, thus business disciplines in general. Sadly,
our research has shown that attempts to initiate discussions on issues of social justice at Catholic
universities have often resulted in knee-jerk vilifications of schools of business, their faculties,
and students. More positively, our paper aims to demonstrate that seriously addressing the
Catholicity problem will simultaneously diminish the problem of disconnect.
Next we examine two obstacles that impede faculty from addressing either of these concerns.
Both stem from natural inclinations, or perhaps inhibitions of faculty. First, as a rule, faculty feel
that to speak on a subject, they should be trained in that subject. Graduate education in
economics and business focuses narrowly within their disciplines. Lack of training in broader
social questions biases faculty away from questions that cross the disciplinary boundaries of
philosophy and theology. The second obstacle is a corollary of the first. Faculty have no desire
to address these topics. An accounting professor may ask, “What am I supposed to teach in my
class about social justice?” Or, “What am I to say when one of my students is chastised in a
religion class for her choice of major?”
If faculty do not feel competent to speak on Catholicity or feel that they should not cross
disciplinary lines, they must be otherwise motivated to do so. We demonstrate in our paper that
by addressing the concerns of Catholicity and disconnect, instructors can improve students’
understanding of the particular discipline they are studying and, by incorporating critical
perspectives, their cognitive development as well. We assert that stressing the complementarity
of our ultimate objectives should increase faculty participation.
If our understanding of the obstacles facing faculty is reasonable and our proposal to motivate
them is sound, what remains is a fairly clear solution. Efforts to increase Catholicity and address
the disconnect must be engaged on a disciplinary level. Faculty must be shown how and where
within their disciplines, the larger social questions can be addressed. They must also be taught
contrasting, especially dissenting, views. These contrasting views should not be limited to, but
should include CST. Our suggestion therefore is that we move away from university-level or
school-level discussions toward student engagement along disciplinary lines. Catholic
universities need to sponsor disciplinary events (seminars, colloquia, multi-day conferences,
sponsored paper series) to affect these ends.
To this point, our paper is directed to a general audience of educators. From this point forward,
however, our paper becomes more detailed and focused on the specifics of modern, neoclassical
micro theory. We begin by conducting a lengthy review of the economics discipline’s rationale
for markets. We are careful in this review to call attention to the explicit and implicit
philosophical precepts that underlie the discipline’s rationale. We feel this review is necessary
because these precepts appear to be fairly innocuous when considered only briefly and without
contrasting views.
From these underlying precepts we trace two lines of inquiry that address the role of markets
(and government) in society. The first we refer to as the “market structure/market failure” tack.
Here the discipline focuses on faulty markets, problems with these markets, and the means by
which to address the consequences. We note that the discipline has devoted enormous energy to
this investigation. Further, we suggest that those who advocate embracing the principles found
in CST would find favor with policies based on the recommendations that emerge from this line
of inquiry
The second line of inquiry is less developed and is only rarely included in the teaching of
undergraduate economics students. It is found within the sub-discipline of welfare economics.
Within this sub-discipline economics takes up normative questions such as, “Do markets serve
individuals well?” and “Do markets contribute to the consumer’s desire to maximize her utility?”
We review the major findings and a set of elegant proofs, which show that if the world is
characterized by perfectly competitive product and factor markets, then markets do indeed serve
society well. These proofs reveal three appealing optimalities—allocative efficiency, productive
efficiency, and distributive efficiency.
We worry that while these optimality results are generally announced in one or more
undergraduate economics classes, the underlying assumptions behind these results are not even
mentioned, let alone investigated. By changing this practice we hope to achieve the ends cited
above—enhanced discipline-specific understanding, critical thinking, improved discourse, and
To these ends, our paper discusses the following set of initial assumptions and precepts that are a
part of modern, orthodox economic theory:
• The consequentialistic nature of the discipline’s humean metaphysics
• The discipline’s notion of the good—preference satisfaction
• The exogeneity of preferences
• The homogeneity of utility
• The relationship between rights and utility
We then discuss potential limitations regarding the interpretation of the Pareto optimality
conditions demonstrated in Welfare Theory. Our investigation of these results focus on:
• The view of the individual within society
• The non-uniqueness of the optimality results (in production and distribution)
• The lack of connection between preferences and price signals
Having made the underlying assumptions and philosophical precepts clear, we consider potential
weaknesses and criticisms. While the discipline of economics has done considerable work here,
we attempt to further the conversation by offering the perspectives from within CST and by
including related discussions from papal encyclicals. These discussions focus primarily on the
topics of distribution, needs vs. wants, the notion of the good (including the common good),
rights (including property rights) and product pricing.
Our paper concludes with proposals for two specific courses of action. Both are aimed at
economics faculty teaching specific courses common to all undergraduate curricula—
Intermediate Microeconomics and the History of Economic Thought. (Note: It would not be
difficult to expand our vision to include faculty specializing in the sub-discipline of Economic
Development.) Both courses of action rely upon the same materials. We present a list of
matched readings that articulate the discipline’s orthodox position and readings that provide
contrasting and dissenting assumptions or views. It is our belief that this set of matched readings
could become the source material for a conference dedicated to expanding faculty understanding
of how the teaching of economics can be enhanced by the incorporation of CST. Alternatively,
these materials could be used to construct an instructor’s manual (and perhaps students reader).
Gregory R. Beabout
In this presentation, I describe the job shadowing experience that I use in my Business Ethics
course at Saint Louis University.
The course I teach is an undergraduate course at the 300-level. The course has two prerequisites:
Historical Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics. In these courses, the students are supposed to
have developed a familiarity with Ancient Greek philosophy (especially focusing on questions
about what it means to be a human being and questions about ultimate reality) and modern moral
philosophy, especially the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and the deontology of Immanuel
Kant. In the past, I have taught the Business Ethics course many different ways, but usually that
involved reviewing several of the central approaches to ethics employed by philosophers and
then applying those philosophies to cases and problems from the world of business.
Increasingly, I have become convinced of the force of Alasdair MacIntyre's criticism of modern
moral philosophy, namely, that we find ourselves talking past each other and engaging in debates
that are interminable given the resources of modern moral philosophy. Further, I have found
myself increasingly convinced that the best way forward is through a creative retrieval of the
virtue tradition. However, MacIntyre's philosophy provides few resources and particular
challenges for those, like me, who think that it is fruitful to approach business ethics with
attentiveness to the virtues.
The main way that I overcome this challenge is by requiring that my students engage in a job
shadowing experience and then interviewing the person shadowed, especially with regard to the
virtues required to excel in the practice of business.
Before explaining the details of the job shadowing assignment to my students, I begin the course
by having the students read the first several chapters of Benjamin Barber's Consumed: How
Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. I use Barber to
"awaken" the students to consider questions about the relation between market economies and
the culture of consumerism.
In Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II, writing immediately after the fall of communism, raised
questions about the future of capitalism. The pope drew a distinction between consumerism and
capitalism. John Paul II unequivocally opposed acquisitiveness and our consumptive culture. (It
was in Centisimus Annus that Pope John Paul II first used the phrase, "culture of death.") He
explained this phrase more fully in Evangelium Vitae when he warned that the rising culture of
death is based on "an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency" (EV 11). Yet John
Paul II was not a complete critic of the efficiency associated with capitalism and free markets.
He went so far as to praise "an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive
role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of
production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector" (CA 42). While extolling
the virtues of honesty and justice, John Paul II appealed to "qualified personnel" who might be
capable of "managing the economy in an efficient and responsible manner." (CA 20). Is it
possible, as John Paul II seems to suggest, to manage "in a responsible manner" with an eye to
economic concerns while comporting oneself in a way that is honest and just? In short, is it
possible for a manager to practice the virtues?
Those who want to answer yes are faced with a significant challenge if they take seriously the
account of the virtues developed by Alasdair MacIntyre. As I indicated above, MacIntyre has
argued that, without retrieving an emphasis on the virtues, contemporary moral philosophy leads
to interminable debates. On MacIntyre's account, the reigning moral philosophy is emotivism,
the view that questions of ends and purposes are questions of values, and on these, reason is
thought to be silent. Emotivism is embodied, claims MacIntyre, in several contemporary
characters; chief among these is the "manager." Drawing from Max Weber, MacIntyre describes
the manager as a social role that is a central moral representative of our culture, one who
embodies the claim that goals are values that are chosen and as such are not subject to rational
I can generally count on my students having studied virtue ethics, either from the writings of the
ancient Greeks, especially Plato or Aristotle, or from St. Thomas Aquinas. However, I have the
students (re)read Book II of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, with a special focus on
understanding what Aristotle means by a "trait," and how he understands the virtues to be traits
that make for a life of human flourishing.
With that in hand, we turn to MacIntyre's account of the virtues. MacIntyre defines virtues as
acquired human qualities, the exercise of which allows one to pursue goods internal to a practice.
MacIntyre has a (famously) sophisticated account of social practices8, but central to his
understanding of a social practice is that there are goods internal to the activity. Music, painting,
medicine, and farming are all practices on MacIntyre's account, because each is a complex,
coherent, socially established human activity through which goods are realized in the activity.
On MacIntyre's account, it seems dubious that there could be anything such as a business
practice or "the practice of management." As MacIntyre understands the manager (as Weberian
bureaucrat), the task of the manager is to devise efficient means to achieve any proposed end.
As such, the manager is unconcerned with internal goods. In the capitalist system, this typically
means that profit trumps moral virtue. On this account, the manager is a bureaucrat who devises
policies aimed at efficiently accomplishing given ends, an amoral character entirely unconcerned
with and unable to embody the virtues.
Part of my larger purpose is to challenge this conception of the manager as bureaucrat, not by
arguing that MacIntyre has misconstrued a description of the character of the manager, but by
proposing that moral philosophy (and moral theology) can play an important role in reconceiving what the character of the manager can be. MacIntyre's conception of the manager as
bureaucrat who prizes efficiency over ethics, placing profit on a rational plane distinct from
moral purposes, is an important component in the divorce between business and ethics, the loss
of the virtues, and the moral hollowness of our consumptive culture. MacIntyre leaves us with a
sense that the manager is morally empty. I am hoping to move my students (and in my larger
MacIntyre states, "By a practice, I am going to mean any coherent and complex form of socially established
cooperative human activity through which goods internal to that form of activity are realized in the course of trying
to achieve those standards of excellence which are appropriate to, and partially definitive of, that form of activity,
with the result that human powers to achieve excellence, and human conceptions of the ends and goods involved, are
systematically extended." After Virtue, 187.
project, our common conception of the manager) beyond MacIntyre's work. He seems to think
we can abandon the hollowness of the manager by turning away from market economies.
Alternatively, I propose that moral philosophy can aid in offering a richer conception of
authentic freedom in a market economy by deepening our understanding of the practice and
character of the manager.
If MacIntyre is correct, then there are serious doubts about whether business is a practice and
whether business activity is compatible with moral virtue.
Part of my challenge to MacIntyre's conception of the manager rests on a study of the character
traits that managers identify as necessary to excel in the activity of managing well. J. Thomas
Whetstone has argued that ethics researchers need to listen to managers and the way they use
virtue language. In his article, "The Language of Managerial Excellence: Virtues as Understood
and Applied," (Journal of Business Ethics 2003), Whetstone challenged ethics researchers "to
increase their understanding of extant virtue language as the basis for a renewed development of
virtue ethics." Whetstone proposed a research program that involves "listening to what managers
themselves say when discussing excellent managers and their behaviors."
Are there character traits, the development and exercise of which are internal to the excellent
practice of business management? In order for my students to be able to answer that question,
they need more experience. In my course in Business Ethics, I have my students take up
Whestone's challenge by engaging in the practice of "job shadowing." Each student chooses
someone from the business world to shadow (for several hours or half a day), and then
interviews that person with special focus on the character traits deemed crucial for managing
well. The interview falls into three parts.
1. Questions About The Typical Business Practice:
What is your job usually like? Was today a typical day?
What do you do? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
What kinds of problems do you deal with? What kinds of decisions do you make?
What percentage of your time is spent doing what? Does your work involve planning,
organizing, leading, monitoring, correcting, celebrating, or other activities?
How would you characterize the business practice of your job?
What goals are you aiming for in your work?
Are there goals that are "given" in your position, that is, goals that come with the
position? Are there goals that are "given" by the company?
Are you able to set, question, or refine those goals? If so, how do you deliberate about
the goals you are pursuing in your work?
2. Questions About The Position, and Some Personal Background Questions:
How did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
What might you say to a student considering this kind of work?
What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying?
What part of this job do you find most challenging?
What do you like and not like about working in this industry?
How does a person progress in your field?
What is a typical career path in this field or organization?
What is the most common way to enter this occupation?
What is the best way to enter this occupation? What is required for success?
3. Questions About The Character Traits Required For This Type Of Business Practice:
For this project, we are focusing on acquired personal traits, that is, qualities of character.
o For example, patience, perseverance, determination, gentleness, intelligence,
friendliness, ambition, punctuality, attentiveness, independence, assertiveness,
cooperativeness, sensitivity, clarity in expression, creativity, initiative, honesty,
bravery, self-discipline, kindness, depth, mildness, compassion, truthfulness,
practical wisdom, deliberative ability, ability to execute, resourcefulness,
integrity, loyalty, fairness, civic concern, etc.
What personal qualities do you believe contribute most to success in this field/job?
In addition to the skills and talents that are essential to be effective in your job, what
character traits do you think are required to do well in this job?
o Do you think those traits can be acquired?
o How did you acquire the traits you need for your job?
o Do you think that those traits can be acquired before entering this job?
o Do you think those traits can be acquired through a formal training program?
o How might a student or prospective employee evaluate whether or not one has the
personal traits, or at least their beginnings, required in a position such as yours?
What are the major rewards of your job besides extrinsic rewards such as money, fringe
benefits, travel, etc.?
Does your work relate to any experiences or studies you had in college?
How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?
What courses have proved to be the most valuable to you in your work?
What would you recommend for a college student seeking to pursue work in this area?
If you were entering this career today, would you change your preparation in any way?
In light of the job shadowing experience and interview, the students are in a better position to
consider the relation between business practices and character traits. The students write a term
paper based on their job shadowing experience. The paper has three parts: 1) a description of
the notion of a "practice," the notion of "moral virtue," and an explanation of the philosophical
question as to whether business practices involve moral virtue; 2) a description of the job
shadowing experience and interview; and 3) the student's reasoned answer, in light of the
student's job shadowing experience, as to the relation between moral virtues and business
I have found that the job shadowing assignment deepens the students' ability to consider the
relation between 1) those character traits that are virtues and 2) excellence in the practice of
My experience is that students come to recognize that in order to become excellent at the
managerial activities of planning, organizing, leading, monitoring, correcting, and celebrating,
one must develop more than an ability to increase profits. Excellence at business management
involves developing a set of traits, namely, the virtues. Further, my experience is that this job
shadowing assignment helps students recognize that contemporary business practice, with its
more highly educated workforce, decentralized decision-making, continuous re-structuring,
deeper awareness of the quest for work that is worthwhile, and increased desire to balance
employment with other parts of a meaningful human life, provides an opportunity for increased
understanding of the practice of business while calling attention to the importance of cultivating
the character traits of the manager not simply as efficient bureaucrat (à la MacIntyre) but as one
who, in order to achieve those goods internal to the activity of managing with excellence, aims to
embody the those traits traditionally recognized as virtues, that is, the traits developed by one
whose actions conform to and/or are guided by the principles of the moral law.
Geert Demuijnck
The situation in the European business schools which are part of catholic universities or
institutions of higher education is rather different from the American Catholic Business Schools.
European culture nowadays is much more secular in general. It is, for a business school, not
obvious to announce publicly to be or to belong to a Catholic institution. Consequently, its
religious anchorage is sometimes not openly mentioned, neither in the name of the institution,
nor in its presentation on its website, or in advertisements. More surprisingly, and although this
is far from always the case, students may sometimes graduate from Catholic business schools
without being aware of their Catholic background. This is especially the case in France, Belgium
and the Netherlands, less so in e.g. Spain. In other countries, with the exceptions of Poland and,
to some extent, Ireland, Catholic universities and business schools are exceptions.
Let us face it: the reason why the situation has evolved in this way is that in the competitive
environment of business schools, the label ‘Catholic’ is not considered to be an attractive one.
Against the general background of the a-religious contemporary liberal culture, the Catholic
Church is mainly perceived and criticized for its positions about sexuality and, to a lesser extent,
criticized for its sexism. The liberal media contribute to this, admittedly, sometimes one-sided
perception. Still, even among the remaining Catholics, the official message about, say,
contraception is almost generally considered to be disconnected with reality, not to say wrong
(figures of opinion polls abound). Other issues, such as the refusal of access to priesthood for
women and, more recently, the official rejection of ‘altar girls’ deeply troubled many people,
among which the more progressive part of Catholics.
Against this background, referring to Catholic Social Teaching (CST) in, e.g., courses of
business ethics, is more or less surrealistic. Students do not have the slightest idea of what the
lecturer is talking about. However, this does not mean that students are totally rejecting the set of
values related to CST. It is the vocabulary more than the content which is problematic. The same
problem may be present elsewhere as well, but in Europe, students are on the average rather
hostile to religious references, also in Catholic business schools. Still, all this does not imply that
students would be indifferent to important lessons that can be derived from or related to CST.
In my paper, I illustrate, according to two topics, how the set of values of Catholic Social
Teaching may, despite its untimely character, be presented as a surprisingly interesting source of
criticism on the vision which is transmitted in most courses that are taught in business schools in
The first topic is rather obvious. Business students are nowadays very much interested in
questions related to topics such as sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.
Students reject in general companies or business sectors which are famous for weak records on
these issues. A large minority of students is much interested in even more militant topics such as
fair trade, and underlying issues such as economic development, international inequality and
economic migration. In how far the interest in these topics may be related to the Christian
background of the students (or their parents) has, to my knowledge, not been examined. Be that
as it may, these topics are usually discussed in a standard economical and philosophical
The currently in Europe much defended vision is the one of selective economic migration, i.e.
wealthy countries have the right to select immigration candidates on the basis of their productive
capacity. On the other hand, people who want to get into the country for reasons related to family
relations, or people who want to flee misery, are flown back to their country of origin.
It is interesting to examine what the long-term effects are of this selective immigration policy.
Economists have examined the effect on the development of human capital of the countries
which will most likely be victims of the ‘brain drain’ (Morocco, Algeria, Sub Saharan Africa
etc.): not only will this policy widen the gap between rich and poor countries; the policy also
undermines those countries’ efforts to develop economically (Defoort & Docquier 2007).
Subsequently, one may examine the contemporary philosophical debate on global justice and
migration (Rawls, Pogge, Carens, Miller, etc.). It turns out to be the case the nationalistic
arguments seem quite weak to justify. In fact, very few authors clearly condemn protectionist
labour market policies (I will spell out this some more in my paper)
I have read a lot of authors on this issue over the past years and the most radical text I came
across was, surprisingly, Pacem in terris by John XXIII. Comparing recent philosophical debates
with the quite radical points advanced by Pope John XXIII in Pacem in Terris comes as a total
This is indeed a very challenging text. Paragraph 25 says: “Every human being has the right to
freedom of movement and of residence within the confines of his own country; and, when there
are just reasons for it, the right to migrate to other countries and take up residence there.” In
paragraph 29 it goes on to say that everyone has “… the right to a decent standard of living…”
Correspondingly, the text mentions the obligation for governments "to safeguard the inviolable
rights of the human person, and to facilitate the performance of his duties…” I consider that in
contemporary Western countries, any political party that would put this encyclical high on its
agenda would commit political suicide.
Of course, one should qualify and distinguish between a prophetic verb and a politically feasible
measure here and now. Still, as a prophetic verb, the text undermines many currently defended
On the basis of this ideal, we may ask which policy can be defended, taking the currently known
facts and feasibility constraints into account. It quickly becomes clear that, e.g. the statement of
the French bishops made before last year’s elections in France points exactly to the weaknesses
of the widely accepted discourse on immigration.
Other references to CST have the same surprising effect. The Catholic Church, in Europe at
least, is considered by most students as obviously condoning capitalism. The critical position of
the Church, quite easily compatible with current issues of sustainable development, is mostly
A more fundamental, and less obvious, issue is related to legal positivism. Business students
receive an education in law (commercial law mostly, but not exclusively) that is deeply rooted in
legal positivism. Questions of whether rights are morally well-founded are discarded. This legal
positivist attitude leads to an instrumental, not to say cynical view on law. The legal and
judiciary system are considered to be merely ‘constraints’ which should be taken into account in
the process of maximizing profit. Condemnation by the tribunal is just another risk. This attitude,
largely reflected in the lectures and publications of the business law lecturers, rejects the intrinsic
value of the law and, consequently, its underlying moral basis. In the paper, I illustrate how legal
positivism is omnipresent in current business education.
Just one example here: the French company l’Oréal created a new brand of perfume some time
ago called ‘Champagne’. Of course, Champagne is a trade mark and is as such protected. It is
obvious that the legal advisers of l’Oréal were perfectly aware of this. Nevertheless, they decided
to commercialize the ‘Champagne perfume’. A few months later, they were judged by the court
and obliged to withdraw the Champagne perfume from the market. Despite the compensation
l’Oréal had to pay, the brand turned out to have been very profitable.
The lesson drawn from this story is that the legal advisers were right: one should violate the law
whenever the sanction one risks is less costly than the estimated benefice. This cynical way of
considering the law is common especially in classes of trade law. Underlying is of course the
fundamental vision of legal positivism.
Discussing the intrinsically problematic consequences of the paradigm of legal positivism leads
to fundamental questions of the moral foundations of the law and the tradition of natural law, at
the opposite of legal positivism. One may spell out the slippery slope argument of applying legal
positivism to social or even human rights. But more fundamentally, we may apply the same
questions of intrinsic value to other topics: discussions of the legitimacy of property rights
according to, say, Thomas Aquinas again sounds quite exotic. However, against the usually
unquestioned background of legal positivism, this exoticism is a delight, also for students.
Especially interesting in the French context of secularity (laïcité) is to go back to some texts by
Jacques Maritain. Skipping the question of whether faith is necessary to judge whether some
action or decision is intrinsically right or wrong, the very step to ask questions in terms of
intrinsic value (independently of the legal context) seems, against the background of legal
positivism, almost subvert.
Of course one may push the discussion to a more fundamental level and underline the
problematic aspect of an intercultural compromise on which everyone agrees provided no one
explicates the underlying reasons. For most business students, though, this becomes quickly too
The main purpose of my paper is to argue that it is part of the mission of Catholic Business
Schools to develop a critical analysis of the underlying value system of at least some particular
visions on business, and that, surprisingly, CST may supply interesting arguments for such an
analysis. It seems absolutely useless to proselytize, but to base your reflections on a mostly
neglected tradition usually has a surprising, and therefore, stimulating effect. It is a pity,
especially in Catholic business schools, not to exploit this mostly neglected reflective potential of
the own tradition.
Lyman Johnson∗∗
A company’s ultimate goal(s) can serve to expand – or narrow – a business manager’s moral
horizon. Managers believing they are obligated to singularly pursue goal X will think they have
discretion over the means by which to attain that end but not over the end itself.
Correspondingly, such managers should not be held accountable for refraining from the pursuit
of “non-X” goals, however laudable those goals may be. By way of contrast, managers thinking
they possess at least some degree of freedom to pursue goal X or goal Y (or Z, etc., or some
combination of goals) will understand that they have latitude over both the means and end(s) of
company conduct. Such managers may rightly be held to account with respect to a far broader
range of issues.
The actions taken by business managers necessarily depend, then, on what they regard as
available and permissible corporate objectives. For example, managers not pursuing particular
goals thought to be socially or morally commendable may refrain from doing so not because
they disagree with those goals or consider them unworthy, but because they believe their pursuit
is foreclosed. Even faulty beliefs about what is or is not allowable in the business world,
therefore, can powerfully influence how managers shape corporate behavior.
These observations apply not only to decisions about operational matters and business strategy,
they pertain as well to the very basic and critical question of corporate purpose. Managers
believing – rightly or wrongly – that they must advance the singular goal of shareholder wealth
maximization probably regard themselves as having fewer, more bounded choices than managers
who believe they can pursue other (or a variety of) goals. The validity of managerial beliefs on
the permissible aim(s) of corporate endeavor, therefore, is critical, given the vast influence
wielded by senior managers in a private enterprise economy.
Beliefs on this baseline issue likely stem from several sources. These include managerial
understandings of legal mandates, market constraints, professional education, business lore,
social customs and norms, and personal beliefs. Of special interest for this paper, given that the
author is a lawyer by training and given the theme of this conference, are the influences of legal
mandates and formal training. These factors are related.
It will be argued that there may be widespread misunderstanding in the business world – and in
the business education field – with respect to what the law does (and does not) require on the
question of corporate purpose. In short, outside unusual circumstances, no law requires that
businesses pursue only the goal of corporate profit or the goal of investor wealth maximization.
Rather, although various markets certainly constrain managerial discretion to varying degrees in
the relevant industry, the widespread pursuit of shareholder wealth maximization as a corporate
objective largely stems from social norms and business lore that, although not legally “binding,”
nonetheless powerfully influence managerial belief and conduct. There are normative and policy
arguments supporting – and disfavoring – this convention, but there is no legal obligation to
pursue it. Nor is there a historically or culturally immutable or “fixed” position on this basic
Copyright © 2008 by Lyman Johnson.
matter. Beliefs as to appropriate corporate goals may change over time and vary from country to
country and from company to company. There is no a priori reason for rejecting heterogeneity
out of hand and insisting that all companies pursue the same ultimate goal.
Appreciating this overlooked feature of the legal landscape can dramatically alter how Christian
business schools educate future business leaders. Those faculty members at business programs
with a religious mission who believe the goal of investor wealth maximization is legally
mandated can, of course, engage students in fruitful moral and religious reflection about the
choice of appropriate means to achieve that end, but, except at a religious and philosophical
level, the end itself is, practically, presupposed. On the other hand, those faculty members who
fully appreciate the rather loose constraints of positive law on the overall purpose of corporate
activity, can, within limits, meaningfully engage students at both a principled and pragmatic
level on the more basic issue of assessing the appropriate end(s) of corporate activity itself. A
stronger claim yet is that they must so engage their students. This, in turn, will enable religious
schools to instill in future managers a richer understanding of their full freedom, and
corresponding responsibility, for the direction they will chart on behalf of the companies they
will someday lead.
Appreciating managerial freedom to act is thus the necessary first step, but by itself it is not a
sufficient step, for attaining managerial conduct congruent with religious tenets. To be given
proper expression in the business-legal world, religious convictions require a vocabulary that can
mediate the discourse of spiritual-religious insight, on the one hand, and compliance with
business and legal duties in the secular world, on the other hand. That vocabulary, it will be
argued, is the language of fiduciary duties, especially the managerial duty of loyalty and
The argument of the paper proceeds as follows. Only a correct view of the law governing
corporate purpose opens up a genuine opportunity for bringing religious convictions to bear on
business conduct in a way yielding tangible benefits. Part II of this paper therefore begins by
demonstrating that, contrary to widely held belief, no U. S. law requires a business corporation
to maximize shareholder wealth except in one unusual setting. Instead, the law is ambivalent as
to, and therefore remarkably permissive on, the question of corporate purpose, according senior
managers significant discretion on this fundamental matter. Part III then identifies other, nonlegal influences on thinking about corporate purpose. It argues that while various factors
certainly constrain management’s range of options, in certain settings managers likely still retain
sufficient latitude to pursue morally and socially responsible conduct even when doing so is at
odds with maximizing investor wealth. Moreover, societal and even managerial expectations
may be shifting on this issue, thereby both weakening social norms and business lore as
traditional supports for a purely pro-investor vision of corporateness and opening the possibility
for fresh thinking.
Part IV argues that one – but not the only – avenue for expressing religious beliefs on the issue
of corporate purpose is through a manager’s fiduciary duties. Managers and business students
can draw on the duty of faithfulness to bridge religious conviction and business conduct. The
duty/command of faithfulness – with currency in both the spiritual and business realms – can
equip managers themselves, and those who educate them, for the truly important (and daunting)
challenge of exploring how religious belief can usefully shape business conduct in real world
Deborah Savage
The paper has several aims and operates at three levels. First, my intention is to present a
pedagogical approach, grounded in Bernard Lonergan’s theory of conversion, which is designed
to affect the intellectual conversion of the business student in relation to their understanding of
the purpose of business and the meaning of their own vocation.
Secondly, I hope to persuade both faculty and business professionals that to define the purpose of
business as the maximization of shareholder wealth is a truncated view of the potential of the
business firm to contribute to human flourishing. This theory of business not only ignores the
data, it robs the business student and the business person of the full range of meaning inherent in
their vocation. It narrows their view of their calling, hollows out the meaning of their work and
puts the hope of living an integrated life for the most part out of reach. My argument is that the
purpose of business is human flourishing and that business accomplishes this goal when it
properly serves its mission as an instrument of human fulfillment. I will argue that that the only
institution obliged by its mission and its identity to present such a vision of business is the CBS
and that only this definition permits the CBS simultaneously to reflect its identity while
affirming the legitimate economic objectives of the institution of business.
My third aim is to propose (in outline form) a Trinitarian theology of work. My proposal relies
for its staring place on John Paul II’s argument in Laborem Exercens (LE) that that we reflect the
image of God when we work. I take his argument a bit further and suggest that, not only do we
reflect the God who creates in our work, but we also reflect the God who redeems and sanctifies.
Our work is thus creative, redemptive and sanctifying. I have organized the course and the paper
around this theological insight. But what I am ready to claim is that John Paul’s assertion in LE,
that “work is the key, maybe the essential key, to the social question” has revealed itself to be
profoundly true and a point of departure for the question of the purpose of business. I have
learned that an extended reflection on the meaning of human work leads inevitably to a more
comprehensive vision for the purpose of business. It is this claim that provides the central thesis
of the paper and constitutes its central insight.
Part One: the Pedagogical Framework
Though an in depth treatment of Lonergan’s theory of conversion would be beyond my purposes
in this paper, it is necessary to point to its basic components since it is the essential pedagogical
device of the course under review. Lonergan’s theory of conversion is related to his cognitional
theory. In the paper (and the course) I review the elements (experience, understanding, judgment
and decision and the related levels of conversion which are potentially religious, intellectual and
moral) and present the two uses it has in the course.
First, I clarify that I am not interested in the religious conversion of the students (that is up to the
Holy Spirit) or their moral conversion (that is up to them; it operates at the level of decision in
Lonergan’s framework, when the person realizes that, if they are to remain authentic, they must
conform their actions to what they have come to affirm as the true and the good). My quite
explicit interest is in their intellectual conversion. My hope is to persuade them of the true
purpose of business and reveal the meaning of their vocation.
Second, Lonergan’s framework points to experience as the starting place for coming to know the
true and the good. So we begin with the student’s experience of working and of being managed
(or some of the students may have management experience already). They complete a work
experience reflection worksheet and then we discuss it, discovering that they are already at the
level of understanding as they begin to try to make sense of the data in their own experience.
They know without benefit of any theory that to be managed well requires several conditions:
respect, competence, the ability to recognize problems and solve them at their origin and a
commitment to human development. This exercise and the principles that emerge from it provide
the ground and the touchstone for the remainder of the course. Each subsequent reading is
intended to help the students make sense of the data of their experience (the level of
understanding) and to lead them to insights into the truth (the level of judgment) of human work
and its primary locus – the world of business. The students are asked to state what they might be
willing to affirm unequivocally as true throughout the course and especially at a final wrap up
session. Thus, we quite intentionally follow the framework provided by Lonergan’s schema: we
begin with experience, we return to it as we acquire new understandings and insights into the
patterns it suggests, we consider what is actually true about those insights, we list them as a
potential catalyst for decisions and moral action upon graduation.
The Trinitarian Framework I suggested above also provides a structure for the pedagogy of the
course and I briefly outline it in the paper. I present the framework on the first day of the class,
along with Lonergan’s theory. The students expect to be thinking about work and the purpose of
business in its creative, redemptive and sanctifying aspects.
In what follows and in the paper, my effort is to highlight only the key principles and insights
that are gleaned from the readings and to trace the development of a new vision of business that
emerges from this extended reflection on the meaning of work.
Part Two: Work as Creative
1. Work as an object of theological reflection: It should come as no surprise that my argument
begins with a presentation of the meaning of the human person and of human action in the world.
Thus, the first reading of the course consists of several passages from The Pastoral Constitution
of the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), in particular its anthropological
framework (Chapter One) and its analysis of the significance of man’s activity throughout the
world (Chapter Three). I reflect on these passages briefly in the paper and describe their impact
on the students. In virtually every class, they find the fundamental affirmation of the dignity of
the human person in Gaudium et Spes to be compelling and meaningful, because they realize it
refers to them and not to some theoretical worker in the future. The passages from Chapter Three
reveal the relationship between the order of grace and the temporal order. The text serves to
dispel the myth that the world of the spirit and the world of creation somehow occupy separate
and unrelated spheres. The central thesis of this chapter of GS – that our activity is in accord with
God’s will and represents a furtherance of his plan – brings these two worlds into contact and
colors all our deliberations.
2. What is the purpose of work? The second reading is Laborem Exercens by Pope John Paul
II. The students are usually surprised to learn that the call to work in Genesis 2 comes before the
fall and not after. That work is a fundamental dimension of human existence, that it reveals
man’s dignity and potency, that its value is found in the subjective and not the objective
dimension – all these notions bring the student to a new insight into the meaning of their own
work; its implications for the management of persons are not hard to grasp. Perhaps most
compelling is the Holy Father’s argument that work is an actus personae, a fundamentally
human act by someone who is “capable of acting in a planned and rational way with a tendency
toward self-realization.” We discuss at length the possibility that we become who we are
through the work that we do, and therefore, we need to do it within the horizon of the hope we
have for our own personal becoming. I develop these themes briefly in the paper.
3. Reflection on the purpose of work continues with the question of where it fits in an
integrated life. The third reading is “Leisure as the Basis of Work” by Dr. Michael Naughton.
Here the students are introduced to the idea that work and leisure represent the two fundamental
rhythms of life and to the relationship that exists between them in terms of work regarded as a
job, a career or a vocation. The students generally find these distinctions and their implications
quite compelling. We discuss the idea that there are times when one simply needs a “job” and
that it is perfectly appropriate to pursue a career. But the real search is for one’s vocation,
where, to quote Parker Palmer, one’s deepest wish meets the world’s great need. These are not
either/or options in which the only legitimate choice is to pursue a vocation. One needs a job to
support one’s material needs; one pursues a career in order to develop one’s potential; but
authentic happiness is discovered in becoming that most excellent person God meant me to be
when he created me. And this is found in responding to one’s true calling.
4. Our consideration of the purpose of work continues with what it means to be a
professional. The next reading is Robert Bellah’s “Professions Under Seige: Can Ethical
Autonomy Survive?” We first discuss the fact that, in general, the business manager is not
considered a professional in the same way that a doctor or a lawyer might be. The students are
variously chagrined, angered or skeptical about this reality. We consider Bellah’s description
and highlight his proposal for the tri-partite structure of professional life: the relationship
between the professional, the person being served and a transcendent standard. The students are
asked to consider what the transcendent standard might be to which the institution of business
and its managers are committed. It is a bit of a shock when they realize that they cannot name it.
The point is that, if they want to be a true professional, they must accept the responsibility that
comes with that classification. What transcendent standard will suffice? I will argue that it is
found in the pursuit of human flourishing.
5. What is the purpose of business? These reflections support our investigations in the next
section of the course where we turn to the question of the purpose of business. First, we look at
John Paul II and Centesimus Annus. We focus on Chapters 2-5 in the document. It leads to
discussion of the anthropological error at work in socialism and allows for a clear account of the
Church’s position on economic freedom. We consider John Paul’s argument that the economic
sphere cannot be thought of as independent of the legal/juridical and moral/cultural spheres of
community life but integral to them. We consider the meaning of economism, John Paul’s
qualified affirmation of the market economy and profit as a regulator and indicator of the health
of a business – but not the only one. A broader picture is beginning to form in the minds of the
students. They are impressed by the analysis and easily recognize that so-called capitalism, when
divorced from a moral context or grounded in a reductionist view of the human person, makes
the same anthropological error found in communism and socialism. They are ready to consider a
new vision.
We next turn our attention to two articles that help to develop this vision. The first is “What is so
special about Shareholders” by John Boatright. This article rather artfully dismantles the usual
justifications for the argument that corporate managers have a unique and special fiduciary duty
to shareholders. Of course, Dr. Boatright’s aim in the article is not to dispel the claim but to
ground it in something more reasonable. His conclusion, that it is simply sound social policy to
do so, provides a nice opening to a consideration of the common good model of the firm found in
the next essay, the chapter on the purpose of business from Managing as if Faith Mattered by
Dr. Michael Naughton and Sister Helen Alford. The chapter permits a very structured discussion
of the shareholder and stakeholder models of the firm as well as an important distinction between
foundational and excellent goods. The authors’ proposed common good model is helpful if
somewhat less defined than the other two models.
But the model, indeed none of the models make mention of what the firm actually produces.
Depending on what the actual purpose of the firm is, this result could/should be seen as the
essential contribution of business to the common good.
This leads us to the presentation of my own theory of the firm, which starts with Peter Drucker’s
argument that the purpose of the firm is to serve a customer. In the class, students are asked how
they know if a firm is socially responsible. The response always includes examples such as
Target’s contribution of a percentage of its profits, United Way drives, pollution clean-up
activity. But while it cannot be limited to this, the social responsibility of the firm includes
providing not only jobs, but products and services that fulfill genuine human needs at a price that
reflects their true value. This can only be accomplished if the firm is managed well, if the
employees are treated respectfully and provided opportunities for development. If a firm ignores
this responsibility, no matter how generous it is in other ways, it cannot serve its purpose. The
business firm is an instrument of human fulfillment and its first responsibility is to serve the
community by providing goods to it so that its members can pursue their own most excellent
goods. A person without food, without shelter, without transportation, without education cannot
do so. Businesses exist to provide such things and, if they do it well, generate revenue and profit
as a result of their efforts.
We consider one final essay, “Is Creating Wealth a Virtue?” (Savage) in which I present the
argument that before wealth can be distributed it first must be created. We discuss the
anthropological dimensions of wealth creation in both its objective and subjective dimensions.
The students understand that every action they take or decision they make forms them and their
efforts to generate wealth issue from the same human desire to become that most excellent
person God had in mind when they were created. The purpose of their work and of business is
grounded in the achievement of human flourishing.
Part Three: Work as Redemptive
The students recognize immediately the redemptive aspects of work and of business. Providing a
job to a person badly in need of work to support his family is the first example that comes up.
This reveals that business contributes to the material well-being of the community and allows its
members to thrive, to enjoy leisure and to pursue their own most excellent goods. Also key is the
redemption of material resources at our disposal when we put them to use in the project of
achieving human flourishing (with many caveats about the need to be good stewards of the
environment). It is here that we delve into the principles of Catholic Social Thought, just wages,
participation and subsidiarity as principles of good management. I argue that business is the
vehicle for the universal destination of goods. Without business’s capacity for production and
distribution this principle, while justifiable, is without a means of achievement. Here we also
discuss the continuous improvement approach to management which requires the elimination of
waste and attention to processes. This is work in its redemptive aspect because it is only when
we work to benefit from God’s creation without destroying it that we can be said to reflect the
redemptive aspect of God. But the ground of the redemptive aspect of work is the opportunity it
allows for suffering and the chance to join this suffering to that of Christ on the Cross. This
includes the moments when difficult decisions must be made. But it is also found in the daily
effort to maintain the “patterns of cooperation” and processes that lead to the successful
accomplishment of the firm’s purpose – to deliver on the promises it has made to its
Part Three: Work as Sanctifying
That work can be a vehicle for sanctification is a powerful thesis. Here we discuss the virtues
tradition and its relation to managerial practice, pointing to the opportunity work provides for the
practice of virtue. We go deeply into Josef Pieper’s volume Leisure as the Basis of Culture,
pointing out that the authentic leader will take time to reflect on reality and permit it to penetrate
him or her – that through this effort the true meaning of one’s activity is seen in light of one’s
real purpose. It is of great interest to the students, if a bit of an instrumental view, that bringing
this understanding and form of leisure into one’s life can actually lead to better insights into the
difficult problems leaders face. We discuss Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf and
consider the meaning of the reflective leader. We return to the question of grace with which we
began and introduce the “sacrament of the present moment” as a locus of clarity and peace. At
this point in the course, the students are asked to do a written exercise on their experience of
leisure, similar to the one they completed with regard to their work experience. It requires them
to take one half-hour per day for reflection and to complete a week long journal or log of their
experience in this regard. Thus we ground the concept of leisure in their experience of it as well.
Part Four: Conclusion: The Postmodern Context of Work
The last section of the course and of the paper is a consideration of these themes in light of the
challenges of the contemporary period. We read Drucker’s “The Age of Social Transformation,”
a small selection from Robert Fogel’s The Fourth Great Awakening and a chapter from Juliet
Schor’s The Overworked American. The intention is to ground our theological reflections in the
historical context of our time, thus preparing the student to meet the unique challenges it offers.
Winston Tellis
Fairfield University as a Jesuit institution has a strong commitment to developing students who
are aware of the world around them, and whose education takes them beyond their academic
focus. They are presented with varying views on topics and are encouraged to engage in critical
thinking, in class and elsewhere. It is only by asking the critical questions that they are able to
form opinions and determine the action they are called to take. A characteristic of Jesuit
educational institutions is the Liberal Arts curriculum, to which are added any professional
education a student might wish to pursue. Professional schools often focus on delivering the
body of knowledge on which the students will be tested by an external organization, Accounting
being one such example. It is easy to claim that the demands of the profession are such that the
graduating students must possess certain knowledge in order to be accepted into their
professional groups, leaving little room for unrelated material.
However, we it is important to link them to the fundamental principles on which Catholic
institutions are built. Few of our students, and many others, are quite uninformed about the
importance of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) to themselves and to the world of which they are
part. Students in “Technology and Society” (IS 220) are introduced to CST in the first class. The
material presented is excerpted from the book, Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret
(Henriot/DeBerri/Schultheis, 2001). The instructor first presents the material from the Papal
encyclicals in summary form. Later, as the students explore the text for the course, the students
are encouraged to link the contents of a particular chapter to a corresponding CST principle.
Those principles enter into the discussion that each class invariably generates. The student
reaction has been overwhelmingly positive as they learn about the principles of CST. The
instructor periodically draws the students’ attention to the “Fourteen Major Lessons” presented
in the CST book.
Brief description of “Technology and Society”
Seeking to present the students with a framework from which to make their life decisions, the
author developed a course unlike any other in the school at the time. The course is entitled
“Technology and Society” and has no prerequisites. It is offered by the Information Systems and
Operations Management Department in the Dolan school of Business. An important
characteristic of the course is that the Office of Service Learning (SL) at Fairfield University has
designated it as a service-learning course. The SL office assists the instructor in finding
community partners for the particular service assignment that the instructor considers appropriate
for the course. They also arrange for transportation to and from the sites, to which students in the
class usually volunteer to drive university vans. In IS 220, twenty students typically spend one
hour each week at an inner-city high school or a middle school, in an after-school program. The
college students help the high school students to prepare for the Connecticut Academic
Performance Test (CAPT). Passing that test is required to obtain the high school diploma. The
middle school students seek assistance in researching class projects or reports. The CAPT
preparation in this high school program mostly involves using packaged software that the high
school selected for the students.
The first week of the course deals with the Papal Encyclicals presented in CST text. The
instructor does not identify them as encyclicals initially, but presents them as a list of “essay”
titles. The students are asked to comment on the possible origin of those essays. They are
invariably surprised to learn that they are Papal Encyclicals. We then examine the salient
features of several of the documents that are more appropriate for the course.
The rest of the course uses Technology & The Future (Teich, 2006) which explores the effect of
technology on various segments of the world’s people and their environment. The instructor
repeatedly draws the students’ attention to the link between CST and the topics in the text. The
following is a brief sampling of the chapter titles in the Teich text: “How Society Shapes
Technology”; “The Role of Technology in Society”; “Feminist Perspectives of Technology”;
“Terrorism and the Brittle Technology”; “Civil Liberties in a Time of Crisis”; “Hard Cell: A
Commentary on the President’s Stem Cell Address”; “Modern Global Climate Change”;
“Computer Ethics”. The book contains some articles that are 30 years old, but seminal in the
material presented; it also has recent articles on the controversy over stem cell research, and the
U.S. Government response to it, which is a more contemporary debate. Most of the chapters
present a balanced view of each topic, and the students are expected to research the recent
developments related to the topic in preparation for the class discussion.
The course and the materials
The course is offered as one 150-minute session each week. The class is divided into two
segments of almost equal length; one segment of each class is held in the classroom, the second
segment is conducted on site at a community partner’s location in nearby Bridgeport, CT.
Bridgeport is the poorest city in Connecticut and also it’s largest. It is a mere 5 minute drive
from the Fairfield University campus. Students spend a minimum of 9 weeks in this service
environment, individually involved with a student from a local high school or community center,
with the instructor present at all times. Bridgeport is a culturally diverse city, where the
demographics have changed over the past 30 years. Rather than the earlier white Irish
immigrants, Bridgeport now has a large Hispanic population. Fairfield University students are
mainly affluent white Christians, whereas the Bridgeport school population is mostly from lower
income levels from various countries, and are different from the typical Fairfield University
student. While the recent Fairfield University student population has begun to manifest
significant diversity, it is not yet sufficiently diverse to compare with the students in the
Bridgeport schools. However, the cultural and socio-economic differences between Bridgeport
and Fairfield University students are rapidly bridged as the students become deeply involved
with one another. Fairfield students assist their charges in preparing for CAPT examinations
using technology, or in the lower grades, helping them with their computer homework.
Sometimes the parents are included in the classes. After some sessions in Bridgeport, Fairfield
University students request a class debriefing to share their experiences, and to help reflect on
and process the effect the experience has had on them.
In the first class, once the preliminary explanation of the course is complete, the students are
given time to examine the chapters in the Teich text. Most chapters are short, no more than 20
pages. Students usually select a partner with whom they will present the material in the chapter.
The students are assigned to lead the discussion each week, and link their discussion in some
way to CST and current developments related to the chapter. They sometimes take provocative
positions to draw their classmates out and generate debate. It is an important exercise as students
learn to listen to views with which they might disagree strenuously, and to offer rebuttals in a
respectful and constructive way. Students learn to research the ramifications of their positions to
justify a position they wish to take, and to be prepared to respond to challenges. This is a subtle
opportunity to review the CST principles on political apathy, human dignity, and social justice,
amongst other CST topics.
Ignatian Pedagogy
IS 220 is conducted in the nearly 500 year old Ignatian Pedagogical model. That model
developed by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, calls on the instructor to follow
five principles: Context, Experience, Reflection, Action, and Evaluation. The Ignatian pedagogue
accompanies the learners along the right path, getting them accustomed to finding their own way.
The Instructor should:
• Consider the context of each student’s life;
• Foster a broad base of experience to make the material come alive to the learners;
• Help students reflect upon subject matter, to broaden and deepen their awareness of
themselves and the world around them;
• Encourage students to use their own experience and awareness through action in service
of others; reflection often leads to action; and
• Evaluate the whole person. Jesuit institutions seek to develop “women and men for
others” and to the extent the courses encourage the students to reach beyond their familiar
environs, they open the minds and hearts of the students to achieving greater things in the
service of others.
Student Presentation
Once the instructor has set the tone of the class format, the instructor works with the students to
ensure the quality of the presentation. The students present the material, and develop questions
for discussion. In IS 220, prior to each class session, students are required to submit online, a
summary of the chapters scheduled for discussion at the following class, and questions that have
arisen because of the students’ reading and reflection. Thus, the presenters are aware that the
class has read the chapter, and may summarize the material briefly, but then explore the recent
developments related to the material, linking it to CST where applicable. This technique works
very well, and in the era of the Internet and instant information, the problem is not the
availability of material, but the validity of the source. There is lively discussion in every class,
and the instructor (who sits in the rear of the room) is careful to ensure that those who wish to
speak are heard, that the conversation is respectful (“respectful disagreement” is a familiar
phrase), and that the presenters have made an adequate effort to update the textbook article with
current events. From the sample chapter titles listed above, it is clear that some of the topics are
controversial, and sometimes challenge students’ long-held family values and views. Sometimes
student opinions are altered, and it causes personal upheaval, which often results in a personal
written reflection. The students often express their surprise at the CST documents on the
obligation to care for the environment, and to respect labor.
Personal Reflections
The students in IS 220 write numerous personal reflections on aspects of the course that touch
them. The students are assured that only the instructor and the student share the document. It
could be handwritten, but it is certainly not submitted electronically. Initially, the instructor has
to provide guidance on a method of reflection, and how the students could write one. The plight
of the inner-city students is always a concern of the more affluent Fairfield students, the misuse
of technology, the ethical and moral lapses of corporations and governments also enter into their
reflections. The students frequently remark publicly and privately how much they learned from
the discourse and service experience, both about the conditions of the world and its people, and
about themselves. The latter is the result of the personal reflection that is a major component of
the class. Students frequently report on finding their calling as a result of the service or readings.
It is one effect of the reflections that are required and which give the students an opportunity to
retreat to a quiet space in which to ponder the question at hand. It is from this space that some
students emerge with a strong feeling of whom they are and who they are called to be. The
students in the Ignatian Residential College at Fairfield University are asked to reflect on three
questions: “Who am I, Whose am I, and Who am I called to be?” These questions are addressed
in IS 220, as the students grow in their ability to reflect and connect their daily activities with
their actions.
The Paper
The students are also required to write a brief paper on a topic they select from a list of possible
topics, which relates CST to one of the chapters in the text, or how SL and CST are interrelated.
The quality of the papers is usually high and because the students select the topic, they invest a
lot of themselves into the effort. Students often seek permission to write on a topic that is not
quite on the list, but about which they are passionate. The Instructor usually allows the students
to proceed after consultation so that the material is relevant and links CST in some manner.
This course embodies the mission of the university and the school, in that it deals with the
technical aspects of the subject, but draws on the responsibility each individual has for the
environment and for those less fortunate in society. This is not done overtly, but as part of the
class discussion on topics that cover every major area of CST. The students have other
opportunities to make the connection between the mission and course work, but it is not done in
the context of a single course. In addition, the students lead the discussion, which makes them
active participants in the course, and makes the subject come alive to them - a principle of
Ignatian Pedagogy. The process of making them aware of their responsibility to others,
particularly those less fortunate than they are emerges from the discussions and the service
experience, thus fulfilling the mission of the university. Students visit the instructor regularly to
explore topics that concern them, and about which they have been thinking. A common refrain is
that they have not experienced a course in which they are made to think about their own lives
and the effect their lifestyle may have on the world. Students report that the discussion often
continues as they continue their lives in the residence halls. The instructor usually asks them to
consider whether they have selected a lifestyle that is sustainable in the long term. The final
exam allows them to choose one of four topics on which they write a research piece. They have
three weeks to submit the final version. The topics range from current events and how they relate
to CST, to analysis of past events and how they could have been resolved through CST.
Technology is the underlying means through which they start their analysis, but it is invariably
intertwined with the principles of CST and the class discussions that enlighten their final
Stephen J. Conroy
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand
(Sophocles, 400 BC; as quoted in Gentry, 1990)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss a pedagogical model that provides an opportunity to
promote the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in a Catholic business school. I provide
evidence from student reflection papers that students appear to have become sensitized to the
seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching through their interactions with and exposure to the
people of Tijuana, Mexico. Student evaluations from fall 2005 indicate that the Tijuana
immersion experience was the highest-rated component of the entire course.
I. Background/Motivation
The principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), while central to Catholicism, often remain on
the fringes of Business school education. Catholic business school educators may be tempted to
view the inculcation of CST principles as merely the responsibility and domain of the theology
department—or perhaps the Business and Society courses. However, I would argue that creating
multiple opportunities of exposure through various business disciplines (e.g., economics) is a
preferred method of delivery, creating--as it were--multiple portals of entry into the realm of
CST. While some students may indeed come to learn, appreciate and even support CST
principles through passive learning techniques (e.g., reading and/or listening to lectures on
pastoral letters from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops), pedagogical research in this area
(see Hamer, 2000) has found that experiential learning can be a very effective pedagogical
approach. There are two forms of experiential learning that are discussed here: immersion
experiences and service learning. In immersion experiences, students are taken to a specific
location (e.g., Mexico) to be “immersed” in a particular ambiance or situation. Their level of
interaction may be merely observational, conversational or some combination thereof. Service
learning (see Sigmon, 1997; Stanton, 1990; Eyler and Giles, 1999 for a definition) is a
connection of community service and learning. According to Stanton (1990), it is more of a
“program emphasis” than a “type” of experiential learning in and of itself. In any case, service
learning has been shown to provide a number of advantages over traditional (passive) learning
techniques. It provides an opportunity for deep learning through personal connections. Service
learning also provides learning that is perceived as useful, developmental and transformative
(Eyler and Giles, 1999).
Beginning in the fall 2005 semester, I took my principles of microeconomics (ECON 101) class
on an immersion experience to Tijuana, Mexico to visit the “poorest of the poor” in a colonia (El
Ranchito) located on the eastern side of the city. Student reaction to this experience—which was
almost uniformly positive and profound—spurred me to expand the experience the following
year as well as to incorporate service learning into my managerial economics (ECON 373 and
GSBA 509) classes. In what follows below, I will attempt to describe the immersion and service
learning experiences I have offered in the principles of economics courses, and how these
experiences have provided an opportunity to teach CST. But first I would like to explain what is
meant by CST.
II. Catholic Social Teaching
Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) is commonly viewed as the first papal encyclical to
explicitly address issues of Catholic Social Teaching. More recently, in 2004, Cardinal Renato
Raffaele Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presided over the
publication what is now perhaps the most comprehensive official Vatican statement regarding
Catholic Social Teaching (Doctrine), the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In
its introduction, this document states the following:
Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own
transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter
their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human.
Men and women who are made “new” by the love of God are able to change the rules and
the quality of relationships, transforming even social structures. They are people capable
of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships
where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by
man. Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain
among themselves. This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to
perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness.
(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Introduction (4), 2004.)
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has also made official statements about CST. On their
website, the Conference notes, “The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about
building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.
Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and
episcopal documents.” (http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/projects/socialteaching/excerpt.shtml) The
bishops summarize these teachings into the following seven broad themes:
1. The life and dignity of the human person
2. Call to family, community and participation
3. Rights and responsibilities
4. Option for the poor and vulnerable
5. The dignity of work and rights of workers
6. Solidarity with the human family
7. Care for God’s creation
Each of these themes reflects a profound collection of teaching that are rooted in the gospels and
fleshed out in subsequent writings by theologians, bishops and the Vatican.
III. Description of Pedagogical Experiences
The main thrust of the Economics 101 service learning experience is actually a combination of
immersion and service learning experiences in Tijuana, Mexico. Located only 20 miles from the
international border with Mexico, the University of San Diego is perhaps uniquely situated to
take advantage of this opportunity. However, many other Catholic universities also have unique
and rich cultural opportunities available within driving distance.
The first year, I took students to visit poor neighborhoods or colonias that had no modern
infrastructure (plumbing, electricity, paved roads, etc.) and whose housing stock was comprised
predominantly of simple, wooden or even cardboard housing structures. Students were asked to
take a survey of people living in the colonias to learn about their income sources, assets,
demographic information, as well as housing information, sources of electricity, cooking and
heating material, transportation, etc. What began, ostensibly, as a lesson in economic
development or economics of poverty ended up being something much more. Struck by the
profound poverty of their subjects, students—in their post-experience reflection papers—
translated their experiences into the language of CST, even without any formal discussion of the
CST principles themselves. However, I also noticed that students left with a one-sided view of
the Tijuana economy and they did not experience the “business” or “production” side of the
economy. Thus, the following year (fall 2006), I expanded the experience to include (a) a tour of
a maquiladora (assembly plant) and subsequent economic/political conversation with the
maquiladora plant manager about Mexican labor conditions, benefits, etc., (b) dinner in the
commercial Zona Rio section of the city (for balance to see another side of the city/economy), (c)
spending the night in a community center hosted by the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and (d) a sixhour service or immersion experience the following day either painting a community service
center, repairing a poor family’s house, or visiting residents in Colonia El Ranchito.
This past fall semester, I also offered students in my managerial economics (GSBA 509) course
an opportunity to volunteer with two local microfinance institutions (MFI’s), ACCION San
Diego and Women’s Empowerment International. Results from this experience are preliminary,
but student response was also very positive. I will focus the analysis of this current endeavor on
my principles of microeconomics classes.
IV. Results from Student Reflection Papers
Upon reading the reflection papers from the Tijuana emersion and service learning experiences,
it became clear that students had been profoundly influenced—“touched”—by their
experiences—and not merely in concrete, academic terms, but also spiritually. In what follows
below, I provide some representative comments from students. The connection to the seven CST
themes is provided in brackets below each comment. (The student names have been changed to
provide anonymity.)
“Linda”: “Once the van crossed the Mexican border there was an immediate and noticeable
change in the infrastructure and the physical attributes of Tijuana, Mexico compared to the
United States.
“The extreme gap between the wealthy and the poor in the Mexican economy became noticeable
once we passed the well-off side of the city near downtown and continued on to the poorer and
less attractive neighborhoods of Tijuana. There seemed to be no middle between the rich and the
poor. Of the three families I visited, two were extremely poor and lived in one room houses with
next to nothing.” [#4 Option for the poor and vulnerable]
“Of the three families I visited, the most important assets were health and family. The people
rely on their health to be able to work and receive income and they rely on their families for
support and financial aid, especially when they are unable to work.”
[#5 The dignity of work and the rights of workers; #2 Call to family, community and
“James”: “Unlike the Americans, the people of Tijuana’s happiness does not come from wealth
and riches, rather their happiness stems from God’s grade and gifts of life, health, and family.”
[#1 The life and dignity of the human person—divine origin]
“Some hope to get across to the United States to take up residence, but the majority of the people
we visited were satisfied living in Mexico.” “In one particular house, children started working as
young as 8 in order to help families with income.”
[#3 Rights and responsibilities; #6 Solidarity with the human family; #5 The dignity of work
and the rights of workers]
“As far as waste disposal goes, I never did see a dumpster or dump truck. I did see many fires,
and the priests informed me that those were garbage fires. Clearly, Mexico has very lax or even
nonexistent environmental laws. This is even further confirmed by the noisy traffic. The lack of
mufflers on many cars I noticed points to a lack of emissions controls on cars.”
[#7 Care of God’s creation.]
V. Popularity of Student Immersion/Service Learning Project
At the end of the fall 2005 semester, I asked students to rank each of the components of the
course on a seven-point Likert-type scale, with 1 being the lowest and 7 being highest. Summary
results are presented below in Table 1. Notably, the “Community Service Learning Project in
Tijuana” was the highest-rated component of the course.
Table 1. End of Semester Evaluations from Students
Class Component
Mean Student Rating (1 – 7)
Community Service Learning Project in
Lecture Handouts (Fill in the blank)
Reading Freakonomics by Levitt and
Quizzes and Exams
Writing Assignment (Book Review)
Writing Assignment (Reflection Paper on
PowerPoint Presentations
“Chalk and Talk” Lectures
Writing Assignment (Paper on topic fr.
Complete Lecture Handouts
First Year Experience Sessions
Aplia for Homework
VI. Discussion
This paper has been an attempt to assess the effect of immersion and community service learning
experiences in a principles of microeconomics class. While results are speculative, it appears
that students—through their exposure to and interactions with the people of Tijuana, Mexico—
became sensitized to the seven “themes” of Catholic Social Teaching. This experience is offered
as an apparently effective method to teach CST themes in an economics course. Even though
this was not an explicit course in CST or Business and Society (where one might expect these
themes to be addressed in Catholic business schools), students appear to have learned these
principles—and in a deeper way than one would expect in passive learning experiences. Further
research is needed to test whether (a) results presented here are robust and generalizable to other
universities/courses and (b) other pedagogical approaches not addressed in this analysis (e.g.,
passive learning) might be preferred.
Jeanne Buckeye
This paper reports on research conducted among and about business faculty at a Catholic
university. Its purpose is to develop a better picture of the business faculty in its entirety, to learn
what attracted individuals to the university and its business programs, and finally, to understand
their thinking about the university’s Catholic mission, its impact on them and their perception of
how their work as business faculty serves that mission.
Underlying the prospect of mission-driven business education is a central question: what role
should faculty play in the enterprise? Is it sufficient for business professors to be committed to
their disciplines, proficient in research, effective in teaching? Or is commitment to the mission
necessary, too? The Catholic university that takes its Catholic mission seriously is seeking to
inform and shape the educational experience for students in a particular way, to be more and to
offer more than generic education in a Catholic wrapper. At the very heart of this work in the
university is the teacher-scholar whose job it is to seek and to communicate knowledge, to seek
an integration of knowledge, to inspire learning and to keep the content and process of education
ever new. The teacher-scholar whose professional life is centered in a university with a Catholic
mission, is asked to do still more: “It is essential that we be convinced of the priority of the
ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit
over matter.” (Ex corde ecclesiae) This is the challenge for the business faculty in a Catholic
university, no less than for faculty in any other discipline.
Hiring and managing to mission. Management literature, particularly in organizational
behavior and strategy, emphasizes the value of the mission statement in ordering strategic
choices and shaping organizational culture. Coupled with codes of ethics, statements of core
values and vision statements, mission statements are tools for more than strategic differentiation
and action; they also “profess” an organizational purpose that becomes the basis for a unique
identity, or even brand. When an integrated package of statements and codes and expectations
has clarity and substance, it can become the basis for recruiting and screening employees, for
hiring decisions and training practices, for evaluative and formative employee feedback,
promotions and for rewards. More than just “hiring to mission,” the best organizations also
“manage to mission.” The practice accounts for a veritable army of former GE managers who
for the past half-dozen years or so have scattered across the corporate landscape, often recruited
and hired because they have the GE management brand. And GE is just one among many
The practice of “hiring to mission” is used in universities too, though it may not be
described as such. A candidate’s perceived proficiency (e.g., publishing record) in the discipline
and fit with the particular focus of the institution are common hiring criteria. Doctoral students
with high research aspirations learn early which schools have research missions, with resources
and performance expectations to match the candidates’ own interests. In the early years of a
faculty careers, the rank and tenure process is also used to “manage to mission,” especially in
highly focused research and teaching schools. Tenure and promotion may depend on getting the
right amount of work published in the right journals, thus rewarding performance that enhances a
school’s reputation for research leadership and supporting a research-focused mission – at least
until the tenure decision is made.
Long-term emphasis on excellence in one area may come at the expense of other missioncritical qualities, organizational identity and even capacity change. Burtchaell and others have
suggested that many religiously affiliated schools in the United States, Catholic schools included,
have risked and even lost their faith-based identity for just this reason. When schools focus on
hiring strictly for individual candidates’ excellence in their discipline, or in research or teaching,
they may unwittingly downplay qualities that enhance the makeup of the faculty as a whole. A
desirable balance, integrating capability or institutional understanding that resides only in the
faculty as a whole may be put at risk, and with it, organizational identity. For example,
candidates’ sympathy toward a school’s faith affiliation, the liberal arts or other significant
element of institutional identity could make a substantial contribution to institutional mission
overall. So why not emphasize candidate qualities that serve the broader mission? It takes more
time, for one thing, and it may test institutional patience to by-pass a candidate who excels on the
discipline criterion, but lacks qualities consistent with other qualities of the school’s mission.
Supply and demand in the candidate pool, urgency of staffing needs, mission clarity and
leadership in the search process also affect institutional patience. Faculty hiring necessarily
shines a light on performance and specialization in a discipline, so all things considered, a hiring
decision based on this characteristic looks like a failsafe position.
Changing and adapting to mission. Assume that a business school in a Catholic
university undertakes the challenge to offer more than a good business education in a Catholic
university, but instead to offer good business education that has a particularly “Catholic quality.”
What task would it be taking on? Of what would such an education consist? How would it be
designed? Delivered? Assessed? Promoted among perspective students and explained to
employers? The answer to every one of these questions has “faculty” written in its heart.
Without their interest, engagement and support such an undertaking would be virtually
impossible. Worse, without their full cooperation and participation, such an enterprise would
violate the basic principles of subsidiarity and participation that are, or should be, core values in
any Catholic institution.
Now ask, if the idea of delivering an authentically “Catholic business education” were
proposed to business faculty in a Catholic university, how would they respond? At a minimum –
variously. Enthusiasm, acceptance, curiosity, confusion, skepticism, resistance, disdain – it is
easy to imagine all of these responses and more. To get beyond an initial response and into actual
consideration of the idea, what would it take? Respect, listening, patience, of course: but also,
knowledge of the faculty, individually and as a whole. Yet the very qualities and attitudes that
might be most helpful to know about a faculty in anticipation of any such scenario are some of
the things most difficult to ask about and easy to avoid, especially in an employment interview.
Does it matter to you that this is a Catholic institution? What does that mean to you? Do you
find yourself in sympathy with Catholic identity? Offended by it? Merely tolerant? Before
starting the discussion it would be helpful to know enough about the faculty, at least in broad
strokes, to assess realistically the dimensions of the task. Any dean who seriously undertook the
challenge of shaping a uniquely “Catholic business education,” or even engaging the question
with faculty, would want to know who might be possible leaders in the project, to understand
resistance and its sources, to assess the size and scope of the task before beginning.
Getting to know the faculty. Serious efforts to emphasize a mission-driven business
education in a Catholic university depend on faculty acceptance. Hiring faculty who can
contribute to the endeavor from the beginning is helpful. But for business programs that choose
to re-envision their education in a particularly Catholic way, gaining the support of the existing
faculty is crucial. Like any change it begins with awareness, but much lies between awareness
and successful implementation rooted in acceptance: explanation and education about the idea
and its purpose, authentic dialogue and participation, problem solving, negotiation and priority
setting -- with faculty engaged every step of the way. In an institution that has hired business
faculty primarily with attention to the discipline, research or teaching, and with less concern for a
Catholic mission, chances are there will be no faculty profile that could shed light on the general
openness to a Catholic mission. Developing such a profile would seem to be a respectful and
necessary first step in the process. It is this necessary step that provides the context for the
research described in this paper.
Overview of the Study
As a participant in the year long conversations about the nature of business education in a
Catholic university that were the genesis of this conference, the author of this study became
interested in the question of how a pluralistic business faculty might react to a proposal to
emphasize Catholic identity in business education. Convinced that getting to know more about
the business faculty was a necessary first step for any such effort, the paper’s author sought and
received permission from the business school dean to explore this question among his faculty.
The paper reports findings from this research, and in particular, three areas:
What role University mission and identity play in attracting business
faculty to a Catholic university.
How faculty view the University mission and identity in relation to their
academic work once they have become part of the university community.
The extent to which business faculty are aware of mission-related ideas
like Catholic Social Thought and how they might use these in their
academic work.
The setting for this research is the school of business in a Catholic university in a
Midwestern state. Students in the school’s graduate and undergraduate business programs, more
than 2560 combined, account for about 42 percent of the university’s total enrollment.
Over a period of about four months in the spring of 2007, the author conducted individual
structured interviews with 49 full time business faculty representing all eight departments, and
more than half of all faculty in the business school. Designed to take approximately one hour
each, the interview covered four primary areas: 1) interviewee’s demographic data relative to
education and length of service at the university; 2) motivation for choosing to join the faculty;
3) reflections on the mission of a Catholic University (from Ex corde), and on the specific
missions of the university in question and its school of business; 4) reflections on Catholic Social
Thought as an element of Catholic identity pertinent to economics and business.
Report and Discussion of Findings
Each of the paper’s three primary sections on the findings of this study offers basic
quantitative data and descriptive statistics. While the interview design emphasized open-ended
questions, interviewer also asked participants to respond to scaled some questions, e.g., “How
important is this to you....?” Each section includes quotations from summary comments to
illustrate a particular point or a perspective.
Faculty Profile. This part of the paper reports on demographic data provided by
interviewees profiling their education in the profession, their discipline, faculty status and length
of service at the university. It also reports on what factors were most important to them in their
decision to join the university, the role of the university’s mission in that decision, and any
concerns or doubts they might have had about joining the university faculty.
Mission. Asked to focus first on the mission of a Catholic university, then on the
university’s mission and finally on the mission of the school of business, interviewees reflected
on the perceived importance of the mission as a whole and on particular ideas it expressed.
Follow-up questions focused on whether, or how, individual faculty members saw the mission as
a guide or inspiration in their work at the university – in teaching, research or service. This
section of the paper reports on overall awareness and personal understanding of mission, and its
importance and application in the faculty member’s work.
Identity. Comments about Catholic Social Thought in general, and particular principles
of CST are the subject of this section. As a phrase that describes a body of papal and documents
and reports from church leaders on social questions, CST is phrase that is widely used in the
university, but perhaps not so well understood, even by Catholics. It does, however, have the
advantage of being a specific example of a way of thinking and of moral judgment associated
with a “Catholic” view of justice and economic issues. It also has the advantage of addressing
decision making and action, i.e., guidance for living with one’s faith in the broader culture. This
section of the paper reports on interviewees’ reflections about CST, about their understanding of
specific principles, and about how they use – or could use – the principle in the context of
teaching in their discipline.
Recommendations and Conclusion
This section summarizes key findings and questions from the study, and offers reflections on the
meaning of these findings, particularly for inviting faculty to explore the idea of a “Catholic business
education. Interviewing 49 business faculty members, and hearing their reflections on professional life,
personal reasons for being at the university and the meaning of work in relation to mission was a rich
experience. While the details of individual questions and interviewee perspectives are illuminating,
more important is a general observation. For many faculty “Catholic” itself is a vague and mysterious
term; yet there is also an openness and curiosity to learning about it, especially with regard to its
meaning for the mission and identity of a Catholic university and for business education.
Bro. Raymond L. Fitz, S.M.
Some Challenges in Business Education at a Catholic University
From a sociological perspective universities can be viewed as a network of conversations. There
are the important conversations of classroom where faculty and students explore everything from
the novels of the “lost generation” to the phenomenon of fractals in chaos theory. There are the
important conversations of a research team exploring the mysteries of microbiology as well as
the solitary scholar in conversation with a medieval text.
These conversations are shaped by the discipline and professional fields that make up the
University; what have been called communities of discourse. By connecting the concepts of
discourse and community we are able to appreciate the ways our conversations are shaped by
structure, by social process, by the language and norms of the community that makes up the
discipline or the professional field. The social processes of the discourse community help create
“preferred” meanings and positions taken in our conversations as well as determine the
assumptions that are included and excluded in the conversation. Discourse communities create a
perspective for interpreting the world. The norms of the community shape what can be said, by
whom, when, and with what authority one can speak. For example, the discipline of sociology is
a discourse community, or perhaps an ensemble of discourse communities, that develops a
particular language and habits of thinking about a wide range of human interactions. Professions
such as business and engineering can also be viewed as discourse communities. To be initiated
into a discipline or professional field is to be invited into the discourse community by it members
and usually mentored by one or more masters in the community.
In response to the demands of our information rich and dynamic world that our graduates will
face, contemporary universities are making integrated learning and scholarship an essential part
of their curriculum. Learning communities are being created where learners are able to discover,
integrate, apply, and communicate knowledge needed to address important issues of our world
from a variety of disciplines and a variety of different experiences. These skills of learning are
developed when students are able to engage in learning that spans and connects different
disciplines. To enhance integrated learning, contemporary universities endeavor to create and
sustain discourse communities that involve several disciplines or cross over disciplines. This
requires that faculty from different disciplines develop a working language and set of
assumptions that allow them to structure integrated inquiry and reflection into important
contemporary issues. Building these integrated discourse communities requires recruiting and
supporting faculty to be members of multiple discourse communities – at least their own
discipline and one or more communities of discourse that support integrated learning.
Outstanding Catholic universities must also develop this emphasis on integrated learning. One
of the ways of distinguishing an outstanding Catholic university from other outstanding
universities is the institutional intent and resolve that the Catholic intellectual tradition is one of
the important resources for integrated learning. In the same manner, we can distinguish
outstanding business education at a Catholic university from the outstanding business education
in other universities by the way that the Catholic intellectual tradition, and especially the
Catholic social tradition, is utilized as an important resource for integrating business education.
Outstanding business education in a Catholic university requires the recruitment and
development of faculty from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business
Administration that can form discourse communities which utilize the Catholic intellectual
tradition as an important resource in integrated learning for business professionals. The purpose
of this paper is to outline a strategy for developing the a cadre of faculty in the College of Arts
and Sciences and the School of Business Administration that will be able to design and
implement a business curriculum that has the Catholic social tradition as an important integrating
theme. The strategy has three overlapping elements. First, a pedagogy of responsible action is
explored as theme for a discourse community that would be attractive to faculty both from the
School of Business Administration and the College of Arts and Sciences. The pedagogy of
responsible action is one way of showing how both faculties share a common task in teaching
and learning. Second, the Catholic social tradition is brought into play as a powerful resource for
the pedagogy of responsible action. Finally, approaches to faculty development are outlined that
employ the pedagogy of responsible action and the Catholic social tradition as a resource for this
The Pedagogy of Responsible Action as a Business Professional
One approach to demonstrating that the pedagogy of responsible action is an attractive theme for
faculty from the College and the School of Business is to use an argument developed by Lee
Schulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In several
articles based on his experience in the teaching of teachers and medical professional, Schulman
has developed a creative framework for linking professional education and liberal education. In
this section Schulman’s framework is utilized to develop some insights into the pedagogy of
responsible action for business students.
Schulman starts with argument about the nature of professional education and then relates these
argument to some commonalities to liberal education. He sees all professions as characterized
by the following attributes:
1. the obligation of service to others, as in a “calling”;
2. understanding of a scholarly or theoretical kind;
3. a domain of skilled performance or practice
4. the exercise of judgment under conditions of unavoidable uncertainty:
5. the need for learning from experience as theory and practice interact; and
6. a professional community to monitor quality and aggregate knowledge.
These characteristics can provide us with a framework to address the question of shaping
pedagogies of responsible action for business students.
The purpose of being a business profession is not always obvious in our teaching and learning
with business students. Often it assumed that graduates from Business Schools in Catholic
universities, like graduates of other business schools are to be good employees for the firms that
hire them. They must be prepared to perform a function within an organization – they need to be
excellent in marketing, quality control, accounting, operations management or some technical
field of business education. By treating business as a profession, we guide our students to think
about their current job or about their career, but to explore what is the purpose or their calling as
a business professional. This exploration provides a moral dimension to their professional work.
It engages them by asking what the purpose of business is and what is my obligation not only to
the firm, but to serve others and the greater good of society.
As business schools have become more deeply integrated into the modern University they have
developed the knowledge base of the profession. Business as theoretical knowledge has
integrated knowledge from a wide variety of areas -- business practice, the social science, the
mathematical sciences, and many others. Faculties are recruited and reward by their ability to
advance business as a theoretical discipline. Students that graduate from business school are
expected to know the basics of the business disciplines and have to have specialized knowledge
in one or more of them. A business student is also expected to have a basic grounding in the
liberal arts as part of his or her knowledge base.
Although a significant portion of business knowledge that a student will obtain in his or her
business education is developed in the academy, it is not professional knowledge until it is
enacted in the field of business practice. Students graduating from a business school are
expected to know how to apply their knowledge to specific business situation and problems.
Through a variety of project oriented courses and capstone courses business educators have been
helping students develop the skills need to apply their knowledge to practical situations.
The application of knowledge to a particular situation requires the application of practical
judgment. “Human judgment creates bridges between the universal terms of theory and the
gritty particularities of situated practice.” An important part of business education is the
opportunity for students to develop judgments which incorporates the technical and moral, that
negotiates between the general and specific, as well as between the ideal and the feasible. While
we are getting better at given students practice oriented projects to develop their practical
judgment we are not as good at providing an apprenticeship for our students in making good
Academic knowledge is a necessary condition for success as a business professional. This
knowledge provides a good basis for designing intervention into a business setting. Yet, it is the
practical knowledge that is discovery and integrated by reflecting on surprises that one
encounters in implementing the intervention that provides a deeper basis for responsible action.
The lesson of practice must not only add to individual knowledge, but to the knowledge basis of
the organization and the profession.
The last of Schulman’s characteristics the community of practice is the most difficult to apply to
the business profession. Business professionals, in general, have been one of the last to organize
communities of practice. Communities of practice have evolved in accounting and certain fields
of financial management. These communities of practice hold and help aggregate the knowledge
of the profession and help define the standards of public accountability for the profession.
Schulman’s framework provides guidance for reflecting on a pedagogy of responsible action
business students. If we are to educate business students for the practical and professional
challenges they will encounter, they must be able to respond with both theoretical knowledge
and practical know-how, as well as, insight, a sense of purpose or vocation, and with discerning
moral commitment. Our challenge is to educate business students to respond to the world in
which they live and make informed and responsible judgments about the role they will play.
A central element in Schulman’s framework is practical reasoning (c.f. elements 4 and 5).
Practical reasoning is the critical skill to be taught and learned in a pedagogy of responsible
action. Practical reasoning is reasoning directed toward the determination of what is humanly
good and how that rationally desirable end should be pursued. Skills in practical reasoning allow
the student to make judgments in the midst of ambiguity that link knowledge to action and that
incorporate both technical and moral elements. Practical reasoning also enables students to
critique their actions and reflect on the judgments that were made in moving from knowledge to
Practical reasoning can be viewed knowledge processing in which store experiences and
knowledge in images and mental models. The process of practical reasoning is the marshalling
of and organizing of images and mental models to make arguments about a good to be pursued
and the means to realize this good. Our mental models are shaped by the culture and traditions
of the moral communities in which we are formed, by our experiences, and the choices we make
in response to these experiences. Practical reasoning is shape by our horizons (Taylor) and by
traditions of our community (MacIntyre). Our mental models influence the process of practical
reasoning in that they shape how and what we see, guide how we form inferences and what
actions we might take.
The skills of practical reasoning are the basis for students engaging their world, probing the
challenge and problems they encounter, deliberating on the goals and strategies they should
pursue in undertaking responsible action, and to reflect on what they have learned from the
process. Practical reasoning provides basis for both liberal education and professional education.
Catholic Social Tradition Informing Responsible Action
Having established practical reasoning as a key skill in the pedagogy of responsible action, we
now turn to the role that the Catholic social tradition can have in this pedagogy. The Catholic
social tradition can be viewed as both an ongoing practice of practical reasoning on important
social questions by the Catholic community in dialogue with others and as well as a set of basic
principles that have resulted from this reasoning and are used to guide and shape this reasoning
in the future. As a practice Catholic social tradition is the continuing exercise of practical
reasoning by the Catholic community in responding to important social questions, such as the
conditions of labor, international relations, or war and peace. In this discernment on how to act
through the exercise of practical reasoning, the Catholic community brings the resources of
Catholic Christianity into a reciprocal conversation with the important social questions.
This continuing exercise of practical reasoning yields a set of basic principles, i.e., orientations
for reflection, criteria for judgment, and directions for action that can guide the exercise of
practical reasoning on current and future social questions. These basic principles are expanded,
refined, and critiqued as participants in the tradition apply practical reasoning to the new
situations and questions they encounter.
Viewing the Catholic social tradition as both a practice of practical reasoning and a set of
principles or argument that have arisen from this exercise of practical reasoning allows a point of
integration with the pedagogy of responsible action. To state it simply, the Catholic social
tradition can be utilized as a resource when ever faculty and students are reading a situation,
deliberating on the goals and strategies that they should pursue in undertaking responsible action,
implementing these goals and strategies, and learning from their engagement. This view of the
Catholic social tradition allow it to be easily integrated into both liberal arts and professional
business curriculum.
Building Capacity within the University
So far we have argued that one of the major sources of integration for business education in a
Catholic university should be the Catholic intellectual tradition and especially that subdivision of
the tradition called the Catholic social tradition. To effect this integration requires a cadre of
faculty from the College of Arts and Science and the School of Business that are willing to
undertake this task. It has been suggested that a pedagogy of responsible action can be both an
attractive pedagogical approach for both groups of faculty and can also be an appropriate
framework for integrating the Catholic social tradition into the liberal and professional education
components of business education. As was indicated in the introduction of this paper, it takes an
institutional commitment of resources to support a community of scholars that are willing to
work at the integration of the Catholic social tradition into all aspects of the business curriculum.
This final section summarizes some of the efforts that University of Dayton has undertaken to
develop this community of scholars.
The University of Dayton has chosen to develop a network of endowed positions and forums that
undertake the work of integrating the Catholic intellectual and social tradition into the
curriculum. One of the responsibilities of the Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice in the
College of Arts and Sciences is to facilitate the integration of Catholic social teaching across the
curriculum. One of the programs undertaken in collaboration with the Deans of the College and
the School of Business was to develop a group of faculty that would work on the integration of
the Catholic social tradition into the education of the business students. The first project
undertaken was the development of a seminar for a small group of faculty from the College and
the School of Business to explore the business education in the Catholic and Marianist tradition.
The seminar met once a week for 2 hours for a whole semester. During the seminar the
participants undertook a conversation of an extensive list of reading which covered current
challenges in business education, issues in Catholic and Marianist education, and issues of
professional pedagogy. These conversations were lively and sometimes contentious, but they
allowed the participants to expand their horizons on the education of business students. During
the summer following the seminar, a number of participants were given a stipend to develop a
research paper on a topic that came out of the seminar.
The readings for the seminar are being organized into an electronic resource that can be used in
further collaborations by faculty. The seminar group made a series of recommendations on how
the Catholic and Marianist traditions of education could be more thoroughly integrated into the
curriculum of business students. This group continued to meet periodically after the completion
of the seminar and planned a second seminar for a new group of faculty from the College and the
School of Business in which the participants will share their syllabi that they will use to create
learning experiences using a pedagogy of responsible action.
Doug Gambrall and Mark A. Newcomb
Introduction and Statement of Purpose
This paper and its underlying research developed from experiencing the practical difficulties of
creating content standards for Business courses in the Adult Studies Program at Aquinas College
in Nashville, Tennessee. Aquinas' Adult Studies Program offers both Associate and Bachelor
degree tracks in Business, presented in an instructional format designed to be accessible for most
working adults. As opposed to traditional day classes that run a full semester, Adult Studies
classes meet for a single four-hour session per week, for five to six weeks. All courses are taught
in the evening, so that students with full-time day jobs may attend. This basic instructional
design, common to many such programs developed by educational leaders in American colleges
and universities since the late 1970s, has changed little since the inception of the Program in
As a college operating under the direction of the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia
Congregation, popularly known as the "Nashville Dominicans," Aquinas strives to faithfully and
fully integrate principles of Catholic Social Teaching into all of its curricula. These endeavors
follow naturally from, among other impetuses, the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesia and
John Paul II's call for every Catholic college and university to promote a dialogue between faith
and reason, in all academic disciplines. Animated by a love for and a desire to share the truth of
Catholic teaching about the nature and dignity of the human person with others, an aim recently
described by Benedict XVI as "intellectual charity," senior administrators at Aquinas have
consistently sought ways to impart these essential insights to students since the founding of the
Adult Studies Program, indeed, since the establishment of the College itself.
Strictly speaking, however, the question of how to integrate Catholic Social Teaching into a
Business program does not represent a new or unique challenge within pedagogy at all. Rather,
we merely face here a particular iteration of the age-old crux of pedagogy itself: how shall we
impart our knowledge and wisdom to students so that we might positively influence their basic
approaches to a given field of study? This essential question is at the heart of all instruction,
regardless of the discipline, program level or educational format.
Nevertheless, it is true that integrating principles of Catholic Social Teaching into an accelerated
Business program does add additional dimensions to the central purpose of pedagogy. The
associated challenges to effective instruction for Catholic doctrine in accelerated Business
courses fall primarily into five mutually-complicating categories: a.) students may be indifferent,
or indeed, averse to teachings of the Catholic Church; b.) given the current state of contemporary
culture, they may come to their studies with distorted views of the human person, resulting in a
poor understanding of the true purpose of business transactions and right order in employer to
employee relations; c.) many adult students are already working in Business, having sometimes
absorbed corporate operational philosophies at odds with Church teaching on the proper
relationship of economic processes to the essential good of the human person; d.) classes are
offered with condensed student contact hours, averaging twenty to twenty-five per course,
reducing the opportunities for instructors to re-shape student approaches to the study of
mercantile processes; e.) accelerated courses move at a brisk pace, offering little interstitial time
for students to reflect upon, absorb, critique, and apply foundational concepts related to man's
Final Cause. Developing strategies to address any one of these problems could be the focus of
an entire monograph, and taken together, they can appear insurmountable. Yet we are reminded
by Dante that the ascent to Paradise begins at the base of a mountain.
In reality, this constellation of student barriers to appreciating and absorbing Catholic Social
Teaching is generally rooted in a pair of closely related misconceptions: a.) that man is merely a
collection of needs and impulses that present opportunities for Business transactions from a sales
and marketing perspective; and b.) that people are, from an employment perspective, much like
materiel, to be deployed or discarded according to current corporate needs. The first of these
distortions is shaped by a consumerist mindset, while the second is a form of utilitarianism,
measuring man's value primarily or solely in terms of what he can produce for an organization.
Overcoming these distortions of man's place in the world of commerce and labor represents then,
re-shaping students' views of the human person. The central challenge is to help to form them in
such a way that they see man as, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, "a being created for his
own good," designed for ultimate fulfillment in eternal union with God. In short, the goal is for
us to help students to see Business as ordered toward the true good of man, and not vice versa.
From this insight of man as a created being moving towards a divinely-ordered purpose, it also
follows that people and their talents cannot be viewed as the property of any institution or
Of course, correctly identifying the root causes of a problem does not, in itself, represent a
solution. The real question becomes, "Who is in the best position to form the student's view of
the human person, and by what means should they undertake this task?" In education, no
amount of administrative initiative alone can achieve the goal of forming students to fully
appreciate human dignity without the cooperation of instructional personnel. In general, it is
instructors who have the greatest and most direct contact with students. In practical terms then,
the question of student formation is largely subsumed under the issue of instructor formation,
which, in turn, presents its own set of difficulties. While a handful of Aquinas' accelerated
courses are taught by full-time faculty from the traditional program, the overwhelming majority
of these classes are taught by adjunct faculty. The challenges here lie in the effort to foster in
students an appreciation for the cardinal points of Catholic Social Teaching, through instructors
who may have little or no exposure to Catholicism at all, let alone any awareness of Church
teaching on the universal destination of goods, solidarity, subsidiarity, or the primacy of labor
over capital.
With an awareness that many other Catholic institutions of higher education must also struggle
with this issue, we set out to measure the dimensions of the problem. Our ultimate aim is to
explore how professionals at various Catholic colleges and universities might collaborate on
solutions to provide adequate adjunct formation in the areas of Catholic Social Teaching. For
these reasons, we decided to systematically examine the issue of adjunct formation with respect
to principle points of Catholic Social Teaching, while offering some observations on this issue as
we have attempted to address it at Aquinas College.
Research Methods and Initial Outcomes
We have begun our research on this subject by creating a survey instrument of eleven questions
that was distributed to sixty-three member schools of the Commission for Accelerated Programs
(CAP). The CAP database contains nearly 300 institutions that have been identified by the
Center for the Study of Accelerated Learning as offering accelerated degree programs. The
center deems a school's programming is accelerated if courses are credit-bearing, have thirty-two
or fewer total contact hours, and are offered over a maximum period of eight weeks. Most
schools that offer an accelerated model of course delivery also feature a business program.
Of schools that have completed our survey to date, average enrollment in their accelerated
business programs is approximately 245 total students. Nearly two-thirds of these institutions
offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees under their accelerated business programs.
Seventy percent of these institutions indicated that they employ adjunct faculty to teach seventyfive percent of their accelerated business courses. Schools responding to our survey provide no
formal training in Catholic Social Teaching to their adjunct faculty. However, most schools
reported that they do have partial integration of Catholic Social Teaching into their accelerated
business curriculum. This integration is achieved mainly through faculty orientations and
workshops that stress the institution's Catholic mission. Many schools also rely completely on
classes within the degree program that focus on ethical decision making and social responsibility
to deliver Catholic Social Teaching to adjuncts. It is less clear how these college programs
ensure that Catholic Social Teaching is a central theme throughout the entire accelerated
business curriculum. Consistency from one course to the next appears to be a universal
challenge faced by providers of accelerated business degree programs.
Of those institutions who have responded to date, we have discovered that 86% are attempting to
integrate Catholic Social Teaching into their Business curricula, even as more than 50% of those
courses are taught by Adjunct faculty members. 57% of schools responding report that they do
not know if any of their adjuncts identify themselves as Catholic. Among the schools who do
track the number of Catholics employed as adjuncts, 25-56% of their part-time faculty describe
themselves as Catholic.
There can be no question of students applying principles of Catholic Social Teaching in their
approach to Business unless their instructors understand, explicate, and actively promote these
same concepts. The trends of our survey data suggest that Catholic institutions must inculcate an
awareness of and appreciation for Catholic Social Teaching among adjuncts, as the most reliable
means to shaping the thought and consciences of students in accelerated Business programs. In
courses with an average of twenty contact hours, taught by faculty who may have no exposure at
all to Catholic Social Teaching, the challenges involved with integrating faith and reason are
greater than they are for classes taught by full-time Catholic instructors in a traditional setting.
Certainly, given the reduced contact hours adjunct faculty members themselves have with the
institution, options for instilling Catholic Social Teaching in them are fewer than they are for
full-time faculty.
Nevertheless, it must also be acknowledged that there are distinct advantages to employing
adjunct faculty for Business courses, including the practical experience they usually bring to bear
in the classroom. Whether these individuals are primarily engaged in marketing, production, or
project and risk management, their applied knowledge of business processes is invaluable for
adult learners, who are naturally looking for current, relevant insights into micro- and
macroeconomic processes, and entrepreneurial inspiration. Furthermore, many adjuncts seek to
teach others out of a sheer superabundance of joy for what they do in their business roles. Given
that adjunct pay is generally not calibrated to make one wealthy, those individuals who become
successful instructors generally invest much of themselves in the lessons they furnish to students,
particularly working adults, with whom they share some experience in business, management, or
Observations on Adjunct Formation from Aquinas College
In the early stages of the Adult Studies Program, most efforts at promoting Catholic Social
Teaching were piecemeal and focused primarily on students. In time, we have come to
understand that issues that initially presented themselves as challenges of student formation
should first be addressed systematically among our instructors. Our comprehensive approach
may visually be conceived of as a series of three concentric rings: the outermost represents our
efforts to embody a total institutional culture of faith, and is largely a matter of witness in
worship, prayer, and corporate study of and fidelity to magisterial teaching. The second is
instructor formation, conceived of as a matter of professional development. The innermost ring,
student formation, is at the heart of the other two, and is understood as primarily an educational
endeavor. All three rings are bound together and work to condition each other. This conceptual
model may represent a greater or smaller effort than other Catholic institutions aim to establish
for their programs. We offer it here as a framework for the observations that follow, with the
hope that other schools may find something useful in it for their own initiatives in integrating
Catholic Social Teaching into their curricula. At this stage, much of what we know about the
success of this model is not being measured statistically, but comes to us through student and
instructor testimonials about its value in orienting classroom instruction. At enrollment levels of
about 350 students, with an average student to teacher ratio of 9 students, however, it is possible
to have a good sense of progress in these initiatives by regular student interaction and classroom
observations conducted by senior administrators. As enrollment expands, efforts to systematize
this work, and to systematically measure the outcomes of this model, will be incrementally
developed over the next couple of years.
Our effort to develop a comprehensive instructional culture of faith involves the regular
celebration of Mass with question and answer follow-up sessions for non-Catholic faculty, staff,
and students who choose to attend. Issues of Christian faith are also conspicuous in program
marketing materials. An instructor-led Christian prayer is a feature of all classes at Aquinas.
Instructors are encouraged to undertake this task by soliciting prayer intentions from students, as
a way to get to know the issues affecting the people whom they will teach for a given course.
This process itself often opens up opportunities for discussing ethical and moral concepts, and
therefore has borne both spiritual and pedagogical fruit. Within the Business curriculum itself,
we place heavy emphasis on the theme of vocation, both for faculty and students, and make sure
this concept forms an explicit course topic for classes like Staffing and Employee Relations. At
the student level one of the chief components of the initiative to integrate Christian witness into
the curriculum has been a class requirement that students complete a Service Learning Project in
the introductory course to their program of study. This exercise is designed to help students
focus on the needs and circumstances of different underprivileged populations in and around
Nashville. Our students work in soup kitchens, repair low-income homes, and provide free
tutoring to at-risk youth in the community. The required paper, classroom discussions, and team
presentations all offer rich opportunities for faculty and students to consider issues of labor,
economic incentives, and the dignity of the human person. The chief learning outcome for this
exercise asks students to consider how the experience of their Service Learning Project will
shape their approach to Business and Management. Other aims to integrate aspects of Christian
faith into the curriculum include an interview process for faculty candidates designed to solicit
their thoughts on the dignity of the human person and how they might enable students to focus
on that concept in the classroom.
With respect to instructor formation, Aquinas aims to build upon the enthusiasm and knowledge
adjuncts bring to their teaching, by offering regular opportunities for professional development.
This approach begins by utilizing the talents of experts in Catholic Social Teaching that are
available within the institution or at other schools. We have enlisted the aid of our faculty
specialists in Catholic Social Teaching for the development of course descriptions and practical
lesson plans for use in specific Business and Management courses. Similarly, Aquinas experts in
Catholic Social Teaching are available, in person or even via email, for consultation with new
faculty on courses that have opportunities for careful consideration of the human person, such as
economics, marketing, and management classes. By collaborating with faculty members at other
institutions, we have been able to deliver lectures on Catholic Social Teaching twice a year.
During the 2007-2008 academic year, Adult Studies faculty and lead administrators participated
in a Business Ethics study group designed by a specialist at another institution. The program
featured regular readings and group discussions of topical encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum
and Centissimus Annus, and culminated in a guest lecture. Discussion questions for these
sessions probed issues of the right to work, the universal destination of goods, solidarity and
subsidiarity in the workplace, and the rights of labor. In the near future, we will have specialists
in Catholic Social Teaching involved with the processes for observing and offering feedback to
faculty members for their instructional methods. The overarching aim will be to ensure that
classroom observations transcend a mere technical critique of pedagogy, but rather enable those
with substantial knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching to suggest points for the emphasis and
integration of these principles.
We have also given a great deal of reflection to the sequencing of classes to ensure that courses
like Ethics and Moral Theology are disbursed evenly throughout our Business curricula. These
courses are not intended as merely speculative classes, but incorporate business case studies,
dilemmas, current events, etc., so that Catholic Social Teaching is brought directly to bear on
Business, Marketing, and Management concepts. All such initiatives work together to ensure
that efforts at promoting Catholic Social Teaching are not presented as "icing on the cake," that
is, a brief mention of such ideas in a capstone course only or merely in an Ethics course alone,
partitioned off from the Business content proper.
Business Education within a Liberal Arts Curriculum
We have also observed that the integration of Christian faith in the curriculum appears to be most
effective within a Liberal Arts setting. Perhaps because a Liberal education enables students to
reflect on larger questions of purpose and meaning, it may therefore promote the integration of
faith and reason more readily than an effort to consider ethical case studies in Business without
benefit of courses in Literature, Music, and History; these disciplines have much to teach us
about the human condition and the unique role of humanity within the created order. In general,
support courses in the curriculum that encourage students to focus on the meaning and nature of
art, the struggles of historical figures, and the formation of virtue, predispose them to reflect on
Business concepts from more than a materialist viewpoint. A key example of the effort to
ground Business concepts in both the Liberal Arts and Christian principles at Aquinas is a
Leadership course we recently developed that is taught with the four cardinal virtues as a
framework, to model the qualities Business leaders ought to embody.
Additionally, a Liberal Arts curriculum breaks down the modern conceit that the contemporary is
new. Students in our introductory course are often asked to compare excerpted passages from
various authors, and regularly express amazement that Epictetus, Plato, or Thomas Aquinas
articulated ideas about a telelogically-oriented life that recall concepts to be found in Steven
Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These introductions to similar ideas found within
the roots of the Western Tradition, expand the intellectual horizons of students and encourage
them to place Business within a human context, rather than seeing all human relationships as
existing within a mercantile universe of goods, services, and currency. Finally, the Liberal Arts
are especially useful in helping students to fashion cogent arguments and to expose poor ones, as
is often encountered in marketing strategies. For English Composition II, we have developed a
series of lessons explicating ten common logical fallacies, with current advertising slogans as
On-going Challenges: the Consumerist Mindset and Education
These efforts, useful as they may be, will not address all of the barriers to the effort to impart key
principles of Catholic Social Teaching into Business curricula. In the first place, we must
continue to impress upon adjunct faculty members that a core of values rooted in Catholic Social
Teaching is the most cogent system for inculcating a real respect among students for the human
person and the primacy of labor. On the other side of the instructional equation, we must
continue to encourage students to abandon consumerist assumptions about "paying for" an
education. We should instead stress that they are "buying" an opportunity to be educated, the
success of which enterprise devolves upon their own willingness to study diligently and to think
deeply. This idea can be illuminated by helping them to see that this effort is meaningful, leads
to their own development as individuals, and for those reasons has value independent of their
concerns for career advancement or augmenting their current salaries. The repeated emphasis on
a personal investment in their own potential, through academic achievement, must be a part of
each instructor's directives to students and must be consistently upheld by academic advisors and
Another area where latent consumerist assumptions may still feature in Business curricula
otherwise aimed to encourage students to first consider the nature and dignity of the human
person, lies in the assessment of student feedback on instruction. In most institutions striving to
demonstrate measurable progress towards self-improvement, in compliance with accreditation
directives, student evaluation instruments tend to address their concerns through a model of
customer satisfaction with a material product. Nor are students often asked questions about the
integration of faith and reason within a Business course. If the institution strives to re-shape a
consumerist mindset in the presentation of its Business courses, then feedback instruments
cannot methodologically presuppose that student failure to achieve is the result solely of poor
instruction. Else, we have implicitly embraced a way of approaching their education that is at
odds both with the course content and our larger formation aims for the student. The business of
education is not the same type of business that is Business; the instructor is not producing a
material good or simply providing a service to students, but mentoring the student towards a
fuller realization of his or her own humanity as a being created by a loving God. Within the
context of education, the "customer" is not always right, in the sense that students are not, by
definition, content or teaching experts. Exercises and class concepts that they may eschew now,
may later, once they have more work experience, seem to be essential to their future progress
upon later reflection. We must be mindful of these issues in the collection and analysis of
student evaluations. Students must be regularly reminded by administrators and academic
advisors that they are at least as accountable as their instructors for whether or not they are
achieving their educational objectives.
All of these issues of pedagogy and responsibility must also lead to greater reflection on the
essential nature of an education. For example, among students and faculty, we must constantly
stress the difference between education and training. While there is increasing pressure,
especially in accelerated curricula, to leave out anything that is not essential or immediately
applicable to the workplace, students must still grapple with large questions of a properly
ordered life and personal morality if they are truly to be educated. The mere imparting of
technical data is not an education, properly speaking, but rather vocational training. Business
students will therefore be better served for having to answer such questions as "why are we
studying Theology in a Business program?" or "For what purpose was I created?" Faculty and
students should be jointly aware that anything that purports to be an education, where one may
not even ask questions about the existence of God, the value of life, or the dignity of the human
person, fails of the definition, since all ultimate questions are automatically "out of bounds" in
such a model. In a "marketplace" of ideas about learning and commerce, these and similar
emphases will help us to "sell" the idea of a Catholic education. As opposed to mere training, an
authentic Catholic education will have students reflect on the larger truths of their own Final
Cause. That endeavor may not be numerically measurable, but is not therefore any less real
simply because it cannot be charted as a statistic.
Joseph Phillips and Teresa Ling
This paper examines the mission statements of Catholic and Non-Catholic schools of business in
the US to identify differences across different types of business schools. Do schools all say the
same thing in their mission statements or are there clear differences between types of schools
and/or within peer groups? Additionally, do the mission statements of Catholic business schools
reflect the Catholic character of their university?
Areas of analysis include Catholic vs. so-called “Top 25” schools and Jesuit vs. “Other Catholic”
A second part of this study explores differences in Catholic business school activity that are tied
to the mission statement. Are there identifiable activities that can be considered related to the
unique part of a Catholic business school mission and/or the Catholic character of the university?
Are these identifiable activities widespread across Catholic business schools or are they
relatively unique?
Mission Statement Analysis
We started our analysis of mission statements by first examining the mission statements of
representative “Top 25” business schools. There are two consistent themes across Top 25
mission statements – schools want to educate leaders and they want to be thought leaders;
research and expanding the boundaries of the discipline are very important to them.
Approximately two-thirds of the Top 25 schools emphasize both leadership and scholarship. A
focus on global education is mentioned by approximately 40% of these schools.
We then reviewed the mission statements of Jesuit schools. Among religious orders, the Jesuits
have the largest number of colleges and universities in the US. Of the 28 Jesuit schools, we
confined our analysis to the 24 who had schools of business as opposed to departments of
business or no business program (this means excluding St. Peter’s, Spring Hill, Wheeling Jesuit,
and Holy Cross). Of the 24 Jesuit schools, 17 (71%) reference their Jesuit heritage. [This
compares to only seven Other Catholic schools who reference their religious order in their
mission (37% of the 19 religious order affiliated schools).] Only three Jesuit schools reference
the Catholic character of their institution, while six of 24 Other Catholic embrace this heritage.
Those who have worked on a Jesuit campus know that many believe that the term “Jesuit” has
positive market appeal while “Catholic” does not. It is not uncommon to hear suggestions that
Jesuit schools need to “disguise” their Catholic origins in order to appeal to a larger number of
The concepts of “leadership,” “ethics,” “global education,” and “social responsibility” are
frequent themes in Jesuit business school mission statements. Leadership is the most frequently
mentioned concept, but the frequency is less than is found in Top 25 schools. Pairing leadership
with “ethics” and “social responsibility” suggests a different view of leadership than that held by
the Top 25. Nine of the Jesuit schools are using ethics and social responsibility to describe their
view of leadership. Other key ideas frequently mentioned are “values” and “service.”
Among other Catholic schools, we looked at a mix of independent and religious order affiliated
schools. As noted earlier, no non-Jesuit order provides more than a few data points, so it is not
fruitful to break them out in this way. The 24 schools reviewed include all the Catholic schools
sponsoring this conference. It is interesting to note that among these schools, approximately
25% reference their Catholic roots in their mission statement, about 25% reference their religious
order affiliation, and only one references both.
Leadership is the most frequent theme among the mission statements of these Catholic schools,
with approximately 42% referencing this part of their mission, less than Top 25 and Jesuit
schools. The next most frequent theme was global education, with approximately 38%
emphasizing global education. This compares to 42% for Jesuit schools and 40% for Top 25
schools, indicating little variability across school type for this dimension of mission statements.
Among the non-Jesuit Catholic schools, mission statements are less likely to mention ethics,
values, social responsibility, and service. Four schools mentioned scholarship and none of those
schools has a Ph.D. program.
Do We Do What We Say?
Having a mission statement is one thing. Giving it meaning is something else. Do schools put
their money where their mouth is? Do they direct resources to key concepts identified in their
mission statement? To answer this question we combed school websites for evidence of this.
Turning first to the Jesuit schools, we found that schools that emphasized ethics in their mission
statement had programs to emphasize ethics. As indicators, we looked for such things as a
business ethics requirement in the curriculum, endowed chairs or professorships in business
ethics, academic centers for business ethics, special conferences, workshops, or lectures in
business ethics, or business ethics majors, minors, or certificates.
Of the ten schools mentioning ethics, two appeared to have only a required business ethics
course with none of the additional activities noted above. One school appeared to have only an
endowed chair (and no required business ethics course or other activity). The other seven had
activities in a variety of dimensions.
Eight Jesuit schools referenced social responsibility in their mission statement. Although social
responsibility is distinct from ethics, the two do tend to blend together within program initiatives
and curriculum. Among the eight schools, there does not appear to be any notable initiatives
specific to social responsibility. It may be that such activity gets rolled up into their efforts
around business ethics.
Global education was another area of emphasis in Jesuit mission statements, with ten schools
making specific reference to it in their mission statement. Indicators of activity in this area
might include an undergraduate major in international business, a specialized graduate degree in
international business or a concentration in the MBA program, a global business center, semester
abroad programs, study tours, or endowed chairs or professorships in global business.
All schools mentioning global education appear to have at least a study abroad program,
although one school appears to have no business school specific programs and none of the other
indicators mentioned above. Half of the ten schools appear to have their global education
emphasis confined to study abroad programs. This is interesting, since some Jesuit schools
which do not reference global education in the mission statement have more indicators of activity
than those who do. For example, St. Louis University has the Boeing Institute of International
Business, which facilitates study tours, lectures, seminars and conferences, and oversees an
undergraduate major, specialized master’s, and PhD program in international business.
Leadership was the most frequently identified theme in Jesuit mission statements. Indicators of
work in leadership might be leadership courses in the curriculum, a leadership certificate
program, co-curricular leadership programs, a leadership center, or endowed chairs or
professorships in leadership.
Among Jesuit schools, there does not appear to be strong alignment between mission and
resources when it comes to leadership. Of the twelve schools mentioning leadership in the
mission statement, two schools have no indicators of leadership programming and four have it
confined to a leadership course in the curriculum. Exceptions to this miss-alignment would be
Gonzaga’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and Seattle’s Center for Leadership
Among other Catholic schools, areas of emphasis were leadership and a global perspective.
Ethics and social responsibility were mentioned to a lesser degree.
Among the nine schools emphasizing leadership, a third appear to do nothing targeted at
leadership and another third do not go beyond offering a course or two in leadership. San Diego
and St. Thomas (MN) are excellent examples of resource and mission alignment, though. For
example, San Diego offers two graduate degrees in leadership and St. Thomas has extensive
executive education offerings in leadership.
Nine non-Jesuit Catholic schools emphasized global education in their mission statement. All
but one appear to have activities focusing on global business, even if that means just study tours
being offered by the business school (as compared to overseas programs offered at the university
level). Several schools offer IB undergraduate majors (such as Portland, St. John’s, and
Benedictine) or IB focused graduate degrees (San Diego, DePaul, and St. John’s). San Diego
and DePaul have centers in international business, and along with St. John’s, appear to be the
best examples on mission and resource alignment for global business.
While ethics and social responsibility are distinct, they do tend to blend together when it comes
to programmatic initiatives and curricula. Catholic schools referencing business ethics in the
mission statement (there were only three) had robust resources in place to pursue this. Each had
ethics coursework, a center for business ethics and an endowed chair in business ethics, for
example. Of course, some schools that did not reference ethics in the mission statement also had
similar resource commitments – Notre Dame and DePaul are examples of this.
The story for social responsibility is not as strong. The five schools citing social responsibility
appeared to have courses that might cover this topic, but not much else. Outside of the
curriculum, however, there appeared to be little resources in place specifically directed at social
responsibility. Two curricular efforts of note are a new MBA in Sustainability at Duquesne
University and a four course “Socially Responsible Leadership” sequence in the MBA program
at the University of San Diego.
Among the Top 25 schools, the areas of emphasis were leadership, advancing knowledge, and
global education, with the first two being the most common. Looking at resources devoted to
leadership, about half of the schools appear to have robust programs in place. This is
characterized by centers for leadership and special programs, and frequently this is linked to their
executive education efforts. However, four of the 17 schools seem to have very little in place to
suggest leadership is an area of emphasis. The remaining schools have some leadership focused
activities, but they are not particularly notable.
Advancing knowledge (research) is another frequent theme of Top 25 mission statements, with
16 schools making reference to this in their mission. Signs of this would be research centers,
PhD programs, Nobel Prizes and other awards for scholarship earned by the faculty, endowed
chairs, editorships for scholarly journals, etc…
Top 25 schools do what they say when it comes to scholarship. Each has a PhD program. Each
have multiple research centers. Each have endowed chairs focused on scholarship. Most have
journal editors among their faculty, and a number of awards for scholarship have been presented
to their faculty.
They are also well represented in rankings of scholarship. In this listing of Top 25 schools, 17
are in the Top 25 of the University of Texas Dallas 2003-2007 Business School Research
Ranking, and all but one are in the Top 40. The lowest ranked school is 74th.
Global education was the third most frequent theme in Top 25 mission statements. Indicators of
global activity might be global business centers, undergraduate international business majors,
graduate degrees in IB, endowed professorships, study abroad programs, and, perhaps,
particularly in the case of these schools, the existence of a CIBER (Centers for International
Business Education and Research).
Eleven of our Top 25 house a CIBER (there are 32 CIBERs operating across the nation). Six of
those 11 reference global education in their mission statement. There are also four schools
mentioning global education that do not have CIBERs. That only six schools cite global
education as a priority in their mission and manage a CIBER suggests less mission alignment
than one might expect.
In a similar vein, if we look at the existence of centers for global business (including CIBERs
and others), there are 16 Top 25 schools with centers. Ten of those schools make no reference to
global education in their mission. On the other hand, four schools that reference global
education in their mission do not have centers. Again, this suggests that the mission is not
guiding resource decisions in this dimension.
Summary and Conclusions
This paper has analyzed the mission statements of mostly accredited AACSB business schools
for common themes between three categories of schools – “Top 25” programs, Jesuit schools,
and Other Catholic schools. We found several interesting tendencies in the mission statements
of these schools:
Top 25 schools tend to emphasize leadership and research
Jesuit schools emphasize leadership, ethics and social responsibility, and global education
Other Catholic schools emphasize leadership and global education, and to a lesser extent,
ethics and social responsibility
We also found that Jesuit schools were likely to reference their Jesuit roots, but unlikely to
mention their Catholic heritage. Other Catholic schools typically mentioned neither their
Catholic character nor their founding religious order.
We found mixed results in terms of how mission statements guided resource allocation by
business schools. Specifically, we found that:
Top 25 schools focused resources on research activity, but their efforts in leadership and
global education frequently did not align with the mission.
For Jesuit schools, there appeared to be alignment between mission and activity for
ethics, to a lesser extent for social responsibility and global education, and very little
around leadership.
Other Catholic schools were best aligned around global education and ethics, and much
less so with social responsibility and leadership.
Stephen Porth, John McCall and Joseph DiAngelo
Is business education at Catholic universities and colleges distinctive? Is there a difference
between the business education provided at a Catholic institution and a secular one? Does that
education reflect the Catholic character of the mission of the larger university? Does it produce
distinctive student outcomes that relate to attitudes toward the purpose of business and
expectations for ethical behavior of graduates?
The purpose of this study is to survey and assess the current state of business education at
Catholic universities as it relates to the religious character of the larger institution, and to
recommend curricular models for ethics education that promote the mission of the university.
Research Methods
Research suggests that developing and communicating a set of values, mission, and vision can be
a helpful step in the process of building a successful and “visionary company.” In fact, visionary
companies “wrote such statements more frequently than the comparison companies and decades
before it became fashionable.” A mission statement should reflect the distinctive and enduring
character of the organization and establish a sense of direction. Most business schools have
embraced this focus on mission and, indeed, accreditation standards for AACSB state that
business schools are required to publish “a mission statement or its equivalent that provides
direction for making decisions” (Sec. 2, Std 1) and that is “appropriate to higher education for
management and consonant with the mission of any institution of which the school is a part”
(Sec. 2, Std. 2, emphasis added). Furthermore, business schools are expected to develop learning
goals and a system of assessment known as “Assurance of Learning” that is adapted to the
school’s mission and cultural circumstances, and demonstrates achievement of those learning
goals (Sec. 2, Std. 16).
To understand the current state of business education at Catholic universities, we used a twopronged research approach. First, we developed and administered a survey sent to the dean or
head of the business division of all 190 Catholic universities and colleges in the United States.
The survey was designed to (1) identify whether the business unit had its own mission statement
and, if so, to assess the distinctly Catholic (and/or religious order) character of the mission, (2)
identify the learning goals of the business unit that pertain to ethics educations and/or the
religious character of the mission, and (3) determine student outcomes that respondents sought to
achieve for both business ethics education and business education related to religious identity.
Second, we searched the web sites of Catholic colleges and universities in the United States to
identify and assess the mission statements of the institutions’ business schools and divisions.
The survey was mailed in March 2008. Survey results continue to trickle in and as of the end of
April 2008, 31 completed surveys have been returned. In addition, at the time of this writing we
have completed audits of 111 web sites of business colleges or departments at Catholic
Preliminary Results
Table 1 shows the results of the mission statement analysis of business schools and departments
in Catholic universities. Column 1 indicates whether the business school or department (i.e., the
business unit) has its own mission statement. Of the 31 schools responding to our survey, 27 or
87% have a business unit mission statement. A mission statement for the business unit was
found on 62% of the 111 web sites audited. This does not necessarily mean that the business
units do not have a mission statement but that it was not found on their web sites.
Of the schools that do have a separate business unit mission statement, we analyzed whether the
mission includes an explicit reference to ethics (or corporate social responsibility) or to the
religious identity of the institution (i.e., Catholic, Jesuit, Benedictine, Dominican, etc). As
shown in the table, more than half of the mission statements include a statement about ethics, a
slightly lower overall combined percent make an explicit reference to their religious identity in
their mission and more than a quarter reference both their religious identity and ethics education.
Table 1 Mission Statement Analysis
Web Site
69 (62%)
40 (58%)
32 (46%)
27 (87%)
15 (56%)
15 (56%)
Both Ethics
& Religious
18 (26%)
8 (30%)
While we cannot say much about what students actually learn simply by analyzing a school’s
mission statement, it is interesting to note that only about half of the business units surveyed
emphasize ethics or religious identity in their missions. And these are business units within a
larger university that is defined by its religious identity.
To find out more about what students actually learn, respondents were asked to identify the
learning goals of their undergraduate business program and the desired student outcomes they
seek to achieve with respect to ethics education and the religious identity of the institution. In
this way we were able to get a sense of whether and how the aspirations of the mission statement
were operationalized in the curriculum. Additional analysis of these results is in process and will
be available for the conference. Some preliminary observations are discussed below.
It appears that more than half of Catholic schools of business refer to ethics somewhere in their
mission statement. The vast majority of business schools also have college wide learning goals
related to ethics. It is unclear, however, whether those ethics learning goals are driven by
mission concerns or by accreditation requirements. (AACSB, after all, requires that schools
address ethics.) Of course, it may be that the ethics goals serve multiple purposes, expressing
mission and simultaneously satisfying accrediting expectations.
We also learned that only a small minority of Catholic colleges of business in our survey had
learning goals that were expressions of the school’s religious identity. And of the schools that
reported some learning goals with respect to religious identity, most referred to concepts
embedded in the traditions of Catholic ethical or social thought (such as dignity, the common
good, and stewardship).
Of particular interest to us was the fact that respondents who both affirmed that they had learning
goals in the area of ethics and who identified the assessment vehicles for those goals had for the
most part a description of their ethics assessments that would be indistinguishable from an ethics
assessment at a secular or state university. Answers to the questions about assessment vehicles
and theories of ethics taught ranged from a simple stakeholder analysis to more substantive
reference to utilitarian theory, deontology, virtue theory, rights. Only a small minority referred
to concepts or theories that had a distinctly Catholic content.
The dearth of references to ideas from the Catholic ethical tradition may be due, in part, to the
general nature of the questions asked. Those questions may not have elicited responses of a
more granular nature about what specific ethical concepts appear in courses or assessments.
Nonetheless, it is clear from many of the answers received that much of the teaching and
assessment related to the ethics learning goals is neither distinctive nor very substantive. The
most frequent responses indicated that schools expected students to be able to identify and
analyze ethical issues. Often, however, there was no indication that students were supplied with
any tools that would allow them to execute such an analysis. A number of responses indicated
that students were expected to identify the impacts of business decisions on various stakeholders.
These responses leave a troubling concern. It is the same concern that business ethicists have
often raised about stakeholder theories: that they provide no criteria by which to assess the
inevitable conflicts that arise between the interests of different stakeholders. It is little help to
advise “Consider the impact on all stakeholders” if no tools are given for adjudicating. Perhaps
more comforting were responses that identified particular moral theories that were taught as tools
for analysis, though even here there is some concern in that the most frequently referenced
theory was utilitarianism. While that theory may be more easily grasped by business students
familiar with the technique of cost/benefit analysis, it subject to serious moral challenges.
Moreover, it is far from the advice that would be given from the tradition of Catholic ethical and
social thought.
We believe that the survey responses suggest that business education at Catholic colleges and
universities has more than a little room for improvement. We think that business education at
Catholic business schools ought to have distinctive student outcomes that are more informed by
the tradition of Catholic Social Thought than what appears to be common from the results of our
survey. It will not do, for instance, if ethics education is pursued simply along the lines of the
common “stakeholder” model where students are encouraged to identify the impacts of action on
various stakeholder groups but are given no clear criteria by which to evaluate those impacts.
Ethics education at Catholic business schools should be both more substantive than that and
more informed by central ideals of the tradition.
Having the education informed by the tradition, of course, need not mean that ethics instruction
in the business school must be through explicit instruction in CST or Catholic doctrine. It does
suggest, however, that the root ideas and values found in that rich tradition should find
expression in the curriculum, both in dedicated ethics courses and in courses in the functional
disciplines. Two such ideas are essential: views about the dignity of the person and views about
the purpose of business activity.
In urging this model of ethics education for Catholic business schools, we are not suggesting that
business schools become equivalent to minor seminaries. Nor are we suggesting that business
schools engage in an indoctrinating enterprise that attempts to assure that students all exit our
institutions committed to a proscribed set of beliefs. We believe that there are practical and
theoretical reasons against such a practice. Practically, educating only by reference to Catholic
teaching is unlikely to have the desired impact among the diverse student populations we find in
our schools. Further, educating only by reference to Catholic doctrine, with the goal of
replicating that doctrine in the minds of students, would undermine the character of the
university as a place of open dialogue and inquiry. As universities, moreover, our goal should not
be the replication of doctrine but the development of understanding and intellectual capacity.
In any case, the core ideas of the Catholic tradition are amenable to expression through a variety
of theoretical lenses. Certainly, the theoretical tradition running through Thomas’ ethical
thought to the current church documents could be one way of capturing the root ideas of the
tradition. But as John Paul himself reveals, there are other, equally useful theoretical vehicles for
communicating those ideas. More contemporary rights based theories can also be used to give
content to the idea of human dignity and to the limits that content imposes on the pursuit of
profit. The substantive moral ideas of the Catholic tradition, then, can be addressed in a variety
of ways but they must be addressed in order for our students to receive a distinctive education.
However, the ultimate purpose of the education should be to produce students who at least
understand the moral vision that has informed the institutions from which they graduate.
Students should be able to articulate some operational content for a commitment to the dignity of
persons; they should understand the notion that the purpose of business is ultimately the
production of goods and services which promote human well-being.
Next Steps
We expect additional survey returns over the upcoming weeks before the conference. We will
add these to our sample, further analyze results, and present additional findings. We intend to
flesh out this proposed model of education and to indicate its implications for faculty hiring and
development as well as for the content of assurance of learning assessments.
Todd Palmer and Charles J Coate
This paper focuses on two areas of educational mission. First, the authors examine the
importance of mission statements and moving toward mission effectiveness by assessing
organizations through the resource theory of the firm. In conjunction with this analysis the
authors examine the mission statements of approximately 70 granting master degree institutions
located in the northeastern United States (arguably the highest density of catholic universities).
Finally, the authors present St. Bonaventure University’s School or Business as a case study of
efforts to live its Franciscan heritage in terms of mission effectiveness. A critical element of this
heritage is the development of emersion service experiences because of the Franciscan traditions
of service and community.
Moving from Educational Mission Statements to Mission Effectiveness
For many years, management theorists have argued that crafting effective mission statements is
essential to a well-running organization since it provides a basis for formulating effective
objectives and strategies. In 1991 the AACSB reformed its accreditation program to allow nonresearch based schools entry to the association by encouraging them to develop programs and
standards that addressed their uniquely crafted mission statements. As a result developing
workable mission statements is now an essential task for many colleges and universities.
Effective Mission Statements and the Resource Based View of the Firm
Crafting effective mission statements is fraught with difficulty, starting with what to include in
such a statement, most notably in defining what the organization does. Abell (1980) suggests
that three elements must be addressed:
Customer groups (who)
Customer needs (what)
Technologies to meet customer needs (how)
An organization’s failure to think through on how to articulate their business definition results in
the classic trap of the generic mission statement which provides little support in articulating
effective objectives that, in turn, are the basis of effective strategies. For instance, many
business schools rely upon the boilerplate of “teaching, research, and service,” articulating it in
such a way that the definition could apply to any business school.
Research has revealed a mixed picture of the importance of mission statements in terms of
organizational success. It is true that there are many successful organizations that have no
mission statement or badly drafted ones. Some management theorists have argued that a more
effective tool for assessing mission effectiveness is by examining the resources of an
organization. Jay Barney (1991) popularized the resource based view of the firm which states
that a firm can achieve competitive advantage by identifying and deploying organizational
resources as long as such resources are valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable, and nonsubstitutable.
Taken as a group, Catholic colleges and universities historically had some significant resources
that allowed them to compete successfully with other universities. First, due to priests, sisters
and other religious working and teaching in Catholic colleges, there was a steady source of
inexpensive labor with superior credentials and skill sets. Second, the extensive Catholic
secondary school system provided a feeder function to these universities. Finally, there was a
strong proclivity in Catholic families for their children to attend Catholic institutions. Many of
these factors that gave Catholic colleges and universities significant cost and differentiation
benefits have been greatly reduced in the past twenty years.
The authors argue that effective mission statements are those that are drafted with a thorough
understanding of the resources available to the organization. Sustainable competitive advantages
for a school of business must be assessed in light of Barney’s framework.
Examination of Mission Statements
We examined the mission statements (available online) for 27 Catholic and 41 non-Catholic
masters granting Business Schools for key phrases in their mission statements. An examination
of these mission statements can provide evidence of what resources the school of business sees
as being particularly important.
Catholic university’s mission statements suggest that these universities believe an important
element of their distinctive competences to be:
Identifying with their specific Roman Catholic traditions. 89% of the catholic
universities provided this identification; normally early in the mission statement.
Identifying the importance of Social Responsibility\Service and Ethical Values. 85%
and 63% of the catholic universities explicitly mentioned Service and Ethical Values
respectively. In contrast only 49% and 32% of the non Catholic Universities
mentioned these items.
Clearly, Catholic universities profess to recognize their traditions and values as a key component
of their educational experience. However, many Catholic universities likely under-utilize the
network and resources of their traditional orders to the fullest extent.
The culture of most universities suggests they should provide Teaching, Research, and Service
(the elements of faculty evaluation). From a mission perspective this is a worker focus and not a
customer focus. Both Catholic and non Catholic universities mention Leadership, Scholarly
Research, and Educational Excellence at rates of 30-45%. These are the most common elements
of a non Catholic university’s mission statement.
St. Bonaventure: A Case of Articulating its Franciscan Heritage
In 2001 as part of its ultimately successful drive toward Association to Advance College
Business Schools International (AACSB) accreditation the St. Bonaventure University (SBU)
School of Business adopted a vision and mission statement that wedded the school to its Catholic
(Franciscan) heritage by using the word “Franciscan” not once but five times. Not only did the
mission statement address teaching and research in a Franciscan light, but service was enshrined
and uniquely defined as follows:
Providing service to others, the very core of the Franciscan tradition, is
our third priority. True to our heritage, we encourage our faculty, staff,
and students to manifest our values through lives of citizenship and
At the time of adoption of this mission statement, the school had no programs or any formal
mechanisms that meshed our Franciscan heritage with the School of Business. The revised
mission statement acted as a catalyst for change as faculty, staff and students engaged in a series
of programs that focused on formation, integration and implementation. Much of the effort has
been directed toward identifying Franciscan resources, both from an intellectual capital
perspective and from real-world resources of the international Franciscan movement. The result
is that we have a series of successes that demonstrate how our academic and Franciscan missions
are not separable but intertwined. Even more importantly we have identified even greater
tradition-based educational opportunities.
A critical element of these educational opportunities is a structure that allows the intellectual
learning in the classroom to be linked to activities outside on the classroom and a specific course.
The key initiatives of these programs are listed and discussed below.
o The Pacioli Project. Named after the Franciscan friar who popularized double entry
bookkeeping, the Pacioli Project familiarized faculty and staff with the Franciscan
intellectual tradition. Under the auspices of university’s internationally recognized
School of Franciscan Studies, nearly 30 faculty and staff members entered into a three
year examination of Franciscan history and theology, focusing particularly on the role
that the economy and poverty had on early Franciscan thought.
o Pacioli Scholars. While most universities have honors programs these program are often
centered in the Arts and Sciences. Consequently, the course work for these programs
may have limited appeal to business students. As an alternative, we developed the
Pacioli Scholars Program. Following the example of Luca Pacioli, this program required
students to be combination of scholars, active and campus and particularly active in
service. In the Franciscan tradition, each student is allowed to “find their own way” and
is encouraged to become involved across campus in activities that drive their interests.
Over the past three years this program has evolved into a Learning Community. In the
first four semesters student share at least one common class. In Junior and Senior years
students are asked to serve in a Mentor to Mentor activity. Students mentored by a
faculty or staff member, mentor underclass students. Students also participate in group
service activities; our flagship activity is time at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia.
o Co-curricular service activities. In 2002 there were no organized service learning
activities within the school of business. Last year over 300 students were involved in
nearly 18,000 hours of value-added service learning projects which we call “emersion
learning.” Emersion learning experiences are a critical part of exposing students to
Franciscan tradition. Because the duration of these service events are greater than a week,
students are able to experience themselves and their groups as a community serving a
larger community. Three key service learning organizations have emerged:
o BonaResponds was formed in 2005 in the wake of hurricane Katrina. That year
School of Business faculty led approximately 300 students, staff, alumni, and
community members in the second largest collegiate Katrina related service trip in the
country. Since then BonaResponds has expanded and its members have engaged in
thousands of hours a year in service both locally and nationally. BonaResponds
sponsors local community service days in both the fall and spring semesters.
BonsResponds volunteers have provided storm damage clean up in Bradford Pa. and
Buffalo NY. These single days are open to students as well as members of the local
community. BonaResponds also offers 8-10 day emersion experiences during winter
and Spring breaks; and shorter 4-5 day fall break trips. Locations have included
Enterprise, AL, Bucyrus OH, Gassville AK, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
BonaResponds offers students a number of opportunities to involve themselves in
service for a specified duration of time; as little as a single day, as intense as an 8-10
day emersion trip, or an entire year of planning, organizing and leading.
o The SBU chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) with 80 members is the
largest student service organization on campus. Focusing on long-term international
relief, SBU SIFE, working with the government of the Bahamas, has started an
economic development zone. Each year over 50 SBU SIFE members travel to the
community of Pinders Point, Bahamas in which they engage in educating local
children (1,800 last year), conduct after-school programs, teach adult learners
computer skills, and conduct general service. Locally SBU SIFE works with 22 local
schools teaching programs in entrepreneurship, leadership and economics. In
addition student members teach and assist the homeless in resume preparation, and
conduct computer literacy classes for the general population. SIFE offers students the
opportunity to be involved in local and international communities for an entire year
by undertaking (and owning) service projects that build one on one relationships with
those served.
o The SBU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) has generated in its four years
over $1,000,000 in returns for low income working adults through out the entire
county. This program, with outside financial support, was also able to offer an
alternative Spring Break opportunity for a limited number of students. In 2008 SBU
VITA partnered with the United Way and the Cattaraugus County Department of
Social Services to procure a retail site donated by the Olean Mall. Students
volunteered to put together a marketing plan for VITA that included radio and print
advertisements with funding procured by partners. The site was open approximately
50 hours a week for 10 weeks. Aggressive marketing resulted in an increase in total
refunds procured from $250,000 to $600,000 and an increase in households served
from 250 to 450 households. In addition, the SBU VITA program served as the
community clearing house for assisting people in procuring the economic stimulus
payments to an estimated $200,000. VITA offers students the opportunity to use
specialized technical skills (generally accounting based, but alternatively
organizational based) in benefiting their local community members. VITA offers
these students a “client type” relationship with those they serve.
Catharyn Baird, Chris McCale and Aimee Wheaton
Philosophy & Background
As faculty of a Jesuit University, we seek to demonstrate to our students how their values can
contribute to their professional and personal choices. Jesuit Universities are mission-driven,
grounded in the legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola. The values of service and compassion inform the
value-laden policies and curriculum of our University. Business educators in the Jesuit tradition
often presume that students will naturally use the Jesuit values that are taught university wide to
deeply inform their business decision-making for “the greatest good.” As students come to the
business program grounded in the exploration of Jesuit values that are embedded in the core
curriculum, we assume that the Jesuit values such as “care for the other,” “magis,” and a
“preferential option for the poor” will be the foundation from which we discuss the world of
business. However, many students believe they have to have two sets of values: personal values
which inform their daily lives and business values that emphasize an ideology of “profitability at
all cost.”
A further difficulty is the pervasiveness of a resignation to ethical relativism. Students come to
our classes with the notion that “all people have values but not the same values – and that is just
fine.” Thus, many conversations are reduced to “this is what I believe and that is what you
believe” with no context in which to hold nor process for resolving the differences. Because the
business world (as well as every other segment of our lives) requires that we learn to effectively
mediate among competing values, the Regis business faculty have designed and implemented a
series of classes that are intended to bring the notion of values to the forefront of the curriculum.
These classes currently include: Values-Centered Marketing, Values-Centered Management and
Values-Centered Public Policy.
In a Values-Centered class, without having solutions prescribed, students are able to explore
current business issues and identify the values in tension in specific situations. Then students are
invited to consider how their personal values inform their values as a professional. For example,
if one deeply believes that all marketing by definition preys on those without power, embracing
the profession of sales person would probably not be a good fit. Next students are invited to
consider how personal and professional values inform the values of the organization. In this
process students learn that the best solutions are often those that work to harmonize the values of
all of the constituents. If we have an employee with a substance abuse issue, how can we treat
that person with compassion and respect while honoring the right of others to have a team
member who is fully present and able carry his or her share of the load? In the process students
learn that every decision is grounded in the core values and commitments of the individual, the
firm, and the community in which the firm does business.
Certainly, Marketing, Management and Public Policy are not the only courses that could be
informed by exploring the role values play in the structure and implication of those disciplines.
Business disciplines, such as finance, economics, and operations, are also value-laden. Our
decision to design our values-centered curriculum with courses in Management, Marketing and
Public Policy is dependant upon the interests of specific faculty.
Following is a discussion of each of the three courses: the curriculum covered, the assignments
involved and materials used. Also included are student reactions to the various courses. Finally, a
series of recommendations will be provided for others who are considering implementing these
types of courses.
Values-Centered Management
The Values-Centered Management course explores the history and traditions of U.S. business
practices in light of social Catholic teaching. Focus is placed upon the integration of methods of
management with the Christian social tradition. Students explore the purpose of business while
considering the common good and issues of social and economic justice.
The purpose of this course is to inform students how each of us takes our core, fundamental
values with us to the workplace. For many people, their faith provides their most fundamental of
values. By studying how others have made decisions based upon their belief systems, our current
students and future business leaders, are given permission to use their values at work.
Values-Centered Marketing
The opportunity and range of topics possible to cover in a Values-Centered Marketing course is
staggering. The question is not what could we could possibly cover in a course, but finding a
way to focus on specific areas that will interest both the faculty and student population. Interest
is the key; if the faculty does not share enthusiasm for the topic, the students will hardly engage;
conversely, the “themes” as they are called in Regis’ program, should be in some way of interest
to the students. Therefore, Regis’ Values-Centered Marketing course may look very different
from another Jesuit school’s course by shear difference in populations and faculty and what
works in one geographic locale may not in another. Faculty must be willing to explore and
evolve the series of topics covered.
The current “themes,” as they are called in Values-Centered Marketing are: Food/Food
marketing and obesity in America; Consumerism; Media and Children; Female Imagery and
Advertising. These themes are deliberate – yet could easily be substituted. These themes were
chosen because most college students eat fast food and may not be the most concerned about
their eating habits at this age. They typically are media-centered and influenced; money is
typically of issue with most college students; and many are considering futures of family life.
Values-Centered Public Policy
Values-Centered Public Policy was the first of the three courses to be developed and offered. The
purpose of the course is to explore the foundational values which inform the regulatory
environment of business. The intent is to introduce students to the complexities of the legislative
process where differing values as to the shape of our community are played out at the federal and
state level.
The primary teaching tool is a process known as structured controversies. A controversial policy
topic is introduced as a legislative resolution. Students then have to take the “for action” or
“against action” position – regardless of their personal belief – and make the best arguments for
the assigned position. At the end of the hour students come together to design a position that
(hopefully) combines the best of the competing positions to move a policy recommendation
forward. The purpose of the exercise is to stretch their minds to consider the reasons why an
opposite policy position might be taken. A secondary purpose is to give students an opportunity
to articulate policy positions, to learn to be persuasive.
As the reader considers implementing such values-based curriculum, the Regis faculty would
like to offer some suggestions:
• Consider what courses would work best for this approach.
• Consider the faculty involved. Not only should the faculty person have the interest but also
the facilitative skills and rapport building abilities to manage the course well.
• Consider how to covey the message. Generation Y, or the Millenials as they are sometimes
called, are very activity and media-driven. Consider how to include media, speakers, or
outside experiential learning opportunities into the curriculum.
• Finally, the faculty member must be willing to engage in the same self-exploration that is
expected of the students. Each of us has closely held positions that students (and
reflection) effectively challenge. Those of us before students must be willing to
acknowledge that sometimes we are wrong and may need to have our minds changed.
The exercise, however, is very satisfying.
Being at a Jesuit institution means that we have permission – perhaps even an obligation – to
explore how personal, professional, and organizational core values and commitments inform
actions taken in the business setting. In the process all recollect that we are individuals, citizens
of a community, as well as participants in the business world. The roles are intertwined and
cannot be isolated. Living an examined life is not easy. Giving our students the tools to live an
examined life may be the most important work that faculty members do.
Jay W. Brandenberger, Jessica McManus Warnell, & Annie Cahill Kelly
Prompted by a desire to foster an understanding of the responsibilities inherent to business, and
intensified by recent scandals highlighted in the media, business educators and scholars have
increasingly focused on means to foster ethical awareness and commitment. The traditional
college years constitute an especially sensitive period for such ethical development (Parks, 1986,
2000; Brandenberger, 2005). This study presents the results of a longitudinal study of over 100
business majors from day one in their undergraduate study of business to the completion of their
studies three years later. Building on various models (e.g., Weber, 2007), we examine the impact
of undergraduate experiences and curricular initiatives that may foster the development of
business ethics and understanding of business as a prosocial enterprise.
The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business presents an ideal context within
which to examine the development of business ethics. A focus on values, integrity, and
community have been an integral part of the College for many years. Similarly, the University as
a whole presents an ethos emphasizing service and justice consistent with its Catholic roots.
The research team illustrates the collaborative nature of the project: investigators include a
management instructor who serves as the community-based learning coordinator in the College
of Business, the director of university-community partnerships at the University’s Center for
Social Concerns, and a researcher with appointments in the Center and the Department of
Unlike many studies that focus on ethical awareness at the graduate school or professional level,
this investigation focuses on the potential for learning among undergraduate business students.
Sample and Method
Phase one of the project began as 524 newly declared sophomores began their study of business
in the fall of 2003. Investigators selected a random sample of 120 students to invite for
participation. Of this group,112 students (approximately 20% of the overall class) completed
phase one instruments. Pretest measures included 1) The Defining Issues Test (DIT2) of moral
reasoning, and 2) the Business Education Survey (BES1) designed for this study. Students also
were asked about their political views, faith and religious orientations, engagement in
community-based learning, post-graduation plans, and various demographic questions.
The DIT2 (and it’s predecessor, the DIT) has been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of
moral reasoning (Rest et al., 1999). It has been used in hundreds of studies, and administered to
various groups at Notre Dame. The investigators developed the Business Education Survey for
the current study, incorporating, with input from faculty, new measures (both quantitative and
qualitative) and items from existing studies. We were careful throughout to frame the study as a
broad examination of business education, not one focused on ethical issues.
At the midpoint of the study, during their junior year, participants completed a brief version of
the Business Education Survey designed to assess progress and maintain contact with the
students: 104 completed the survey.
The final phase of the study took place as students neared graduation (April, 2006): we
administered both the DIT2 and the BES2 (a slightly modified version of the original survey).
The BES2 was administered online, the DIT2 via campus mail. Participation was consistent: 103
of the original 112 students completed both measures.
Our sample was similar to the overall student body at Notre Dame. Eighty-one percent of the
students identified themselves as Roman Catholic; 48% self-identified as “conservative” or “very
conservative” (higher than other majors at the University); and approximately half of the
students estimated their parents’ incomes to fall in a range above $100,000.
Results: The DIT2 and Moral Judgment
A primary goal of the study was to examine potential growth in ethical and moral reasoning
exhibited by business majors. The P-score is the most widely used index of the DIT2, and is
interpreted as the extent to which an individual displays a preference for arguments based on
moral principles (vs. social conventions or personal interests) when making a moral judgment.
The mean P-score at pretest for our sample of business majors was 40.7 (43.3 for females, 37.2
for males), with a standard deviation of 13.5.
Given the emphasis on moral growth inherent in the College and at the University, we
hypothesized that P-scores for survey participants would increase over the three years of this
study, although some previous studies in other contexts have shown little growth or even
declines among undergraduate business students. Our hypothesis was confirmed: the mean Pscore at posttest was 46.4 (significant at p< .05).
Business Education Survey
Since the DIT2 is a global measure of moral development—it does not focus on business
contexts—the Business Education Survey allowed us to examine students’ developing
understanding of the role of ethics in business, and to explore the relative priority students may
place on ethical concerns therein.
A series of items reveals changes in student attitudes regarding business ethics over time:
Pre- to Post- Ethical Transitions in Business Context
Strict adherence to business ethics can hurt one's career.
I expect a firmI work for to do what is right, not just what is
It is important to me that my college or university's business
major includes a strong focus on ethics.
A business can apply Christian principles and still be
Each of the changes over three years note above is statistically significant (at p< .05 or less). In
addition, 93 percent of students agreed at posttest that “Management should turn down business
opportunities if values are compromised” (a significant gain compared to pretest levels).Taken as
a whole, the items indicate quite a shift in student thinking and commitment to ethical integrity.
While about one-third still express concern at graduation that strict ethical adherence may have
negative consequences for their career, the majority agree that ethical principles must be central
to enterprise, even at the expense of profit (consistent with the vision of the College).
To examine such conceptions more thoroughly, and explore potential correlates, we created a
series of scales to measure constructs such as commitment to business ethics and personal
Scale Development: Ethical Commitment and Efficacy
While fostering ethical judgments and skills may take a sustained effort across the curriculum,
we argue that a personal commitment to business ethics is a key component for any curricular
framework designed to promote business ethics. It other words, fostering a belief that integrity is
both important and viable in the world of business is an important starting point on which to
To examine students’ beliefs about ethics in a more focused manner, we developed a scale of
that measured student agreement that businesses should “do what is right”, turn down
opportunities that compromise values, and hold employees accountable for ethics. The items on
this scale—which we labeled Ethical Commitment—showed strong internal reliability
(Chronbach Alpha of .84). Mean scores on the scale increased over three years (p< .05).
We also created a scale to measure students’ beliefs about their own abilities to make a
difference in the world (yielding a Chronbach Alpha of .735). While scores on the measure of
Personal Efficacy did not change over time, the Ethical Commitment and Personal Efficacy
constructs were significantly correlated (at posttest), suggesting that one’s sense of overall
efficacy may play a role in determining how willing one is to commit to a moral/ethical path.
Conceptions of Service
The University of Notre Dame fosters an ethic of service that permeates campus life in many
ways. We were curious how business majors conceptualize service. We presented a series of
items beginning with the stem “the most important service is …”with three potential responses,
listed below:
Percent Agreeing
(at graduation)
The most important service is:
To help individuals
To change public policy
To build opportunity through the creation of jobs, enterprise,
and products that serve human needs
The results suggest that business majors are less inclined toward public policy initiatives, more
toward assisting individuals directly or via enterprise. That business has a role to play in
promoting human welfare is a key focus of the Mendoza College of Business. Consistent with
this end, 89% of seniors in our sample agreed that “Fostering business enterprise and corporate
activity is central to promoting the common good.” One major put it this way:
Business is the modern liberal arts degree. People are not sitting around talking about how to
make the world a better place and philosophizing in O'Shag [the campus home for liberal
arts] anymore. The real philosophers are going into business. People sit around excited about
what they can create to make life better for all people. Business serves humanity and the
creative mind at once.
Our paper/session will explore such themes further.
Student Reflections about Their Learning
At posttest, students were asked on an open-ended item to reflection on their learning over three
years, and to list the “three most important things I learned during my business education that I
believe I will remember in 15 years”. We coded the results, noting the number of students who
mentioned being ethical, moral, or having integrity. Over one-third—36%—mentioned, without
prompting, an ethical outcome (over 10% mentioned such an outcome as first of three). Samples
of student responses coded as ethical include:
You have to know where you stand, ethically, before you're confronted with a situation.
Otherwise, you're likely to cross a line because you don't have firm boundaries set.
That being ethical will also be rewarded in the end, even if at times it is easier and seemingly
more beneficial to cheat.
Many ethical tribulations present themselves, always act on what you feel is right.
One of the greatest flaws in the business world today is a lack of ethics. Acting ethically
should be the guiding force in every decision making process.
Such concern for ethical themes is encouraging, though of course does not guarantee sound
ethical judgment or behavior.
Curricular and Campus Impacts: What Predicts Ethical Learning?
The findings noted above indicate that during three years of undergraduate study, business
students move toward significantly higher levels of commitment to ethical precepts, and toward
more complex moral reasoning overall (as measured by the DIT2).
Such findings prompts us to ask what aspects of the curriculum or undergraduate experience may
predict an increase in ethical commitment in business during the undergraduate years. Indeed we
wondered about the potential effect of service-learning classes in the College of Business or at
Notre Dame, about other courses that students may have taken within the College, about gender
differences and religious orientation and political views, even parental income. While we will
outline relevant findings further in the full paper to follow, our various analyses yielded few
clear-cut personal or curricular predictors of ethically-related outcomes over time.
Among various possibilities, the dearth of specific predictors suggests that the overall
environment may be the salient factor. In other words, what may be most important is the
integration or intersection of multiple encouragements for ethical development, including moral
and value considerations within many courses, opportunities for volunteer and service
involvement in which many business majors engage, the religious ethos of the University, the
influence of the Catholic social tradition, and the like. That so many of these types of influences
are present is an advantage, representing a potential milieu effect. What students may not learn
or find moving in one context they may respond to in another.
However, further research is certainly called for to examine specific predictors. Such research
should employ even more fine-grained analyses, and comparison groups across majors (and
across different universities).
Summary and Discussion
We have explored, longitudinally, the role of undergraduate education in fostering concern for
ethics in business, documenting gains among students. Our full paper/session will present other
aspects of the research, discuss implications, and outline potential next steps.
Dale Fodness, Rob Walsh and Brian Schmisek
For the Catholic University that is not affiliated with a religious order or congregation, the Catholic
identity within the business school may not be well defined. Therefore, the school is not able to answer
the basic question of how the mission as Catholic per se is manifest. It leaves open important questions in
regard to its curriculum, faculty and student composition, and enrollment management. For example,
even with Ex Corde Ecclesiae it is difficult to answer: what is a “Catholic” business school, what
precisely (other than the number of Catholics on the faculty) differentiates a Catholic business school
from any other business school, what is “value” in the education experience, how important is Catholic
social teaching, or is Catholic an important positioning factor? Accordingly, we set out to study from a
stakeholder perspective the understanding of “Catholic” in the MBA program at a Catholic-affiliated
university. Using a survey administered to current and prospective graduate business students and alumni
of a single Catholic-affiliated university, we asked about their perceptions of “Catholic” among the
features of the business school. With this information we propose to address the following research
questions: What composes the Catholic identity or image of an MBA program held by its stakeholder(s)
in the absence of an externally-defined charism, and what is the role of this identity in stakeholders'
attitudes and decisions? Our results will aid decision makers to better appreciate and implement the
Catholic mandate of the mission statement in Catholic business schools.
One of the obstacles to fulfilling the Catholic character of business education in a school whose mission
includes a dedication to “the recovery of the Christian intellectual tradition” and a desire to “help students
acquire a mature understanding of their faith, develop their spiritual lives, and prepare themselves for
their calling as men and women of faith in the world” is understanding what it means to be Catholic.
Besides the basic principles stated in Ex Corde, some business schools are aided in their articulation of a
Catholic character by the expressed charism of their founding order or congregation, but the business
school at a diocesan or other university not affiliated with an order must seek other bases from which to
inform itself on how Catholic might be manifest in its curriculum, policies, and other activities. An
important source of this information is the primary stakeholder – the student. Accordingly, if the Catholic
business school is to better achieve its mission, it needs to better understand what it means to be Catholic
from its students’ perspective.
With this imperative in mind, we conducted empirical research. The goals for our research included: (a)
to help mission-driven Catholic schools to understand a primary stakeholder, (b) to help mission-driven
Catholic schools better define and communicate their Catholic character, and (c) to help mission-driven
Catholic schools understand how embracing and understanding their stakeholders’ perspective may lead
to important outcomes. We addressed these goals by profiling survey responses from students and
alumni, positioning Catholic among common features of a business school, and relating Catholic to how
respondents regard important outcomes.
Literature Review
Catholic Business Schools (CBS) have not done an adequate job of applying their mission to the overall
mission of their university/college. This disconnect can be traced to a number of factors, including the
inability or unwillingness to target Catholic in faculty hiring, the lack of development of faculty with
regards to the Catholic mission statement, and the absence of any “Catholic research agenda.” Charles
Clark identified another problem as the rising secular nature of the academy, one which believes that
Catholic social teaching will reduce the rigor of the course work, and place an emphasis on knowledge
not necessary or desired, particularly among non-Catholics. Such beliefs become translated into
marginalizing or dismissing the Catholic nature of the CBS’s, arguing that anything less than a widely
agreed upon secular approach would involve more cost than benefit. Other faculty and administrators at
CBS’s, however, have argued that this need not be the case -- that creating or sustaining a CBS
environment connected to the overall mission of a Catholic university, one which embraces its
Catholicity, is neither impossible nor disdainful. Carolyn Woo outlined a CBS where nearly 70% of the
faculty are Catholic. She explained that there is no reduction in the academic nature of this CBS, but
instead, the Catholic emphasis, through research and teaching, has increased quality, and emphasized
“excellence and faith are not tradeoffs.”
Our review of the literature revealed that the study of Catholic in business schools has focused on a
handful of important topics, but has not adequately addressed the perspective of the student for addressing
its mission. One stream of conceptual writing, for example, has focused on the integration of Catholic
teaching with business curricula. A second stream of empirical studies has examined Catholic students
versus other students in their honesty and moral development, and asked whether faculty members are
different in their familiarity and use of Catholic social teaching. Absent among these research streams,
however, is a thorough study of the student as a motivator of the expression of Catholic in the business
school. Although Howard Greene looked at undergraduate students at public versus private college, he
did not explicitly ask about the nature of Catholicism, nor could his results necessarily be generalized to
MBA students.
Accordingly, we designed our study to address this deficiency in the literature. We based our study on
three propositions: (1) Catholic is multidimensional – there are multiple dimensions upon which
stakeholders define Catholic and regard a program as being Catholic, (2) Catholic exists in a mix of
features – it is one of many features of an MBA program and functions as part of a multidimensional
system of features in the stakeholders' perceptions about the program, and (3) Catholic matters – how a
stakeholder perceives "Catholic" and evaluates a program according to that perception among the many
program features is important and salient in his/her attitude formation or decision making.
Research Methodology
Three distinct samples of MBA program stakeholders, prospective students (n = 38), current students
(n=252) and alumni (n=54) were surveyed as part of a comprehensive awareness and image research
project at a small, urban, Catholic-affiliated university in the Southwest serving approximately 1,600
graduate management students . The sample of current MBA students included 98 women and 151 men,
typically identified as domestic (88.1%) and part-time (72%). These students were frequently employed
full-time (83.7%). Prospective MBA student respondents included 14 women and 24 men, most often
employed full-time (84.2%) and graduates of large state universities (31.6%) or regional colleges or
universities (26.3%). MBA program alumni respondents included 19 women and 35 men, identified
primarily as Catholic (37%) or Protestant (35.2%). These respondents also tended to be employed fulltime (74.1%) and over half (57.5%) had graduated within the last 20 years.
Survey instruments for each group were developed which had many similar questions in terms of how
various characteristics of MBA programs (including “Catholic affiliation and values”) were perceived in
terms of relative importance and as an indicator of quality. Each characteristic was paired with a 4-point
scale ranging from “Very Important” (1) to “Not Important” (4) and “Low Quality” (1) to “Very High
Quality” (4). Open-ended questions on the issues were also used to “flesh out” the quantitative responses.
In addition, each group was asked questions specific to their perception of the nature and attractiveness of
a Catholic affiliation to MBA programs.
Quota sampling from lists provided by the university were used to collect data from respondents using
two basic methods: web based survey research and telephone interviewing. A random sample of currently
enrolled MBA students received an email invitation to take part in a web based survey of their attitudes
and opinions toward their university and degree program and this effort yielded approximately 250 usable
responses. Prospective (inquiring) MBA students and MBA alumni were randomly selected from lists
provided by the university and were interviewed by telephone. Quotas of 50 completed calls from each of
these two groups were achieved for the alumni although not for the prospective student samples.
We applied descriptive and factor analytic techniques to the empirical data and content-analytic
methodology to the qualitative responses to address our three research propositions.
(1) Catholic is multidimensional
Supporting the first research proposition, current MBA students and prospective MBA students were
heterogeneous in their choice of dimensions with which they defined Catholic and its influence on
graduate management education.
Current MBA students were asked the open-ended question “What, if anything, does the
<institution’s> Catholic heritage contribute to your graduate education?” Content analysis of
verbatim responses suggested five basic themes, as follows:
“Nothing” or no answer
Small class size, friendly people, nurturing and respectful environment,
Catholic “feel”, etc.
Ethics and integrity
Consistent with prior beliefs/college attended as undergraduate
Influences on teaching/open dialogue
Number Percent
Prospective MBA students were presented with the question “What do you think a Catholic college or
university contributes to a student’s education that other colleges and universities do not
contribute?” They were presented with the following choices. Multiple answers were permitted.
Ethics, morals
Don’t know
Catholic values
Spiritual growth
Rules and regulations
Development of the whole person
For both groups, current and prospective MBA students, while there was a range of responses, “ethics”
was a fairly typical response to the question of the impact of Catholic on education.
(2) Catholic exists in a mix of features
Partially supporting the second research proposition that Catholic is one of many features of an MBA
program and functions as part of a multidimensional system of features in the stakeholders' perceptions
about the program.
A set of 28 items on the Current and Prospective surveys asked about the importance of various
characteristics of a graduate management program to their choice of program. Each item was presented as
a statement, to which the respondent was asked to indicate his or her evaluation of importance on a fourpoint scale ranging from “not important to me” to “very important.”
Looking specifically at the item “Catholic affiliation and values”, 95.3 percent of the current students and
79.7 percent of the prospective students indicated it was “somewhat important,” “important” or “very
Sample size permitted the application of factor analysis to the responses of the Current MBA student
group which was used to identify possible themes in the student importance evaluations. The extraction
method used was principle components analysis along with varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization to
achieve a better fit of the data. Results of the analysis suggested an eight factor solution with an
Eigenvalue of approximately 1 accounting for 62 percent of the variance.
Rotated Factor Loadings
Intellectually oriented
Challenging academic
Rigorous program
Attracts high caliber graduate
High quality faculty
Preparation to further your
Excellent academic advising
An education relevant to the
Convenient times & ways to
take classes
Quality of the program
Professors have real-world
Reputation among family and
Reputation among colleagues
Well respected by your
Employer contributes to
c Quality
Credits needed to earn a
Easy to transfer academic
Low cost of attending
Small class size
Accessibility of faculty
Excellent career services
Networking opportunities
Able to personalize the
program to meet your
interests and needs
Offers many choices in
degree program
Able to complete the program
in the shortest possible time
Convenient to your home or
work site
Ability to complete degree
even if you travel extensively
Catholic affiliation and values
Table 1 provides both mean importance ratings for each item as well as factor loadings, tentatively
interpreted as labeled above each factor column. For the purposes of this study in general and our second
research proposition in particular, “Catholic affiliation and values” was rated least important of the 28
characteristics of an MBA program presented to the respondents and it loaded alone in the factor analysis,
apparently lacking covariance with any of the other items. In other words, it was important, but in relative
terms not very important and it was one of many dimensions making up the construct explored, although
seemingly unrelated to any of the other dimensions.
(3) Catholic matters
Supporting the third research proposition as demonstrated by the salience of Catholic to stakeholders’
decision making.
Current students were asked the open-ended question “Why did you choose <institution>?”
Flexibility, convenient location, etc.
Recommended by others / reputation of the program
Programs I liked
“Nothing” or no response
Prospective students were asked “How attractive is the <institution’s> Catholic affiliation?”
Not attractive
Very attractive
Did not know it was Catholic
For both of these samples, “Catholic” was present in the decision making of a small percentage of
the respondents.
Summary and Conclusions
What are the implications of our findings for our research goals?
1. Help mission-driven Catholic schools understand a primary stakeholder
For prospective and current graduate management education students, Catholic affiliation is neutral
and/or a positive value added to the product.
2. Help mission-driven Catholic schools better define and communicate their Catholic character
Aside from what external realities may or may not exist, the term “Catholic” implies for the
prospective student ethics, integrity, and respect.
3. Help mission-driven Catholic schools understand how embracing and understanding their
stakeholders’ perspectives may lead to important outcomes
Rather than dismissing or marginalizing the Catholic character of CBS’s, it can be promoted with success.
In addition to other factors such as class size, convenience, number of credit hours for the degree, the
term “Catholic” can be considered beneficial for identity and marketing of a business education program.
The logical next step in this line of research would be to reach out to a larger sample of the more
representative market for MBA programs and explore whether there exists a significant segment of MBA
students for whom “Catholic” is a salient (key decision making) factor in terms of program choice.
Further research might also include the testing of a plan designed to market the Catholic identity of a
St. Augustine College, South Africa:
Notes on incorporating Catholic social teaching in business ethics education
Dr. Marilise Smurthwaite and Douglas Racionzer
St Augustine College in Johannesburg South Africa is less than a decade old. This new and very
small tertiary institution is a centre of research and higher education seeking to promote
intellectual and ethical leadership by contributing the resources of the Catholic intellectual
tradition to the critical development and transformation of human culture.
Founded in July 1999 it is a higher education provider offering a critically grounded valuesbased education for the development and renewal of the southern region of Africa and for the
whole continent of Africa.
This paper describes how the Applied Ethics Department has integrated Catholic social teaching
into its work. There are perhaps two main foci entailed in any organizational development work.
The first is the institutional work of establishing and running an organization, the second is the
“business-end” in which the consumer or customer is served. The two foci need to be consistent
with each other for any organization to be sustainable. In the context of a university we may see
the twin demands for an efficient administration and an effective approach to teaching and
research as crucial to the viability of any tertiary institution.
Contextual note
South Africa is in a position not far removed to what Cardinal Newman found in Ireland in the
first half of the Nineteenth century. In South Africa, we too have a broad population which was
previously legally excluded from quality tertiary education. We too have a powerful and wellendowed liberal tertiary establishment which, while offering excellent academic and intellectual
stimulation, fails to inculcate values, ethics and moral guidance in their students.
St. Augustine College offers what we consider to be a judicious mix of quality intellectual
stimulation with an emphasis upon the moral formation of the student as a person.
St. Augustine College has chosen to imbue its vision and mission with the principles of Catholic
social teaching. To this end, this paper begins by surveying how Catholic social teaching has
been incorporated into the “DNA” of the College.
Vision and Mission
A key document at the College is our manifesto, which among other things argues for social
“This emphasis on transformation entails forming agents who are equipped with the skills of
life-long learning who will be prepared for citizenship, service and leadership in a global society
and who will contribute to the ongoing construction of the truly human good.”
This focus on the human good involves the formation of enlightened citizens and leaders who
have the reflective capacity and willingness to review prevailing ideas, policies and practice in
light of a commitment to the common good and the dignity of the human person as well as an
appreciation of diverse cultures.
The promotion of human dignity within Africa and southern Africa demands that we address
these issues from the perspective of the local region noting the need for professional expertise in
such fields as business, commerce, management, economics, information technology and
environmental studies and the need for sustainable development” (St. Augustine College
The vision and values embodied in the manifesto are reflected in the College’s HR philosophy.
Human Resource Philosophy
The College has a written human resource philosophy in which Catholic social teaching is
explicitly recognized:
“St. Augustine College has adopted a human resource philosophy that incorporates Catholic
social teaching. Thus the human resource philosophy supports the principles of the social
market economic system as a fundamental belief, grounded in the following principles of
Catholic social teaching;
• Solidarity
• Subsidiarity
• The common good
• Human dignity
• Justice
• The option for the poor
This encompasses our belief in every individual's right to the freedom of choice. We oppose any
action or agent that serves to prevent the attainment of such a system, particularly all forms of
paternalism that serve to undermine the individual's rights and which lead to loss of human
… The explicit adoption of Catholic social teaching principles within the College’s human
resource philosophy, leads to the explicit recognition of values. These values are based on the
belief that optimal productivity will not be achieved unless relationships between people
internally and externally are founded and sustained on both trust and contribution, a system of
values has been developed to unite all employees in the achievement of the College objectives.
The inter-related components of St Augustine College's value system are:• a fundamental loyalty to the College as a whole,
• a deliberate and systematic effort to create an environment within which personal
growth is encouraged and individuality accepted.
• a pre-occupation with process towards achieving agreed objectives, emphasising how
rather than what is achieved.
• an encouragement of people to reach their full human potential.” (St. Augustine
College Human Resource Philosophy)
The college has stated its commitments to Catholic social teaching and incorporated these into its
“DNA” and then modeled this commitment in its approach to human resources as assets. These
institutional arrangements are, by themselves, not enough to give full effect to the principles of
Catholic social teaching. The commitment to Catholic social teaching needs to be visible within
the actual teaching modules at the College.
Catholic social teaching in applied ethics
As part of the College’s commitment to the twin values of academic excellence and Catholic
social teaching, all students doing the M Phil in Applied Ethics must attend the two core
modules “Dignity of the Human Person” and Foundations of Ethics. Students then study 5 other
coursework modules and complete a research report. In addition all students attend 14 units on
Research Methodology (unless they are exempted on the grounds of previous research expertise).
The module on the Dignity of the Human Person is the College’s unique feature, its ”golden
thread”. No other university or college in South Africa offers such a module although we have
noted that a University in Germany has now adopted a similar module into its curriculum.
These two modules are compulsory core modules. After a departmental programme review in
2006, it was decided that students doing the M Phil in Applied Ethics should specialize either in
Business Ethics or in Social and Political Ethics. At a later stage, a third specialization in gender
and family ethics and bioethics will be introduced.
Teaching practice
The Department reflects the principles of Catholic social teaching both in theory and in practice
as follows:
Incorporating these principles into our teaching in the modules and developing an
ethical framework based on these principles as a means to critique pertinent ethical issues
both in the South African, African and global arenas.
Using an ethical framework based on these principles as the ethical ‘tool’ in
Developing and teaching such courses as the Political Leadership Certificate and
various short courses where the target audience is often, but not only, those who may
have been previously disadvantaged. The content and methodology of such courses is
aimed at empowering not only those who attend the course, but also those that they in
turn will reach when they return to their respective communities.
Reflecting these principles when entering into discussions at conferences and
other such forums, particularly those which are not run by other Catholic organisations
and institutions. It is possible to challenge commonly-taken-for-granted notions,
assumptions, and methodologies on this basis and introduce another perspective to
dealing with issues which are ethically problematic.
Research output
An emphasis on contextualising our research within the context of South Africa and of Africa, as
well as the global environment. This is important as, for example, in the case of South Africa,
such contextualisation has led us to focus on such issues as economic justice/injustice both in
taught modules and in research itself.
An effort to discuss and research and write about current and ‘pressing’ ethical issues
particularly in the South African socio-economic and political environment. Such efforts have
included challenging the status quo, which is part of our duty as a Catholic University and part of
using the principles Catholic Social Thought to underpin our critique.
No specific African module is offered. However, teaching and research is contextualised in terms
of the socio-economic and political contexts of South Africa and of Africa. In practice this is also
done by trying to facilitate those who come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds where
such persons are students in the department.
F. Byron (Ron) Nahser, John (Jack) Ruhe and Scott Kelley
I. Thesis / Purpose
Teaching business ethics at a Catholic University poses unique challenges. Beyond employing
Catholic social teaching to examine case studies in a syllogistic and deductive fashion to arrive at
a particular conclusion, there seems to be other responsibilities if the anthropology of theologians
like Karl Rahner and Bernard Lonergan are taken seriously. For Rahner, “formal existential
ethics” is much more than a syllogistic and deductive application of first principles to particular
cases. For this reason, he argues that ethics “has yet to catch up to the [Spiritual] Exercises [of
Saint Ignatius Loyola].” For Lonergan, ethics must be seen in the context of the transcendental
precepts, that is, the authentic unfolding of conscious intentionality. He argues that moral
responsibility means being attentive, intelligent, reasonable, responsible, and in love. In this
context, teaching business ethics must also assist students discern their own vocation to business,
their own fundamental option, so they are able to allocate their limited resources in response to
their own sense of ultimate meaning. This notion of ethics, however, is a radical departure from
or addition to the syllogistic, deductive mode of ethics that has been popularized by the case
study method.
Furthermore, if the missions of Catholic Universities are also taken seriously, they must
somehow integrate mission-oriented values into the curriculum and the classroom. At DePaul
University, for example, the second strategic goal of Vision 2012 is to “prepare students to be
socially responsible future leaders and engaged alumni” (http://vision2012.depaul.edu/).
DePaul’s motto, “Viam sapientiae monstrabo tibi” (“I will show you the way to wisdom”) raises
challenging questions for the teacher of business ethics. Does exposing students to a variety of
ethical methods help shape socially responsible leaders? Does it help them discover “the way to
wisdom”? What prepares students for leadership that is socially responsible? In theological
language, how can business be seen in the context of a vocation to serve the Common Good, not
just one’s own immediate, self-referential interests?
The Pragmatic Inquiry® method developed by Corporantes, inc., is a practical curricular model
for discernment and the appropriation of mission-based values into business ethics. By
establishing exercises for critical self-reflection and socio-environmental analysis, The
Pathfinder Notebook guides students through a process of self-discovery and social analysis, a
process that closely mirrors the spiritual and intellectual heritage of the Catholic Tradition.
When business education is rooted in critical self-reflection, it becomes a form of “spiritual
exercise.” Saint Ignatius Loyola writes that spiritual exercises, “having as their purpose the
overcoming of self and the ordering of one's life on the basis of a decision made in freedom from
any disordered attachment” (Annotation 21). Critical self-reflection and self-appropriation have
deep roots in Catholic spirituality, constituting a necessary starting point for fostering habits of
critical self-examination and self-appropriation. In addition to critical self-awareness, however,
business ethics education must ask students to understand and imagine the socio-environmental
consequences of the particular business practices that they are, or will be, engaged in. When the
moral imagination is engaged, students may discover that sacred nexus between one’s deepest
desires and the world’s great hungers, that is, their vocation to the practice of business.
The Pragmatic Inquiry® method has three contexts depending on the particular focus of the
course. A particular course might engage in a personal value inquiry where students discern
vocation questions, an organizational value inquiry where a group focuses on mission and
identity, or a market planning inquiry, where students address a particular problem in a particular
industry. In each instance, the learning activities and outcomes are fundamentally the same:
(1) Students articulate their primary “question” or “concern” in a context of critical selfreflection;
(2) Through a process of critical self-examination and discernment, students identify and
articulate the underlying values that have shaped, do shape, and will continue to shape
their decisions and actions;
(3) Students examine the ways in which their primary question operates in a network of
relationships, personal, organizational, social, and environmental;
and (4) Students identify a particular course of action that best reflects the ways in which
their personal values and the values of the organizations in which they operate respond to
a clearly defined need, or market.
As a process of discernment, the particular learning outcomes of the Pragmatic Inquiry® method
position students for values-based socially responsible leadership.
By engaging in critical self-reflection, values clarification, social analysis, discernment, and
action planning, the Pragmatic Inquiry® method mirrors the Purgative – Illuminative – Unitive
structure that many Catholic mystics espouse. Because of this foundation of authentic
subjectivity, it comes as no surprise that the principles of Catholic social teaching are often
reflected in contemporary discussions of sustainability and “creative capitalism.”
II. Outline of Roundtable Session
Part One: Confessions of a Business Ethics Teacher. Scott Kelley will share his experience of
the “performative self-contradiction” of writing a dissertation on Bernard Lonergan and the
Spiritual Exercises while teaching the case study method in a business ethics classroom. The
Pathfinder provided a framework to teach authentically in light of a commitment to Catholic
Part Two: What is Pragmatic Inquiry? In this portion of the roundtable Ron Nahser will
introduce the Pragmatic Inquiry method and particular case studies that demonstrate its
usefulness as “strategic planning for the individual as well as for the corporation” (Carolyn Woo,
Dean of Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame). Ron will also explain why it
has been embraced by many of the top MBA programs in the country.
Part Three: What evidence supports the claim that Pragmatic Inquiry is an effective tool for
teaching ethics? Jack Ruhe will share the results of his study that examined the impact of using
Pragmatic Inquiry at Saint Mary's College using the Maccoby survey for measuring outcome
achievement in character traits of compassion, generosity, critical of authority, openness, and
pleasure in learning.
Mark R. Bandsuch, SJ
I. Introduction
An identity crisis is encompassing the world. Politics, religion, business, media, medicine,
education, and athletics have all experienced scandals to varying degrees. Factor in globalization,
scientific and technological advancements, migration patterns, and the exponential rate of change
in so many facets of life, humanity seems to be caught in a vortex of liminality, uncertainty, and
ambiguity. Concern over these developments are paradoxically matched and surpassed by the
sense of opportunity, hope, and advancement that they engender. Individuals and organizations
alike are searching for ways to redefine who they want to be, what they want to do, and what is
right and wrong.
Colleges and universities, particularly Catholic and other private schools, are similarly searching
to refine and renew their mission and identity in this rapidly changing world, while
simultaneously trying to help students and society to discover their own. Catholic colleges have
traditionally provided education about morality and ethics as one way among many to fulfill their
mission and to help others determine and pursue theirs, although business education in general
and business ethics in particular are a relatively recent development in most Catholic institutions.
Providing further impetus for this movement is the AACSB, which prioritizes ethics and mission
in its accreditation process.
It is within this societal and institutional context that this paper endeavors to answer some of the
most basic questions about teaching business ethics at a Catholic University – the who, what,
where, when, why and how of teaching “Catholic” business ethics at a Catholic university. The
authors searched for these answers by interviewing professors, reviewing syllabi, analyzing
course offerings, developing and teaching the courses, and surveying students. In order to
determine some primary principles and a fundamental framework for teaching “Catholic”
business ethics at a Catholic University, this paper investigated business ethics courses at various
institutions, within different departments, and among diverse professors. The various approaches
to Catholic business ethics revealed some overlap or continuity among the different questions
and answers, with an ultimate focal point being the intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and relational
development of the student.
II. WHAT is “Catholic” Business Ethics at a Catholic University?
Business ethics in general is considered by most to be an applied ethic in that moral principles
are applied to the entities, activities and relationships involving goods and services in coming to
a determination about the rightness or wrongness of said businesses, its activities, and its
relationships. More precisely, business ethics would include three elements - 1) description, 2)
analysis, and 3) judgment about business actions or policies. Different ethicists may stress a
different part within their business ethics framework and class, but essentially all three should
exist in some form. For example, it appeared that philosophers and theologians stressed
description and analysis, while managers clearly emphasized the final decision.
In the most basic sense, “Catholic” business ethics integrates “Catholic” principles and
perspectives into the description, analysis, and judgment of business actions. Most professors
and authors seem to rely mostly on the rich heritage of Catholic Social Teaching, Sacred
Scripture, and philosophical reasoning for their “Catholic” principles and positions. Syllabi,
writings and interviews appeared to acknowledge the role that experience plays in Catholic
thought, but with in a secondary manner, with historical, scientific, societal, and individual
experiences emphasized to different degrees.
What exactly would a Catholic business ethics course cover and do? This article places that
response within the HOW to teach business ethics, hoping to connect the ideology and pedagogy
more succinctly. In brief, the key themes of Catholic Social Teaching, the fundamental
principles of philosophical reasoning, and the different dimensions of human experience would
be brought bear on business issues – comparing, contrasting, and coordinating their insights in an
effort to advance the intellectual, moral, spiritual, and relational development of its subject.
III. WHY Teach “Catholic” Business Ethics at a Catholic University?
As indicated above, Catholic business ethics should be taught because it is one way for the
university and the business school to renew and fulfill their mission and to help others discover
and pursue theirs. The AACSB emphasis on ethics and mission in its accreditation process
validates this reasoning. Most universities are following this trend, motivated in part by cultural
events, accreditation, and internal motivations. It should be noted that proper to the recent
business scandals, business ethics and other “soft” skills were on the decline at universities
(Surprisingly, this trend is continuing in a very small degree primarily because of the reemphasis of hard skills in business schools and some related cost factors).
These explanations, however, are a bit too utilitarian for the overarching vision and mission of
most Catholic universities, let alone of the Church hierarchy’s understanding of the role of the
Catholic university. A perusal of Catholic university mission statements reveals some common
themes or goals, with each arguably furthered through the teaching of business ethics. Most
Catholic college mission statements mention: 1) the development of intellectual abilities, 2) the
ethical and moral development that manifests itself in some form of service to others and larger
society, and 3) the spiritual growth - of its students.
Thus, the answer to the why is the who – our students (and other stakeholders too). Despite the
verbiage, the above three components commonly found in Catholic university mission statements
are not so much traits or skills to be acquired, but rather descriptors of the type of person we
hope the student becomes. The intent here is not to enter into the chicken and egg argument
among ethicists between character formation (values) and intellectual development (reason), but
to emphasize that no matter the means, the ultimate goal and focus of Catholic education is the
human person – the student created in the image and likeness of God, however faintly visible.
This leads to a secondary question about the why of Catholic business ethics education at
Catholic universities: WHO should be taught business ethics?
IV. WHO should be taught (& teach) “Catholic” Business Ethics at a Catholic University?
This question is more complex than it seems. Are students the only one who should be the
beneficiaries of Catholic business ethics? Faculty, staff, and administrators may not have the
opportunity to sit in on a course, but should they not benefit in some manner nonetheless. For
example: Do the support staff receive a just wage and decent benefits? What are the policies and
realities of diversity initiatives of the faculty and student-body? What are the wage equities
among men, women and minorities? What is the school doing on behalf of environmental issues?
What is our relationship with the local neighbors? What is the institution’s reputation and
interaction with the academy, the local business community, and the formal Church? Each of
these events present teaching moments on the topic of Catholic business ethics, with the
institution in the role of professor and a variety of stakeholders as eager students.
As to the traditional students, Catholic business ethics has trained good philosophers, good
theologians, good mangers, and good people. Again, the emphasis clearly fluctuated depending
in which department the course was located. This seems acceptable, although we do recommend
that management classes do more to help the students understand the underlying philosophical
and theological principles. Similarly, we suggest that philosophy and theology departments do
more to help the students link the fundamental principles with and apply them to relevant
business issues. For example, liberal arts should help students apply the CSR principle of Care
for God’s Creation, not just to the environment in general, but to concrete issues like sustainable
development, pollution, global warming, and recycling.
The different possible locations and emphasis brings us to the next question about where should
Catholic business ethics be taught (which also looks in part at whom should teach it –
philosophers, managers, or theologians). But a quick pre-note: Does it matter if the professors –
no matter what their educational background – are practicing Catholics? Our interviews support
previous research that practicing Catholics who teach business ethics – no matter what the
discipline - have greater familiarity with Catholic Social Teaching, its implications for current
business issues, and its possible use within the classroom. Catholics with theological
backgrounds tended to have greater awareness of CST, but less familiarity with its business
Assuming that CST and its underlying principles are important elements for Catholic business
ethics, we suggest efforts to familiarize faculty with CST and its relevancy to business. This can
occur through workshops, team teaching, collaborative formation of a core business ethics
course, and less so, the hiring of a practicing catholic with academic credentials in theology,
philosophy and management.
IV. WHERE should “Catholic” Business Ethics be taught within a Catholic University?
In the United States, there are approximately 2,574 four year institutions of higher education, of
which 1,845 are private, around 1,000 have religious affiliations, and of those roughly 224 are
Catholic. We did our best to investigate how many (primarily Catholic Schools, but with small
samples of private and public schools also) teach Catholic Social Teaching, how many teach
Business Ethics (and in what departments each is located), and how many involve service
learning. 71% of Catholic universities offered business ethics, 41% CST, and 14% service
learning. All the CST courses except 2 were offered in theology or religious studies departments.
Meanwhile, business ethics courses were split between philosophy and business almost exactly,
with three examples of it offered in theology. The 71% was slightly below the AACSB average
of 78% of accredited schools offering a full ethics course.
We also asked where professors, administrators and students would suggest these courses be
located. This proved to be one of the more interesting inquiries and debates with everyone
having very legitimate positions. The arguments for situating the course in the philosophy and/or
theology department are to provide the larger student population access to such an invaluable
course, to have it taught in an environment more critical of business, and to focus on
foundational philosophical and theological principles that apply to all aspects of life – including
and beyond business. The primary concerns about teaching business ethics outside the business
school is that the critique will be overly prejudicial and unrealistically anti-business. A secondary
concern is that the business students will not see it as integral to their business education – but
rather one of those core courses that “they have to take.”
The above concern is a primary argument in favor of situating the course in management – its
integral nature to business education. There is some support for this, especially when the course
is taken senior year as a possible capstone course, since it allows the students to integrate
different areas of knowledge into concrete problem solving. The decision-making focus within
management courses is a major strength of locating the class within the business school. The
major concerns voiced were that the overly pro-business environment could neutralize the
objective critical skills desired from a business ethics course. The other was the failure to
properly address the philosophical and theological principles underlying ethical analysis. We
repeat the previous suggestions for faculty development and sensitivity to these areas regardless
of where the final location of the business ethics course. We actually prefer that a Catholic
business ethics course be taught in the business school so as to send the message that Catholic
teaching is integrated into all aspects of life – including business. The hiring of gifted faculty
who can bridge the various fields is quite important.
V. WHEN should “Catholic” Business Ethics be taught?
In addition to deciding in which department to place the course, questions arise about the optimal
place for business ethics in the curriculum (and year of study). Most research supports that ethics
needs to be integrated across the curriculum as well as explored in concentrated courses.i The
student surveys indicated that ethics was appropriately emphasized within the curriculum.ii
Faculty disagreed, but were at a loss as how to increase ethics in an already burgeoning
curriculum. Some interesting suggestions included: 1) requiring an ethics course every year –
one in philosophy, one in theology, one in business, and one elective; 2) move beyond the
classroom with service learning, residential learning communities, CLC’s comprised of business
students, Centers, Institutes and/or Chairs for Catholic Business Ethics; 3) a capstone or senior
project that really integrates a variety of disciplines in an thorough social, ethical, and
economical analysis, and 4) extra-curricular clubs having a Catholic ethics focus (e.g., Catholic
Values Investing). The two recurring themes were integration of Catholic thought with ethics and
both with business analysis. We carried these themes with others into our development of our
Catholic Business Ethics Course.
VI. HOW should “Catholic” Business Ethics be taught?
The “how” of teaching Catholic business ethics varied of course in regard to “where” the course
was located and the background of “who” was teaching it? Philosophers in the philosophy
department clearly stressed philosophical principles, usually their origins and nuances more than
their application. Theologians in the religious studies or like departments clearly emphasized the
fundamental tenets of the Catholic Social documents with a surprising focus on the documents
themselves. Business professors in management or like departments clearly focused on specific
issues and decision-making – often on the results and justification more than principles and
analysis. Another general observation was the macro nature of the philosophical and theological
analysis contrasted to the more micro approach in management. For example, philosophical and
theological business ethics addressed the role of the corporation in society, the strengths and
weaknesses of the market economy and capitalism, and the role of labor and the rights of
workers in that economy. Meanwhile, managerial business ethics would approach those topical
areas by exploring business’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans, interaction and
engagement in multinational operations, and specific employment issues surrounding safety,
discrimination, and sweatshops. The bias in favor of business actually appears stronger in
management than the comparable critical posture taken in philosophy and theology.
A review of syllabi and interviews revealed that courses topics were grouped in one of three
ways more or less: 1) Catholic Social Teaching Principles and/or Documents, 2) Specific Ethical
Issues, 3) or by Stakeholders. For example, 1) the CST principle of human dignity would segue
into discussion about sweatshops, 2) executive compensation would serve as a focus topic, or 3)
advertising or product safety to consumers would be analyzed through the lens of Economic
Justice for All – or simply major principles of CST. The use of scripture and the Catholic
Imagination seem to be neglected, but desired methodologies. The most common business
topics were whistle-blowing, workplace diversity and discrimination, workplace conditions,
privacy, and wages, the use of technology, environmental concerns, corporate social
responsibility – especially on the local level, and the role of markets and government. Rerum
Novarum, Economic Justice for All, and Laborem Exercen were the most referenced readings
Assignments included group presentations, smaller writing projects, and research papers. Very
few traditional examinations existed. Personal reflections, journaling, discernment (or reflective
decision-making), self-assessments, and personal mission statements reflected a clear emphasis
on personal reflection, personal experience, and personal vocation. Some less common, but
interesting activities included community service, guest speakers, interviewing business
executives about values, movie or literature comparisons, trips abroad, group sharing, meditation
techniques, news or media review, development of a personal decision-making model,
researching a country and its issue, researching specific company’s and evaluating their CSR,
exploring the major concerns of the local community.
III. Conclusion.
Teaching business ethics, whether in philosophy, theology, or management, contains attributes
that benefit the university, the community, and the students. The incarnation of “Catholic”
Business Ethics as an alternative model has great potential to more fully fulfill the mission of the
Catholic college. The integrative, experiential, and intellectual approach to a Catholic business
ethics course furthers the intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and relational development of its students
– the ultimate purpose of the Catholic college’s mission.
Joan Fontrodona Manuel Guillén and Alfredo Rodríguez-Sedano
This paper tries to contribute, in some way, to the urgent need recently warned by Benedict XVI
“to rediscover the unity of knowledge and to counter the tendency to fragmentation and lack of
communicability that is all too often the case in our schools!” This seems to be a challenge for
both, Catholic and non-Catholic universities.
The purpose of the paper is to present a theoretical framework that helps to conceptualize ethics
and to clarify the characteristics and limits of the different ethical theories. In other words,
students without philosophical background will find here a synthetic “road map” of ethical
approaches. This framework has been previously published in a book in Spain. In this paper,
authors will describe the model and discuss how it has already been successfully tested in two
different contexts: a University of Catholic Inspiration and a State University.
The framework proposed offers sound and solid philosophical foundations, consistent with
Catholic social tradition. It allows students to engage with different business ethics traditions,
mapping the territory with a critical approach, and showing their limitations. Authors of this
paper strongly believe that a sound theoretical background in business ethics education may help
students to obtain firm standards to make intelligent judgments that work toward their own selftransformation and their contribution to the common good.
In this sense, the framework proposed here, routed in realistic Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition,
may facilitate the integration of knowledge and the dialogue between Catholic and non-catholic
based approaches.
The paper has four parts. The first one describes a three-dimensional framework that helps to
classify the different ethical theories that have been proposed along the centuries, since Ancient
Greek Philosophy till modern and contemporary theories. The three dimensions that should be
present in a comprehensive approach to ethics are: norms, goods and virtues. It is argued that
these three dimensions come from a comprehensive anthropological understanding of human
action. Based on this assumption, unilateral and bilateral approaches to ethics can be revised and
Using this framework, the second part of the paper shortly describes different business ethics
practical approaches. Thanks to the road map offered before, it is possible to make a diagnosis of
the ethical approaches followed by business firms. In this sense, authors illustrate three main
practical perspectives (deontology, integrity and excellence) depending on the role played by
every dimension of the framework.
The third part of the paper presents three teaching ethics experiences using this framework in
Spain. Two of the experiences presented were at the University of Navarre, an institution of
catholic inspiration, and the third one was at the State University of Valencia. Then, in a fourth
part, authors discuss their teaching experience by analysing the different achievements and their
implications. Finally, the paper concludes with some proposals, future challenges and
A three-dimensional framework to explain ethical theories
In order to understand and classify ethical theories, we propose a three-dimensional framework.
We defend that a comprehensive approach to ethics, consistent with a totally anthropological
understanding of human action, should explicitly consider three dimensions: norms, goods, and
virtues. Philosophers that historically best represent such comprehensive perspective are
Aristotle and the aristotelian-thomistic tradition
Moral good is known by reason and the knowledge of good leads to moral norms as means that
will help to attain the good. But this good can not be achieved without the work of the will. In
our effort to reach the good we develop moral virtues, habits of conduct that will help us to
achieve our purpose. Good produces attraction, and norms and virtues make easier its
The three elements, goods, norms and virtues are interconnected and they need each other to be
properly understood. Each one is important and necessary in order to understand ethics as human
fulfilment. That’s why this approach is labelled here as comprehensive or all-inclusive. From this
scheme, we propose a critical review of different ethical theories.
We first present one-dimension approaches, that is, those theories that mainly focus on just one
of the three dimensions and forget the role of the other two. In this sense, hedonism is an ethical
theory that focuses mainly on goods (pleasant); stoicism is an ethical theory that focuses on
virtues; and rationalism is an ethical theory that focuses on norms.
We call intermediate approaches to those that consider just two dimensions. It would be the case
of modern approaches such as consequentialism and the, so called, theory of justice ethics, which
consider moral norms and, in some sense, the moral goods, but forget the role of virtue..
Following MacIntyre’s position, the role of virtue should be recovered. And, in this sense, a
comprehensive approach of ethics represents an integrative proposal, one whose originality is
just to go back to the origin of ethical thought within the ancient Greek philosophy.
Ethical approaches of business firms
After using this three-dimensional framework to explain different ethical theories and their
limitations, we turn to management practice. The object is to analyze which is the idea of ethics
that lies under the different management practical approaches.
Depending on the role played by every ethical dimension, we describe three main business ethics
approaches in management: deontology (focused mainly in norms), integrity (focused in norms
and goods) and excellence (focused in norms, goods and virtues).
«Deontology approach» is the one practiced by companies that follow legal and generally
accepted moral norms. The emphasis given to moral norms by these firms constitutes an
important step forward in terms of business ethics practices. They tend to follow codes of ethics
and try to avoid improper behaviours among their members.
«Integrity approach» is practiced by companies that consider moral norms but also moral goods
or values. As values, they are proactive and go further than norms, offering a sense of mission to
the members of the organization. Companies following this approach may publicly present their
value statements, or just include them as part of their mission.
Finally, «Excellence approach» is practiced by companies focused not only in norms and values,
but also in the practice of virtue (arête in Greek or personal excellence). These kinds of firms
include among their purpose the integral development of their members (professional and
personal). The practice of good though moral virtues goes further than integrity. In this sense,
moral development of people is considered as a contribution to common good of society and part
of their reason for being. They may use written documents such as codes of conduct or
statements, but these documents are considered as means, but just means, to indicate the path to
excellence. This ethical conception coincides with the comprehensive perspective described in
the first part of this work. All the three dimensions of ethics (norms, goods and virtues), are
explicitly considered and promoted by ethically excellent companies.
Teaching ethics experiences using this framework
Concepts described above have been presented in three different courses by the authors of this
paper. In this part, the three teaching experiences are discussed. The tittles of the courses are:
“Professional deontology”, “Anthropological and Ethical Foundations for Management” and
“Business Ethics and CSR”. First one is a compulsory course taken by undergraduate students of
the School of Education at the University of Navarre (Pamplona, Spain). The second one is a
compulsory course taken by doctoral students at IESE Business School (Barcelona, Spain). And,
the third one is an optional course taken by undergraduate students of management at the
University of Valencia (Spain).
The first two courses are presented in the context of a University of catholic tradition, while the
third one is presented in a typical Spanish state university. In this third case, there is a low
institutional support, and the presence of the course is due to the personal interest of the
instructor. In the first two cases, in a University of catholic tradition, obviously both courses are
part of the curricular program and receive total institutional support.
The purpose of the course in deontology at the University of Navarre (UNAV) is to offer
knowledge of basic concepts on applied ethics to the profession. The contents of the course
include: fundamentals of ethics, deontological codes and professional ethos (habits and virtues).
Methodology includes theory and practice (lectures, readings and team presentations). The threedimensional framework on ethical theories is an integral part of the course and allows students to
understand ethical approaches and the role of norms, values and virtues in their professions.
The purpose of the doctoral course on anthropological and ethical foundations for
management at IESE Business School (IESE) is to present doctoral students main concepts of
philosophical anthropology and ethics and their link to management. Contents of this course
include issues from philosophical anthropology and ethics such as: world, man, knowledge, will,
freedom, truth, action, society, ethics, etc. Methodology is mainly theoretical and includes
readings and critical discussions. In this case, the three-dimensional framework on ethical
theories appears explicitly and implicitly along the course and its presentation.
The purpose of the course on business ethics and CSR at the University of Valencia Estudim
Generale (UVEG) is to offer students basic concepts, managerial tools and the necessary skills
for ethical decision making in business. Contents include an introduction to ethics and ethical
theories, and then, business ethics concepts applied to personal, organizational and social levels.
Methodology includes theory and practice (lectures, case studies, role-playing, analysis of
movies and team presentations). In this course, the three-dimensional framework on ethical
theories constitutes a fundamental introduction to the course.
The achievements of the three courses are illustrated in the following section. As will be
discussed, personal impression obtained by the three instructors presents some common elements
and also important differences. The study of such perceived results will lead to final concussions.
Discussion of the teaching experiences
In an exercise of personal analysis, the three instructors made a list including their personal
impressions in terms of course achievements. Later on, perceived outcomes were compared and
discussed. Here we present the listed results of the three teaching experiences including common
findings and specific results.
- In the first place, the use of a common framework in Pamplona (UNAV), Barcelona (IESE)
and Valencia (UVEG) allowed the different instructors to present to the students main
dimensions of ethics, including moral good, moral norms and moral virtues. This approach led to
avoid relativistic conceptions of ethics from the very first class in the three cases.
- Secondly, using the same framework allowed instructors to offer a comprehensive
anthropological understanding of human action. Thanks to the common anthropological roots of
this framework, explicit considerations of ethics in human behaviour were possible in different
contexts (catholic and non catholic) and for different purposes (education, research and practice
of management).
- Thirdly, a framework rooted on the concept of human person in accordance with the
Catholic thought was totally consistent with the rest of the curricula, especially with those
courses on Catholic Social Thought, taught in UNAV and IESE. Such courses do not exist at
UVEG. Nevertheless, generally accepted concept of human person allows the inclusion of most
Catholic Social Thought principles in non Catholic institutions like UVEG.
- Fourthly, in courses explicitly devoted to business ethics, like IESE’s doctoral course and
UVEG’s undergraduate option, the three-dimensional framework represents a quite useful road
map of ethical theories. In this sense, and thanks to the framework, students of management in
different levels, and without philosophical background, are capable of mapping the territory in
ethical approaches with a sound and critical understanding.
- In the fifth place, the three-dimensional framework made possible a fluent dialogue between
most business ethics traditions at IESE and UVEG classes. More over, this approach enlightened
the role of ethics in relation with other academic disciplines in the case of UNAV’s course on
professional deontology.
- Finally, and thanks to the explicit consideration of moral virtues in this framework,
instructor of deontology at UNAV’s course was able to propose moral habits of behaviour to his
students, in the context of their profession. In practical terms, some of these habits were
introduced as decision making criteria in business ethics classes at UVEG. In this sense, it was
easy to use practical examples about the impact of moral character and virtue on management as
well as any other professional practice.
As general conclusions of these three teaching experiences using a common three-dimensional
framework for ethics, rooted on human action, we underline the following findings:
1The fact that this framework has been successfully tested in UVEG, a State University,
shows that a model rooted on human nature and human action is capable to offer
appropriate ethical training for both, catholic and non catholic inspired universities. The
variety of students making use of this approach underlines the universality of its
2For universities of Catholic inspiration, the use of a model centred on the concept of
‘person’, routed on catholic tradition and widely accepted, is a powerful instrument for
common dialogue with other traditions. Then, the teachings on ethics can be presented
in a way that they are publicly intelligible and accessible to people of all backgrounds,
religious or secular
3The consistency of this rational framework with Catholic tradition makes easier for
Faculty members to present business ethics courses and Catholic Social Thought as
complementary issues. If reason and faith are not opposite, and faith is rational, we
should try to offer rational approaches that are consistent with faith and have a sound
philosophical contribution to a common dialogue in search for truth.
4Given the complementarities of faith and reason in search for truth, there should be a
balance, not a dichotomy, between catholic and non catholic contribution in common
search for truth. In this sense, we strongly believe that the promotion of common
frameworks founded on human nature and rational dialogue, like the one proposed
here, should be promoted in institutions of catholic and non catholic tradition.
Authors of this work are aware of the limitations of their teaching experience in terms of
generalization and practical implementation. The three-dimensional framework has been tested
among students with no special interest and training in philosophical issues. What would happen
if this same framework were presented to students with a strongest philosophical background?
Would they see the model as simplistic? Of course, any model is a simplification of reality, but
in terms of generalization, this limitation should be tested.
The paper is based on the reflection that the instructors did about their own experience. It would
be good to contrast their ideas with the opinions of the students that attended the courses, in
order to confirm whether this framework was useful for them or not to better understand ethics
and the ethical background of management theories.
In terms of practical implementation, it is clear that the use of a consistent framework to present
ethical theories is not enough to attain an appropriate students’ moral education. Probably, the
course on business ethics at the state university had a low impact on final student’s curricula.
And, perhaps, students could see the content of such course as something isolated and also
opposed to the rationale of many other courses. But, nevertheless, when ethics is presented as
part of daily human action, helping to make people more human, students in business education
obtain an important instrument to critically recognise scientific mechanistic rhetoric in many
management approaches. This seems to be at least a clear contribution to engage the student in a
deeper and not just technical understanding of the practice of business.
John Gallagher
A less dramatic version of the title question would ask whether there is a particular approach to
teaching strategic management that might be considered Catholic. This paper argues for an
affirmative answer, not because there exists an appropriable Catholic pedagogical approach, but
because a pedagogical approach emerges when Catholic social teaching confronts the core
assumptions of the discipline. Strategic management can be made Catholic then by a reframing or
a reconstituting of core assumptions in accord with Catholic social teaching. In strategic
management the core assumption is that business has a singular, uni-dimensional purpose; that of
economic performance (Barney and Arikan, 2001). Catholic social teaching, in contrast, proposes
a deeper purpose for business that has economic, social, and moral dimensions (Alford and
Naughton, 2001).
The argument proceeds in three steps. It begins with an examination of the core assumptions of the
discipline, and an exploration of how these might shape conventional research agendas and
pedagogical approaches. It then considers the challenges that Catholic social teaching presents to
these core assumptions, and ways that these challenges might suggest changes in pedagogy.
Anecdotal evidence of an approach refined by the author over ten years of teaching is offered for
consideration. It concludes with a reflection on the wider implications for business education at
Catholic universities.
It’s necessary to point out two things before beginning. One, the use of the phrase “pedagogical
approach” refers to the sum of reading texts, cases, other materials, lectures, assignments,
discussion questions, examinations, teaching strategies, and overall course design through which
students engage the ideas and concepts and knowledge necessary to achieve the course objectives.
Two, the anecdotal evidence provided below is an amalgam of the author’s experience teaching
both undergraduate and executive MBA students.
Strategic management as an academic discipline
Strategic management takes as its fundamental and organizing question, “why does one firm
outperform another?” (Barney and Arikan, 2001). This question, of course, stems from the
discipline’s roots in economics, and is, in some measure, a counterpoint. Classical economic
theory suggests that in a model of perfect competition we can expect no persistent differences in
firm performance. Homogeneous firms producing homogeneous products exchange those products
with consumers at perfectly competitive prices where the laws of supply and demand have
established equilibrium. At equilibrium there are no rents, or abnormal profits, beyond what’s
necessary for sustainability. So, we have a situation where economic theory cannot adequately
explain readily observable differences firm performance. Strategic management takes up this
particular question.
But to say that we observe differences in firm performance presupposes a basis for such
discrimination, and for both economics and strategic management the basis profit or value
maximization. But these disciplines are in tension. On the one hand, an economic system with free
markets seeks to minimize profit or compete them away. On the other, firms look to maximize
profits. An economist wants to understand performance differences in order to create market
conditions that will minimize producer profits and maximize consumer and social welfare. A
business, or firm owner, or strategist, wants to answer this question in order to understand how to
increase profits – to increase the performance difference between firms.
Nevertheless, we measure performance differences by profits. But, in so doing we reveal an
assumption about the ultimate purpose of the firm. Profit maximization, or the creation of
economic value, becomes the dominant paradigm, or ideology for the purpose of business, and
regarded as the single objective function of the firm (Davis and Stephenson, 2006; Jensen, 2000).
Why does this matter? Because the central question of the discipline, buttressed as we now know
by these fundamental assumptions about what constitutes good performance and therefore, what
purpose we expect firms to serve, drive both the dominant research agendas and the dominant
approaches to teaching that we find in the discipline.
And there is a conundrum here. When performance becomes our dependent variable in our
research, we can define it fairly broadly. And researchers have done so, most notably by adding
social and environmental responsibilities to our understanding of firm performance. But when it
comes to studying performance, we must contend with the availability or not of data, and the most
readily available data is financial. So our research agenda is subject to a subtle instrumentalizing in
favor of profits. When our research informs us about leadership, or strategy, or competition, or
human behavior, it is often with this gentle but insistent bias. As we decide what to publish in
future textbooks, and introduce into our classrooms, we reinforce this profit-maximizing purpose.
So, pedagogical approaches do flow from the assumptions at the core of the discipline. While it is
impossible to know what takes place in all classrooms across the country, a review of strategic
management textbooks suggest a fairly well accepted pedagogical approach that is mostly
informed by the primacy of economic performance (Barney and Hesterly, 2008; Dess, Lumpkin,
and Taylor, 2004; Hill and Jones, 2008). The artifacts of the pedagogy in many instances may
change – case studies for example – but the preoccupation with economic performance and profit
maximizing purpose persists.
Realistically, the present state of pedagogy in this discipline is not as one dimensional as the above
paragraph might suggest. In the wake of corporate scandals, and the expansive march of
globalization, numerous management thinkers also confront and grapple with the narrow confines
of economic performance, and none of this is to suggest that economic performance can merely be
done away with. Corporate social responsibility (Freeman, 1984) as a “movement” has gained
considerable ground and the moral responsibilities of business and managers is certainly receiving
scrutiny (Ghoshal, Bartlett, and Moran, 1999). To be sure, I am not implying that discussions of
purpose and broader understandings of corporate responsibility are missing from the classroom,
but I am saying that a particular ideology continues to dominate and subtly influence and shape
both our research and the pedagogical conventions that have crept into our teaching, and this is
apparent in our textbooks.
Strategic management and Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic social teaching confronts this thin, narrow, conception with a significantly broader, yet
more penetrating question about the meaning of performance itself. It demands an exploration of
what constitutes performance which, in turn, suggests an exploration of firm purpose (Calvez and
Naughton, 2002). Confronted with this demand, strategic management can turn from a strictly
economic question about performance to a fuller concept of the economic, social, and moral
responsibilities of business and a linkage of performance with purpose.
This reframing of the discipline and of the fundamental purpose of business allows a different
pedagogical approach, one that now creates room, or space, in the course for the introduction of a
richer perspective. Current pedagogy is poor, unimaginative, formulaic, skill-oriented, and
technical because it flows from narrow questions and assumptions. Catholic social teaching,
coupled with our own experiences, teaches us that business is not like that (Clark, 2002). Business
education is about teaching students to think, and how to think. When a pedagogical approach
poses challenges to the fundamental questions and assumptions of the discipline, this space to
think can be created. In many respects, a pedagogical approach that is Catholic starts with the
challenges that Catholicism might pose to those assumptions. The approach developed, refined,
and used by the author in over 10 years of teaching strategy serves as example and experiential
This pedagogical approach utilizes the case method, but centers discussion around questions of
“the good company.” This question permits examination of not only shareholder and stakeholder
value models of performance but also a common good model (Alford and Naughton, 2001). The
common good model permits the introduction of Aristotelian ideas about virtue, society, and the
common good. In turn, this permits a broad discussion of the normative foundations of business
and a full presentation of multiple perspectives that exist in this regard. These raise provocative
questions then about the nature and purpose of executive leadership for which Shakespeare and
Cervantes both provide case studies.
The good company pedagogy
I begin my course by assigning a case study. This is not always a neatly packaged case study, but
might be a collection of articles or news reports, or a self-aggrandizing book published by a
company CEO. But, it’s always about one particular company, and it’s always sufficient material
that students have to invest some time and energy into preparing for class. In the initial class
discussion, I usually begin by asking students to just talk about what has impressed them about the
company – emphasizing that impressions can be either positive or negative. These questions elicit
numerous responses all of which are affirmed and this beginning approach engages students and
raises the level of participation. After a few minutes then, I will pose a question. “So, is X a good
No two classes are ever the same, but I have done this enough times to describe for you the general
progression of the class from here. Usually, since I have chosen a company that is doing well (Dell
in its heyday for example) or a company that is doing some things in an admirable way – the initial
response is an immediate chorus of yes’s! In response to this I usually say nothing. What follows is
then a weaker chorus of no’s!
At this I shrug, feign confusion, and push for a resolution. This elicits specific individual
comments about singular aspects of the company; perhaps they take good care of customers,
perhaps they provide for employees, perhaps, they are very profitable, perhaps they are quite
innovative. To each I respond by trying to extend the comment to all companies. “So, if company
X is a good company because they are profitable, then all profitable companies must be good?’
No one has ever said yes! But, almost always, someone will suggest it might depend on what we
mean by good. Usually, this is faint enough and offered early enough as part of a general chorus
of responses that I can ignore it to focus on another response.
But frustration mounts. The students are becoming frustrated because they can’t seem to get a right
answer here, and I feign frustration by suggesting that they have taken a simple question and made
it very complicated. So, the discussion devolves until most students take refuge in relativism – that
the answer to the question depends on one’s individual perspective – and there is no point in
discussing this any further. In fact, I might hear mutterings that this is just a dumb question, and
could we please move on. But, I’ll also hear more mutterings that it does indeed depend on what
we mean by good! So, now I have a sufficient enough mess to really accomplish something. The
remaining description is a summary of much of the rest of the course. But all succeeding case
discussions begin with the same “good company” question.
And, I offer three reasons why this is not a dumb question. First, because no one wants to work for,
invest in, or start a “bad” company. Second, because this is a serious debate. In the wake of the
Enron and WorldCom scandals, there have been suggestions that business leaders really need to do
more to make the intellectual case for the good that they do. My reason for bringing this up here is
not to provide a blanket agreement for the good, but to underscore the need to offer the intellectual
case. My sense is that current executives and business students are not up to the task – because
their education has failed them because it has not forced them to engage the deeper questions.
Third, it’s now a global question – indeed if it ever was not. I offer my students the observation
that in my experience working with executives from other parts of the world – Japan, mostly, and
my experience over the past 8 years in teaching business students in Taiwan, China, Brazil, and in
leading study trips to those places as well as Korea, Prague, Chile, and Argentina, and South
Africa, that their counterparts in other countries are far more able to wrestle with these issues than
they are. Partly this is due to a de-emphasis on shareholder value as the dominant model in those
cultures and history, but partly again, because their education has failed them.
The next step is to ask whether it can be answered in any objective way (Recall, that the students
had reached the point in the earlier discussion that the answer to the good company question was
relative – personal. So, we need to get after that). Here it is a question of presenting any number
of various objective standards that have been put forth or argued for, and the pros and cons of each
of those standards. I find a Harvard Business School case, The Normative Foundations of
Business, to be very good for this (Dees and Elias, 1997). This case permits then exposition and
exploration of a profit-maximization model, a customer first model, an employee first model, a
public good model, and even a “who cares” model? The fundamental question in the case is what
will serve as an objective function. So it’s possible to consider each of these proposals discretely –
one at a time, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. But most importantly for my purposes then
it permits introduction of a common good model – and here I can draw from Aristotle and
This approach then naturally raises questions about leadership. For if the purpose of the firm is not
so certain, if the student has really bought into the concept of the “good” company, what then are
the implications for the leaders, managers, and executives of these firms? What of the recognition
that on the one hand, the leader has a richer and more complex, more nuanced task at hand, with
no easily quantifiable objective function, and on the other, has to make the intellectual case for
what business is all about to the larger society. To my mind, this requires imagination, and so in
the course we can go different places than the long litany of leadership theories, and even past just
a simplistic notion of faith-filled leaders. I usually begin with Shakespeare’s Henry V, although
this seems to become less accessible to each new crop of students, undergraduate or otherwise, and
then to a consideration of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Both of these permit discussions of leadership
infused with imagination, creativity, passion, discipline, commitment, and joy.
I do not have outcomes assessment data from students, but I can report two things. The first is my
sense of their reactions to all this. The second is the little they do tell me. With regards the first,
they respond quite favorably in class, or shortly thereafter, but mostly in class. There are, of
course, the one or two who will reach out and look to build a closer, more engaged relationship, or
who will seek me out outside of class, and want to talk further, or ask for more to read. But by and
large, the class discussion is almost always powerful. I would characterize students as hungry to
talk about these things these questions; hungry to talk about the good company, the role and
nature, and purpose of business in society, hungry to talk about leadership in a different way. The
fact that these conversations can take place in a business school, in an executive MBA program is
very telling. It is also liberating for students because they know these things to be true. They
know there is no textbook model, they know there is no objective function, and they know they
need to think. And so in some ways, this pedagogical approach suggests that it’s necessary that
their education include these ideas and questions.
With regards to the second, it’s not at all unusual for these students, many, many months after that
first class, and in some cases many, many years after they’ve graduated from the program, when I
encounter these students, they also look sideways at me, and ask “So, is X a good company? And
X is the particular company we might have used as the focal example during their class. So, it’s
clear that that original question the first question they encounter in their strategic management
course or segment, and in the case of Executive MBA’s the first question they encounter in their
MBA program is the question that stays with them. So, we laugh and go on, but they always
manage to tell me that in fact, thinking about that question is never far away from what they do,
and how they manage, and what they talk about with peers and colleagues.
This pedagogical approach is not without constraints. At the undergraduate level, at a Presbyterian
college, the constraints are less than at a state university, but in neither case can I provide a full
blown course on Catholic social teaching. The institutional and denominational biases run strong,
and there is little to no of the Catholic intellectual tradition evidenced in the religion or philosophy
department, but I suspect, this issue exists in Catholic institutions. At the graduate level, those
constraints are more severe, in that anything explicitly Catholic, or even faith based is suspect, and
will engender some complaints from students. But, even with those constraints it is still possible to
introduce ideas and notions of the purpose of business and the common good, but necessary to
leave out the theological implications.
At a Catholic university, the model might more explicitly introduce Catholic social teaching and
assign readings and texts appropriately Catholic – not as another ideology, but as a representation
that the Catholic understanding of reality is different. Our understanding of God, creation,
salvation, man, human worth and dignity, the social nature pf property, the meaning of work and
the universal call to holiness all belong in business education. Also, at a Catholic university, we
might hope for a richer context. This approach to the teaching of strategy might not need be a
stand alone effort; not merely one course where some provocative ideas are raised, but one course
among many where students confront the catholic understanding of reality and the nature of
creation. Perhaps Catholic social teaching can similarly confront and reframe other business
disciplines such as finance, marketing, and human resources, and so permit adoption of similar
pedagogical approaches.
Declan C. Murphy and Emily E. Pyle
In the 1980s, MBA education at America’s leading business schools was purely technocratic.
Students received a fine training in technical subjects such as accounting, portfolio theory,
micro- and macroeconomics, and decision sciences. However, with the intermittent exception of
a short course on communication skills, usually taught by an adjunct faculty member, there was
scant attention paid to subjects such leadership, building productive interpersonal relationships,
managing teams, or emotion in the workplace. Those subjects were often dismissed as “the soft
stuff” by the standing faculty, many of them ex-engineers with a preference for large-sample,
quantitative research studies often inspired by theoretical models from economics.
But as E.T. Bell once observed, “time makes fools of us all.” It turned out that “the soft stuff”
was really “the hard stuff.” As the data on MBA careers began to pour in, it became clear that
very few “high potential” executive careers derailed from lack of technical competence. Inspired
by a more humanistic and holistic vision of management education, Richard Boyatzis and his
associates at WSOM have shown business schools a way out of this curricular imbalance. They
revised their curriculum and introduced, among other topics, self-directed learning of “emotional
To illustrate what we mean by “emotional competencies,” consider the following scenario, which
is one that MBAs may well encounter at least once in their corporate careers. In this case, a
BBC executive had to inform his team that the division was closing, and they would lose their
jobs. Nothing compares for sheer misery with losing a job that's your livelihood, as any of us
knows, especially those reaching ages when age iscrimination makes it hard to get re-hired.
As our executive sits at his desk alone considering what to say and how to say it, we may ask
What business school course has prepared him for this task?
What emotional competencies will he draw on so that when he steps into the room he
connects with his workers and addresses their need for truth?
What Catholic virtues might he apply in order to see the situation in the right way and
use the emotion in the room to a good end?
We address these three questions in our paper, but first, by way of introduction, let’s review the
details of this scenario, provided in our source for it, Primal Leadership, a management book
written by three scholar-practitioners who have done much to advance the introduction of
emotional competencies into business school curricula. The Primal Leadership authors, after
presenting the scenario, give readers two contrasting approaches. The first executive:
“... started off with a glowing account of how well rival operations were doing, and that
he had just returned from a wonderful trip to Cannes. ... People became enraged – not just
at the management decision, but also at the bearer of the news himself. ...
The next day, another executive ... took a very different approach. He spoke from
his heart ... about the calling that had drawn them to the field ... invoked the passion, even
the dedication [they] had for the service they offered ... he wished them well in getting on
with their careers. When this leader finished speaking, the staff cheered.”
The second executive’s ability to inspire his team in the same situation well illustrates the
concept of emotional competence presented in Primal Leadership. Its authors are primarily
concerned with effective performance, which the second executive above exemplified. He
successfully brought about the desired outcome by helping the division to come to terms with the
BBC decision and thus get on with the next phase of their careers. How did he do it? On what
emotional competencies did he draw? One was clearly empathy. He empathized with the team’s
situation, honoring the bonds uniting them and their commitment to journalism, their vocation.
Other competencies were persuasiveness and developing others. He persuaded the team by
helping them to perceive the situation in a new light: we can imagine the dark moods fogging the
minds of team members lifting as he spoke.
As psychologists have demonstrated, emotions bias our decision-making and affect our readiness
to engage in action. We make better decisions when we are in good moods. This helps explain
the assertions made in Primal Leadership that optimistic and emotionally aware executives tend
to be more effective than their impulsive, moody colleagues: emotionally “resonant” leaders are
able to motivate teams to superior performance.
But to conclude the scenario, we note that the authors say nothing about the ethical context of the
executive’s speech. Did he perhaps persuade them to acquiesce in an unfair or unethical
decision? Perhaps there was an alternative option that BBC management could have considered
if they were forcefully challenged? Taken to the extreme, the emotional competence conceptual
model presented in Primal Leadership implies that one can be emotionally intelligent – and
morally disengaged.
Interest in emotional competencies presents a major challenge and opportunity for Catholic
business schools (CBSs). The idea that MBAs, to be successful, need to cultivate such
competencies as “self-management,” “empathy” and “character” represents a tremendous
advance in management education, and a step toward a Catholic view of education focused
forming the whole human person. CBSs stand to benefit from psychologists’ findings about
emotions and behavior, and we can suggest improvements from our own tradition that can lead
to a more morally robust understanding of emotion.
The conceptual model behind emotional competencies proposed by psychologists threatens to set
back management thinking if it promotes a decision-making model that gives primacy to
“emotional intelligence” at the expense of rigorous moral reasoning. There is an emerging
awareness that management specialists, having discovered “emotional intelligence,” have
forgotten practical ethics, and that in formulating the emotional competency concept,
psychologists neglected to draw on the insights of their colleagues in moral philosophy.
In our view, CBSs have an opportunity to strengthen the concept and application of emotional
competence by synthesizing two streams of thinking bearing on the role of emotion in decision-
making. The psychologists’ insights, while preliminary and subject to controversy, are
important, given the close and complex relation of emotions to behavior. But since emotions are
morally neutral, there is a clear opportunity to enrich the debate through recourse to Catholic
thought regarding the action of the virtues in restraining or directing impulsive behavior
consistent with desirable moral ends.
In what follows we will first review the promise of the emotional competence model. We then
step back and reflect on a critical deficiency that afflicts it: moral agnosticism. For this analysis,
we will draw heavily on a powerful Aristotelian critique of emotional competence theory
developed by Professor Kristjan Kristjansson. We believe his work in this regard deserves to be
much better known than it is at present. We finally consider emotional competencies in the
context of Catholic virtue theory. We explore how the virtues might aid individuals in using
their emotional competencies in the right way and for the right ends (and thereby avoid their
I. Emotional Competencies in Theory and in the Classroom
Recent studies by psychologists have shed useful light on emotions, what they are, what they are
for, and how they color ethical decision-making. To illustrate, Mayer and Salovey argued in
their 1990 articles that emotions are reasoned responses to situations resulting from appraisals of
information. This research focused attention on the human ability to perceive emotional
information and discern within it a meaningful pattern of signals.
While the emotional competence concept remains a work in progress, some specialists have
already devised self-assessment instruments to measure how people manage their emotions in
unexpected encounters. One such group is the authors of Primal Leadership, and their
instrument is the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI).
The ECI is the product of many years of collaboration by a group of Ph.D. psychologists who
took the findings on emotions and neuroscience out of the narrow confines of their discipline and
put them to the test in solving real world problems in higher education and business. The ECI
breaks down the concept of emotional competence into a series of abilities that enable the
productive use of emotion to motivate action. The current version of ECI divides into four
domains and competencies. The first two domains, self awareness and self-management,
correspond to “personal competence,” how we manage ourselves. In Primal Leadership, we
read that self-management refers to abilities that “free us from being prisoner of our feelings.”
The third and fourth domains, “social awareness” and “relationship management,” comprise our
“social competence,” the ability to manage relationships.
The ECI proposes a partial solution to a larger problem confronting CBSs: the need to broaden
the scope of MBA programs to encompass formation of the whole person. The ECI appears to
offer a means of engaging students in asking such questions as: what kind of person am I and
what type of person do I want to be? How do I need to change to be a better leader? How can I
improve at handling my emotions and responding to others’? The authors of ECI have created a
curriculum designed to the individual: the ECI materials begin with assessments of each
student’s emotional and cognitive competencies, and engage the students in creating individual
learning plans, based on their particular values, motives, and weaknesses. There is evidence and
a business case that emotional competencies are associated with superior managerial
Critique of the Emotional Competency Model
We begin by first noting some similarities Kristjansson sees in the conception of emotion and
reason in the ECI model and Aristotelian theory. For example, there is no dichotomy between
reason and emotion. Quite the contrary. Achieving harmony between reason and emotion is
central to a successfully lived life.
But there are reasons to doubt that emotional competence as it is presently constituted has the
same “moral ballast” as Aristotelian virtue theory. Kristjansson contrasts emotional competence
theory and Aristotle’s virtue theory on 8 different dimensions. In each case, emotional
competence theory comes up short causing Kristjansson to conclude that it represents only “a
lean and impoverished” version of Aristotelian emotional virtue. His emotional competence
critique is probing and reminds one of Alasdair MacIntyre’s notion of the increasingly “spectral”
nature of the Aristotelian and Thomistic notion of the virtues in Modernity.
To illustrate, Kristjansson observes that there is in Aristotle’s view a characteristic mode of
thought that accompanies every type of human activity. Phronesis (practical moral wisdom)
guides the moral virtues. Phronesis tells us what specific actions to take to achieve moral virtue.
There can be no real phronesis absent a goal of moral virtue. There is another type of thinking
contained within phronesis but not equivalent to it: cleverness. Cleverness is a more utilitarian
form of thinking that is focused on efficiency and effectiveness. Aristotle claims that if the end
toward which cleverness is directed is good, then cleverness is “praiseworthy.” If the end is
ignoble, cleverness will degenerate into mere “unscrupulousness.” Given that emotional
competence appears to be morally agnostic, cleverness rather than phronesis would appear to be
its characteristic mode of thought.
The crux of Kristjansson’s critique of emotional competence is its lack of moral depth. There is
nothing intrinsic to emotional competence that would prevent someone of Machiavellian
persuasion from using emotional competencies to sell defective used cars more effectively to an
unsuspecting public. Absent a firm moral substrate to stand upon, the techniques of emotional
competence can only be judged by the utilitarian criteria of efficiency and effectiveness. We
regard Kristjansson’s critique as a fundamental challenge to the emotional competence model.
II. How Catholic Virtues Strengthen the Emotional Competency Model
We now turn to Catholic virtue theory, and propose a framework that suggests a way of
addressing the above moral critique. Our framework aligns specific virtues with learning
exercises for students that draw on Catholic thought. As a vehicle for discussing the relationship
between Catholic virtues and emotional competencies in managerial situations, we have created
a simple scheme, an excerpt of which is presented here. We will present a fuller version of the
model at our conference roundtable.
Table 2: Particular Virtues Aligned with Select Emotional Competencies
Competence Defined
Potential Misuses
Relevant Virtues
Excessive curiosity about Temperance, Mercy
Empathy: Sensing
others’ emotional lives,
others’ feelings and
perspective, and taking manipulation of others’
emotions to deceive.
an active interest in
their concerns.
Practical Exercises
experiences of
living in mutual
dependence, e.g.,
service learning
based on the
Corporal Works of
Note that we have taken sample emotional competencies and aligned them with specific virtues,
and noted how virtues can help managers avoid moral lapses (“misuse” of the competency). We
have also suggested exercises that could be assigned to students to practice specific virtues in
real life situations.
In the ECI model, empathy is defined as sensing others’ feelings and perspective, and taking an active interest in
their concerns. People with this competence are attentive to emotional cues and listen well, show sensitivity and
understand others’ perspectives, and help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings.
Now consider the above example of how temperance and mercy can aid in preventing misuse of
empathy for self-serving ends. Temperance restrains undue impulses for our own pleasure; it is
the informing of body by the soul. Catholic teaching is eloquent on how temperance or
intemperance of behavior can strengthen or weaken our inner being. Mercy influences the will
to have compassion and to do something concrete for others.
How might we develop a series of practical exercises for students based on the virtues of
temperance and mercy? Here we address the third question we raised in relation to our opening
scenario. We would suggest a service learning curriculum founded on the Corporal Works of
Mercy. It might include such exercises as stints caring for the dying in hospices and visiting and
counseling prisoners.
Emotions are complex; it seems unlikely that any discipline alone can devise a theory sufficient
to explain the relation of emotion and behavior or why individuals differ in emotional
competence. Psychologists, philosophers, management specialists, scientists, theologians, and
others need to talk to each other. We have outlined some of the concepts and theories, and
pointed out where we see potential for strengthening the emotional competencies by aligning
them with virtues and asserting that for an emotional competence to be a leadership competence,
one needs moral virtues to direct behavior to the right end.
Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J., Jeanne M. David and Simon J. Hendry, S.J.
We wanted to develop a way to teach Catholic Social Thought (CST) so that students found it
interesting and practical. We started with the basic assumption that CST finds expression in the
activities of major global firms even if the roots in CST are not acknowledged. We find that
identifying those activities, articulating the corresponding social principles, and examining their
relationships provides an excellent education in Catholic Social Thought.
We examined environmental and workplace practices in six global business firms. We chose
pairs of firms in three different areas: discount retail, oil, and defense contracting. We assessed
1) the firm’s reports, 2) the firm's activities, and 3) the correspondence between their practices
and CST. We identify CST principles that are relevant for business managers and business
education today. We also show gaps in CST. We hope that this paper will foster a conversation
about practice-based approaches to teaching CST
Wal-Mart and Costco
Wal-Mart’s business plan is to seek ways to cut costs. Because of this, it is criticized for its poor
worker compensation: wages, health and pension benefits. Providing medical insurance for
employees is a major cost for an employer; so Wal-Mart provides health insurance to only 61%
of its full-time and 11% of its part-time employees. Hence the firm has 1.33 million U.S.
employees and 46% of their children who are uninsured or on Medicaid. CEO H. Leo Scott
received annual compensation of $23 million vs. the average Wal-Mart pay of $20,000 per year.
Wal-Mart’s recent environmental initiatives have gained favorable publicity; the company has
pledged to reduce waste, sell energy efficient products, and use less energy in their stores. WalMart now sells compact fluorescent light bulbs and partners with the Clinton Climate Initiative
and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to provide energy efficient building products at discounts to
1,100 cities.
Costco competes with Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club in wholesale big box sales. Costco and CEO
James D. Sinegal are favorably featured in media stories. Sinegal’s strategy is to lower prices by
stripping away everything judged to be unnecessary. Sinegal answers his own phone, does not
have an executive washroom, and his office has 20-year-old furniture and no walls.
Costco offers better salaries and benefits than Wal-Mart. Costco promotes almost 100% from
within the firm, has no public relations department, and does no advertising. Costco now has a
50 percent share of the wholesale big box market. Customers, employees, and real investors are
loyal to Costco. Wall Street analysts criticize Costco for paying their employees too much; so
they talk down its share price. CEO Sinegal says that Wall Street is looking for quick returns,
and he says “Paying your employees well is not only the right thing to do but it makes for good
Wal-Mart, Costco and all big box stores have an immense carbon footprint. Their business
model, which purchases products, not locally, but from China and India, demands fuel and
resources to make, box, and ship those products across the ocean. This includes thousands of
trucks crossing the country carrying these goods. The stores require that customers travel in
autos. This generates huge amounts of green house gases. Government subsidies provided to
petroleum and new stores support this business model.
Catholic Social Principles As Demonstrated at Wal-Mart and Costco
We compare Wal-Mart’s and Costco’s salaries, benefits and workplace environment to the
Catholic social principal of the dignity of every human person and human rights. While retailing
does not provide generous salaries and benefits, there is a clear difference between Wall-Mart
and Costco. The compensation policies of Wal-Mart show less recognition of the human dignity
of their workers; workers are considered its principal cost of business. Costco provides better
wages and health benefits. Wal-Mart’s salaries are so meager that they make raising a family
difficult. Thus Wal-Mart’s compensation undermines the Catholic social principle of support for
family life. Wal-Mart opposes labor unions for their workers, and this shows a neglect of the
CST emphasis on the dignity of work, rights of workers, participation, and support for labor
On the other hand, we note that Wal-Mart’s new environmental policies and actions save
materials, energy and carbon dioxide. This supports the CST principle of stewardship and
sustainability. Wal-Mart now plans better employee health insurance. However, we question
whether CEO H. Lee Scott and Wal-Mart would have changed policies if they had not received
negative publicity.
James Sinegal and Costco encourage collegiality (dignity of work, participation), as
demonstrated in Sinegal’s own salary and office. Moreover, Costco provides better wages and
medical benefits to its full-time and part-time workers. Costco’s attitude toward its workers
demonstrates the CST principles of solidarity, common good and participation.
Wal-Mart and Costco have both expanded outside the U.S. Wal-Mart has 500,000 employees in
scores of countries. They provide low cost goods, which benefit the poor [CST option for the
poor and vulnerable]. However, Wal-Mart, now the leading retailer in Mexico, is criticized
there as in the U.S. for ruining independent businesses, communities, jobs and the environment.
This is contrary to several of the CST principles.
Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil
After the fight over the decommissioning of the Brent Spar storage facility in the 1990's and in
the light of the violence and human rights violations in the Ogoni territory in Nigeria, Shell
shifted its focus dramatically. Whether from commitment to certain values or from concern for
public image, Shell decided to make a serious attempt to be a socially and environmentally
responsible company and to report itself accurately.
Shell discontinued its membership in the Competitive Enterprise Institute a number of years ago,
its CEO has made public statements about concern for the environment and the effect of
greenhouse gases, and its 2006 GRI Sustainability report declared that the debate about global
warning is over. The company has made significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and
in the number and volume of oil spills. Shell has also invested in research and production of
alternative energy sources and is committed to building a substantial business in at least one of
these. They seem to be in the process of shifting their self-understanding from being an oil
company to being an energy company.
In regard to human rights and respecting the integrity of the communities from which it extracts
and through whom it transports oil, Shell has closed temporarily its exploration and drilling in
the Ogoni territory of Nigeria. The motivation appears to be protection from violence. Whatever
the case, the company is not at the present time employing or supporting the Nigerian military
against the local population. Shell articulates a policy of negotiating with local communities to
agree upon the best way to explore for, extract, and transport oil through the territories affected
by their operations. However, they often realize the problem and do the negotiating after the
project has already begun. Their planning does not always take the local needs into account.
Shell has also realized the limitations of private for-profit enterprise and the activities of
companies devoted to exploration, extraction, transport, refining, and merchandising of oil to
solve the problem of global warming. The company has called upon governments to lead the
process and set the frameworks to encourage the investments needed in new energy projects, in
cleaner technologies, and in conservation.
ExxonMobil sees itself primarily as an oil company. While its CEO has made statements
recently about greenhouse gases and global climate change, its 2006 GRI Sustainability Report
finds climate to be a complex area of study with many uncertainties. However, because rising
greenhouse gas emissions could prove to be a significant risk to society and the environment, it
affirms the prudence of trying to develop and implement strategies to address this risk. Seeing
that demand for fossil fuels will only increase in the near future, ExxonMobil focuses its
attention on its own efficiency in extracting and producing. While they say they value
alternative and renewable fuels, they focus on oil. They are an oil company.
Exxon tends to respond to large scale complaints about environmental and human rights
concerns by "rolling out" a policy. Their Corporate Citizenship Report refers to overall general
policies rather than specific situations and events or specific things that Exxon does. In terms of
responsibility for situations that have caused environmental problems, the company has still not
paid the punitive damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In fact, after the amount of the
damages has been reduced, and after failing at a number of appeals, they still have an appeal
pending before the Supreme Court to reduce the penalties. In terms of human rights, the
company has come under fire for environmental and human rights violation in connection with
its pipeline through Chad and Cameroon and with its extraction and production facilities in the
Aceh region of Indonesia. The Corporate Citizenship Report did not really address these, and in
fact referred to the collaboration with the Indonesian government and military in Aceh as a
positive example of responding to human rights issues. The company does perform charitable
actions, such as providing medicated mosquito netting to the villages where their workers live.
Like Shell, ExxonMobil has also realized the limitations of private for-profit enterprise and the
activities of companies like itself to solve the problem of global warming and also ask for
governments leadership. And lately, it too has withdrawn from the Competitive Enterprise
Institute, but much later than Shell.
Catholic Social Principles As Demonstrated at Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil
Ecological responsibility is a common good--one that affects everyone and includes non-human
species—and touches on the CST principle of stewardship and sustainability. Shell seems to be
making a serious effort at paying attention to this. ExxonMobil much less so.
Shell responds with dialogue and adaptation when people raise issues, indicating at least a
belated sense of interdependence and solidarity. Exxon still has not paid the damages for the
Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Both oil companies ask for government to establish guidelines and incentives. This involves a
recognition from a lower level that they need something from higher level, an example of the
CTS principle of subsidiarity. Although this could also be an evasion of responsibility, it is an
admission that an orientation toward profit is not enough to solve the problem; something else
needs to affect the profit.
In terms of the populations affected by oil exploration and extraction, Shell seems to be more
sensitive to the needs of local population. However, they only seem to take action about it when
complaints are raised. It does not seem to affect project planning. They could be more proactive rather than reactive. Exxon reports that it has policies that pay attention to the needs of
the local population, but does not mention specific. Exxon does initiate charitable activities,
such as mosquito nets in Africa. These situations indicate different approaches to the CST
themes of option for the poor and dignity of persons
Shell reports on specific instances and situations, admits where they did wrong, discusses how
they changed, and describes what actions they took. Shell also invited an independent, outside
review board to critique its GRI report and to suggest areas for improvement. Exxon's report
does not mention specifics. When the report mentions a problem area, the report then articulates
Exxon's policy, without mentioning whether it is followed, how it is applied, or what results it
achieves. Exxon's report makes no mention of any kind of external review, verification, or
critique. Shell does a better job with honesty and transparency, which, while not a specific CST
theme, is a value for us.
Catholic Social Principles As Demonstrated at Northrop-Grumman and General Dynamics
Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, both firms in the defense industry, also have
policies and practices that engage issues connected with CST. Northrop Grumman's standards of
business conduct indicate that their employees need to maintain compliance with rules and
regulations, but they also specifically indicate their support for the integrity of workers and
treating others with respect. General Dynamics states that they strive to provide a workplace that
is free of discrimination and harassment. Both of these indicate support for the CST principle of
the dignity of every person and human rights.
While General Dynamics articulates a culture that supports its shareholders, its employees, its
customers, and communities, it has had times of high employee dissatisfaction. High employee
turnovers and absenteeism coincided with troubles in their product designs of the M-1 tanks.
With significant losses in 1990, General Dynamics embarked on a restructuring phase, selling off
many of its businesses, focusing on its core businesses of nuclear submarines and armored
vehicles, and eliminating thousands of jobs. These job cuts came at a time when the company
needed to recover and turn around from losses, yet at the same time their 25 top managers
received $18 million in incentive bonuses. On the other hand, Northrop Grumman has earned
recognition as a great employer for new graduates, providing them with flexibility, leadership,
and networking opportunities. Northrop Grumman appears to work with their unions, keeping a
balanced focus on the needs of their employees, customers and shareholders. These approaches
indicate different approaches to the CST values of the dignity of work, rights of workers, and
support for labor unions
Northrop Grumman has a statement on environmental stewardship; but more so, their space
technologies division has been recognized for their work in reducing the use of toxic chemicals
in conjunction with the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities. General Dynamics
has environmental policies for their business units. Their C4 Systems has received environmental
and safety awards and sponsors environmental endeavors. Both of these illustrate the CST
principles of economic development, justice, and sustainability.
Both General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are in the defense industry, and, as such, both
design and produce equipment used in warfare. In addition to those items that are used in
offensive operations, both firms also are involved in research and production of goods used in
defense. General Dynamics is involved in a project to develop counter-IEDs. They have
developed tools such as detection devices for both chemical and biohazard materials. Northrop
Grumman also provides defense and security systems for commercial customers as well. Their
intelligence systems coupled with unmanned aircraft could alternatively be viewed as both
offensive and defensive systems. These activities engage the CST concern for peace and
Northrop Grumman has demonstrated their commitment to diversity by hiring significant
numbers of minorities in the past few years. The diversity section on their web pages shows their
support for women and minority conferences and their outreach to minorities in high school.
General Dynamics also supports diversity and maintains a corporate diversity policy, desiring to
provide a workplace where their employees can do their work and pursue their careers in an
environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. General Dynamics has also donated
powerful and rugged notebook computers for an expedition to fight malaria in four countries
along the Zambezi River in Africa. These activities indicate the CST principle of the option for
the poor and vulnerable.
Northrop Grumman's charity guidelines specifically support education, families, diversity, health
& human services and youth programs, indicating the CST affirmation of family life.
James Ball, Zaida Martínez, and Brian Toyne
In a recent presentation at St. Mary’s University Father J. Bryan Hehir (January 2007)
emphasized that Catholic universities have a threefold educational responsibility: we must
prepare our graduates for a job, a profession, and a vocation. These three educational
responsibilities need to be addressed at different stages of business students’ development
throughout their four-year program, and involve faculty from different liberal arts and business
disciplines. Recent trends in business education support the need to emphasize these
responsibilities. The AACSB-International (2006: 6), for example, is cognizant of the
responsibility that business schools have to provide an education that goes beyond technical
knowledge and skills. Catholic business schools are uniquely positioned to address these
responsibilities by developing business programs that are true to their Catholic mission.
Although eliminating academic “silos” is not a realistic option, the use of a common theme can
engage faculty from different disciplines in a constructive dialogue that can lead to a more
integrated curriculum focused on these responsibilities. We suggest globalization is such a
theme. Its economic, political, social, cultural, and religious implications require a deeper moral
understanding than either business or liberal arts alone can achieve. Globalization is, therefore,
the natural point of contact between business, liberal arts, and Catholic Social Teaching (CST).
The purpose of this paper is to propose globalization as a thematic approach for developing a
mission-driven Catholic business education. First, we present a review of how globalization
impacts business education and the ethical limitations of the theories and practices that are
commonly taught at business schools. Second, we offer an account of CST and how it bears on
business education, globalization and ethical behavior. Third, we provide two models for using
globalization as an integrative theme throughout a four-year undergraduate business program.
Globalization and Business Education
At most universities the impact that globalization is having on business activities is generally
taught by International Business (IB) scholars. As a field of study IB first emerged in the 1950s
when a group of “business scholars concluded that U.S. business education was simply too
parochial [and] did not address the needs of an emerging cadre of international managers”
(Toyne and Nigh, 1999: 3). Thus, the initial focus was on teaching business students the art of
discerning when and how business functions were to be adjusted or adapted to differences in the
business environment as a result crossing national borders.
More recently, however, and in response to the growing recognition that globalization is
impacting the conduct of business, the focus has shifted to how multinational and global
corporations “manage” sociocultural diversity, technological diversity, and political diversity.
Thus, the view of globalization in most business textbooks is quite narrow. For example Hill
(2006: 7) defines globalization as a “shift toward a more integrated and interdependent world
economy” and as having “several facets, including the globalization of markets and the
globalization of production.” Naturally, the focus of his book is on these two facets, and pays
attention to the issue of cultural, socio-economic, and political difference, but strictly from the
perspective of business. The question, of course is: How can a comprehensive understanding be
gained when globalization is viewed strictly as an economic opportunity by those who manage
business activities and teach business?
Concurrent with the changing perspective of what international business education should entail,
there has been a growing awareness of the ethical failures of U.S. capitalism. Culminating with
Enron and WorldCom, it has become increasingly clear to both business scholars and business
people that an ethical failure has occurred (Bogle, 2005). Furthermore, the AACSBInternational’s recent initiatives (2006) recognize the role that business can play in alleviating
poverty and fostering peaceful societies. If the AACSB-International’s initiatives are to be
successful, and a deeper, more profound understanding of ethics is to be gained, greater
emphasis needs to be placed on the liberal arts core and an interdisciplinary approach to teaching
future business leaders. In the case of Catholic universities, CST needs to be emphasized, since it
has a rich understanding of the implications of globalization for developed and developing
countries. CST can also contribute to the business student’s understanding of ethics in a holistic
fashion. For example, Czerny (2002: 3), while avoiding the problems associated with providing a
comprehensive, inclusive definition of the globalization process, investigates six impacts of
globalization that all business students need to appreciate: globalization’s impact on human
dignity and the common good; culture and religions; poverty; local and regional economies;
labor; and the environment.
Catholic Social Teaching and Globalization
CST offers a comprehensive, normative vision of the human person and society known as the
common good. This is the standard against which political economy and market mechanisms are
measured. Catholicism espouses a social anthropology grounded in the natural law and an
understanding of God as relational. While irreducibly unique and vulnerable to egoism, the
human person is, by natural endowment and by the grace of God, inclined toward community.
What is good or objectively valuable for the person is tied up with what is good for others—
discovered in cooperative and just relationships—not set against, or apart from, the good of
others. Therefore we must speak of the common good, which “refers to circumstances in which
all members are flourishing in their particular situations, and all together effectively and
cooperatively contribute to the flourishing of the whole” (Firer Hinze, 1995). As Vatican II
indicates, this does not happen spontaneously. The objective “conditions of social life” must be
consciously fostered so that human flourishing can be realized.
Catholic social theory is neither individualist nor collectivist. Instead, the common good
concerns “the good of all, and of each individual” (John Paul II, 1987: no. 38). In contemporary
CST, it is the “universal common good” (John XXIII, 1963: no. 135) to which we are
summoned. Whether one calls this a “global ethic,” the Catholic emphasis on the common good
engenders an expansive social consciousness that coincides with globalization. Just as CST’s
social theory critiques individualism and collectivism, its teachings on political economy critique
laissez faire capitalism and marxism. Insofar as neoliberalism is the child of the economic
“liberalism” (Pius XI, 1931: no. 27) CST has long-critiqued, Catholicism has reservations about
whether it is serving human dignity and the common good. The overarching message from CST
is that markets, business, economic initiative and profits are good things, but like everything else,
they are misused if not put to truly human ends, and cannot simply be assumed to inure to the
benefit of people.
Explicit references to globalization in CST are sparse. Any evaluation of globalization would be
imbedded within CST’s account of the common good and the strengths and limitations of the
market economy. Centesimus Annus notes the following:
Today we are facing the so-called ‘globalization’ of the economy, a phenomenon which
is not to be dismissed, since it can create unusual opportunities for greater prosperity.
There is a growing feeling, however, that this increasing internationalization of the
economy ought to be accompanied by effective international agencies which will oversee
and direct the economy to the common good, something that an individual state, even if it
were the most powerful on earth, would not be in a position to do. (John Paul II, 1991:
no. 58)
It is clear that globalization of the economy should not be met by uncritical acceptance. For
instance, if globalization translates into free trade, unregulated markets, and the dollar’s
proverbial “race to the bottom,” it will not do. Thus, an important question is: “How do we
humanize globalization and make it serve our habitat and humanity?” (Coleman, 2005: 14). If
this is the question, then economic, cultural, and ecological considerations are of a piece
The Catholic ethic gives business education a normative context for the development of
professional skills and competency. The point is not that Catholicism is ethical and business is
unethical. The point is that the Catholic business school will answer, deliberately or by default,
this question: What kind of ethic will its business education offer students? We submit that a
CST-grounded education clustered around the theme of globalization will give them more than a
professional code of conduct, more than a utilitarian calculus, more than a list of Kantian moral
principles, and certainly more than ethics as a means to economic success. The nature of this
“more” comes through when John Paul II writes on the relationship between consumption and
the holistic picture of the human person:
It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to
be better when it is directed toward “having” rather than “being,” and which wants to
have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in
itself. (1991: no. 36)
Such an “ethic of being” cultivates within the student the settled disposition or virtue of putting
his or her professional skills to good use. In doing so, it goes beyond the necessary work of
avoiding the most obvious, egregious ethical lapses, and it acknowledges that many in the world
cannot be said “to have” at all. Further, the student is more likely to do what educators of all
stripes at least pay lip service to—“thinking outside the box”—and in our case, questioning some
of the assumptions of business thought and practice. Finding something worthy of our talent and
efforts is the Catholic and liberal idea.
Globalization as a Theme for Business Education
As we stated in the introduction, our responsibility at Catholic universities not only includes
educating for a job but also for a profession and for a vocation (Hehir, 2007). Central to
preparing business students for a profession is the development of a person’s moral center. As
Naughton and Bausch (1996:10) note, “[o]nly when disciplinary courses seek to integrate and
engage more fully moral principles informed by a professional ethic will management education
reflect its true professional character.” Furthermore, if we aspire to graduate business students
who see business as a vocation (i.e., as a calling to seek a higher purpose in what they do), we
need to help them connect their faith and their work. Globalization presents an environment
wherein business education can achieve these three educational responsibilities.
Business Education – A Fragmented Approach
The most common approach to business education is to focus on providing a curriculum where
students learn (and sometimes apply) technical knowledge and skills. However, they may not
have developed the habits of the mind that lead to questioning the underlying assumptions of
what they learn nor developed the habits of the heart to reflect on who they are becoming
personally and professionally. Moreover, the common approach fails to address business as a
vocation, thus limiting the possibility of our students seeing the connection that can exist
between a business profession and a higher purpose. We believe globalization can help us
address these educational deficiencies and facilitate meaningful connections between liberal arts
and business education. At Catholic universities, we have the opportunity to address
globalization throughout the curricula using our Catholic social tradition. As Tavis (1994:331332), notes, “Catholic social teaching requires a focus on the unevenness of the benefits
associated with enhanced productivity where some people gain disproportionally while others
slide further behind.” Although CST does not pivot on the contemporary term “globalization,” it
provides a holistic framework that can cultivate an “ethic of being” in a global context.
Business Education – An Integrated Approach
The fragmented approach to business education does not reflect the mission of Catholic
universities and does not lend itself to the development of future business leaders who see
themselves as pursuing a vocation. We propose two alternatives for integrating CST and its
business implications into the experience of business students via globalization: the infusion
model and the holistic model.
The Infusion Model. The main purpose of the infusion model is to ensure at least a minimum
level of exposure to CST and its application in business. Courses that lend themselves to global
issues would be targeted for infusion. Professors from liberal arts, particularly philosophy and
theology, would serve as speakers in the business courses, and business professors, especially in
the areas of international business, ethics, and strategy, would serve as speakers in liberal arts
courses. Possible courses where this type of collaboration could take place so that CST principles
are introduced within a global business and economics context include: Fundamentals of
Business, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Introduction to International Business, and
Business Policy/Strategic Management.
The Holistic Model. The holistic model assumes that administrators and faculty work
together to achieve the threefold educational responsibility of Catholic universities. Its goal is to
provide students with a deeper understanding of the fundamental themes or principles of CST we
sketched above. This understanding leads to a discussion of how CST can inform business
decisions within a global context. Emphasis is placed on cultivating in students a desire to see
business as a vocation. Although curriculum is the major component of the model, it presupposes
linkages with co-curricular activities, especially study abroad programs that give students
opportunities for applying business knowledge and skills in projects that engage students as
responsible global citizens. In addition to the modified courses suggested in the infusion model,
specific courses need to be developed and implemented through collaborative initiatives of
faculty from different disciplines. The following three courses, open to all majors to ensure
greater opportunity for interdisciplinary discussions, are examples of what could be done.
Globalization: Seeking Understanding through CST. This course examines the driving
forces of globalization and their consequences for contemporary economic, political, social, and
cultural situations from an interdisciplinary perspective. Its interdisciplinary nature provides a
forum for an honest, open dialogue that exposes students to different views, including those of
business, governments, and community leaders.
World Religions. This course offers an overview of the major religions throughout the world,
and their commonalities and differences. Religious pluralism has a significant impact on culture,
political economy, international relations, and international business. Moreover, a better
understanding of world religions is a first step for engaging students in a constructive interreligious dialogue on world peace.
International Business, CST, and Global Citizenship. This senior-level seminar course
focuses on the application of international business and CST to global social and economic
issues. Using CST as an ethical foundation, students are encouraged to develop creative solutions
to some of the global challenges we face. This course also provides a venue for engaging the
business community by inviting business persons to various classes to discuss how business
decisions are affected by social or cultural issues encountered in other countries.
Applying CST within a global context is perhaps the most important stage in developing future
business leaders who have the passion to use their knowledge, skills, and talents for the common
good. Thus, study abroad programs with a service component should be developed to help
students: better understand themselves as local and global citizens; appreciate the different
religions and cultures and increase their ability to engage in respectful inter-cultural and interreligious dialogue; enhance their understanding of how the principles of CST can play a role in
decisions and actions within a global context; and engage their knowledge, talents, and
imagination in projects that foster a more just world. Such a service-oriented international
experience can be a transformational experience for students.
Concluding Comments
A focus on CST and globalization allows us to draw from a rich variety of opportunities to learn
about and apply CST in business education. A globalization theme facilitates intentional yet
collegial connections between the academic silos. It demonstrates the need for exposing students
to Catholic social principles throughout the four-year program of an undergraduate Catholic
business education The Catholic business school becomes mission-driven from the “inside out,”
not imposed by the departments of theology or philosophy. It can also help remove the
contentious issues of ideological politics; that is, the human question is not simply a political or
economic question, but one that deals with issues of fairness and justice. In addition, it provides
practical suggestions for addressing the gap between theory (and assumptions about
globalization, capitalism, and a free market system) and our global reality. Most of all, it allows
us to begin to develop an educational environment wherein our students are inspired to become
change agents for the common good.
The models we suggest are achievable; however, at a minimum, their implementation
presupposes the following: a critical mass of liberal arts and business faculty who are willing to
work together; a congruence between the university’s mission, the business school mission, and
these types of initiatives; an administration that recognizes, values, and takes into account these
collaborative initiatives in the tenure and promotion process; and a need to engage the business
community and provide them with opportunities to learn about CST in relation to business,
management, and globalization.
Maura Donahue and Kelly Johnson
The University of Dayton has attempted to address the role of business education within the
Catholic and Marianist character of the university by bringing together business and humanities
faculty members to explore various facets of that mission in a semester-long academic seminar.
During fifteen weeks of the Winter 2007 semester, thirteen faculty members from the School of
Business Administration and the College of Arts and Sciences met weekly for two hours to
explore the ways in which business education at a Catholic and Marianist university should be
distinctive. Participants in the seminar often encountered impediments in the conversation,
which we at the time termed “language problems.” Our terms were sometimes unfamiliar to
each other. Some common terms carried different connotations or even denotations in other
fields. During the seminar, we were not able to investigate the this matter deeply, but the
frequency with which these language problems arose left two of us, at least, curious to look more
closely. In this paper, we will present our modest findings as they relate to vocabulary,
language, and culture. We will then offer suggestions and questions for further work.
This investigation is a shared endeavor that works across the cultural divide of the two university
units. One author’s degree is in theology, the other’s degree is in finance. We will present this
as a mutual paper, reflecting on how we each have attempted to start from our home language
and reach out to the other. In doing so, we hope also to demonstrate the Marianist charism at
work: we have only been able to describe these problems because we work in a community that
cultivates patient conversation as a means to social transformation.
Part I: Terms, Language, and Culture
As we two continued our conversations beyond that seminar, we began to realize that this
‘language problem’ was more complicated than it first appeared. It wasn’t simply a matter of
different terms or alternate definitions for the same word; rather, certain terms were integrally
connected to and served as structural supports for larger patterns of thought, entire frameworks
for thinking within the different disciplines. As we looked more deeply, we found that some of
these words acted more like building blocks for different systems of thought, or even more, for
different ways of engaging the world. In an attempt to name this larger element, we have begun
to speak of alternate cultures, meaning that our words and the systems of reasoning in which they
occur are actually part of social customs and mores, systems in which and for which we do our
intellectual work.
This relationship of language and culture is not a new idea for those of us in the humanities. It
may seem that every graduate student in the humanities has to go through some sort of
Wittgensteinian moment. For those who have not been part of that graduate culture, a brief
introduction may be helpful. A reviewer of a work on theological ethics puts it this way:
“Language is something we learn, really learn, not by reading definitions in dictionaries but
rather by participating in a form of life. Thus learning a language requires training. That training
happens over time, within communities. These communities form us to see the world in a
particular way. Thus our vision of reality is determined by the community that shapes our use of
language; ‘the limits of language are the limits of the world.’ (p.7).”9
To put the same matter slightly differently, language is communal, and it is our community,
indeed our culture, that shapes us, through language. A sacramental theologian, Louis Marie
Chauvet writes, “the relation of the subject to reality, therefore any properly human or signifying
relation, is mediated, consequently constructed, by language and, in a more general sense,
culture;…that it is precisely by constructing reality as “world” that the subject constructs itself as
subject. Language is thus a construction game in a twofold sense: objective, of construction of
reality as world and, subjective, of construction of the subject…”10
Chauvet goes on to compare language to a filter, or a lens. The construction of one’s reality is
done through that lens, which, though invisible to us, is nevertheless constructing our worldview
and our sense of self. In this way, one can view the language of business as formative of the
culture of business, formative of the communities of business, and therefore formative of the
individuals in business and business education, who themselves continue to remake that culture
and language. The same is largely true in the humanities, although as that division is, famously,
less connected to contemporary practice and therefore less related to any ways of speaking
outside academia. Our academic formation is very different, as we are acculturated into different
habits, material practices, ways of dressing, ways of talking and acting associated with our
different professions. We speak differently because we reason differently because we live in
different communities.
The language that we use in the different areas does create a chasm, but the distance is not
unbridgeable. Theologians and other in the humanities have mortgages and retirement plans; we
live in a world in which some understanding of opportunity cost and the laws of supply and
demand are simply survival skills. Meanwhile SBA faculty have spiritual lives, participate in
religious communities, read literature and love art. We ought not overstate the difference in our
linguistic communities as we most of us live in several more or less simultaneously. We are not
exactly strangers to each others’ ways of speaking, though our levels of fluency and ways of
negotiating the discrepancies between those languages do vary. Still, we have good reason to
hope: the very fact that we have a language problem means we have bumped into each other,
and at the intersections of our languages, we can try to find a way to see the worlds each other
Part II: Words and the worlds in which they have meaning
Words as simple as ‘value,’ ‘labor,’ or even ‘the world,’ may cause difficulties (or moments of
opportunity, if you like) in conversations between a theologian and a business professor. In the
limited space we have here, we will offer some reflections on a few other such words, though, as
a way of illustrating the way a simple discussion of terminology can turn into a sort of academic
intercultural dialogue.
Mark Thiessen Nation, Review of Ethics as Grammar: Changing the Postmodern Subject, Studies in Christian
Ethics, vol.16, no. 2 (2003): 102-03.
Louis-Marie Chauvet, The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body (Liturgical Press, 2001), 8.
The word ‘utility’ caused quite a problem in our seminar. To the business faculty it is a valueneutral word, a stand-in variable for whatever is being sought, whether that is health-care for a
child or a land mine. This usage is rather unfamiliar to humanities faculty, for whom ‘utility’
would seem to imply actual usefulness, and therefore some end to be served as a good. Of
course, for a theologian, ‘utilitarianism’ is a much more familiar term, but that usage implies that
calculations of utility are done as part of moral decision-making, within a philosophical system.
That usage was much less familiar to business faculty. But to say “less familiar” underestimates
the problem: to the theologians and philosophers, utility always carries a moral significance. To
business faculty, the whole point of the word is that it does not. Already we can see that
something much more than different terminology is at stake.
The same kind of problem is visible (or audible?) when we speak of ‘the good’ and ‘goods.’
Calling things ‘goods’ in a business context implies no judgment. A quick survey of the Oxford
English Dictionary indicates that it was at some point around 1400 that the terms ‘goods’ came
to be used in this way, as independent of any moral significance. Such usage is now
unremarkable. In this case, both humanities and business faculty may speak this way. But when
philosophers and theologians speak within their disciplines, the word ‘goods’ may indicate that
things are seen and evaluated in relation to some greater good (or Good). Though the answer is
not a foregone conclusion, it would, at least, be meaningful in a theological context to ask
whether landmines are actually ‘goods.’
What, we wonder, would it mean for students and faculty in a business school to consider the
moral good in discussion of ‘goods,’ or to think of ‘utility’ in a way that attends to the kind of
moral significance a philosopher hears in the term? Suddenly it becomes very clear that we are
not just talking about words. Using the words differently is like moving around Jenga blocks.
The words belong to systems of thought -- and to systems of action. Could cheap junk products
be called goods, and if not, how would we talk about them? How would that change business
education? How might it change the experience of producing, transporting, marketing, and
consuming stuff?
The matter deepens when we look at ‘freedom.’ In a capitalistic economy, freedoms are
especially valued: freedom from interference by governments, freedom to enter into contracts,
freedom to choose which marketplace goods one wants to consume. In fact, the characteristic
act of freedom in business is choosing, whether the choosing of a ‘good’ to purchase or a market
to target or the proportion of funding to put into care for AIDS victims versus the proportion to
put into funding arts education. Individuals earn income by choosing to sell the factors of
production, the prices of which are determined in the same manner as all other prices
(equilibrium price based on intersection of supply and demand). This we also call freedom, on
the assumption that everyone has equal access to participate in markets. Freedom also assumes
that the labor force is “free to choose” among many employment options, and thus people can
maximize their own personal wealth. In fact, unfortunately, many people do not have access to
many different potential employment opportunities; there is not as “free choice” as it may seem.
Many people are underemployed, thereby earning wages that are below what their capacity to
earn might be, if they had better access to the market for employment.
Freedom, in this sense, is demonstrated when an undetermined will stands between a number of
options and selects from among them. A system which protects such freedom refuses to
determine for each actor what is good, because the deepest good is for each actor to be able to
determine that for him or herself, even if such a determination has to happen in a world that
limits options in many ways. How much constraint is compatible with freedom seems, here to be
the question.
Yet for Catholic theology that approach to freedom is problematic. To put it simply, if freedom
is demonstrated by the existence of a will which stands undetermined between that which is good
and that which is not good, then those who are virtuous are the least free of all humans and God
is not free at all. The more one knows and loves the good, the more one becomes just and
prudent, the less does one have to choose the good. Adhering to it becomes a matter of
character. That sort of integrity is not a loss of freedom for moral theologians, by any means.
To adhere habitually to what is good is precisely to have become free… from sin.
It is important to note here that when theologians speak of freedom, they are not simply pointing
toward some quality independent of their speech, anymore than economists are doing when they
speak of the free market. Rather, they are participating in a social order (in this case a rather
fragile and troubled one!) which sees the person as creature of God fallen from its proper
freedom and in need of help to regain it. To speak of the freedom of a Christian is necessarily to
have to wrangle with issues of how sin is named and what sort of authorities are appropriate as
aids for the fallen; it is connected to debates about obedience and asceticism and the formation of
conscience. The terms are part of systems that are embodied in social structures.
In our seminar, a deep moment of confusion and misunderstanding arose because it was obvious
to some that moral and theological commitments are choices demonstrating the freedom of
persons maximizing their utility. To others, being called into a community of faith and working
within it to become a free person who readily adheres to the Good could not adequately be called
a choice to maximize utility. Mere translation of terms greatly underestimates the differing
worlds within which those terms have their meaning.
One last example: scarcity in economics refers to the principle that there do not exist goods
enough to satisfy every possible desire of every person. The term exists to describe why systems
of allocation are necessary. The term is often misunderstood by those outside that field, who
hear in it the implication that poverty, perhaps miserable poverty, is inevitable. In fact, one
Christian economist wrote years ago advocating the use of the term ‘finitude’ in place of
‘scarcity.’11 Aiming to avoid the implication that it was impossible to meet human needs, he
argues that creation is indeed finite. Therefore insofar as humans have infinite desires, creation
cannot satisfy all of them. Some system of allocation will indeed be necessary. But this, he
clarified, in no way implies that poverty is necessary. Nor does it presuppose that humans are
incapable of limiting their own desires in order to care for the needs of others.
This suggestion is valuable. But it still underestimates the problem. For economists who
use scarcity within a system, the term is not a counsel of despair. On the contrary, it is what
drives economists to understand better the dynamics of production and consumption work so that
the limited goods of the world can be used more effectively.12
James Halteman, The Clashing Worlds of Economics and Faith (Herald Press, 1995).
For a theological discussion of the moral value of scarcity, see Albino Barrera, God and the Evil of Scarcity:
Moral Foundations of Economic Agency (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005).
Some theologians, on the other hand, have been emphasizing the importance of ‘abundance’ in
Christian theology. The importance of abundance for these theologians is the reminder that
Christianity is about confidence in a God who creates from nothing, who resurrects from the
dead, who rescues Israel from overwhelming odds. The genre of theology is comedy, not
tragedy. Rage, grief, anxiety, fear—these are part of the theological world insofar as sin is part
of that world. But they are not simply facts to be accepted. They are moments in a story that is
moving toward a different end. What is ‘natural’ for humans can and by the grace of God does
The importance of ‘abundance’ for this paper is that while Christian theology has to be interested
in history and in present human societies as the field of God’s work, theologians have reason to
see those realities within a story of change, from the garden to the fall to the covenant with Jews
to the fulfillment of that in Christ to the full coming of the Kingdom. Present realities are not
simply facts. They are moments in an ongoing story. Present lack of fulfillment is not simply
motivation for better management. It is part of the fallenness of the world and will be overcome.
Management of scarce resources is important for now, but so is the fostering of hope that the
way we are is not the way we must be.
Part III: Suggestions and questions
This closing part of our paper is not titled “conclusions”; like the Carpenters, we have only just
begun. Instead we hope to raise some questions and indicate directions for future work.
That being said, however, our efforts for this paper will have been in vain if people leave this
conversation, shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh. We have different languages and cultures. So
what?” We think this is a big deal, so we humbly offer the following suggestions and questions
for further work in this area.
First, we’d like to ask, how can business faculty members make room for the “normative”
questions? Schools of business and mainstream finance textbooks maintain that the goal of
financial decision-making is to maximize shareholder wealth. This goal is stated repeatedly
throughout the course of business education. But the normative question that precedes this goal,
“What is the purpose of business?” is rarely asked. Perhaps universities make the assumption
that the study of the humanities will provide the missing piece. We propose that it is time to get
started asking these tougher, primary, normative questions and finding ways to help students
investigate possible answers.
Second, we think the significance of business education at Catholic universities is that by
working together across these cultural divides, we can generate new and relevant knowledge.
That is, after all, what universities are supposed to do. We see this as a big adventure –
exploring how to include these questions in the works that both units do. We invite you to go
down the road on this journey with us, and see where it takes you. How will our fields be
Douglas H. Knight, The Eschatological Economy: Time and the Hospitality of God (Grand Rapids: William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006).
changed if theologians have to help answer questions about pressing human needs today and if
economists have to think about biblical abundance?
We can see new vistas opening up for our disciplines and for our students. And we are hopeful
about the possibilities. The Marianist charism of patient conversation in small communities
responding to local needs has given us an opportunity to hear each other speak and to begin to
unravel the layers of misunderstanding between us. That Marianist virtue of “staying at the
table” ensures us that we can argue and furrow our brows and get culture-shocked by each
others’ worlds, trusting that such frustration and disagreement is not the whole story. We are
bound together and together we can better respond to Mary, who said, “Do whatever he tells
you.” Who we are is not who we have to be. It may yet be that a culture of Catholic intellectual
work will become a kind of common ground for all of us.
Molly B. Pepper, Michael T. Hazel and Linda Tredennick
Depending on which side of the lectern you stand, views of college can be quite different. From
the student side, college is a holistic experience. It is the conglomeration of relationships,
activities, and experiences (Estanek, 2007). Students often describe it as “the college
experience.” Professors and course work are just a piece of that experience. From the faculty side
of the lectern, however, especially the business faculty’s side, the university is often organized
into silos. These silos constitute the three parallel universes in which business students at
Catholic universities seem to reside. These parallel universes include their business school, their
liberal arts foundation classes, and their co-curricular world. Rarely does business faculty
attempt to connect the learning that occurs in their universe to the activities and learning in the
other two universes. In fact, college systems divide the student into body, mind, and spirit with
faculty in charge of the mind and student life in charge of the body, emotions, and spirit
(Keeling, 2004). The book Learning Reconsidered, which argues for the integrated use of all
campus resources to educate students, suggests learning “is included in a much larger context
that requires consideration of what students know, who they are, what their values and behavior
patterns are, and how they see themselves contributing to and participating in the world in which
they live.” (Keeling, 2004: 9) As such, this paper proposes to discover a way for business (and
other) faculty to better integrate the parallel universes into a more effective holistic education.
Parallel Universe No. 1- School of Business
The first parallel universe for business students is the school of business itself. For many reasons,
business schools often are perceived as stand-alone operations, separate from rest of the
university. There are many causes for this isolation. First, especially at Catholic universities,
business faculty members can feel like second-class citizens left out of the university's mission
(Naughton, Bausch, Fontan & Pierucci, 2007). After all, much of the key elements of university
mission such as theology and philosophy exist in the liberal arts schools, not the business
schools. Second, business faculty members are feeling the strain of a changing discipline.
Business schools are struggling with new accreditation standards while encountering articles
with titles like "The end of business schools? Less success than meets the eye" (Pfeffer & Fong,
2002), "How business schools lost their way" (Bennis & O'Toole, 2005) and “Is the MBA
overrated?” (Lavelle, 2006). Third, business faculty often does not see the connection between
their work and the liberal arts foundation classes of their students. Business faculty often
perceives liberal arts as too theoretical and abstract without understanding its relationship to
business education (Naughton, et al., 2007).
Parallel Universe No. 2 – Liberal Arts Foundation Classes
The second parallel universe for business students is their liberal arts foundation classes. While
Catholic universities pride themselves on providing a liberal arts foundation, integration of that
foundation with a business education often is left up to the students (Naughton, et al., 2007).
Liberal arts faculty members often see little relationship between their disciplines and business.
Further, liberal arts faculty members often have an Aristotelian bias against work and business.
The liberal arts faculty member often looks upon business with suspicion without understanding
the work of business scholars (Naughton, et al., 2007).
Parallel Universe No. 3 – Co-curricular World
The third parallel universe for business students is their co-curricular world. Typically, faculty
members do not collaborate with student life directors to help students connect the lessons of the
classroom with the rest of their lives. Learning occurs in the co-curricular universe, but faculty
members do not tie it back to the classroom. In fact, the co-curricular world has become so
separate from the classroom that some universities have gone so far as to create “co-curricular
transcripts” for students (Gutowski, 2006). These transcripts capture students’ out-of-class
experiences that complement the academic transcript of courses and grades. There’s also a
missed opportunity for faculty development in the co-curricular world (Keeling, 2004). Student
life professionals have the skills to serve as consultants to the faculty on issues such as advising,
career counseling, classroom issues, and student development. Other opportunities may be
campus-specific depending on the needs of faculty and the expertise of student affairs
How can faculty bring these three parallel universes into one world in which all three
experiences are valued? This paper suggests a technique for understanding the campus learning
environment and creating the corridors between universes. This technique is similar to a campus
map – or in this case a “Wall” – that recognizes, identifies and documents the sites for learning
activities on campus (Borrego, 2006). The Wall can become the framework for linking the
business school to the liberal arts foundation and co-curricular activities to optimize student
To connect the business school to the rest of the university and the students’ co-curricular lives,
we suggest a method similar to storyboarding. Storyboarding is a visual, structured form of
brainstorming. As its name implies, it helps to create a story, in this case, the story of students’
parallel universes. The method of storyboarding has participants writing ideas on note cards and
posting each idea on a Wall under various categories. Participants can then read each other’s
ideas and piggyback new ideas.
To make this method work in the effort to connect the parallel universes of students,
representatives of the business and liberal arts faculty could work together with representatives
from co-curricular programs such as campus ministry and residence hall life to build a
storyboard “Wall.” To begin the process, categories must be defined. These categories might be
easily taken from the university’s mission statement or strategic goals. In storyboarding, even if
the wrong categories are defined in the beginning, new categories can easily be created as the
process unfolds. Storyboarding is a forgiving process in which new categories can be added
when ideas require a separate category. Likewise, categories can be collapsed and ideas put
under a “miscellaneous” category if there are not enough ideas to warrant a separate category.
Once the categories are identified, the brainstorming can begin. Building a storyboard “Wall”
demands a lot of involvement from participants. Like brainstorming, once the ideas begin to
flow, participant’s creativity increases as they embellish and build upon the ideas of one another.
To build the Wall, the following steps would be followed:
1. Organizers discern the important categories to be connected through the Wall exercise.
These categories will be idiosyncratic to each effort, but could be taken from the mission
of the college or from the goals of some strategic plan.
2. Posters with the defined categories of interest are spaced out on the Walls in the room in
which the exercise is conducted. Adequate space below the posters allows participants to
attach their note cards to the appropriate category.
3. Participants are informed that they will be taking part in a brainstorming exercise. The
basic rules of brainstorming are stressed: outrageous ideas are welcome and no criticism
is allowed.
4. Participants are given note cards on which to write their practices and ideas. Most of the
space on the note cards is blank to give participants room to write their answers.
However, there are three structured questions on the note cards. The first asks the
participant to note whether this is an idea or an actual practice. The second asks for the
participant’s name (though names are optional) and the third asks for the name of each
participant’s department.
5. Participants spend some quiet time writing their practices and ideas down.
6. Participants post their note cards to the Wall under the appropriate categories and spend
some time reading the note cards of other participants.
7. After reading the note cards of others, the brainstorming begins. Participants can
piggyback ideas from each other to create new programs or can perhaps have “aha”
moment in which they see a way to bridge what is happening in one department with
what is happening in another.
8. The process of reading note cards of others and creating new ideas continues until
participants run out of energy or ideas.
9. Cards are collected and the process of drawing the map begins.
What comes next is where the corridors between parallel universes can be found. One advantage
of the storyboarding Wall process is that it allows the group to experiment with moving ideas
into different categories to change the storyline. This movement can be done during the Wall
process if participants feel they want to create a new category or collapse two or more categories
together. However, most of the movement will be done after the Wall is created. The data
collected from the Wall will be messy but rich with untapped potential. Teams of
interdisciplinary university members can take turns sorting the cards into categories to discover
different types of campus corridors between the parallel universes. For example, one group
might organize the ideas in relation to the outcomes they pursue. Another might organize them in
relation to tenets of the university mission. Different corridors can be created based on the
creativity of each team.
A Case for the Wall
The Wall provides some unique information on mapping the campus environment that may not
be as easily accessible through other means. One study of the Wall technique compared the
results obtained through the Wall to a paper-and-pencil survey (Pepper, Tredennick, & Hazel,
under review). Results found that the Wall in this case did at least three things differently than a
survey: it identified more actual practices than the survey; it generated more positively worded
responses than the survey; and it provided qualitative data that contradicted quantitative data.
In this study, the Wall was used to map mission activities across six sister college campuses.
Through research on documents both historical and contemporary as well as interviews with
campus leaders, seven shared categories of the colleges’ missions were identified and the
technique was practiced with 50 faculty from the six colleges at a conference on the common
mission of the colleges. Thirty-three subjects filled out a paper-and-pencil survey about the seven
categories and slightly more than 40 participated in the Wall experience. The faculty members
represented different disciplines and tenure positions.
Results compare the differences in the information on the Wall with open-ended questions about
the same seven categories on a survey that participants also filled out. The authors expected a
great deal of overlap between answers on the survey and the note cards on the Wall. In fact,
participants in this study were encouraged to get ideas for their note cards from the responses
they wrote on their surveys, even copying those ideas on to note cards to get the creativity
flowing. However, there was not as much overlap as expected. The survey produced 118
comments for the categories, compared with 132 for the Wall. While the difference seems
unremarkable, upon analysis, the survey answers were found to contain fewer practices or ideas.
Many survey answers were merely comments about the categories such as “Constant reminders,
but not so much implementation.”
For example, when asked to list examples of one aspect of the mission, respondents gave few
examples but included the following comments:
• I don't think we promote this.
• Increasingly decision making is a top down process. Corporate model has subsumed
most others.
• Probably our weakest link - our decisions feel more like strategic management.
• Not sure.
The Wall results did not contain any comments on how programs were or were not implemented.
Note cards on the Wall contained ideas or actual practices without comment on how well they
were implemented. To test the difference in affective tone between the survey vs. Wall
comments, all comments were run through the Whissel Dictionary for Affect in Language. The
Whissel Dictionary measures the emotional meaning of words and texts by comparing individual
words to a list of more than 8,700 words that have been rated for their pleasantness, imagery and
activation. The result indicated that the Wall comments were more positive at a statistically
significant level. Based on the Whissel Dictionary analysis, survey responses contained almost 3
percent negative words while the Wall responses contained less than 0.5 percent negative words.
The difference in negativity between the survey and the Wall likely is partly due to how the two
instruments were framed. The Wall was framed as a positive activity in which participants could
share what steps they are taking or could be taking to fulfill their college’s mission. The survey
asked participants to “Please comment on how your institution facilitates each of these
In this case, the Wall also revealed discrepancies between how people rate their institution in a
category and how much evidence they can produce for that same category. The survey in this
study also allowed participants to rate their departments on each of the seven categories on a
scale of 1 to 7. Results showed that while participants rated themselves low on some categories,
when challenged to name practices during the Wall exercise, they were able to list many existing
programs. Likewise, on some of the categories on which they rated themselves highly, they did
not list many practices or ideas for the Wall.
This case study supports the Wall as an information gathering technique. In this case, the Wall
was completed in less than an hour. Group size may affect how long the Wall technique takes,
but it clearly gathers a great deal of information is a short period of time. This information can
then be rearranged and used to map a campus learning environment that builds corridors for
student learning between parallel universes.
It is unlikely that parallel universes will ever be completely eliminated. There are historic,
structural, and political factors which will likely always cause divides on campus (Steffes &
Keeline, 2006). However, building corridors between the universes is crucial to promote the best
learning outcomes for students.
Creating corridors to the parallel universes through the Wall technique has at least three potential
benefits for business faculty members. First, it allows business faculty members to make vital
connections for students to learning outside the business school. Second, by explicitly stating
what each parallel universe is doing, redundancies in the universes can be discovered and
eliminated. And, finally, business faculty can find potential for collaboration outside their
universe that will allow them to break out of the business school silo and find greater community
throughout the university.
Athar Murtuza, Theresa Henry, Renee Weiss
This proposal, written by a Muslim, a Catholic, and a Jew, seeks to show how one could infuse
concerns for common good and Taqwa [consciousness of the Divine] in accounting curricula.
These concerns should be as fundamental to business education as they are to liberal arts
education. Unfortunately, accounting education tends to focus on a profit maximization model,
ignoring the implications of such a model to the human condition. Taqwa, an Arabic word may
be construed to represent living and managing one’s life and business as if faith mattered. It
refers to things Muslims must do in between their five daily prayers. Even though the term is
Arabic in origin, the consciousness of God is fundamental to the beliefs subscribed to by
Muslims, Christians, and Jews in matters both sacred and secular. We advocate an inter-faith
approach to accounting education that will facilitate financial responsibility on a personal,
corporate, and global level. In spite of differences in economic models around the world an
education that promotes financial responsibility should help to build bridges across these
differences. Such bridges will begin to address many of the economic problems that beset
humanity. We survey four categories of pedagogical activities that set out to achieve the type of
inter-faith integration we propose. Some of them may require approval by higher authorities such
as college deans and department chairs while others may be more readily applied by individual
1. Educate Financially Literate Citizens, as Well as Accountants.
Regulatory bodies and numerous market participants have increasingly pointed to financial
literacy as a necessary attribute of those responsible for monitoring the reliability of financial
reporting. For example, in 1999, the Blue Ribbon Committee sponsored by the Securities and
Exchange Commission, the NYSE, and the NASD recommended financial literacy as a
minimum requirement for board members serving on their firms’ audit committee. They defined
financial literacy as the ability to read and understand fundamental financial statements. In 2006,
Federal Reserve System Chair, Ben S. Bernanke, in testimony before the Senate Committee on
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, emphasized the importance of financial literacy in an era
where financial innovation provides a wider array of credit and financial products to a broader
spectrum of consumers and investors. Such literacy improves the ability of consumers and
investors to make informed credit and investment choices. Mr. Bernanke provided this testimony
well before the current sub-prime mortgage lending crisis in which countless poor and minority
borrowers lost their homes, large corporations reported substantial impairment losses on their
investments in the mortgage loan market, and the lending practices of numerous financial
institutions including the largest U.S. mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corp., came under
federal investigation. According to FBI Assistant Director Ken Kaiser "Greed is definitely not
good for our economy right now," "It's hurting homeowners. It's hurting honest businesses. And
it's hurting investors and markets around the world."
Financial literacy may be viewed as the underpinnings for responsible behavior by all
participants in the financial markets. It should extend beyond the financial statements and
include corporate governance, shareholders’ and stakeholders’ rights. It should consider not only
the economic impact of financial activities for the current period but also the impact on future
generations. Financial literacy should also extend to those outside the Business school. Hitherto,
in the face of accounting related scandals, the profession has focused on improving the
performance of accountants. We believe it is equally important to ensure the financial literacy of
all citizens.
University business education provides students with the resources and structure to learn the
principles, mechanics, and applications of each of the business disciplines. University accounting
education in particular prepares students to meet the criteria for professional participation in the
industry, including the requirements for licensure as a CPA. However, does traditional university
accounting education address more fundamental matters of responsible financial behavior such
as a concern and action to promote the financial well-being of others, the equitable distribution
of wealth, and the preservation of financial resources for future generations? Moreover, to what
extent do universities provide such education for their entire student bodies?
Catholic Universities are in a unique position to incorporate responsible financial behavior in its
teachings as such behavior is certainly in keeping with a doctrine of social thought that embraces
contributing to the common good. The Catholic Business School should expand its curriculum to
include financial literacy courses and require such courses for their entire student bodies. While
separate courses are optimal, an alternative approach is that the Catholic Business School
provides workshops to educate students who may not be able to take an additional financial
literacy course.
2. Develop a Model For Business Students That Embraces Liberal Arts Studies.
"[The purpose of a liberal arts education is to] open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable
it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own
faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, [and]
eloquent expression. . . .” from The Idea of a University by John Henry Cardinal Newman
Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration have spent about one
third of their education studying the liberal arts. In addition to the required general business and
major courses they must take, the “business” students must also study subjects such as English,
Religion, Psychology, History, Science, Philosophy, and Mathematics. Students often view these
liberal arts courses as a hurdle which they must jump over in order to get to, what is in their
view, the important classes, those which will teach them what they really need to know as they
begin their business careers.
As business educators, we are failing our students terribly if they leave our university with that
viewpoint. A liberal arts education should serve to broaden the students’ horizons. It should open
their minds to the other disciplines and ideally, to see how those disciplines form the building
blocks of their business education. For instance, study of the liberal arts came long before the
development of double-entry bookkeeping. The liberal arts courses that students are required to
take should help them to see how their business education and their future business careers fit
into the bigger picture.
A liberal arts education develops the students’ strength of mind and gives them an ordered
intellect. Each of the required courses differentially help the students learn to think for
themselves by ordering their thoughts. The world, therefore, and the interplay between different
facets of the world become understandable to students. As strength of thought is developed, so
too is the ability to learn. Students can apply the learning habits they developed in the liberal arts
courses to their business courses. The general knowledge they acquire from their liberal arts
courses will enhance their creativity and broaden the skill sets they will bring to their business
education and careers.
The challenge to the business educator is helping students to not only see that connection but
also to believe it and appreciate the liberal arts education they are receiving. That challenge
should be shared with those faculties instructing our students in the liberal arts. There needs to be
a constant reminder of the connection between liberal arts and business throughout the students’
education. It is our responsibility to provide this link so that they do not view any one course as a
silo which has no bearing on their overall development.
As business educators, we can provide this link in two ways. First, we can discuss our business
course in the context of their overall education. For example, what is the history of accounting?
Luca Pacioli is credited with the development of double entry accounting in his treatise, Summa
de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita, published in Venice in 1494.
However, even before that publication, there had been a long evolution of “accounting” in
ancient times. Accounting students do not usually know about the evolution of accounting from
its clay-tablets birth. Nor do they know much about the Venetian world in which Pacioli lived.
As educators, we can liberate our teaching from being confined to the desks and lectern of a
classroom in a physical location at one given time. Such liberation should be used to enrich the
students’ educational journey. Students think of business as a modern invention but it important
that they realize that the history of accounting and other business disciplines is one small slice of
our world history.
The second way that we can provide our students with the link between their liberal arts and
business education is to apply the tools used in liberal arts courses to their business courses.
Writing and communication are an obvious but critical means that we must be using to
continually develop our students’ skill set. Projects involving a competition among groups within
a class can help students explore the psychology of human thought. As we use these “liberal
arts” tools, we should draw the students’ attention to the courses in which these tools were
originally developed. Given such an objective, it may even be worthwhile to teach accounting
not as a something consisting of GAAP, but as discourse. To reinforce such a perception, we
could, for example, use poetry to promote a better conceptual understanding of what accounting
Our liberal arts faculty can help to foster an environment which embraces liberal arts studies.
They can encourage students to continually think about their chosen discipline and ask them to
place that discipline within the context of the liberal arts course. The university should
strengthen the connection between the liberal arts and business education throughout the
students’ curriculum. Liberal arts have a greater ability to evoke from students a sense of
emotion. This better allows students to visualize and empathize with those in the world who are
victims of hunger, disease, and injustice. This collaboration between the business educators and
our liberal arts colleagues will graduate students who are well rounded, developed, skilled, and
poised to face the challenges of the business world.
3. Promote the Use of Teaching Resources That Do Exist To Subvert a Culture of Greed.
The mere suggestion that accounting students need to be made aware of the common good model
of managing a firm is likely to meet with resistance among the accounting and business faculty
given the already full course load of material which needs to be covered. The volume of
traditional material covered limits inclusion of new material. We observe that textbook coverage
devoted to the increased financial reporting requirements and standards which firms must adhere
to trickles down into our textbooks and classrooms.
On the other hand, it may be time for accounting faculty to re-examine what they teach. The
introductory financial accounting course over indulges in traditional accounting bookkeeping.
The chapter on accounts receivable invariably uses almost seventy to eighty percent of its space
on the debits and credits associated with the allowance for bad debts. It is hardly the kind of
details that students taking financial accounting need be force fed. These students would be
better served if they could learn more about the history of credit and its role in organizational
profitability. They could also segue into personal finance. Long ago, banks replaced the
neighborhood loan sharks but modern banks now do much more than merely give out loans.
Even the process involved in approving loans has changed; one no longer needs to wait after
filling out a lengthy application to find out if a loan was approved. However, one would never
know such details after reviewing a traditional financial accounting textbook. We see a similar
tendency to overindulge in bookkeeping for LIFO/FIFO inventory cost flow assumptions. One
could suggest it may be a better use of text space to lower the coverage of inventory flow
methods in favor of a greater emphasis on supply-chain management and how it is being used by
the likes of Dell and Wal-Mart.
Given the constraint confronting educators seeking to infuse faith in the management of our
work and lives, it would be a good idea to adopt the concept of “bundling” to pedagogy. Bundle
topics together when feasible. To illustrate the point we are making, we would like to show how
a case intended to discuss transfer pricing also presents an opportunity for discussion of the
Common Good Model. The Birch Paper Company case has been called the most frequently used
case published by Harvard Business School. In the words of its authors, it is a “classic case that
has proven to be an excellent way to present, analyze, and evaluate transfer pricing issues.” The
case is only two pages long and not overloaded with an excess of data, but given its richness (ten
pages of teaching notes), it has and continues to facilitate classroom discussions on transfer
pricing. Given its subject, transfer pricing, and its implication for performance measurements of
corporate divisions it is appropriate to treat the case not simply as a tool to better appreciate
transfer pricing, but to also to encourage the students to think about the role of business in the
civil society. One could go further and discuss the case in the light of the Common Good model.
4. Marshalling Inter-Faith Efforts to Check the Global Capital’s Power.
As educators, we can not lose sight of our role in not only providing the skills necessary for our
graduates to become tomorrow’s business leaders, but more importantly in developing the
persons who will be those leaders. In his Centestimus Annus, Pope John Paul II said, “Indeed,
besides the earth, man's principal resource is man himself. His intelligence enables him to
discover the earth's productive potential and the many different ways in which human needs can
be satisfied.” Our responsibility, therefore, does not end with the development of the students’
mind but must include the cultivation of their hearts and souls as well. We want to graduate
business leaders who are not only intelligent and capable, but moral and ethically grounded.
Our business press has, unfortunately, been filled with accounts of inappropriate and unethical
behavior by individuals ruling our corporations. One wonders, at what point does an individual’s
moral compass become so distant from the person he once was? At what point did that individual
lose his way in life? Our faith is a tremendous part of the moral backbone which we bring to our
workplace. In his April 2008 visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI addressed educators
from around the country saying, “Each and every aspect of college life must reverberate within
the ecclesial life of faith." We must incorporate that faith throughout our curriculum so that
students realize that their actions will be forever governed by their faith.
Our capitalistic business model encourages competition in the market place. That competition is
measured in profits. As business educators instructing our students in accounting, we must be
clear about the role that profits play for a corporation. We must emphasize the duty that business
leaders have to their shareholders, employees, suppliers, etc. Pope John Paul II said, “Profit is a
regulator of the life of a business, but it is not the only one; other human and moral factors must
also be considered which, in the long term, are at least equally important for the life of a
business.” Our students must be aware that achieving financial success for themselves and their
business should not be their only goal. Therefore, our role is to not only instruct them in the
attainment of profits. From a Catholic perspective, we need to develop the student, the person, as
a whole. The same could be said of education from the Jewish and Islamic perspectives.
The world, inhabited by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others, is confronting an ever increasing
secular consumerism that is wreaking havoc on human happiness. The recent crisis of the subprime mortgages illustrates how globalization is adding to human greed and exploitation.
Combine this with environmental issues, rampant world hunger, etc., and it becomes clear that to
deal with a growing concentration of resources in the hands of the wealthy, we need to embrace
an interfaith approach. 26,000 people die everyday of preventable causes - the time has come for
change and that change requires the various faiths of our world to pool their efforts. The
Business School can help by teaching its students the awareness of dangers that confront human
survival. The skills taught in Business curriculums need to be infused by values for social justice
that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has in common.
Brian Shapiro
Accounting’s effects on organizations and society are far-reaching and not always socially
beneficial. In such cases accounting’s potential to enhance agents’ accountability, advance the
public interest, and develop qualitatively different social relations in the workplace remains
largely unrealized. This paper addresses how we can raise students’ awareness of these issues by
incorporating theological, social, and professional insights in teaching financial accounting. I
first discuss some dominant philosophical foundations of contemporary corporate financial
accounting practices and the social injustices they help create or sustain. I then give examples
from the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish traditions to explore how theology’s commitments to
social justice (the objective dimension) and each individual’s personal relation with God (the
subjective dimension) provide a basis to critique and transform accounting education and
Dominant Philosophical Tendencies of Financial Accounting Education and Practice
Financial accounting’s public interest function depends on its ability to provide interested parties
with useful formation to evaluate and make investment and regulatory decisions about the
reporting entities. The accounting education literature recognizes the potential public interest
characteristics of accounting and accountants. For example, during the 1980s and early 1990s,
some commentators on accounting education reform suggested that by understanding the
historical, political, and conceptual origins of today’s accounting practices, accounting
professionals could express better conceived arguments in accounting standard setting debates,
critically examine whether inherited practices meet the needs of contemporary society, and
invent new ways for accounting to contribute to a more just and fair society. During this same
period, the Accounting Education Change Commission recommended that accounting students
learn about the role of values in decisions. But for various reasons, few accounting programs
have implemented these recommendations.
Below, I briefly review some dominant perspectives and assumptions that consciously or
unconsciously shape our students’ attitudes, obstruct meaningful accounting policy reform, and
discourage theological reflection. These define the challenges and potential benefits of
introducing theological perspectives in the accounting classroom.
Investment and credit decision making focus. The objectives of financial reporting focus
primarily on the decision-making needs of investors and creditors. The nearly total focus on the
information needs of capital providers constrains accounting’s potential to serve other affected
parties such as employees and the broader social community. The capital decision making focus
and the related utilitarian values are deeply embedded in accounting’s self-image. While they
serve a socially beneficial purpose, their exclusive focus can render invisible the legitimate
claims of marginalized parties.
Status quo bias. From the 1960s onward, financial economics and neoclassical economic
perspectives have dominated accounting research. The dominant perspectives tend to apologize
for and ultimately sustain the status quo; they tend to view existing imperfect practices as the
best of all possible worlds, and thereby deny accounting its potential to transform accounting and
other social practices to better serve humankind. The resulting technicist and capital-oriented
focus suppresses students’ awareness of the broader roles that current or potential account
practices may play in organizations and society. The accounting research community reinforces
this status-quo orientation through its commitments to scientism, a fact-value separation, a
general aversion toward prescriptive and normative theorizing, methodological exclusivity, and
active denigration of critical and historical reflection. For example, these commitments probably
at least partly explain why the “top four” accounting journals in North America did not publish
systematic critiques of ineffective corporate governance practices in the decade before SarbanesOxley Act of 2002.
Scientism. Accounting research and practice borrows heavily from financial economics
and shares its quantitative, empirical, and analytic biases. The scientism of mainstream
accounting research further denies that the hermeneutic and reflective European social sciences
can play a meaningful epistemological role. (Scientism is the belief that only disciplines that are
modeled after the natural sciences can yield reliable knowledge; everything else is merely
subjective or private.) Indeed, its proponents maintain that it is not necessary to engage with
work outside the natural scientific realm except to expose the obscurity and confusion from
which the more rigorous and precise methods liberate us. Here is one example from a highly
esteemed accounting academic, published one decade before the largest accounting frauds in
U.S. history:
The equity-orientation of disclosure regulation advanced here differs markedly
from the traditional, moralistic concepts of equity in accounting, which are
generally phrased in terms of maintaining fairness, eliminating fraud, and
protecting the uninformed investors against exploitation by insiders. In contrast to
such vague, anachronistic, and unattractive notions, the equity concept advanced
here is state of the art and operational, being linked directly to recent theoretical
developments in economics and finance (Baruch Lev, Toward a theory of
equitable and efficient accounting policy. The Accounting Review, 1988, p.1).
This example shows little tolerance or respect for theological insight and reflection on
accounting practice and what it means to be a good accountant. Accounting textbooks reflect
some of these same biases.
Theological perspectives and the questions they raise can counter some of the above
adverse social tendencies. Below I consider three applications of theology to the education of
accountants: (1) the accountant’s self-understanding as a whole person, (2) the objective and
subjective dimensions of faith, and (3) and leisure and Sabbath.
Developing the Accountant’s Self-Understanding as a Whole Person
The individualist and utilitarian perspectives of (e.g.) the neoclassical economic foundations of
accounting do not by themselves provide an intelligible narrative for understanding and
developing the whole person, or for understanding the broader roles of accounting in
organization and society. In contrast, theological traditions can encourage students to reflect on
what a meaningful life entails, and what good accounting practices must involve. Such traditions
ultimately raise questions about what it means to be authentically human and what a more just
and humane society requires of each of us. These universal questions apply to individuals in all
walks of life and to the whole person, and they accordingly transcend more specific questions
about what it means to be a good accountant. Paul Tillich (1951. Systematic Theology, Vol. 1,
Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press) described theology’s ultimate concern in the
following existential terms: “The object of theology is what concerns us ultimately (p. 12)….
Our ultimate concern is that which determines our being or not being…The term “being” means
the whole of human reality, the structure, the meaning, and the aim of existence” (p. 14).
The questions we encourage our students to ask therefore assume great importance. As Charles
Taylor (1991, The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 4) put it,
“The agent seeking significance in life, trying to define him- or herself meaningfully, has to exist
in a horizon of important questions.” Narrative traditions help us define these questions; they
help us coherently weave together the past, present, and future, and their narrative unity helps us
evaluate whether a practice is better or worse for ourselves and for other fellow human beings
(cf. MacIntyre, A. 1981. After Virtue, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, p. 225).
We can use narrative traditions to encourage our students to view accounting practices as part of
a larger whole comprised of individuals, institutions, organizations, and society. In this manner,
accounting and its transformative potential becomes the object of theology. As Tillich (1951, pp.
13-14) expressed it more generally, “Social ideas and actions, legal projects and procedures,
political programs and decisions, can become objects of theology, not from the point of view of
their social, legal, and political form, but from the point of view of their power of actualizing
some aspects of that which concerns us ultimately in and through their social, legal, and political
forms”. Below I provide examples of how a narrative theological perspective can provide
accountants with an independent standpoint to critique contemporary accounting practices and
enable them to contribute to a more just and humane society.
Theological Anthropology of Genesis: The Objective and Subjective Dimensions of Faith
Joseph Soloveitchik’s book titled The Lonely Man of Faith (1965, New York, NY: Three Leaves
Press) argues that the two types of Adam described in the two different creation accounts in
Genesis Chapters 1-2 are willed by God and exist within us. (Note: “Adam” is shorthand here for
Adam, or Eve, or humankind.) The two Adams differ in how they approach knowledge, work,
prayer, their relationships with other people, and their relationship with God. Both Adams
simultaneously exist within us, both are willed by God, and both are necessary for us to be
authentically human. The top row of Table 1 presents the biblical texts from which the two types
of Adam are drawn. Each has different implications for accountants and accounting practice.
Adam the First. Genesis Ch. 1 presents Adam the First as a creative being who seeks a
dignified existence by controlling nature. By promoting the dignity of his family, friends, and
fellow man – such as through advances in technology, commerce, and medicine – Adam the
First fulfills God’s commandment to “subdue the earth” and attain dignity, glory, and majesty
(Adam and Even were created in the image of God). As such, Adam the First focuses on
functional, practical, and utilitarian knowledge; he is interested in learning about how the cosmos
functions, and the cosmos provides answers to his questions. Adam the First’s practical and
utilitarian bent orients his community to a work community committed to successful production,
distribution, and consumption. In this work community, Adam the First and his companion Eve
the First act and work together; each have an “I” awareness but not a “We” awareness: “In the
majestic community, in which surface personalities meet and commitment never exceeds the
bounds of the utilitarian, we may find collegiality, neighborliness, civility, or courtesy – but not
friendship, which is the exclusive experience awarded by God to covenantal man, who is thus
redeemed from his agonizing solitude” (Soloveitchik, 1965, p. 66).
By the above account, we are commanded to use science and technology to raise the dignity of
our fellow man, so that everyone can achieve the majesty befitting one who is created in the
image of God. This raises social justice questions about accounting’s roles in transforming
society and serving the needs of various constituents, both powerful and weak. The preferential
option for the poor and other elements in the Catholic and Protestant social traditions require us
to pay especially close attention to the weak and marginalized among us (cf. John Paul II, 1991.
Centesimus Annus). Especially troubling are cases where, contrary to the biblical teachings of
social justice, accounting practices have misused technology to transform nature’s domination of
man into man’s domination of man (cf. Marcuse, H.. 1964. One-dimensional man, p. 166,
Boston, MA: Beacon Press). Examples can be applied to regressive tax practices (e.g., see Pace,
S. 2002. An Argument for Tax Reform based on Judeo-Christian Ethics, Alabama Law Review,
54 (Fall), 1-111), pension and other retirement benefit accounting practices that fail to protect
employees’ and retirees’ economic wealth, accountants’ failure to more actively promote
effective governance and internal control practices in the absence of government regulation, and
accounting’s near-total focus on the needs and interests of capital providers to the detriment of
other corporate stakeholders.
The objective focus and ethical orientations of Adam the First are not, however, unique to
religion and theology. Indeed, similar social justice motivations can be derived from secular
humanism. But as the Protestant theologian Rudolf Otto (1923/1958, The Idea of the Holy,
London, UK: Oxford University Press) argued, religion cannot be reduced to ethics. Hence it
also is important to concern ourselves with Adam the Second’s vocation.
Adam the Second. In contrast to Adam the First, Adam the Second is preoccupied with
receiving God. This can be inferred, for instance, from how God breathed life into his nostrils.
Adam the Second seeks a redeemed existence by controlling himself rather than by controlling
nature. Thus, in contrast to Adam the First who is focused on worldly things (the objective
dimension), Adam the Second is focused on inward things (the subjective dimension): he is
interested in metaphysical and philosophical inquiries to understand his place and role within the
scheme of events and things willed and approved by God, and God provides the answers to his
questions. Adam the Second’s sense of wonder, his search for meaning, and his relationship with
God are central to his spirituality. Adam the Second also acts and lives the way he does because
in this manner he fulfills God’s will to be a good steward of creation. We are not simply
commanded to subdue the earth; we must also be concerned about sustaining plant, animal, and
human life.
Adam the Second finds redemption when he is overpowered by God in the depths of his crisis,
failure, and sacrifice. His message of faith speaks of defeat rather than success; indeed, in order
to have a companion, he had to be subdued by God and sacrifice part of himself. Just as Adam
the Second sacrificed part of himself for Eve, so may he give of (sacrifice) himself for others. He
is able to give in large part because he also is able to receive through prayer (he was brought to
life through receiving the breath of God). Adam the Second (Eve the Second) has a deep
existential relationship with other fellow human beings. In contrast, Adam the First “can offer
only his accomplishments, not himself” (Soloveitchik, 1965, p. 64).
Although Adam the Second cannot by himself change the world, the source of transformative
social change is rooted in his subjectivity, in his relation to God. But Adam the Second is
devalued and even ridiculed by Adam the First (cf. the attitude of mainstream accounting
research toward “unscientific” epistemologies). Adam the First’s scorn towards Adam the
Second’s inwardness resembles the scorn that some utilitarian business interests have for
anything that is not immediately profitable (cf. Marcuse, H. 1978. The aesthetic dimension (p.
38), Boston, MA: Beacon Press). The Aristotelian concept of leisure and the idea of Sabbath can
counter this influence.
Leisure and Sabbath
Accounting work is typically described and understood as primarily involving a transitive
activity in which accountants create and manipulate objects to change the world (the objective
dimension). This objective focus has the public interest potential to raise human dignity, but it
also can be abused if adopted as accounting’s sole or primary focus. Indeed, Adam the First’s
pragmatic orientation as builder and maker of things can become excessive if he directs all of his
activities toward an instrumental purpose and lives only for the sake of his work. In such a case,
the accountant can become “bound to the whole process of usefulness, and moreover, to be
bound in such a way that the whole life of the working human being is consumed” (Josef Pieper,
1948, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, p. 42, South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press). This
proletarianism reflects and creates inner poverty; the proletarian is “one whose life is fully
satisfied by the working-process itself because this [moral-spiritual] space has been shrunken
from within, and because meaningful action that is not work is no longer possible or even
imaginable” (Pieper, 1948, p. 43).
In contrast, Adam the Second does not define his life solely in terms of labor and its impact on
the objective world. He understands what it means to engage in meaningful activity that is not
work (cf. Pieper, 1948, p. 48). This poses a significant challenge for accounting education,
because accounting is less often conceptualized as a reflexive activity in which the accountants
themselves also become changed (the subjective dimension). Indeed, the organization of public
accounting work and the utilitarian habits it inherits from its business environment encourage
workaholic behavior with an emphasis on the objective dimension of work.
Accounting educators can use the Aristotelian concept of leisure and the idea of Sabbath to help
students gain some independence from the world of total work. The Aristotelian concept of
leisure advocated by Pieper involves a contemplative and celebratory relation with the cultus
(divine worship). In leisure, as in the Sabbath, celebration and worship of the divine are
undertaken for their own sake. This can be practiced (not merely discussed) by beginning the
class period with a silent meditation or prayer. The thanks and praise that prayer embodies
remind us that the goods we have inherited have an ultimate origin and a destination that
transcend ourselves. This in turn can be further developed into a critique of the accounting
equation (Assets = Liabilities + Equities) which defines creditors and investors as the only
sources of an entity’s resources.
Concluding Comments
A business education at a Catholic university encourages professors and students to reflect on
how their faith can help them become better accountants. The redemptive qualities of a faithbased university can transform both the world and ourselves.
Table 1. Two Versions of Adam in Genesis. (Source: Soloveitchik, J. (1965). The lonely man of
faith. New York, NY: Three Leaves Press.)
Adam the First:
Humanity = Dignity = Glory = Majesty
Genesis 1: So God created man in His own image, in
the image of God created He him, male and female
created He them. And God blessed them and God said
unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth
and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the
sea, over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts,
and all over the earth.
Commanded to fill the earth and subdue it.
Created in the image of God; this refers to man’s inner
charismatic endowment as a creative being. Seeks a
dignified existence which can be acquired by
triumphing over nature; it is found at the summit of
Both male and female were created simultaneously;
Adam the First did not need to sacrifice part of himself
to have a companion.
Focuses on functional, practical, and utilitarian
knowledge oriented toward controlling nature.
Seeks to understand how the cosmos functions.
Adam the Second:
Faith and the Covenantal Community
Genesis 2: And the eternal God formed the man of the dust
of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life
and man became a living soul. And the eternal God planted a
garden eastward in Eden…And the eternal God took the man
and placed him in the Garden of Eden to serve it and keep
it….And the eternal God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the
man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs…And the rib,
which the eternal God had taken from the man, made He a
woman, and brought her unto the man.
Commanded to cultivate the garden and to keep it.
God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Adam the
Second is preoccupied with God and seeks a redeemed
existence. Being redeemed is an ontological awareness; it
entails man’s control over himself rather than over nature.
Redemption is found whenever one is overpowered by the
Creator; it is found in the depths of crisis, failure, and
Adam the Second emerged alone. He had to sacrifice part of
himself to have a companion.
Focuses on metaphysical and philosophical inquiries. Adam
the Second’s message of faith is incompatible with Adam the
First’s utilitarian commitments.
Seeks to understand his role in the scheme of events and
things willed and approved by God.
His conscience is energized by the idea of the
beautiful. His aesthetic experience is unredeemed
without Adam the Second’s help, but redeemed beauty
is not possible if Adam the Second’s message of faith
must be reduced to Adam the First’s cultural
His conscience is energized by the idea of the good (i.e., a
moral-ethical orientation). Adam the Second has a duty to
assist Adam the First by using his endowed ability to convert
at least some of his faith experience into values and truths
comprehensible to Adam the First.
The natural community fashioned by Adam the First is
a work community, committed to the successful
production, distribution, and consumption of material
and cultural goods. Adam and Eve act and work
together, but they do not exist together. They each have
an “I” awareness but lack a “We” awareness.
Adam the Second is “ lonely, forsaken, misunderstood, at
times even ridiculed” by Adam the First. Adam the Second
seeks a covenantal community of I, Thou, and He in which
Adam and Eve participate in the existential experience of
being, not merely working, together. Redemption from
loneliness requires covenantal companionship (genuine
friendship) through sacrifice, surrender, and defeat.
James Weber and Virginia Gerde
Just as business organizations rely on their mission statement and the values embodied in senior
leadership, so do universities rest on the institution’s mission statement and basic values
(Procario-Foley & Bean, 2002). The Duquesne University undergraduate and graduate schools
of business are fortunate to have a strong religious tradition grounded in moral and ethical values
that result in a focus on ethics and sustainability.
“Duquesne University serves God by serving students through commitment to excellence in liberal
and professional education, through profound concern for moral and spiritual values, through the
maintenance of an ecumenical atmosphere open to diversity, and through service to the Church,
the community, the nation and the world” (Duquesne University mission statement).
Supporting this mission is the University’s strategic plan, developed in 2003, which espouses: “to weave the mission
… throughout the fabric of the university to assure that the values expressed in the mission are given prominence in
all the goals of the strategic plan.” To this end, the strategic plan further mandates that “members of the Duquesne
University community will pursue the moral and ethical truth through an ecumenical dialog … [and] … establish
activities, programs and courses where discipline-specific issues are discussed in the context of their moral, ethical
and spiritual context.” The business schools at Duquesne University have understood this strong message contained
in the University’s mission statement as a reinforcement of its own focus on ethics and sustainability.
The A.J. Palumbo (undergraduate) School of Business Administration seeks to “espouse ethics as a winning
characteristic of organizations that are successful over the long term and promote a commitment to high standards
and values among the A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration community” (Duquesne University
Undergraduate Catalog, 2002-2003: 114). This commitment is echoed in the graduate business school’s catalog as
well. “Since its founding in 1878, Duquesne University has been steadfast in developing an ethical perspective
within student’s professional and private lives” (John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business Brochure, A
Distinctive Experience: 9) and, more recently, notes that “Our MBA Sustainability degree equips you to make better
use of all forms of capital (human, natural and financial), all within ethical, profitable and sustainable frameworks”
(mba.sustainability.duq.edu website).
Degrees and Courses
From these foundations, a number of courses and degrees in both business ethics and
sustainability emerged and their critical roles in the overall Duquesne’s business school curricula
are discussed.
Duquesne’s business schools boast of two degreed programs in the fields of ethics and
sustainability: the Master of Science in Leadership and Business Ethics (MSLBE) and Masters of
Business Administration (MBA) Sustainability. The Master of Science in Leadership and
Business Ethics was developed in 2001 in response to feedback from employers and managers
who indicated a strong demand for these skills in today's complex global marketplace. At the
completion of the degree, students have developed a vision of leadership, sensitivity to ethical
challenges that arise in the workplace, and the skills and knowledge to translate the leadership
vision and ethical commitment into reality. The MSLBE is a result of the combined efforts of
Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement and the John F.
Donahue Graduate School of Business. This program is the recent winner of the Distinguished
Credit Program Award, a national recognition from the Association for Continuing Higher
Education (www.leadership.duq.edu). Students in the MSLBE program are required to complete
a five-course “ethics core” consisting of courses in Business Ethics, Information Ethics,
Organizational Ethics, Global Ethics, and an ethics elective course, which recently has included a
course entitled Leadership in Sustainability and Business.
Duquesne’s MBA Sustainability offers a transformative graduate experience: a mix of innovative
program design and unmatched “integrated sustainability” content. Graduates are prepared to
lead organizations that value prosperity today, without compromising resources for tomorrow.
The program foundations are a blend of the ethical social, economic and environmental pillars
that characterize leading business organizations worldwide (mba.sustainability.duq.edu). Within
the MBA Sustainability program there are required course modules addressing applied ethics,
environmental responsibility and management, and cross-discipline sessions where ethics and
sustainability are integrated with other business functional courses.
Supporting these graduate degree programs are additional courses that continue the
reinforcement of ethics and sustainability in all our business degree programs. All undergraduate
business students are required to complete a core course, Business Ethics, which discusses the
relevance of social needs in developing a sense of ethics, the need for personal ethics in making
business decisions, and the importance of a shared sense of values in developing productive
work communities. The emphasis throughout this course is on practical issues facing people in
business. Several sections of the Business Ethics core course consist of a service learning
component to provide students an opportunity to work with community groups and reflect on
theory, practice, and the role of business.
At the graduate level Duquesne MBA students are required to complete a course in ethics,
Applied Business Ethics, and a course which emphasizes sustainability, Public Affairs
Management. Similar to the undergraduate ethics course, the graduate Applied Business Ethics
course introduces students to the Code of Ethical Conduct and provides students with the basic
ethical decision-making skills necessary to recognize, evaluate and resolve ethical conflicts.
Emphasis is on common ethical challenges facing graduate students in the classroom and at
work. The course provides an analytical framework for students to use when grappling with
course-specific, ethical dilemmas in subsequent core and elective courses in the graduate
program and in their professional business careers.
The Public Affairs Management course empowers students to identify and evaluate key external
and internal organizational forces (stakeholders) and environments impacting the organization.
Public affairs management skills addressed in this course include stakeholder analysis, public
issue and crisis management, social responsibility and corporate citizenship evaluation,
regulatory and public policy strategies, environmental responsibility and the impact of
technology (www.business.duq.edu). As the business community has embraced sustainability as
a strategic advantage and emphasis in business practice, the Public Affairs Management course
has likewise increased its attention to this emerging business focus.
In addition to the required courses, four graduate-level electives are also offered and ethics is
integrated into several MBA core courses. Global Ethics and Organizational Ethics are adapted
for the MBA students from the similar MSLBE courses, an independent study course provides
for field work or in-depth research, and an elective in sustainability is currently being offered as
an MBA elective. The Aspen Institute recognized two MBA concentration courses, Global
Marketing Management and Strategic Supply Chain Management, as integrating social and
environmental issues in the course. Related to coursework, a Duquesne MBA team won three of
five awards for which they were eligible in 2007 including the top ethics awards at an
international MBA case competition sponsored by Loyola Marymount University in Los
Due to the curricula emphasis on ethics and sustainability, Duquesne business schools
emphasized faculty recruitment in these fields and have taken steps to attract, nurture and retain
faculty who are experts in these fields. The business school faculty is one of the few in the
country that has three full-time faculty members with doctorates, active research agendas and
full-time teaching loads in the business ethics / business and society fields. The three full-time
business ethics / business and society faculty members include: Dr. Virginia Gerde, Associate
Professor; Dr. David Wasieleski, Assistant Professor; and Dr. James Weber, Professor. Each
business ethics faculty is actively involved in the teaching of the required business ethics courses
in the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as conducting applied research to support the
delivery of these courses.
Similarly, the Duquesne graduate business school is assembling a comparable faculty group with
research agendas and teaching responsibilities exclusively in the sustainability area. Dr. Robert
Sroufe recently was hired as the Murrin Chair of Global Competitiveness to spearhead the
launching of the MBA sustainability program and Dr. David Saiia will be joining the business
school faculty in the fall of 2008 with his extensive background in sustainability, social
entrepreneurship, and micro-enterprise initiatives, including his multi-year project of economic
and community development in Ecuador, complimenting Dr. Sroufe’s expertise in sustainable
supply chain and operations management. In addition, faculty from across all of the business
school disciplines have revised courses throughout the MBA Sustainability program that
integrates sustainability into strategy, accounting, economics, finance, information systems,
organizational behavior, marketing, supply chain, value chain and operations management, and
environmental science.
Extracurricular Activities
Finally, supplementing the courses and faculty development, extracurricular activities were
created to foster the emphasis begun in the areas of business ethics and sustainability. Through
the creation of the Beard Center for Leadership and Ethics, for example, a semi-annual ethics
speakers program was launched to expose students to business and community leaders speaking
on the importance of ethical behavior and ethical leadership. The business ethics faculty gained
access to ethics and compliance officers in the region through the creation of the Pittsburgh
Ethics and Business Conduct Network. In addition, this “network” provided the business school
with an educated and willing cadre of potential guest presenters in the undergraduate and
graduate ethics classes. With support of the ethics center, several luncheon forums are presented
each year in the Pittsburgh downtown area, enabling business school faculty an opportunity to
interact with local and national people on areas such as diversity in management and ethical
Last fall the business school launched its inaugural annual sustainability symposium, where
Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, was joined by various
local business CEOs and an investment panel of financial experts to speak to Duquesne students
and the regional business community. This event provided faculty and students with an
additional series of contacts for future interactions as possible guest speakers, expert resources
and potential employers.
Across the curriculum, students engage in projects that incorporate nearby businesses and
organizations into their learning experience. The MBA Sustainability students are involved in
three projects over the course of the program where the students meet with businesses and nonprofit organizations to address topics such as developing a system to standardize carbon footprint
analysis, market sustainable options for grocery bags, evaluation of retrofitting options for a
‘green’ building, and evaluate carbon credit legislation. The students provide their analyses and
recommendations to firms in an interactive and timely manner, so both the students and the
organizations benefit.
MBA students also may take advantage of study abroad programs during the summer for up to
three months either taking courses at another university or as part of a student group visiting
businesses. Key to the MBA Sustainability program is the two integrated study abroad
experiences in Germany and Japan. In Germany, students interact with multinational and local
businesses, universities, non-profit organizations, and international governmental organizations
such as the United Nations. For the Japan trip, students study at a partner university for an
intensive week and engage in corporate visits. The opportunity to compare the relationships
among business, government, and society in addressing business ethics and sustainability issues
is invaluable, and the students develop an appreciation for the complexity of business issues and
sustainable development.
A Duquesne student chapter of a national organization concerned with the broad issue of
responsible business, Net Impact, started with support from the Beard Center for Leadership in
Ethics and has become a focal point for extracurricular activities for the MBA Sustainability
program. This program has its own annual breakfast speaker series that allows faculty and
students to interact more intimately with leaders in sustainable business. The Net Impact chapter
has participated in the national annual conference and worked with similar organizations across
the Pittsburgh area to raise awareness of social and environmental issues.
Institutional Support
While the mission and basic values are the foundation for Duquesne University’s focus on ethics
and sustainability, continued institutional support is critical to build on that foundation. From the
strategic plan to the operational activities, Duquesne University incorporates ethics and
sustainability. From the President’s support of an ethics hotline, to environmental initiatives
across campus, there is emphasis on responsible and sustainable development. The curriculum
discussed previously and the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics were the primary reasons the
graduate business school was ranked eighth worldwide, and first among small schools, by the
Aspen Institute for leadership in integrating social and environmental issues into its MBA
Support from the administration, alumni, and local businesses complement the mission-driven
environment. The business school students developed a Code of Ethical Behavior that was
written and maintained by students and supported by the school and university administrations.
The Duquesne business schools signed onto the United Nations Global Impact, for which an
annual progress report is required and currently uses several student-initiated performance
metrics. As mentioned with the network members, alumni and businesspeople support the
curriculum by being guest lecturers, providing internships, or participating in corporate projects.
Businesses also support research through acquisition of databases such as the KLD SocratesTM
database on corporate social performance.
Institutional Learning
The institutional learning that highlighted the benefits gained and pitfalls to avoid from the
Duquesne business schools’ venture into the areas of ethics and sustainability, driven by the
University’s mission, are numerous. For example, valuable lessons were learned from an initial
failed attempt at creating a successful ethics advisory board. The Beard Center’s advisory board
was initially formed without any designated goals or tasks and was populated by goodintentioned business managers and business faculty. After a few years of unproductive meetings,
the advisory board was disbanded, until 2005 when the purpose for the board became evident.
Armed with a clear focus – to support the Beard Center through financial guidance and
programmatic advice – the advisory board re-emerged comprised of numerous financial leaders
from the regional business community. In order to address a lack of diversity, new members
representing the non-profit foundation community and the Latino business community and
having greater demographic variation than the original board members were included and a more
dynamic decision-making process was evident almost immediately.
The initial program design for the MBA Sustainability integrated the MBA courses throughout
an 11-month period. The original idea was to break down the barriers between courses and
functional areas; however the university credit and accounting systems required some separation
of the coursework into course credits. To counteract the boundaries of each course and the
appearance of students taking six to eight courses at any one time, the classroom sessions were
redesigned as modules, faculty are encouraged to have joint sessions, and integration of course
material is stressed in projects and extracurricular activities.
The impact of stand-alone ethics and sustainability courses is geometrically greater with the
integration of these concepts across the curriculum. For the integration of ethics in the business
school curriculum, targeted faculty workshops were helpful to provide faculty with the tools to
integrate ethics in their particular area. Sample cases, discussion questions and student
assignments were provided.
The continued growth and success of ethics and sustainability in the Duquesne business schools
is the result of reinforcement at several levels: the students, the curriculum, faculty, and the
administration, as well as the local business community. Within the curriculum level, degree
programs, required and elective courses, and a variety of extracurricular activities complement
and enhance the student experience. Each level supports the other, and the solid commitment to
follow the mission provides common purpose and values. At the same time, adaptation and
excellence is encouraged to be responsive to the needs of the students and business community.
Daniel R. Lynch
Natural Resources (NRs) underpin all human material productivity. Their scope is both transboundary and
transgenerational. As such they transcend authority conventionally associated with governments and with individual
corporations, provoking well-described imperfections of both. And, they accumulate effects of marginal decisions,
across boundaries and over time. NR availability constrains opportunity to realize Human Rights already
recognized, related e.g. to the material standard of living and public health. And, NRs are fundamental to any
approach to the twin challenges of sustainability and development.
Understanding NR interactions is available now to any business person with a portable computer and network
access. Individuals command decisions at this scope within an informed global network of persons,iii who must
cooperate at scales of space and time that are consistent with those of the resource itself. The associated obligation
requires a shared sense of moral direction. Management education must prepare persons for this dimension of moral
There are three necessary elements in NR analysisiv – “physics”, value/ownership, and governance. The last two
are perfused with moral content. The first carries a burden of understanding, the prelude to moral reasoning.
Putting these three together is a task especially suited to Catholic Business Education.
1) The Moral Perspective
It is useful to pare situations to the bare essentials: Natural Resources and Humans, both irreducible elements of
creation; and to explore what human institutional forms their interactions require in order to a) be compatible with
the philosophical, theological, and social premises of a Catholic University, and b) enable moral action at the
appropriate NR scales.
Accordingly we recommend a three-part “unit” within management education:
- Natural Resource Systems, emphasizing natural and social interactions;
- Human Rights and Responsibilities, and their philosophical foundation;
- Institutions of Governance: forms, capabilities, needs.
The overriding theme is Responsible Stewardship in the service of authentic human flourishing, and its realization –
first, among professionals; and then, through their interaction within the structures of corporations and governments.
2) Natural Resources
Resource abundance and distribution exhibits complex dynamics over space and time. They can be roughly sorted
into a 2-way classification illustrated below.
Much can be said about these categories. Modern analytical tools support simulation and optimization of natural
resource systems in all of these categories, on platforms widely available: laptop computers, networked data bases,
simple simulators including excel and matlab.
The wide availability of Linear, Integer, and Mixed-Integer
Programming capability in otherwise very simple packages (e.g. the Excel Solver) makes the on-line use of
simulation and decision theory a very real possibility. Such a decision-support capability is available today in
contemporary corporate settings, matching the global scale of operations.
Scarcity pervades each category, in various specific senses. In all cases, there is a finiteness that must be shared
among individuals who must collaborate at the relevant scale – achieving collective management of a common-pool
Below we illustrate a simple example water-resource system, analyzable in the environment described above. One
only has to imagine the collection of persons and institutions concerned with governance here. Without conceptual
coherence – a common sense of what is to be achieved – we have chaos.
3) Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) is arguably the greatest document of the 20th century.
It is aspirational, expressing “a Common Standard of Achievement”; it binds no one except by its moral authority
(reflecting an “overlapping consensus”v in moral and political theory.) Two subsequent Covenants (1966) (on Civil
and Political Rights, and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) have been widely ratified (1976), acquiring the
force of international law. The themes of Natural Resources and their responsible use toward realizing Human
Rights, permeate.
The Basic Documents. The UDHR Preamble reveals a central concern with rights and their realization. Individual
articles are short on direct reference to Natural Resources; but three articles are worth noting:
“Every person has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his
family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care ..." (Art 25)
"Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration can be fully realized" (Art 28)
“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is
possible.” (Art 29)
Clearly, economic wellbeing is among the rights; and a proper social order is necessary to their fulfillment. Perhaps
most noteworthy, everyone has a duty to provide. While it is common to look to governments as the providers of
rights, Article 29 is clear that it is “Community” in general and not solely governmental organizations.
The ICESR. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) was finalized in 1966
and came into force in 1976. At its core is the assumption of scarcityvi vii, and we argue above that any economic
right implies a right to access the inherent Natural Resources. ICESR magnifies the sense of responsibility
introduced in the UDHR. The Covenant binds the states parties with force of law. Articles 11 (standard of living;
hunger) and 12 (health) are noteworthy. Implementation is addressed in the General Comments.
Implementation of ICESCR – the General Commentsviii. Interpretation of the ICESCR is the responsibility of the
UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. That Committee issues “General Comments” on the
Covenant, resolving ambiguities and matters of implementation. The Comments are interpretative of recognized
rights, they do not assert new rights. They are considered authoritative in international law and bind the States
Parties. Among the comments:
Right to Food. Art. 11: Comment 12 (1999). The right to food and the Natural Resources necessary to its
production. Adequacy, sustainability and availability are implied.
Right to Housing. Art. 11: Comment 4 (1991). Sustainable access to the Resources necessary to housing, and to
the related infrastructure, is discussed.
Right to a Healthy Environment. Art.12: Comment 14 (2000). Health is connected to rights to food, housing,
safe water, sanitation, and the environment.
Right to Water. Art. 11 and 12: Comment 15 (2002). The right to access, both quantity and quality.
The General Comments clarify many things relevant to the present discussion:
- That natural resources are foundational to human rights
- That resource scarcity is to be dealt with in a rights context, logically prior to financial considerations
- That there are responsibilities for fulfillment beyond the instruments of government
- That rights of future generations are recognized and a sustainability criterion is pervasive
As constituent parts of ratified Covenants, the Comments elevate Natural Resources to the level of Rights
enforceable in national law, across countries in which multi-national corporations are active. Implementation details
beyond simple government responsibility begin to emerge in the comments.
4) Rights and Responsibilities
Rights imply responsibilities. This duality is stated in the foundational UDHR (Art. 29). It continues to be a central
concern of the General Comments.
Hohfeldian Rights. Hohfeldix provided useful clarity on the idea of Right, emphasizing three elements: party A,
party B, and the action verb V in question. There is a reversible relation between right and duty in this analysis: A
has a claim-right that B should V, if and only if B has a duty toward A to V. These are 3-term, “act-oriented” rights.
The popular 2-term scheme (A has a right to B) neglects the action V. It must be translated into a 3-term version
for practical use. When the 2-term form is used, the duty to fulfill a right goes unassigned or is defacto assigned to
‘everyone’ or ‘the state’.
2-Term Human Rights are problematic in the case of a finite resource R. If “no one may interfere with A’s right to
R” then the end point is a race to total exhaustion of R. If “no one’s enjoyment of R shall be infringed” then all
rival use is prevented. Imprecision here about responsibility, and the details of rival resource use, makes wildly
different outcomes possible; the rights language dysfunctional.
The Natural Law Base of Rights and Responsibilities. Finnisx provides a comprehensive description of the
Natural Law basis for Human Rights. The account is rooted in an elaboration of seven Basic Forms of Human
Good: Life, Knowledge, Play, Aesthetic Experience, Sociability, Practical Reasonableness, Religion. As
independent constitutive aspects of the human person, these are the basis of Human Rights. Interesting among these
is Sociability. Action on the part of others’ fulfillment is itself constitutive of Human Rights; and therefore any
instrument that severs rights from responsibilities is not faithful to an authentic view of the human.
Georgexi emphasized the natural law basis of rights and duties; and the importance of being precise about
correlative duties. There is a broad history of Catholic support of Human Rights on a Natural Law foundation,
including Maritainxii, John XXIII xiii, and Benedict XVIxiv.
Responsibility and its Underemphasis. There is wide consensus about the duality of rights and responsibilities.
The search for social structures that channel personal responsibility into coordinated action, has proven difficult.
Glendon xv called attention to the distortions apparent in current discussions when rights are severed from
responsibility. Hodgsonxvi, Etzioni xvii, Gardner, xviii Bellahxix, and others review similar themes and seek to
reemphasize responsibility.
5) Institutions Connect Rights and Responsibilities
Humans are simultaneously bearers of rights and responsibilities. The connections among them are diffuse, remote
and complex. The social architecture is not given; it needs to be invented.
Institutional Development. Ostrom xx addressed the governance of Common Pool Resources. This important
development addressed three related (and widespread) theoretical structures: the game-theoretic prisoners’ dilemma;
Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons; and Olsen’s Logic of Collective Action. All 3 share a similar setup: people act in
self-interest within a system, but cannot change it or its rules. Embedded in this first assumption is only two
inevitable and extreme outcomes: a) dictatorial authoritarianism over resources; or b) free destruction of resources
under a dictatorship of individual liberty. In both outcomes, absolute authority is imposed from without.
A series of case studies disproves the necessity of these outcomes. Individuals can evolve a governance system that
does better than these extremes; and Ostrom offers empirically-supported ‘design rules’ that carry explanatory
power. Overall, the ‘model’ of the person-in-community is clearly at fault, hence simple prevailing theories fail to
explain the facts. Subsequent studies develop the game-theoretic foundations of these ideas further. xxi A critical
take-away message: people can make the rules – they are not necessarily prisoners of an imperfect model of the
human being.
Three Institutional Forms. There are two classic types of governance institutions, governmental and corporate.
Much is written about the right sorting of authority among these forms. We assert a third form, the professional
The figure xxiii below illustrates this idea. The three institutions are at the vertices; people are simultaneously
clients and providers – bearing both rights and responsibilities. These three institutional forms represent three
distinct loci of responsibility and connect action to its destination in rights.
- Institutions of Government enact and enforce laws, organize currency and markets, manage interface with other
nations, protect civil society
- Corporate institutions deliver goods and services through market mechanisms
- Professional institutions cultivate and aggregate specialized knowledge; and direct it to its destinations.
Creative cooperation is necessary among the three, in ‘fitting’ institutional form to the essential problem of Natural
Resource governance; and innovating within the forms.
6) Synopsis: Management Education
We recap the three axes of management education suggested at the outset.
1) Natural Resource Systems. Quantitative analysis that integrates physical and social dynamics, is
achievable in the boardroom. Emergent texts facilitate the exposition iv.
They require supplements from
conventional management topics including common property resources, market imperfections, public goods, and
public finance. There are excellent new resources xxiv xxv xxvi xxvii that supplement more classic
treatmentsxxviii. Catholic principles including the universal destination of material goods; the stewardship of
creation; the individual/person distinction; and the inherent dignity of every person, need to perfuse this entire
2) Human Rights and Responsibilities. As suggested above, a fundamental understanding of the
contemporary Human Rights regime is necessary. Special knowledge is needed of the intersection with Natural
Resources. In addition to the materials cited and the source documents, there are several excellent overviews.v xxix
xxx and the cited work of Finnis, Maritain, and other Natural Law theorists is foundational to any Catholic
interpretation. It is critical to connect Rights to Responsibilities and to express the latter in professional actionxxxi;
and to understand the difficulties with a one-sided emphasis on Rights alone xv
3) Governance. The role of professionalism is foundational to governance in this arena. Central to its
understanding is the dual requirement of professionalism xxiii – specialized knowledge, and its direction toward the
common good. Presence of agreed-upon objectives in the latter, distinguishes professionals from occupational
specialists. A Catholic anthropology enlightens the sense of common good in the manner described by e.g. Finnis.
As Natural Resources spill outside conventional bounds of corporations and governments, the only recourse to
proper governance is the professional exercising responsibility appropriate to the scale of the phenomena, and
sharing that responsibilitiy with individuals in other organizational units. Developing this sense of responsible
governance toward shared goals, is beyond conventional educational goals that emphasize knowledge alone. The
educational literature distinguishes “Cognitive” development outcomes from “Affective” ones, the latter involving
internalization of values. Affective outcomes may well be the distinguishing feature of Catholic education, xxxii
with moral formation occurring in the “Affective Domain” of learning.
All of these themes are imperfectly covered in isolation; the need for a broad, pan-professional commitment is
needed xxxiii. Where better to expect to see this that at the catholic university? There we have the opportunity to
develop the common ideas of catholic philosophy and theology, anthropology, and responsibility for stewardship in
the context of real contemporary problems, with the authentic development of the human person at the heart of all
Ernest S. Pierucci
The value of work is determined by the fact that it is the act of a human person, intended to
fulfill human purposes. Purposiveness gives any work a spiritual, ethical (immanent/subjective)
character as well as its obvious character (transitive/objective) as an act of production. The
Catholic tradition affirms the priority of the immanent/subjective character of work over its
transitive/objective character. This affirmation follows from the Catholic understanding that the
spiritual aspect of the human person, who is both flesh and spirit, ontologically distinguishes us
as human and that each human person is so far a transcendent being superior to all material
This affirmation has decisive consequences for the Catholic understanding of business and
business education. Business, as an organization of human work, must have as its end the
cultivation and promotion of the immanent/subjective dimension of work and, thereby, human
flourishing. This understanding is radically at odds with the prevailing view of business and
business education, which is premised on the priority of things over persons, or (in John Paul II’s
language) on the error of “economism.” The economistic view of business is exemplified by the
financial (shareholder wealth maximization) theory of the firm and by that theory’s concomitant
criteria for judging and acting, which suppose the greater attractiveness of the material over the
spiritual and moral.
To be consistent with the Catholic tradition and to fulfill their mission, Catholic business schools
must re-found business education on the conviction, the consistently held image, of the priority
of persons over things.
The Catholic tradition proposes that liberal education, understood as the cultivation of the human
capacity for wonder and contemplation in leisure, leads students and teachers to understand that
they transcend the physical world through their capacity for spiritual knowledge, that is,
knowledge of the created, sacramental universe as a whole. Fulfillment of the capacity for
spiritual knowledge—relatedness to God, humankind, and the world—is the complement of
students’ and teachers’ self-realization as persons. They comprehend their ability and need to
communicate with other persons on the basis of spirit and knowledge. They become convinced
of their own personal priority over the entire physical world. They personally perceive the image
of the priority of persons over things.
These comprehensions entail concomitant criteria of personal judgment and action, based on the
greater attractiveness of the spiritual and moral over the material; they form the animating
principle, the guiding image, for the long and difficult task of re-founding business education on
the conviction of the priority of persons over things.
In an organic development of the Catholic tradition’s understanding of work, John Paul II asserts
in Laborem Exercens that all human work has, simultaneously, an objective dimension and a
subjective dimension. His analysis of the primordial call by God, given to our race in Genesis, at
creation, to dominate and subdue the earth is the foundation of his analysis of the two aspects of
The objective, transitive, dimension of work appears in the product of human work, outside the
person. Human history testifies to the objective dimension of work and its importance. From the
earliest forms of agriculture and the domestication of animals, to the most sophisticated
developments of modern technology, human work has objectively shaped our physical world.
The objective dimension of labor can be measured, scientifically analyzed, and organized.
However, John Paul proposes that the subjective dimension of labor is prior to the objective
This dominion, in a certain sense, refers to the subjective dimension even more than to
the objective one: this dimension conditions the very ethical nature of work. In fact
there is no doubt that human work has an ethical value of its own, which clearly and
directly remain linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a person, a conscious
and free subject, that is to say a subject that decides about himself.
Dominating and subduing the earth imply no license to abuse. These concepts indicate that the
human person is a moral agent regarding creation, commissioned to use the world in a rational,
creative and responsible way.
I wish to emphasize four related, mutually reinforcing, aspects of work’s subjective dimension.
First, work is an immanent act of self-realization, part of human flourishing, in which the person
acts as the image and likeness of God. Work does not belong exclusively to the realm of natural
or technical necessity. Moral choice is decisive.
Second, human work is an act of communion for the common good, not only an act to help
satisfy the common, material need. Through work we participate in and contribute to the
flourishing of others. This communion spans generations and localities. We share our own selfrealization with others. This is an expression of the principle of the priority of labor over capital
and of our participation in, and recognition of, the universal destination of all property, viz.: to
return to its Creator through the satisfaction of genuine human purposes.
Third, fair compensation for work and decent working conditions are necessary, but not
sufficient, acknowledgements of work’s subjective dimension. Jobs must be designed creatively,
so the worker is able to see in her work that she is “the one who is dominating.”
Fourth, and most radically, the human person doing the work, that person’s value as a moral
agent, finally determines the significance of any work. John Paul tells us, “[T]he basis for
determining the value of human work is not primarily the kind of work being done but the fact
that the one who is doing it is a person . . . even if the common scale of values rates it as the
merest ‘service.’”
John Paul II refers to the ancient world’s view that work requiring physical exertion was
considered unworthy of free men and was consigned to slaves. A person’s worth was coincident
with the kind of work he did. The notion of the subjective dimension of work undermines this
concept, which is still embedded in our understanding of persons and society. The subjective
dimension of work radically engages some of the most enduring social and philosophical issues:
liberal/servile arts; master/servant; conception/execution; the one/the many. One way of seeing
work as the key to the social question is to contemplate the critical and renewed engagement
with these central themes of western philosophy the understanding of the subjective dimension
of labor necessitates.
The priority of the subjective dimension of labor is not the common vision of human work. The
ancient world’s division of people according to the work they do has been reinforced by
modernity’s obsession with the separation-cum-opposition of labor and capital and the need to
treat work primarily as a quantifiable commodity available at a price.
In Laborem Exercens, John Paul points out that through a synthesis of faith and reason, all can
discern in their work two inheritances, the work of persons who have gone before us and made
our work possible and the gift of God’s creation that presents itself for our work. For John Paul
it is critical that this discernment produces an image of the person as the subject of work - the
physical result of work, capital, is not a moral subject, but an object subordinate to the human
person. It is the image of the priority of persons over things. How is that image broken and how
can it be restored?
John Paul II points to the theory and practice of modernity as the principal reason for the broken
image of the priority of persons over things. The image was broken when labor was separated
from capital as two impersonal forces in opposition. This was the error of economism, which
John Paul categorizes as mode of materialism, and which teaches the subordination of the
spiritual and moral aspects of the human person to the material, supporting a hierarchy of goods
in which the material has a greater immediate attractiveness than the spiritual and moral.
This occurs in systems based on atheism and “the rationalism of the Enlightenment, which views
human and social reality in a mechanistic way” and which deny human transcendence of earthly
realities. In counterpoint, John Paul asserted that, “It is by responding to the call of God
contained in the being of things that man becomes aware of his transcendent dignity. Every
individual must give this response, which constitutes the apex of his humanity . . .”
The consistent Christian message of work affirms those spiritual and moral aspects which
constitute work’s subjective dimension. This message emerges from the Old Testament and is
given deeper meaning by the life of Christ as a carpenter. The manual labor of Christ reveals the
meaning of the work of the most sophisticated international hedge fund manager and of the
janitor in her building.
These affirmations of the value of human work are embedded in the Catholic tradition and they
lead to a critique of the way modern business is conducted. John Paul summed it up this way, “In
the modern period, from the beginning of the industrial age, the Christian truth about work had to
oppose the various trends of materialistic and economistic thought.”
In light of the clear Christian message of work arising from the very life of Jesus Christ, we can
appreciate how deep and powerful is the fundamental error that subordinates persons to things
and that makes human work simply another factor of production. John Paul proposes, “The only
chance there seems to be for radically overcoming this error is through adequate changes both in
theory and in practice, changes in line with the definite conviction of the primacy of the person
over things, and of human labour over capital as a whole collection of means of production.” To
prevail against the error of materialism and economism we must restore the broken image of the
priority of persons over things.
There can be little doubt that modern business and the mainstream way of teaching business are
imbued with the error of materialism and economism. The prevailing academic understanding of
business, including the Catholic academy, is the financial theory of the firm: the purpose of
business is to maximize profits. This is finally an expression of the conviction of the primacy of
things over people and of capital over labor. The modern business corporation does much good.
However, the operation of the corporation is based on the practical and theoretical premise that
its end is material. Therefore, it harbors an undeniable tendency—expressed as a hierarchy of
goods and determinate criteria of judgment—to subordinate the subjective dimension of labor to
the objective dimension.
The challenge presented is so fundamental that the very identity of the business school as
Catholic is at stake. The challenge requires a radical response firmly based on the Catholic social
and intellectual traditions. This will result in the subjective dimension labor and the goal of
human flourishing, taking a central place in the life of the Catholic business school. There is no
aspect of business or business education that ultimately does not implicate our evaluation of the
nature and moral significance of human work. To overcome the error of materialism and
economism requires the long and difficult task of re-founding business education on the Catholic
tradition, guided by the restored image of the priority of person over things.
Liberal education is the cultivation of the human capacity to acquire spiritual knowledge of the
world, of all things visible and invisible, through contemplation and wonder. Only through
wonder can we lead genuinely personal lives. Without wonder we cannot achieve the selfrealization central to the subjective dimension of labor.
To wonder means to enter into a relationship with the whole world, to be capax universi.
Inanimate objects, plants, and animals all relate to an environment limited by what they are. Only
the human person, through wonder and contemplation, can relate to the whole world as spirit and
truth. This is the radical source of our freedom and of our priority over things—we transcend the
material world by comprehending its meanings, the universals that constitute it a cosmos. What
follows from this understanding of the relation between the human person and created,
sacramental world, is the realty of our interiority, our self-realization, which becomes the more
solid, the deeper our contemplation of reality in genuine leisure. As John Paul asserted we reach
the apex of our humanity by responding to the call of God in the being of things. As our
personhood develops we see our ability and need to communicate with and relate to other
persons on the basis of spirit and knowledge.
The knowledge gained from wonder and contemplation in leisure is good in itself. This is what
traditionally is meant by the liberal arts. They are the arts of the mind that lead to the knowledge
which is self-realization, radical human freedom, subordinate to no “use” or “product.” The
servile arts are those which are good because they produce something that provides in someway
for human need. They are not good in themselves.
The distinction between the liberal and servile arts is real and it is crucial for human flourishing.
However, the attitude that separates liberal from business education, based on the distinction
between the liberal and servile arts, is more pagan than Christian. It impedes the restoration of
the image of the priority of persons over things almost as much as the instrumental subordination
of the liberal arts to the pursuit of material gain.
In Laborem Exercens, John Paul noted that affirmation of the human value of work emerges
from the “wealth of the Christian truth.” Because it discerns the spiritual dimension of the
person in any work she does, the Catholic tradition recognizes a vital, essential relationship
between the liberal and servile arts and between contemplation and action. Hence, for example,
in Leisure, The Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper asserts that the thrust of Catholic Social Thought
is to “extend the character of ‘liberal art’ deep down into every human action, even the humblest
servile work.” Again, Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of education asserts the dignity of manual
work and describes how Christian contemplation does not stop in the act of knowing, but rather
overflows, superabounds through love, as action in the world. The Catholic tradition seeks to
discern in the liberal arts and the servile arts—in the subjective and objective dimensions of
work—a proper relationship, a proper hierarchy of goods. The relationship is the priority of
persons over things.
For liberal education, neither the completion of a prescribed number of units in a prescribed
distribution of disciplines, nor yet the range of one’s cultural, or multicultural, tourism is
decisive. Particular curricula notwithstanding, the personal experience of wonder and its
concomitant self-realization are decisive. As students and teachers, through wonder and
contemplation, see themselves as persons, as transcendent of the material, as conscious and free
subjects who decide about themselves, they gain the capacity to discern the two inheritances of
work: the self-realization and self-giving of prior generations of workers who make our work
possible and God’s gift of creation. Thereby, the image of the priority of persons over things is
restored, its concomitant criteria for judging and acting are established and the privileged task of
re-founding business education on the basis of the Catholic tradition can begin.
Wolfgang Grassl
The single most important issue in the debate about the role of business education in a Catholic
university is that of its integration into the curriculum (Thomas and Anthony 1996; Naughton
and Bausch 1996). But the debate about this challenge usually starts from premises that are
themselves questionable: that the science of management is in some sense an extension of the
liberal arts; that business education is just that plus ethics and reference to the Catholic Social
Tradition (CST); and that there is a need in the first place to bring business education into the
“mainstream” of academic disciplines that are divided by subject matters (Morris 1999).
Business programs should then integrate into the “liberal arts” core of Catholic education. But
would this not also apply to medical, dental, legal, teacher training, or nursing programs at
Catholic universities? Is there then anything left that cannot be classified as a “liberal art”? This
prepares the ground for a reductio ad absurdum. Surely there is not much specifically Catholic
about library studies?
The following propositions sketch a program that does not rest on these premises. It proposes to
embed thinking about business in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT), which comprises a
style of thought consisting of formal principles of intellectual activity (or how to think) and a
worldview consisting of material principles applied to regions of reality (or what to think). Of all
the principles characteristic of this tradition, four suffice to lay the groundwork for a new, and
more genuinely Catholic, approach to studying and teaching business:
there is an objective order of things (ordo rerum);
reality is a whole that is horizontally and vertically structured (integritas);
knowledge is integrated by its object domain (integratio);
theoretical and practical reasoning are intertwined (sapientia).
Of course these propositions represent but a small excerpt of the Catholic style of thought
(Grassl 2008). But they suffice to direct the reconstruction of the role of business administration
from a broadly Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective. It is Aristotelian by distinguishing levels of
reality that can be classified by the use of categories. It is Thomistic by adding the distinction
between formal and material objects as the basis for the unity of science.
Premise 1: Business Administration studies human action within a unified science
In the CIT, the object defines the method that is best equipped to study it. Management science,
as a behavioral or social science, studies human action and its results. It shares its formal object
of study with other disciplines: psychology, physiology, sociology, economics, anthropology,
philosophy, history, and others. If reality is continuous – and seamlessly stretches from
molecules to cells, tissues, organs, bodies, persons, corporations, societies, etc. – the study of
reality must also be seamlessly connected. It may be conducted in several adjacent disciplines,
but lacking discrete object domains, these disciplines will always overlap. The CIT has long held
that disciplines should not be thought of as having a unique subject matters at all; they are rather
differentiated by the intentions of studying it (Pieper 1998: 21ff.). Several disciplines may study
the same phenomena of human action, each from their own perspective and using their own
theoretical vocabulary and methods, while attempting to explain the same continuous reality. For
Aquinas, “the unity of a faculty or habit is to be gauged by its object, not indeed, in its material
aspect, but as regards the precise formality under which it is an object” (S.Th. I-II, q.1, a.3).
What then differentiates management science from other behavioral and social sciences, is also
what establishes unity within the discipline: it studies the decisions of humans, together with the
effects of such decisions, with regard to the use of resources of various types in the presence of
some kind of organization. This includes production, operations, and organization, marketing,
financial management, accounting, etc., always in relation to the condensation of previous
human decisions in the form of legal, economic, technological, and political environments. The
functional disciplines of business administration are as continuous – as much part of a whole – as
is the discipline itself. This claim to the unity of science is deeply entrenched in the CIT.
However, differently from the neopositivist variant, unity is not grounded in a common
methodology of research but in a common ontology, i.e. in seeing reality as a structured whole
that is in principle accessible to the human mind. The functional disciplines of business are
unified in their domain, which is part of an incarnate reality. Moreover, the style of thought of
the CIT applies to all fields of knowledge. In this perspective, therefore, management studies are
naturally integrated into a university that builds on the CIT.
Premise 2: Values are a proper part of the study of business
The CIT regards valuation to be parallel – not only related but indeed intricately intertwined –
with the cognition of facts. Catholic thought has never been haunted, as was Hume, by an “isought problem,” i.e. the derivation of claims about what ought to be from statements about what
is. In the tradition of natural law thinking, of ethical realism and cognitivism, what is good and
right can be discovered by diligent reasoning, and normative propositions can then be true or
false. Values are part of reality; they are structures subsisting in human beings and manifest
themselves in their decisions, actions, relationships, and products. For Aristotle, there are four
causes of things, and the final cause (telos) is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done
(Phys. II, 194a ff.; Met. I, 983a 25ff.). Aquinas placed the final cause highest in the hierarchy of
causation. Business can, in this perspective, have several purposes: it can be conducted for the
sake of a common good such as a clean environment, or of particular goods such as selfactualization, material profit, or help for the poor. Whatever the cause may be, it is part of the
intention of businessmen, and its study is part of the discipline itself. In the broadly conceived
realism that is characteristic of the CIT, distinctions of fact and value are merely of a
methodological nature. This is the exact inverse of Kant’s approach, which postulated three
materially distinct realms of reality – pure reason, practical reason, and judgment – to be
penetrated by the same method of transcendental reasoning. For the CIT, reality is one – if
stratified and complex – but methods of accessing it differ, and they constitute the different
disciplines. Since science is not considered to be value-free, questions of values are a proper part
of the study of business. Moral valuation is part and parcel of human action, and so of the
discipline of business administration that studies an aspect of human action. One need not create
a separate field of business ethics.
Premise 3: Business administration studies the structures subsisting in its object domain
Business administration studies the structures subsisting in human beings, their decisions,
actions, relationships, and products. The ontological objectivism characteristic of the CIT
assumes these structures to be independent of human cognition or volition. The discipline deals
with a finite number of tasks: finding natural domains within undifferentiated phenomena;
ranking and evaluating alternative options; formulating effective strategies; optimizing portfolios
under constraints; developing predictions; assessing the effectiveness of means to achieve given
ends; measuring results, etc. These tasks are the same across all subdisciplines of business. At a
higher level of abstraction, the basic cognitive operations – identification, classification,
induction, deduction, evaluation, etc. – are the same across all disciplines. Aquinas held that the
structures of reality and those of the mind were isomorphic such that cognitive operations can be
mapped onto ontological categories. An example shows how a particular ontology (which is here
not spelled out) leads to an inventory of cognitive operations (which may be derived, for
example, from Bloom’s Taxonomy) for each of which there are analogues among the formal
principles of the CIT (Grassl 2008). The material principles (including those of the CST) are here
disregarded. For each cognitive operation, examples from tasks of marketing are presented.
Conclusion 1: Teaching business administration in the Catholic spirit requires a new model
The received model of teaching business in a Catholic setting is to abide by curricula as they are
used elsewhere enriched by a course on business ethics or on the CST. In addition, general
education requirements may involve philosophy, or theology, or both. The drawback of this
model lies in the fact that students tend to “compartmentalize”: content studied elsewhere
typically does not spill over. Cases of decision-making studied in business ethics are often
treated in isolation from the material covered in other business courses. Most Catholic
institutions have also given in to the relentless pressure for an ever stronger specialization even
within business administration. The creation of fields such as strategic management, ecommerce, international business, or human resource management, was driven neither by a
discrete object domain nor by demand from the business sector but by forces within academe.
Under this model, there is very little that is specifically Catholic to teaching business
administration. It does not fulfill the expectation of Ex corde ecclesiae that Catholic universities
should engage in a “continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing
treasury of human knowledge” (§ 13). Attempts at integrating Catholic management education
with liberal learning, vocation, professional competencies, and community service (Naughton
and Bausch 1996) are commendable steps. But such a program in part rests on an extrinsic
integration. It will be intrinsic and foundational only if it also integrates the principles of the CIT
both formally and materially, particularly through the style of teaching.
Conclusion 2: Integration of business into “liberal arts” education is unwarranted
This implies grave difficulties for any consistent definition of the “liberal arts” by virtue of what
is studied or taught. The traditional seven artes liberales – the trivium and quadrivium – are
(with very few exceptions) no longer taught in American academe. They would exclude the
study of history, social science, art, and religion. According to their original purpose, they would
be propaedeutic to higher education rather than being part of it. Since the mid-1800’s, a sui
generis notion of the “liberal arts” has developed in the United States which, by including or
excluding specific disciplines by virtue of their subject matters, has become ahistorical at best
and otiose at worst (MacIntyre 2006). Some accounts exclude the natural sciences (although
music and astronomy were part of the quadrivium) and thus reduce the “liberal arts” to the
“humanities”. Others again include the sciences or, under the heading of “extended liberal arts”,
include all professional disciplines including computer science, social work, law, medicine, and
business (Morey and Piderit 2006). The definition of liberal arts curricula by disciplines has
become an arbitrary exercise. Since the historical meaning of the term has been abandoned, in
American education today the “liberal arts” stand for little more than some form of general
education. Not given to semantic prevarication, the Catholic Church has never used the term in
its magisterium (neither in Ex Corde Ecclesiae nor in Fides et Ratio). And the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has abandoned the use of the term “liberal arts” as
no longer appropriate but has retained that of “liberal education” as a style of education the
purpose of which is general learning rather than application. In the interest of truth, disclosure,
and fidelity to history, Catholic institutions in the United States should follow suit and abandon
the claim to provide a “liberal arts” education. They generally do not. In the CIT, they have a
deeper tradition to draw on if they care to appropriate, cultivate, and transmit it. It can serve as a
basis for research and teaching throughout the disciplines. In business administration, it involves
the CST, as the application of the formal principles of the CIT to material questions concerning
the nature of man, society, work, property, and the economy. It also involves the Catholic Moral
Tradition as the basis from which to make individual ethical choices.
Conclusion 3: Business administration can be part of liberal education
The “liberal arts” as a historical term must be distinguished from a liberal education as a model
of education that is timeless. Aristotle introduced this sense of “liberal” as “that which is enjoyed
for its own sake” (Rhet. I, v, 7). Aquinas wrote that every discipline is “called liberal which is
directed to knowing” (Sent. lib. Met. I, l. 3 n. 8), and Newman built on this idea when he claimed
that no subjects are by their nature excluded from the academy, for it is its goal that defines
liberal learning, not its subject matter. Some of the preeminent members of the CIT – Dawson,
Maritain, Pieper, or MacIntyre – have all cherished liberal education because it best fits a
Christian anthropology and Catholic culture. The goal must be knowledge and understanding for
its own sake. But then accounting and marketing can be taught liberally while history and
English, if merely training archivists or journalists, can be taught in a “servile” manner. If
directed towards the acquisition of knowledge, business administration can be a subject of liberal
learning (though certainly not of the “liberal arts”). This approach stands against the thoughtless
eclecticism in business education on which the received model rests. Contrary to most thinking
in the discipline, it is not a matter of reintegrating business with economics, psychology, and
sociology after the field had gained academic independence (Agarwal and Hoetker 2007). In an
ontological perspective, they had never been separated in the first place, and any apparent
autonomy has been due to institutional or political factors alone (Morris 1999). Created in the
image of God, human beings retain their properties at all levels of analysis, and also in their
interactions with other denizens of an incarnate world. This new and integrative model achieves
that “higher synthesis of knowledge” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, § 16) which the Church expects of
her universities. And most of all, it has a good chance of serving students better than does the
conventional paradigm.
Cognitive operation
Ideas derived from CIT Marketing tasks
• definitio fit per genus
• definition
proximum et differen- • problem analysis
1. Definition
• essential / accidental
• study of pertinent cases
tiam specificam
• to ti ēn einai – that
• abstraction
• analyzing value chain
which makes someactivities
2. Classification • recognition of
thing what it is
essential properties
• portfolio planning
• precision of a science • multi-criteria scoring of
3. Measurement • quantification of
constitutes its certainty consumer attitudes
(= 1+2+n0)
objects and relations
• salesforce productivity
• sorting objects
• structuredness of
• perceived customer
4. Comparison
reality (integritas)
• quantitative or
(= 3+n1)
qualitative evaluation
• grades of being
• supply chain solutions
• horizontal and vertical • ordo rerum
• definition of objectives
5. Ordering
• scala naturae – Great • value chain activities
(= 4+n2)
Chain of Being
• seriation (time series)
• steps in NPD process
• universalia in rebus
6. Pattern
• identification of
• consumer behavior
• diversi, sed non
similarities and
adversi (Anselm of
(= 5+n3)
• market segmentation
7. Inductive
• inference from
• positioning analysis
• per visibilia ad
particulars to universals invisibilia (Richard of • competitive parity
(= 6+n4)
method in budgeting
St. Victor)
• theory building
8. Deductive
• environmental scanning
• esprit de géometrie
• inference from
• industry analysis
vs. esprit de finesse
universals to particulars
(= 6+n5)
• new idea generation
• maximization or
• retail site selection
9. Optimization
minimization under
• directedness of being
• media allocation
(= 6+7+n6)
• marketing mix budget
10. Causal
• cause and effect
• promotional incentives
• four causes (Aristotle
• powers and agency
• test marketing
and Aquinas)
(= 6+n7)
• chance and probability
• packaging design
11. Prediction
• extraction of
• sales forecasting
• measurement of time
• estimating customer
(= 6+7+n8 or
equity (lifetime value)
• uncertainty reduction
• selection among
• good is what is
• marketing objectives
12. Planning
conveniens naturae or • mission compatibility
(= 3+4+11+n10)
• reasoned evaluation
• marketing auditing
conveniens rationi
Explanation: Cognitive operations build on each other, with nx being an emergent element.
Richard Keeley
When Newman sat down to compose the set of lectures we know now as The Idea of a
University, “business” was not in the curriculum. But its influence, refracted through an
emerging discipline, “political economy,” was in the air and in Newman’s sights.
In the fourth discourse, Newman argues for pride of place for theology and philosophy,
architectonic sciences which can see the whole of human knowledge and assign to each separate
science its proper place. Medical science can indicate what conduces to good health but medical
science needs the guidance of theology and philosophy to answer the question about the good
life. A physician would overstep his competence, says Newman, were he to assert “that bodily
health was the summum bonum, and that no one could be virtuous whose animal system was not
in good order.” But if medical science knew its place, political economy did not. Not content to
keep within its domain, political economy, as defended by Nassau Senior, stood as a “moral
science” as well, usurping philosophy and theology’s place. “The pursuit of wealth,” argued
Senior, “that is, the endeavour to accumulate the means of future subsistence and enjoyment, is,
to the mass of mankind, the great source of moral improvement.’” Contrary to the Gospel,
Newman replies: ‘getting and spending,’ piling up things, taking care for the day can hardly be
squared with the Sermon on the Mount. The most Newman will concede is that the ethos
(“orderly habits”) associated with “the hot pursuit of gain not only may effect an external
decency but may at least shelter the soul from the temptations of vice.” Busy hands and minds,
one might say, will have no time for the devil’s haunts.
Different as our material and intellectual circumstances are from Newman’s—no cramped
quarters on St. Stephen’s Green sheltering a handful of students, divisions of study never
imagined in the nineteenth century—we breathe a climate of opinion remarkably similar to his.
The ascendancy of free-market capitalism lends to the “hot pursuit of gain” among our students,
some faculty, and the public-at-large, a conviction that market processes can “correct” any
problems of wealth and distribution. Billions of people at the “bottom of the pyramid?” Turn
them into consumers, perhaps with a dash of micro-finance. Relative scarcity of those highpaying jobs on Wall Street? Well, to the hard-working go the rewards.
Is this the climate of opinion and do our students breathe it in? If so, how should we educate
new business students? Is there something distinctive in content and approach that might
“arrest” the hot pursuit of gain, even if only for the moment of a semester, and contribute to the
formation of a discerning young person?
What of the students on my threshold? Although the university has made admirable progress in
diversifying the student body on many dimensions, it would be fair to say that they are an
affluent population, only 40% of which qualifies for need-based financial aid, and that they are
bent on success. While few can tell you what “investment banking” or “corporate law” entails,
many profess to be interested in these fields: they function as placeholders for answering the
question, posed too prematurely, “what do you want to do?” They are brand conscious, intent on
the London School of Economics trademark on their junior year abroad experience and yearning
for the internship at Goldman Sachs. They seek security, whether in the form of a quickly
“decided” course of study or well-paying job at the point of graduation. They bear the strong
imprint of family, and, in some cases, of religious influence mediated by church, temple or
secondary school. They are likable, well-mannered, and focused on results, now as measured by
GPA. In short: talented, anxious, focused, “knowing it all and not at all,” eager, if left to their
own devices to pursue, hotly, gain. And, if desires be known, they are altogether eager that we
accelerate that hot pursuit. What’s an educator to do?
We have decided to introduce a new, required course for all management freshmen, beginning in
the fall of 2009. A pilot of two sections launches in September 2008. The generosity of an
anonymous donor allowed us to assemble an interdisciplinary team for summer, 2007 and their
efforts resulted in two syllabi of what “Portico” might involve. In the fall of 2007, a streamlined
planning group worked the two syllabi into a new synthesis. That synthesis will ground the pilot
efforts next fall.
In our continuing discussion of what a program for first-year students should address, we defined
three dimensions of the problem: cultural and social, intellectual and formational/aspirational.
The cultural and social dimension has both “global” and local aspects. Speaking broadly: our
students, and their families, come to us from a cultural context in which the hot pursuit of gain is
celebrated on the business pages, and cable channels, and seen as unavoidable, given the high
costs of university education and the anxieties attendant upon “globalization.” The local context
of the campus, despite its towers, is not immune from those concerns and they may, indeed, be
intensified by any number of factors: advertising from major firms in the student newspapers, the
queues, virtual and physical, for spots in the internship lines, and so on. Any program for firstyear students must acknowledge these tensions while not capitulating to them. Thus, the
legitimate familial concern about purposeful study and eventual gainful employment must be
addressed in a school culture that values friendliness, collaborative competition, high standards
of conduct and a view of the world that reaches beyond one’s initial horizon. In our course
design, we committed to defining a “culture” of Portico that would involve high energy, high
work, and high reward; broaden student horizons towards the humanities; expose to them experts
and mentors (managers, leaders, scholars, alumni) and focus on learning strategies accenting the
interactive and experiential. While many an undergraduate management program would serve its
beginning students well by providing an introduction to business and ethics, we decided that a
distinctively Boston College program must capitalize on the Ignatian tradition of discernment
and that we could thus deepen and intensify the ordinary undertaking of “self-assessment” that is
a staple of human resource development.
The intellectual dimension must acknowledge the dramatically abridged and foreshortened
perspective students bring to business studies. For them, their education is often nothing more
than an instrument one wields to secure a job. (On this view, remarks, sardonically, a good
friend, and former management school dean, business schools succeed when they turn out “good
plumbers,” well-equipped technicians able to fix the standard problems.) They care very little for
the theory behind the time-value of money and are less than curious about how commodities,
processes and forms of organization come to be. A first year course in university must be much
more than an introduction to a tool chest of useful techniques. Our planning team included an
historian with special interest in American urban history and strong knowledge of business
history. Both working groups agreed upon a strategy of using the Boston regional economy, and
its cycles of innovation, as an object lesson in conveying the historical dimensions of business.
As a part of this strategy, the course will begin with a guided exploration, in the field, of
significant sites in Boston history. In the pilot phase, this is likely to include a trip that begins on
the Boston waterfront near the federal courthouse then proceeds to the Lowell National Historic
Park and terminates at a venture capital firm on Route 128.
The program, finally, must involve a formational/aspirational dimension. This has three aspects.
It needs to address a technical question, often on the minds of our students, what can I do with a
degree in business? Learning about the paths from functional specialties, like Accounting, to the
world of work is of great concern to them. In evening sessions, delivered by full-time faculty and
flavored with young alumni, we hope to de-mystify what often seems arcane.
It needs to respond to ethical concerns, the question of what should I do when confronted with
X? Students bring an all-too-ready assumption that there’s ethics, then there’s business life
where different rules apply. For over ten years, the Carroll School has required a one-credit, ten
week Introduction to ethics of all entering freshmen. Portico will subsume and amplify the ethics
focus. In the “de-composition” of a cell phone in weeks one and two, we will explore the
embedded history of labor in a product, trace the components to various underlying business
processes, and identify associated ethical issues for initial discussion and later analysis. As an
example of what we have in mind: the plastic shell of the phone derives from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource and one that doesn’t bio-degrade. The circuit boards are likely manufactured
far off-shore where wages are low but probably higher than the local norm. At week four, ethics
will receive brief treatment and in weeks eight through eleven, full treatment, with attention to
theory, the earlier-identified issues and practical decision-making approaches.
Finally, the program must involve a vocational theme, not unrelated to the previous two themes.
To the questions what can I do? And what should I do? We must add: who is the person that I
wish to become? Ignatian tradition, with its emphasis on discernment, must play prominently in
business education at a Jesuit university. Two initial assignments are intended to prompt what we
hope will be a continuing process of discernment. In the first, students write a “here I stand”
paper, articulating their ethics-in-use, identifying its sources and elements that may be subject to
revision, given further study and experience; that assignment will be retrieved and reviewed at
semester’s end. In the second, we will ask students to write a description of the kind of job they
would wish to hold at a company they’ve investigated. (Note: after we have modeled the process
of “de-composing” the cell phone, students, in small groups, will undertake a similar analysis
with a product of their choice. That is where they will find, we think, material for completing
the second, reflective assignment.) Finally, we will infuse elements of the Ignatian tradition of
discernment throughout the ethics sections of the course and in the culminating experience at
term end.
But a portico is an entryway, not a dwelling: if the problem of the hot pursuit of gain is a cultural
one, in the sense I suggest, then more than course work will be required to arrest it. As we’ve
noted, the students inhabit a world of meanings that is only partially shaped by what they read
and study. They’re formed, as well, by the circumstances in which they live, the roots of family
and upbringing, the constellation of activities and events present to them on campus and “out
there/in here” within the ether. Left to our own devices, however clever we may think them,
we’ll not succeed in arresting the hot pursuit of change unless the other cultures the students
inhabit can enhance our efforts. At Boston College, we will be looking to three formative
We will rely on the Intersections program, established with money from a Lilly grant and now
fully funded by the university. Intersections has introduced students, faculty, staff and
administration to the tradition of Ignatian discernment and connected it to the urgent questions of
vocation and identity. Its media are many: retreats (The Halftime Program), courses (for
instance, Vertices, a follow-up to Halftime), seminars, hosted speakers and an array of
imaginative student-focused events.
We will look to the work of the recently-established Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics,
for which I serve as Director of Programs, and which shelters curriculum development, like
Portico, a student leadership program (Jenks Leadership) and hosts speakers grand (F.W. de
Klerk, Janet Robinson), moderate and local.
Finally, we’ve added staffing to support a heartening surge in student commitment to service and
activities beyond business. From the local—a group of Honors students consulting with a
Bakery/Café that’s tied to a Catholic Worker House—to the far afield—we have recently
concluded a second trip to Bolivia focused on micro-finance—students have sought
opportunities and avenues that reach beyond the conventional set of business school activities .
It’s our hope that the combination of curriculum and extra-curricular work will contribute to a
renewed culture of undergraduate student life.
Antonette Palma-Angels & Manuel B. Dy, Jr.
The Ateneo de Manila University is a Filipino Catholic Jesuit university that has two business
schools: the John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM) located in the main campus at
Loyola Heights, Quezon City, the and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB) located
at the heart of Makati City, the central business district of Metro Manila. While JGSOM, the
business school hat gives Bachelors degrees, can boast of a distinctly Jesuit character in its
program because it shares the same liberal arts core curriculum with the other schools (School of
Humanities, School of Science and Engineering, and School of Social Sciences) and because its
students are full-time, imbedding the Jesuit character in AGSB is more difficult because it is a
professional school without a liberal arts core curriculum and its students are part-time. The
purpose of this paper then is to examine the Jesuit character of the AGSB, how it is imbedded in
the programs and how through these programs AGSB confronts the challenge of being a good
business school while at the same time responding to the unique challenges brought on by being
in a the country mired in poverty and corruption in the public sector.
To answer the inquiry, this paper is divided into four parts: the Ignatian Spirituality in Education,
a brief history of the AGSB, how the AGSB implements its mission, and conclusion and
The sources of Ignatian Spirituality in education are the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of
Loyola, the Ratio Studiorum, the 32nd General Congregation and the address of Fr. Pedro
Arrupe, S.J., to a gathering of Jesuit Alumni of Europe in Valencia, Spain, on 31st of July, 1973,
titled “Men (and Women) for Others.” The Spiritual Exercises, a manual for mandatory retreats
every Jesuit should go through, was started by its founder in the course of his own spiritual
Journey: from his conversion in the castle of Loyola to the illumination at Manresa and to the
founding of the order. The Ratio Studiorum or Plan of Studies of 1559 was a codification of the
best practices of several generations of Jesuit teachers and administrators at that time. The 32nd
General Congregation of Jesuits held in Rome in 1974 and 1975 translated the traditional twofold goal of the Society, “defense and propagation of the faith, and salvation and perfection of
souls,” into “service of the Faith and the promotion of Justice which it includes,” and “total and
integral liberation of man leading to participation in the life of God.” The address of then Father
General Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in 1973 interpreted the social trust of the Ratio Studiorum to be the
admonishment of Jesuit schools to form “men-for-others”; men who will live not for themselves
but for God and his Christ; “men completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in
justice for men is a farce.” Justice in the concrete for Fr. Arrupe, S.J., means living a simpler
lifestyle, not profiting from injustice, and if capable, changing the unjust structures of society.
From the above sources, we see four important characteristics of Jesuit education: 1) Seeing God
in all things; 2) Magis exemplified in the motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory
of God); 3) Cura Personalis (Personal Care); 4) and Education in the Service of the Nation (and
the World).
Seeing God in all things can be seen in the Spiritual Exercises, notably the “Foundation and the
Meditation on the Incarnation.” It simply means that God is to be found in all things, that
“nothing is completely secular for everything human is divine.” The distinctive character of
Jesuit educational institutions is the combination of professional education with humanistic or
liberal education. Jesuit schools are not polytechnics. They aim to form character and the whole
person whose education should lead him to the transcendent.
Magis is the striving and passion for excellence, expressed in the three questions of the founder:
What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What more can I do for Christ? The
spirit of Magis is also to be found in the prayer before each meditation: “Lord, grant me the
grace to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, and to follow Thee more nearly.” Ad
Majorem Dei Gloriam is the motto of many Jesuit educational institutions.
Cura Personalis, the personal attention given by the mentor to the student for his total and
integral liberation, copies the way God is thought to personally relate with each one of us as
experienced by St.Ignatius himself, and by every retreatant who goes through the Spiritual
Exercises. The Ratio Studiorum speaks of “personalis cura alumnorum” translated as “personal
care of students” which in reality means that professors should be personally interested in the
intellectual and spiritual progress of their students, and in fact in all the aspects of each student’s
total human development.
Education in the service of the nation and the world means that education is never an end in itself
but an apostolate. The social responsibility of education is evident in the motivation of St.
Ignatius in writing the Spiritual Exercises (that others may be led to God), in the meditation on
love, in the works of charity in the Ratio Studiorum, and most prominently in the thrust of Jesuit
educational institutions to form men and women for others.
It took about twelve years for the AGSB to ask and answer the question, “What is so Ateneo
about the AGSB?” The long history of the AGSB can be divided briefly into five periods: the
Preparatory Years, the Foundation and Beginning Years, the Turbulent Years, the Survive and
Maintain Years, and the Revitalization Years.
The Preparatory Years, 1960-1966, were the Graduate School years of the University, where
some of first graduate degrees namely: the Master of Arts degree in Business. Administration
and the Master of Arts degree in Economics were offered under the Ateneo Graduate School of
Economics and Business Administration.
The AGSB, founded in 1966, was a departure from the traditional liberal education of the
Ateneo, since it was an entry into the world of specialized professionals. The early years were
marked by ensuring the AGSB¹s survival and the efficient running of day-to-day affairs. The
question of whether the AGSB was in line with the educational trust of the Ateneo as a Jesuit
University was neither raised nor addressed.
Turbulence began in 1981 and ran through the next four years. The tri-semestral program and
Middle Manager Program were introduced. Internal conflicts among faculty and administrators
arose, culminating in the University Board of Trustee’s decision to close the School. The
decision, however, was withdrawn due to protests from various groups. For a year, no new
admissions were accepted and an officer-in-charge was assigned to oversee the AGSB.
The Survive and Maintain Years (1985-1993) was characterized by efforts to make the School
survive. The situation became problematic in 1992 when the Dean was preparing to move on to
a new assignment. A small group in the School tried to seize this opportunity to control and run
the school in their own Way. This led to the demoralization among the faculty and staff. The
University President intervened and appointed a new Dean.
The new Dean was Dr. Alfredo Bengzon, himself a graduate of AGSB, who served as the
Secretary of Health of President Corazon Aquino in her ascendancy in the People Power
Revolution of 1986. Under his leadership, the AGSB began to ask the question: What is so
Ateneo about the AGSB? Thus the question of identity, the Jesuit character of the AGSB, was
finally raised and addressed.
In implementing the mission, we look into the four components of the AGSB: the faculty, the
curriculum, the students, and the ethics center.
The first thing that Dr. Bengzon did when he took over the deanship of the AGSB was to engage
the faculty in one-on-one meetings on the question of what is so Ateneo about the AGSB. In the
recruitment process, the AGSB does not advertise but follows the way missionaries and
revolutionaries are recruited. According to then Dean Bengzon, “Somebody here knows them
well and recommends them; somebody who knows them and believes them to fit in our culture.
They are then interviewed by the cluster heads, then by the dean and associate dean. If they pass
the interviews, then they’re in.”
To instill in the faculty the commitment to teaching and establish a common ground for the
mission, the faculty participated in a weekend experience of the Colloquium on the Ministry of
Teaching. The Colloquium on the Ministry of Teaching was a brainchild of the New York
Province of the Society of Jesus in 1980, brought to Southeast Asia in 1981, adopted and
localized by the Philippine Province, and subsequently given to all Jesuit schools and eventually
to other member schools of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines.
Faculty conferences are held every year, with each year’s theme building on the previous ones.
Through the conferences, the faculty is taken through the different parts of the Ignatian
spirituality. More than a team-building exercise, the conferences serve as a continuing formation
of the faculty in the Ignatian spirituality. As Bengzon says, “It was in these faculty conferences
that the mission-vision of the school was crafted, developed, and eventually lived out. And it
changes from year to year, not in the sense of throwing everything out, but building on previous
faculty conferences so that you could almost look at it as journey; and each time we meet we’re
raising the bar in terms of intellectual excellence, bonding among the faculty, and passion for
what we’re doing.”
In the 2004 faculty conference, the value proposition, “Business is not just for profit alone but
also for nation-building” was introduced. The result of that conference was the crafting of the
AGSB’s current Vision: “To be a leading management educational institution in the Asia Pacific
region for the business practitioner seeking to become a professional and ethical business leader
committed to nation building.” The Mission Statement ends with “We will strive to bridge the
external and internal gaps in our communities and in our country so that our people may achieve
a just and good life.” During the same conference, the Mulat Diwa Program (Œmulat means
awareness and Œdiwa means spirit) was launched among the the faculty and students. The
Program is aimed at raising awareness of the value proposition. At the 2005 Faculty Conference,
the value proposition was integrated into the curriculum, not as an add-on to the courses but as
the foundation for all courses.
99% of AGSB faculty are practitioners in their field. To help them to be good mentors, the
faculty went through seminar-workshops on facilitation, the case-study method, and business
ethics. They are organized into business¹ functional clusters. In each Cluster, faculty members
design common subject syllabi, implement the decisions of the faculty conferences to their
subject level, share ideas and practices. A modest honorarium is given to faculty who writes
case studies based on their experiences.
The AGSB views its faculty not as lecturers but as facilitators. As much as possible, no faculty
handles a class of more than 30 students. This makes it easier for the professor to connect with
his/her students as unique individuals, practicing cura personalis. “Professors take pains to see to
it that students receive not just the kind of skills that will have them excel in the workplace, but
also the values and leadership attitude that will embolden them to make a difference wherever
they are.” Not a few professors hold after-office consultations and extra sessions without extra
pay. Some form familial bonds that grow into friendship lasting for years.
Towards the end of every semester, every faculty is evaluated by his/her students. The
evaluation includes the following interaction
* ability to treat students as co-professionals;
* ability to focus not just on content of the course but also on ethical dimensions;
* ability to make the class feel relaxed and at ease;
* ability to listen to students questions and respond to these to the best of their ability.
The AGSB offers four degree programs: MBA Standard Program, MBA Middle Manager
Program, MBA Ateneo-Regis Program, a tie-up with Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and
the MBA in Health Care Management. The programs are ”open to potentials and to realities of
the management trainee as well as to the president of a company.” Aside from passing the
entrance exam, the applicant to the program must have a year or two of working experience.
Once accepted, s/he goes through an orientation program peppered with Jesuit buzzwords: lux in
Domino, ad majorem Dei gloriam, primus inter pares, cura personalis, magis, men and women
for others.
In the classroom, the student is treated more as a client than as a simple learner.The client as a
learner is central to every program. The inter-active method of instruction is emphasized,
following the Jesuit Bernard Lonergan’s structure of knowing: experiencing, understanding,
judging and action.
In all the degree programs, Business Ethics is a core course. The AGSB was the first business
school in the country to offer Business Ethics as a core course required for all students. Included
in the syllabus of Business Ethics for MBA Standard is Fr. Arrupe¹s “Men (and Women) for
Others,” which requires the client learner to answer the question, How can I be ethical in
business?” In all other business subjects, the faculty is required to include an ethical component
of the discussions and curriculum. Assisting the Business Ethics course is the Gov. |Jose B.
Fernandez Jr. Ethics Center. The Center, in partnership with business and government seeks to
help transform business and government in the country primarily by training professors to teach
Business Ethics and Ethics in Government and by providing them teaching resources. The
Center also conducts seminars and workshops for corporations and local government units and
national governmental agencies.
The Mulat Diwa Program is the social awareness program for students. Launched in 2004 with a
video documentary on poverty in the country, it seeks to awaken the student to the Philippine
context in which they do business and to connect business to this reality. In 2006, the Student
Council and class presidents went through a series of student leadership seminars to train them to
be catalysts for the value proposition, “Business is not just for profit alone but also for nation
building.” The value proposition was also launched to the public in 2006 through a Business
Leadership Forum entitled “Our Country is Our Business.” In November of the same year, it was
also launched to the alumni.
Putting the Mulat Diwa Program in the classroom involves partnership with small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) and organizations working with Sees. Students partner with these for their
strategic management plan (required of all students). It also means working with the Export
Development Council. Finance classes students mentor SMEs in the financial aspects of the
business; students also work Hands on Manila, a non-profit volunteers’ organization and the
League of Corporate Foundations in developing the Corporate Social Responsibility curriculum
for undergraduate BA programs.
Other activities of the AGSB include raising funds and materials to build 56 Gawad Kalinga
houses for poor families, the training of the community organizers in Leaders for Health
program, and the business faculty development of two small provincial schools per year.
The AGSB is on the right track in making it a Jesuit business school. Still a lot more can be
done, like ensuring the Strategic Management Papers are relevant to the task of nation building.
Further research is necessary to evaluate the impact of the programs on the graduates and their
workplaces. Meantime, the struggle must go on. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
John P. Workman, Jr.
The Society of Jesus sponsors one of the largest education networks in the world with over 1,000
schools operating in more than 60 countries. Within the United States, there are over 45,000
students enrolled in 49 Jesuit high schools, over 200,000 students enrolled in 28 Jesuit colleges
and universities, and over 1.7 million living alumni of Jesuit schools. This paper explores the
potential of using a wiki to help support the Catholic and Jesuit identity of these schools. The
Ignatian Wiki (www.IgnatianWiki.org) is a free, on-line encyclopedia begun in January 2006
that uses the software that supports Wikipedia and over the past two years has grown to over
4,000 articles and attracted visitors from over 93 different countries. The site seeks to develop
freely licensed content that can help students, faculty, staff, administrators, volunteers, alumni,
and others interested in Jesuit institutions understand and further the Catholic and Jesuit identity
of these institutions.
Evolution of the Ignatian Wiki
‘Wiki’ comes from the Hawaiian phrase ‘wiki wiki’ which means quick and was first used by
Ward Cunningham in 1994. The first wiki to gain wide attention is Wikipedia, which was
founded in early 2001. Wikipedia now has over two million articles on the English version, over
ten million articles across all language versions, and is the eighth most visited website in the
world with over 50 million unique visitors per month. Some of the advantages of using the wiki
approach is that content can be changed quickly, it provides a ‘grass roots’ vs top-down approach
to content development, and it facilitates the development of a sense of community among the
volunteers who develop the content. Some of the negatives of the wiki approach are that
material may not be accurate, vandals can create problems, and many organizations are not
comfortable with content and messages they cannot control.
I am a lay Catholic and started the “Jesuit Wiki” (since renamed) on January 4, 2006 while I was
on sabbatical at the Jesuit Institute at Boston College. While it was not the main focus of the
sabbatical, I recognized the possibility of using a wiki to create a ‘commons’ of freely licensed
content to support Jesuit schools. Prior to my sabbatical, I had been chair of the undergraduate
program committee in Creighton’s business school and had led the development of goals for the
program, with implications for curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. The accrediting bodies for
business (AACSB) and the university (the North Central Association) have shifted from
quantitative metrics towards accreditation based on alignment between mission, goals,
curriculum, and outcomes. I had also been on the board of Colleagues in Jesuit Business
Education for several years and was the co-founder of the Faculty Mission and Identity Group at
Creighton. While most Jesuit schools have developed websites and materials to help students,
faculty, and staff understand the mission and distinctiveness of Jesuit education, the wiki came
about partly out of frustration that much of the material was contradictory, almost all was
copyrighted, and people seemed to constantly be ‘reinventing the wheel’.
Since I recognized the wiki approach raised fundamental issues of authority and the role of the
laity, I requested a meeting in January 2006 with Father Joseph Appleyard, VP for University
Mission and Ministry at Boston College. Over the next two months I made a presentation about
the concept at the Jesuit Institute and met with Father William Leahy, President of Boston
College to discuss the specific wiki concept as well as the more general topic of the role of laity
within a Catholic university (a chapter in his doctoral dissertation). Fathers Appleyard and
Leahy saw potential in the concept but were concerned about Wikipedia’s general reputation and
were hesitant to have Boston College officially sponsor the site, partly since I was just there on
sabbatical. Father Leahy referred me to Father Tom Smolich, the incoming President of the
Jesuit Conference (the governing body of the Society of Jesus in the United States) and I have
had numerous interactions with him over the past two years. In October 2006 the
Communications sub-committee of the Jesuit Conference discussed whether the Society of Jesus
should sponsor the Jesuit Wiki. Given concerns about the ‘anyone can edit’ model of a wiki,
potential vandalism, and potential confusion with official communications of the Society of
Jesus, the decision was made to not directly sponsor the site. The Jesuit Conference also
requested use of a name other than “Jesuit Wiki” since the Jesuits were not directly sponsoring
the site. Father Smolich indicated that there were a number of other lay-led groups using
Ignatian as part of their names and encouraged used of this adjective. The site was renamed the
Ignatian Wiki and the Ignatian Commons Initiative was the name given to the governing body.
Over the past two years, the Ignatian Wiki has grown to over 4,000 articles and has had over
2,300 visitors from 850 cities in 93 countries around the world. There are articles for all of the
Jesuit educational institutions and provinces around the world and for many parishes, retreat
centers, and residences. The category index structures the content on the site into Jesuit
ministries (e.g., education, parishes, retreat centers, social ministries), Jesuits and Ignatian
Spirituality (e.g., History and Organization of the Society, General Congregations, Ignatian
Spirituality), Catholicism (e.g., Church history, Catholic intellectual tradition, Catholic social
teaching), and Other (e.g., Publications, Lay organizations, former Jesuit ministries).
Since the late 1960s and the Land ‘O Lakes Conference and Statement, Jesuit sponsored colleges
have transitioned to organizational entities that are independent of the Society of Jesus. This
pattern of legal separation between the religious order or diocese and the educational institution
has been followed by most Catholic schools in the United States. Today, less than 2% of faculty
members at U.S. Jesuit colleges are Jesuits and vocational and demographic trends indicate there
will be a decrease in the number of Jesuits in the schools over the next fifteen years. There is
thus a long term challenge of preserving the distinctiveness of Jesuit education when there are
relatively few Jesuits directly involved in providing this education.
The single greatest opportunity for the Ignatian Wiki is to develop a set of free online resources
that can be shared among Jesuit schools worldwide to reinforce the essence of Catholic and
Jesuit identity. While most Jesuit schools have developed such materials and much of it is
present on websites, almost all of this material uses an ‘all rights reserved’ approach that requires
explicit permission be granted for reuse. Since 1992 in the U.S., creative work is considered
copyrighted with all rights reserved (even if the author does not place © on the content), unless
the author explicitly releases it to the public domain or licenses it. To allow free use and editing
of documents created by others, the Gnu Free Document License (GFDL) and/or Creative
Commons licenses are used by wikis to allow collaborative development and reuse on other
sites. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to get into the details of these licenses and
intellectual property law, the point is that few people outside the software world before the late
1990s foresaw the need for copyright licenses that allowed reuse and collaborative development,
while still preserving some legal restrictions on how the content is reused. The “free” in “free
encyclopedia” (Wikipedia) and “free online resources” (Ignatian Wiki) refers to these freedoms
for reuse rather than users not paying money for site access. The implication of having free
content on the Ignatian Wiki is that people who want to use text or an image from the site in a
presentation, report, article, or church bulletin can use this content without having to request
permission as long as they comply with the terms of the license chosen by the contributor
(typically, attribution and retain the content under a free license).
A second opportunity is development of a community of contributors who develop this free
online content. While there has been much discussion of partnership and collaboration with the
laity in mission over the past 15 years, a wiki provides a very tangible and specific avenue within
which Jesuits, laity, and other partners can contribute to development of resources related to the
mission and identify of Jesuit sponsored institutions. There has been increased recognition of the
contributions of the laity throughout the Catholic Church since Vatican II and a wiki site
provides a very specific forum for such collaboration. At its core, a wiki is a massively
decentralized, democratized, grass roots approach for developing content. While the process of
reaching consensus can be messy and the content should not be relied upon as the only source of
information, Wikipedia’s growth to be the eighth most visited site in the world is a result of the
improvement of content as the community of contributors grew. As more people become
involved and contribute their specialized and local knowledge, the content on the site evolves to
incorporate subtleties and new insights. Potentially more importantly for Catholic and Jesuit
identity, people start to themselves as being part of a shared, worldwide collective enterprise
rather than simply an employee of a local private university.
A third opportunity is to incorporate wikis into the educational process. In the Spring semester
of 2008, 27 students in a business class at Creighton University and 25 students in a theology
class at Boston College contributed to the Ignatian Wiki. The course at Creighton was titled
“Catholic and Jesuit Perspectives on Work/Life Balance” and students were required to make a
least four edits per week. Students made a wide range of contributions from adding names,
addresses and phone numbers for schools to creation of articles on each of the Superior Generals
of the Society to creation of articles on core principles of Ignatian Spirituality and Catholic
Social Teaching. The course at Boston College was titled “Ignatian Spirituality” and each
student in this theology course developed one article along the lines of a typical term paper.
An additional opportunity is creation of Ignatian Wikis in languages other than English. A
Spanish version was formally created in February 2008 and has thus far attracted visitors from
over 35 countries (see Exhibit 1). Since Jesuits are present in such a wide range of countries,
plans are being made to create additional language wikis over the next year. It is noteworthy that
over 75% of the articles in the various language Wikipedias are in languages other than English.
The most significant challenges with the Ignatian Wiki over the past two years have been
organizational, not technical or development of content. In the United States, each Jesuit school
is an independent legal entity and the Ignatian Wiki represents an attempt to virtually link these
schools, the ten Jesuit provinces, many independent associations (e.g., Association of Jesuit
Colleges and University, Jesuit Secondary Education Association), and dozens of sub-groups
(e.g., Admissions Directors, Library Deans, Campus Ministry Directors, Finance
Administrators). The organizational complexity increases as the site attracts an increasing
number of visitors and content from outside the United States. Tim Muldoon, former Director of
Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century (a Boston College center formed in the wake of the
abuse scandal in Boston) has been on the advisory board of the Ignatian Commons Initiative (the
governing board) for the past two years and has encouraged a lay-led model of collaboration.
The Ignatian Wiki aspires to a position of neutrality and reasoned debate in collaboration with
Jesuits, in contrast to advocacy approaches of lay led Catholic initiatives such as Voice of the
Faithful and Call to Action. Father Tom Smolich, President of the Jesuit Conference, has also
encouraged this collaborative lay-led model and serves on the advisory board, providing an
important liaison between the Ignatian Wiki and the Society of Jesus. The founding document
opens: “The Ignatian Commons Initiative is a lay-led initiative that has the goal of developing a
community of people who work collaboratively with Jesuits to develop free online content to
support Catholic and Jesuit identity.” The community-collaboration-content sequence is
important -- content will follow if the first two are in place.
A second challenge has been developing a financial model to support development of the site.
The current hosting and bandwidth costs are minor (under $100 per year) and the current shared
hosting site can handle an increase of about 100 times the storage and bandwidth without an
increase in hosting fees. In October 2007, the Jesuit Conference considered a funding request
but declined funding, primarily because they want the site and initiative to be led-led and
independent of the Society of Jesus. While significant funding is currently not needed, if the
Ignatian Wiki experiences the type of exponential growth that Wikipedia has had over the past
seven years, the hosting costs could become substantial (about 60% of Wikipedia’s planned
spending for 2007-2008 of $4.6 million is for technical costs). Possible funding approaches are
to use Wikipedia’s individual donation approach (although it recently received a $3 million grant
from the Sloan Foundation), to request donations from colleges, high schools, and parishes, to
request funding from existing associations, and/or to use a non-profit sponsorship model.
A third challenge is developing accurate content and keeping the site free of vandalism. The
wiki model will always be subject to people contributing inaccurate content and it should never
be relied on as a sole and authoritative source. However, I have seen a very significant change in
the attitude toward Wikipedia within academia since early 2006, with academics being less able
to dismiss it as the quality of the articles has increased and as Wikipedia increasingly shows up
in the Top 10 results for most searches on Google. The best defense against vandalism and
inaccuracy is the creation of a community of contributors who create and monitor content, who
help develop policies and guidelines for the community, and who develop software and human
monitoring tools to catch and quickly remove vandalism. The Ignatian Wiki requires users to
create an account and have a valid e-mail address before they can edit (in contrast to Wikipedia,
which allows anonymous editing). While the potential for vandalism is always present, there
have been not yet been any discovered incidents of vandalism on the Ignatian Wiki.
In summary, the Ignatian Wiki demonstrates the potential of a wiki to develop free online
resources to support Catholic and Jesuit identity. The challenge now is to grow the community
of contributors and to expand and improve the quality of the content.
Exhibit 1: Growth of English and Spanish Ignatian Wikis
John F.S. Bunch
Benedictine College in Transition
Benedictine College, founded in 1865, is a four-year Catholic, liberal arts, residential college
located in Atchison, Kansas. In fulfilling its mission to educate men and women in “a
community of faith and scholarship,” it leads students toward academic excellence in an
atmosphere that welcomes them into a caring, supportive and familial environment inspired and
shaped by 1500 years of the Benedictine religious tradition. The college's commitment to the
development of the individual within community provides our students with the principles,
knowledge and skills for a life of learning, leadership and service, "that in all things God may be
In the last 10 years college enrollment has grown from approximately 700 to over 1300 students.
In the Fall of 2007, the college welcomed its largest Freshman class in the last 27 years. This
represents a turnaround of major proportions for a college that was in danger of closing its doors
at one point in the early 90s. What has made the difference?
The President of the College, Steve Minnis, answered that question in a speech to the Center for
Spirit at Work, in Kansas City last Fall. He stated:
I believe that God has blessed our place. That he recognizes the wonderful things that
happen on our blessed campus and He has deemed it a place that should continue. No, it
is never a question of survival, but rather one of demand for excellence, about taking the
next step, to build one of the great Catholic colleges in America.
The last ten years has created a foundation for this vision. In the last ten years our
enrollment has increased 85 percent. The number of applications has more than doubled,
we have built a Student Union, two residence halls — with another on the way — a
football stadium, and a new exercise facility, and we have renovated almost all the
student life space on campus. U.S.News & World Report has recognized us as one of
America’s Best Colleges. The Cardinal Newman Society in their recent publication:
“How to Choose a Catholic College” has recognized us as one of the best Catholic
colleges in America. We have had positive cash flow and balanced budgets for some
time now, and we have the confidence to embark on a fundraising effort to build a new
academic center. We moved from a situation of being desperate for students to having a
waiting list because we simply can not accommodate all of the qualified students who
want a Benedictine College education.
People often ask me what the secret is, what is going on in Atchison, Kansas that would
cause such a comeback, and allow you to dream of building one of the Great Catholic
Colleges in America. Well ten years ago, we didn’t forge ahead with some new fangled
way to educate, or move to an on-line way of education, or do things that, for the time,
might have seen as edgy or modern or new wave. No, we went back to the fundamentals.
We knew to survive and to create an environment that will sustain the college for years to
come; we had to decide who we were. And we looked no further than our mission. From
that point on, and through today, we decided to be a mission-driven institution. Every
decision we made, every thing we do we strive to have it be consistent with our mission.
Our mission is a strong one for us.
The official mission of Benedictine College reads: Heir to the 1,500 years of Benedictine
dedication to learning, the mission of Benedictine College as a Catholic, Benedictine,
liberal arts, residential college is the education of men and women within a community of
faith and scholarship.
We often refer to the four pillars of our mission. These four pillars are that we are a
Catholic, Benedictine, Liberal Arts, and Residential colleges and these pillars support our
mission of education men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.
The mission, vision, and values of the College are incorporated into the college's educational
curriculum through current requirements that students who graduate from Benedictine College
take nine credit hours of religious studies and nine credit hours of philosophy which emphasize
the ideas of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. The general exposure of all Benedictine College
students to ethical issues, therefore, reflects an emphasis on character and virtue ethics, as
expressed by these two classical scholars and the traditions of Catholic social justice as presented
by the Papal Encyclicals (e.g., Rerum Novarum - On the Condition of the Working Classes,
Laborem Exercens - On Human Work, Centesimus annus -. On The Hundredth Anniversary Of
Rerum Novarum).
Leadership and Business Education at Benedictine College
The approach to business education at Benedictine College directly reflects a strong commitment
to the college mission and vision. It is expressed directly in three different program areas.
Catholic Social Teaching and Outreach: While not directly associated with the Business
Department, Campus Ministry and Student Life are committed to service learning and outreach
experiences. FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students founded at Benedictine
College in 1998 – is an active student organization. Campus Ministry has recently sponsored
trips to New Orleans, and El Salvador as well as many local volunteer efforts throughout the
Atchison and Kansas City area. The BC Hunger Coalition works to provide food to needy
families through the distribution of meals that students have donated and sponsors a reading
program in the local schools.
The Economics Department, with the sponsorship of IPEAR (see below) revised its curriculum
to incorporate Catholic Social Teaching through its course offerings three years ago. One
expression of this project is RS370 Catholic Social Teaching which is co-taught by a Economics
Professor and a Theology Professor. Both review and provide their particular insights of the
meaning and application of the encyclicals, particularly Rerum Novarum, Laborem Exercens,
and Centesimus annus, to professional practice and economic life. There is also an annual Social
Justice week on campus where speakers come to discuss social justice issues and Catholic Social
The Leadership Program “Building Future Leaders of the World” The goal of this program is to
provide every student who attends Benedictine College the opportunity to develop leadership
skills and a ‘servant leadership’ philosophy that is based on the Rule of St. Benedict and Catholic
traditions. Two classes are incorporated into the program, Introduction to Leadership and Team
Leadership where the Rule of St. Benedict is specifically presented and discussed. The major
focus of this effort, however, is outside the academic curriculum. Examples of leadership
training experiences that have been offered by the Leadership Program include: (1) the 21 day
BC Leadership Seminar – an intensive leadership training offered by Student Life and the
Athletic Leadership Seminar. Both of these programs are based on the Benedictine Rule.
The Institute for Professional Ethics and Responsibiliy – IPEAR: The Institute for Professional
Ethics and Responsibility (IPEAR) was founded in 2004. At that time, while departments with
close relationships to professional groups (e.g. Mass Communication, Education, Business) had
courses that addressed disciplinary issues of compliance and ethics; a programmatic, college
wide approach to teaching applied ethics did not exist. IPEAR was created to develop an
integrated applied ethics program based on Catholic Social Teaching and the Benedictine
tradition which would extend the examination of ethical issues beyond the theoretical models
presented and discussed in the College's philosophy and theology courses.
While there are a growing number of academic articles examining the implications of the
Catholic Tradition for the teaching of Business and/or managerial ethics, discussions of the Rule
of St. Benedict and the Benedictine tradition in this context are relatively rare. A few books
have been written about using the Rule as a source of inspiration and insight for Leadership and
Management (see attached reference list) but these fail to explore how the Rule and the
Benedictine Tradition have a unique position within Catholic Social Teaching and can form the
basis for a bridge between virtue-as-character and ethical practices. In addition, the Benedictine
emphasis on principles of worshipful work, discipline, obedience and subsidiarity, as well as
human dignity/hospitality heighten aspects of CST that are directly relevant to applied ethics and
professional practices.
These elements are incorporated into the IPEAR Teaching Framework which is outlined below.
Examples of the use of this framework that will be discussed in the expanded paper include: an
Ethical Decision Making course for high school students, (2) BA455 Business Ethics in the
Business curriculum, and (3) a Continuing Education course for Insurance Industry
Finally, the expanded paper will conclude with a discussion of the BC experience implementing
the IPEAR Teaching Framework across the curriculum. The most significant challenges, from
our experience, have been gaining support from the college community, and lack of knowledge,
acceptance, or a common interpretation of CST and/or the core ethical principles associated with
virtue ethics in the Benedictine academic community.
Key elements of the IPEAR Professional Ethics Teaching Framework
Catholic Social Teaching. – The tenants of Catholic Social Teaching that are emphasized in
the teaching framework are Solidarity, Community and the Common Good, and the Dignity
of the Human Person.
The Rule of St. Benedict. - This section will review how the Rule has been applied to work
and professional practices as well as key aspects of the Benedictine tradition.
Work as Professional Practice
Virtue Ethics - the Aspirations approach to Applied Ethics will be presented here. This idea
suggests that virtue ethics can be used to provide images of exemplary individuals and
organizations which serve as the basis for guiding behavior.
Sample course outline.
Weeks 1-4 Foundations
o What it means to be “moral”
o What it means to be “professional”
o Professional as a state of mind not a particular occupation
o Catholic and Benedictine traditions
Weeks 5-8 Virtue Ethics
o Character and the concept of Virtue
o The Cardinal (Aristotle) and Christian (Aquinas) Virtues
o Presentation/Discussion of virtuous hero/heroine stories
o Individual aspirational statements of virtuous living
o The importance of habits and habit development
o Self improvement project
Weeks 9-12 Discipline Aspirations and Professional Virtues
o Presentation/discussion of published lists of Discipline specific virtues
o Institutional Virtues
o Contributions of Discipline related institutions to the Common Good
DERIVED from Foundation concepts
o Discipline specific codes of ethics and conduct
o Comparison of existing standards to the derived institutional virtues
Weeks 12-15 Applications and Conclusions
o Discipline Specific Issues
o Project Presentations
Dr. Michael Russell
Many business programs are housed in Catholic colleges and universities associated with a
variety of traditions. These traditions include the Benedictine, Jesuit, Franciscan and many
others. This paper is designed to examine whether business programs in colleges and
universities associated with the Franciscan tradition reflect that tradition in ways that are unique.
In the spring semester, 2008, a survey was sent to faculty members who taught business classes
in Franciscan colleges and universities. The list of schools was obtained from an article by
Kevin Godfrey that appeared in the AFCU Journal in January, 2005. In the article, Godfrey
identified the following Franciscan colleges and universities in the United States:
• Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
• University of St. Francis
• Viterbo University,
• Cardinal Stritch University
• Lourdes College
• Madonna College
• Marian College
• Quincy University,
• St. Francis College,
• Hilbert College
• Neumann College
• Siena College
• Alvernia College
• Felician College
• St. Bonaventure University
An examination was made of the web site for each school to compile a list of faculty who could
be identified as teaching business classes. The result yielded a compiled list of 150 faculty
members from the various institutions.
Each faculty member was then sent a survey instrument that requested faculty members to rate
the extent to which Franciscan values reflected their teaching, advisement, service and
scholarship. In addition, each faculty member was asked for specific examples of Franciscan
values that were reflected in teaching, advisement, scholarship and service. A copy of the survey
instrument in included as appendix A. The survey was structured using the categories with which
faculty are normally evaluated. That is, the survey was broken in to the categories of teaching,
advisement, research and service. Specifically, each person was requested to (1) describe the
extent to which these activities are influenced by Franciscan values and (2) identify any specific
examples used that reflect these values. As an inducement to increase participation, each faculty
was offered to see the results of the study. Fifty-one faculty members responded to the survey for
a response rate of approximately 33 percent.
The first area examined was the category of teaching. The responses to the first question are
presented in Table 1. The actual count for each response is presented below.
Table 1
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as a teacher…
Very Much
Not at all
(2) n = 51
It appears that the majority of faculty members responding to the survey felt that Franciscan
values influence their teaching. When asked to provide specific examples of how Franciscan
values are reflected in their role as a teacher, a wide range of examples were provided. These
ranged from leading students in prayer to begin and end lectures to an open admission that they
did not know what “Franciscan values” were. The actual responses are presented in Appendix 2.
The second area examined was the category of scholarship. The responses to the second
question in the survey are presented in Table 2. The actual count for each response provided is
presented below.
Table 2
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as a scholar…
Very Much
Not at all
(5) n = 51
Compared to teaching, it appears there is less emphasis placed on Franciscan values when
applied to research. However, the results suggest that many teachers do reflect Franciscan values
when pursuing research. When asked to provide specific examples of how Franciscan values are
reflected in their role as a researcher, again, a wide range of examples were provided. The
responses ranged from choice of readings and how to frame issues to studies that explored the
effect of Franciscan values in modern society.
The actual responses are presented in Appendix 3.
The third area examined was advisement. The responses to the third question in the survey are
presented in Table 3. The actual count for each response provided is presented below.
Table 3
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as an advisor…
Very Much
Not at all
(1) n = 51
Similar to the responses for teaching, it appears significant emphasis is placed on Franciscan
values when applied to advisement. However, the results suggest that many teachers do reflect
Franciscan values when advising students. When asked to provide specific examples of how
Franciscan values are reflected in their role as an advisor, many respondents had specific
examples. The responses had a central theme of “caring for students.” The actual responses are
presented in Appendix 4.
The fourth area examined was service. The responses to the fourth question in the survey are
presented in Table 4. The actual count for each response provided is presented below.
Table 4
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my service (community, school and profession)
Very Much
Not at all
(1) n = 51
Franciscan values appear to influence many faculty members when providing service to their
community, school or profession. Many faculty who answered this question pointed to service
trips, participation in community organizations, volunteerism in a variety of organizations and
providing examples for students. The actual responses to the open ended question is presented in
Appendix 5.
Although no definition was provided to the respondents for “Franciscan Values,” many faculty
perceive they are reflecting those values in their roles as teachers, researchers, advisors and
members of the communities they serve. It is interesting to note that the responses were
relatively consistent among respondents when classified by length of service and rank. The
specific results for these are provided in Appendix 6.
The results from this initial survey are not intended to define Franciscan values or suggest the
activities that fit within the meaning of Franciscan values. Instead, this study is intended to
begin a discussion of how we can distinguish our programs from other schools, public and
private, which operate under different guiding philosophies. This study is limited in that it only
examined colleges and universities associated with the Franciscan tradition. In the future, it
would be interesting to expand the study to compare how other traditions guide and inform
faculty at various institutions.
Appendix 1 Survey of the Integration of Franciscan Values in Faculty Performance
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as a teacher…
Very Much
Not at all
Examples of how Franciscan values are reflected in my role as a teacher:
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as a scholar…
Very Much
Not at all
Examples of how Franciscan values are reflected in my role as a scholar:
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my activities as an advisor…
Very Much
Not at all
Examples of how Franciscan values are reflected in my role as an advisor:
The extent to which Franciscan values influence my service (community, school and profession)
Very Much
Not at all
Examples of how Franciscan values are reflected in my service to the community, profession and
Demographic Information
Name: ______________________________________________
College/University: ____________________________________
Department: __________________________________________
Academic Rank:
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Other: __________________________
Number of years employed at your College/University _______
Please return this survey to Dr. Michael Russell, St. Bonaventure University, in the envelope
Mario Molteni and Frank Cinque
The context
ALTIS was born three years ago at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Catholic
University of the Sacred Heart, in Milan Italy. UCSC, in virtue of its being the expression of
the Italian Catholic people, plays a special role in the Italian academic system
Founded in 1921 by Father Agostino Gemelli and legally recognized by the Italian state on
October 2nd, 1924, UCSC is the largest private university in our country with fourteen faculties
and five campuses: Milan, the original and the largest; Rome, dedicated principally to Medicine,
with the Policlinico Gemelli, best known as the Pope’s Hospital; Brescia and Piacenza-Cremona
in the North; and Campobasso in the South. In Italy, apart from USCS, there are only a few other
very small Catholic universities.
Until 2005 UCSC did not have a postgraduate school for business. It offered only a series of
postgraduate courses proposed by various professors on an individual base. This is due in part to
the fact that Italy does not possess a long standing tradition of graduate business schools. There
are only a few in the country. The leading Italian business school and the only one to be
classified in the international rankings, SDA Bocconi, like UCSC, is located in Milan. Its
proximity plays and important role in the unfolding of ALTIS’s strategy.
The ideas at the origin of ALTIS
During his first mandate (2002-2006) our University President, Prof. Lorenzo Ornaghi,
implemented a strategy for the development of postgraduate education. It was in this context
that I decided to submit a proposal for a new initiative in the business education field that took
advantage of my research and teaching experience in strategy, business values and corporate
social responsibility.
The idea was not to launch a new generalist business school (too dangerous considering the
strength and proximity of our above mentioned competitor), but to structure an original initiative
characterized by:
the expression of the University’s and my Catholic identity;
the positing of CSR and sustainability as the pivotal while not exclusive issue;
an orientation toward the international arena especially in regards to emerging countries;
the combining of ideas and action;
a strategy of incremental growth.
I would like to explain these five elements.
1. A Dynamic Catholic Identity
A small group of friends and colleagues and I were strongly motivated to create an institute that
could express our Christian identity in the field in which we had been working for many years.
Although our notions were only roughly formulated, we were confident that our faith could be
the source of a positive experience in management education and research, providing an
hospitable environment for the student and a catalyst for the development of knowledge.
Regarding business education, we posed a question that also contained an implicit goal: How
can we help our students to be glad to be Christian and how can to increase in them the desire to
live this identity in the work world?
To best begin to answer this question it is necessary to understand what I learnt and I’m learning
in my Christian experience. I’d like to recall two quotes that form the basis of our methodology:
“People are not so much moved by words as they are struck by a presence” 14;
“You can not adhere to something that asks of you a sacrifice if you are motivated by an
abstract preconception: you adhere to something rather out of the force of attraction it
has(…). We need to discover, therefore, in our education, the way of perceiving, bringing to
fulfillment and affirming the attraction of that which is proposed to us. Only if what is
proposed to us is attractive can we take it seriously”15.
I recently found the same accent in Benedict XVI’s first Encyclical Letter: “Being Christian is
not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which
gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”16.
What does it mean for a business school?
First of all it’s important to understand what it is not. It is not important not to reduce the
Christian identity to an ethical appeal. Frequently the Christian orientation of a Business school
is understood as an emphasis on ethics, honesty, transparency, anti-corruption policies, etc.
While important, these elements are not sufficient to convince. They do not move. “The
Christian faith is a subversive and surprising way to live the ordinary”17. It is from this
experience that a man learns the value of honesty and rectitude for himself and others.
Our desire is that the student understand that to live the Christian faith makes life more human,
even within all the limits that we inevitably have. This is a very challenging task, and here I have
identified some crucial ingredients:
1. It is fundamental that the group of people promoting the school are sincerely committed to
living the catholic experience. Only with this group can one hope to create an organizational
culture and the style;
2. It is important to underline that more than the testimony of the single person (professor or
staff member), it is the friendship and unity among this group that constitutes the first and
most effective sign of the School’s Christian identity18;
It’s the Italian exergue of L. Giussani, Is It Possible to Live This Way? An Unusual Approach to Christian
Experience. Volume 1: Faith. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008.
L. Giussani, L’uomo e il suo destino. In cammino, p, 153, Marietti 1820, Genova, 1999.
Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1.
L. Giussani, Dall’utopia alla presenza, p. 330, Rizzoli, Milano, 2006.
Cfr. Gv 17.
3. If this nucleus is present, it can welcome the contribution of other people, even those very far
from Christian faith, creating an open and welcoming environment. Those welcomed in their
turn can be “infected” by the existing climate, a climate which is open to all.
4. A portion of the faculty must share the same ideal of those promoting the school. It is up to
this core group of faculty to involve other professors who might have different cultural
orientation. It is the responsibility of that group of faculty to guarantee students a learning
experience that reflects the ideal of the school while being open to other contributions that
can enrich knowledge and increase the critical debate;
5. Research activities have to be developed studying both the principle issues connected to the
mission of the school as well as the most current topics of specific managerial disciplines.
Without research it is not possible to communicate a knowledge that is perceived as
“experienced” by the people who teach;
6. The ideal shared by the core group of faculty must be present throughout the contents of the
course offering. It is a structural dimension of every subject and not an added exhortation or
isolated in a specific course. In other words, the challenge becomes the mainstreaming of the
ideal within the contents of the maximum number of courses. In some courses this will bring
about the identification of new and original responses to traditional problems while, in other
cases it will simply be able to pose the proper managerial questions;
7. The involvement in our courses of entrepreneurs and manager who explain their attempts to
create a competitive and responsible enterprise is essential. They have the task to
demonstrate that it’s possible to manage a successful firm while placing the priority on the
person (first of all employees, customer and local citizens);
8. Administrators (tutors, placement managers, accommodation coordinators, etc.) are as
important as professors. They demonstrate, in action, the level of importance that we place
on our students;
9. Given these conditions, specific courses regarding Catholic Social Doctrine, subsidiarity in
the economic system, social entrepreneurship and so on become particularly interesting. The
mistake would be to hope that from these courses could the source of the Christian
orientation of a learning project. Words cannot create a new way of thinking and therefore a
new generation of entrepreneurs and managers. The Church is a life and a life that educates
people in a persuasive (attractive) way while words are a tool (very important, indeed) of
this life. It is through experience that a person can be touched in the deepest of his/her
interests and motivation. A pure discourse can not make a difference in the lives of our
students, instead a true learning experience has the potential to significantly influence our
students perspective when confronting business management issues on a global scale;
10. The possibility of offering to alumni an ongoing connection with the school where reciprocal
help on the job, opportunity for cultural development and the stimulus to serve the ideal are
Summarizing, ALTIS doesn’t want to be known as “the Catholic Business School in Italy”, but
as a modern and open school of management in which a group of Christian people strive to
make their contribution. Our desire is that whoever approaches ALTIS is provoked by the
following question: Why are these people is so positive, enthusiastic, responsible? The only
answer will have to be: “Because they are Catholic!”. “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize
Mt 7, 20.
2. CSR and sustainability as pivotal
ALTIS’ mission statement reads “Entrepreneurship and management for sustainable
development”. I would like to briefly discuss the each element of our mission.
First of all “sustainable development”. I know that this term (as well as Corporate Social
Responsibility – CSR) can be ambiguous. Sometimes this label can disguise business practices
that are very far from the Christian culture. At the same time, I think that speaking only in terms
of Catholic Social Thought (CST) teaching risks being unable to reach those otherwise open to
the values it promotes. For us the language of sustainable development becomes the vehicle
through which (also explicitly) we express these principal ideas of CST:
a strong commitment to the value of managing enterprises as a mean to contribute to the
common good;
the centrality of the person in managing an organization;
the emphasis on the value of human freedom. Of course people in organizations operate
under many constraints, but within these constraints there is always a degree of freedom
which allows for creativity and innovation.
Entrepreneurship is also very important. If the faith is the fruit of an encounter that renews
life, creativity will precede correctness! Faith is capable of generating new ways of being and
doing business, new ways of ordering relationships between owners, employees, suppliers,
customers and community.
As a consequence, ALTIS promotes innovation in businesses in order to simultaneously foster
competitive advantages and meet the ever growing social and environmental needs of
stakeholders. We want to develop an orientation to foster what we call a socio-competitive
synthesis: “In order to satisfy legitimate social expectations, we need to answer this question:
can we satisfy social expectations by integrating them into corporate strategy, i.e. making them a
means to corporate development? By searching for an answer to this question, we have already
started on the path towards social-competitive synthesis. This is an innovative means of replying
to expectations from one or more groups of stakeholders going beyond legal obligations, giving
life to a solution that contributes to maintaining competitiveness and long-term success. This
strategy can affect the whole of the corporation, one of its specific strategies, or one specific
function or process”.
The term Management wishes to affirm the value of the managerial knowledge and techniques
that are useful in order to reach both corporate and social objectives. In this sense efficiency and
productivity are considered potential allies and not adversaries of sustainable development.
I mentioned that CSR and sustainability are the pivotal themes of ALTIS, but our activity is not
limited to that issue. Over the past 3 ½ years, as I will present in point 4, and deriving from its
core reflections, ALTIS has incrementally developed other areas of interest and expertise. We
now have 5 divisions, each of which produce research projects and courses:
Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability. The Division considers CSR as a
constitutional element of the company’s strategy. For the top-management, attention to CSR
implies both improvement of company’s performance and sensitivity to social and
environmental problems. The “CSR & Environment” Division develops research and training
projects using a network of relationships with Italian companies and foreign centers of
Italy & New Markets. In today’s global economy new countries are becoming key worldwide
players. China, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and Africa represents
an attractive competitive arena for European companies. In such a context, offering training
courses to Italian and foreign managers the Division aims at contributing to the Italian
companies’ development in large emerging markets and opening access to foreign companies
interested in European market. In this division courses are taught in both English and Italian;
SMEs & Industrial Districts. Small and medium size enterprises and industrial districts form
a significant part of the Italian economy. This Division has two objectives: to strengthen the
competitiveness of this Italian heritage, and to make this distinctive Italian experience an
example of sustainable business growth in developing countries. The Division manages
several initiatives overseas in collaboration with foreign universities and institutions;
Public & Non Profit. This Division operates as a centre of research and study on advanced
topics concerning public administrations and not-for-profit organizations (associations,
foundations, NGOs, cooperatives, charitable organizations, religious organizations) operating
in the fields of culture, social assistance, education, religion, environment, academic research
and international cooperation. It is our strict belief that profit and non profit organizations,
even if they had different priorities, are both at the service of the common good and can find
areas of collaboration;
Finance and development. This Division is the most recent. It focuses on issues such as:
finance for start up and for the growth of SMEs, micro credit, micro insurance, and
transparency in financial markets.
As you can easily understand, the contents of the divisions are tightly intertwined and are
ordered around the principles of sustainable development and the synergies that exist between
Business and Society.
3. International orientation
From its inception an international orientation has been absolutely fundamental for our School.
This is first of all imposed by the economic environment. Italian business activity has been
severely affected by elements of global competition and the small business fabric that makes up
the strength of its economy faces complicated challenges. Facilitating Italian business in its
comprehension and interaction with international players by forming young people capable of
accepting the challenges of operating in the global economy represents an important contribution
that the University can make toward strengthening the Italian business community.
By its emphasis on emerging countries, ALTIS sees its mission as the imparting of business
competencies to students from developing markets in a way that goes beyond the model of
simple economic assistance. By providing both professional expertise and business contacts to
students from disadvantaged countries ALTIS aims at creating those conditions in which the
poor can access development. and economic growth. By placing Italian companies in direct
contact with students from emerging markets, ALTIS hopes to be an agent of positive
international growth for Italian and European business, offering them competent professionals
capable of bridging the gap between the old world and new opportunities.
4. Combination of ideas and action
We are at the beginning of our history, but since the beginning it has been our desire to see the
advent of new initiatives. It constitutes a value added for our students (and for us) to be able to
aid the start up of new ventures able to combine both financial and social performance.
We started the “Social Project Exchange”, the first structure of its kind in Italy, aimed at
developing mutually beneficial partnerships between for-profit and not for profit organizations.
We are trying to help some of our African student to launch their own business in their home
country. For this we utlilize our database of business and non profit organization contacts.
Together with important business schools in the US and Europe this year we will be the Italian
promoter of an international award recognizing the best social business ventures.
We run observatories, that allow us to develop stable relationships with companies and
institutions who might later be invited to participate in other projects. Our four observatories
monitor: a) Ethical Supply Chain Management, b) Public and Industry Association policies that
foster CSR,
c) Sustainability reporting in Italy, d) Responsible Consumer behavior in Italy.
We created an association – the CSR Manager Network Italia – also the first of its kind in Italy,
that has brought together more than 80 sustainability managers from both Italian and
multinational companies operating in Italy. Every year we have six closed door meetings in
which experiences and best practices are exchanged and improved policies are promoted and
fostered inside these companies.
This action orientation is a strength of our School and we hope that it is proof of our Christian
passion for a better world.
5. The incremental strategy
From the beginning it was very clear that the profile of our School could not be immediately and
precisely defined, nor could it immediately possess all of the characteristics which would have
been ideal. We had to started out on a path of incremental growth. The resources developed can
be divided into four categories:
human resources. At the beginning we did not have a large number of professors that shared
the intent of the “entrepreneurial” team. Slowly, the number of these professors is growing. It
takes time to encounter colleagues who are sensitive to the mission of the school; and it takes
more time to train young research scholars who are both good professionals and posses
mature Christian personalities. From a cultural point of view this is very important. Gradual
growth allows for both the creation of an ecumenical team and a strong core group;
knowledge resources. We live immersed in a culture that isn’t Christian. So we know that
much time is necessary before a Christian presence might give rise to management concepts
and an economic system. The method is not to deduce abstract ideas from CST. Our task is to
be present in this world, inside it, confident that solutions will emerge in time. It is not a
problem of our generation alone, but of the streams of generations to come. The method is to
establish our identity and the rest will come20;
financial resources. Our university gave us the facilities but not the money to start. So we had
to find external funds (foundations), paid research projects, and courses paid by participants;
reputational resources. To develop our strategy – both in the international market and in the
context of the Italian economic system – it’s necessary to possess a good brand. Surely, the
brand of UCSC was fundamental at the beginning and is fundamental now, but for the
development of the ALTIS brand it is necessary to build its reputation through the
effectiveness of our projects and intense communication activities.
We are fond of this incremental approach because it forces us to pay a great deal of attention to
experience. Alexis Carrell wrote: “A few observation and much reasoning lead to error; many
observations and a little reasoning to truth”21.
Our Initial Masters programs
In closing I would like to spend a few word on our MBA program entitled “New Markets &
In 2005, our first Master’s program was born of a request from the Prefect of the Congregation
for the Evangelization of Peoples. The request made to our University was to launch a “Master’s
in Management for Growth and Development” for Catholic students from Africa. The President
of the Catholic University of Milan assigned the task to ALTIS. The program was hosted in a
beautiful facility belonging to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in
Castelgandolfo, close to the Pope’s summer residence. This project was completed in
collaboration with Urbaniana University (Rome) which provided the theological and moral
content. Much of what we gained from that unique experience is reflected in the previous points.
This first Master program was an attempt to move from a model of economic assistance to a
model of empowerment, forming future business leaders who could become agents for economic
development for their countries. What we found was, while this might still bear out to be true, in
the short run many of these students were also very attractive to Italian companies who were
operating or who had intentions of operating in the students’ country of origin. The Master “New
Markets and Europe” was born of this experience. We opened the recruitment to all emerging
markets and we actively promoted the program to Italian firms. In its first year we received over
160 applications and the response from business has been overwhelming. We are currently
hosting 33 students form 16 different countries, each of whom will soon do an internship in an
Italian firm interested in doing business with the student’s country of origin.
Other elements that testify to our common mission and to the quality and the originality of our
programs include:
“Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be given to you”, Mt 6, 33.
Alexis Carrel, Reflections on life, Hawthorn Books; [1st American ed.] edition (1953).
Important alliances with other Catholic business schools in India and Brasile;
The work with a non profit organization “Famiglia per l’Accoglienza”, a group of Catholic
families open to hosting foster children and young people. These families hosted 18 of our
foreign (some non Christian) students thus helping to lower costs and aiding the student’s
cultural integration. But most importantly this helps us to offer a more complete Catholic
educational experience;
Visiting professors from Catholic Universities from Europe and around the world;
The presence in the classroom of social entrepreneurs and business people.
Conclusion: The contribution of the International Network to the start up of new Catholic
Business School
From a strategic point of view, a group of mission-driven Catholic Business schools can reach an
extraordinary competitive advantage as compared to any given single institution.
I would like to suggest some directions that could be relevant for ALTIS and, I’d imagine, for
those Catholic business schools of recent origin in emerging countries:
The research of cases of entrepreneurs and managers (Catholic or not) that offer examples of
the combining of social and corporate objectives;
The invitation of visiting professors from established Catholic Universities from US and
around the world, to contribute to the formation of both business students and research
The opportunity for PhD students and young scholars to study and operate in an established
business school, to share knowledge, cultural orientation, methods and hypothesis;
The creation of summer programs for the exchange of students;
The launch of a double degree programs (or similar) that increase value for students.
In conclusion, as management scholars we know that trust is a primary building block for the
creation of competitive advantage.
We think that our common faith can be the foundation for reciprocal trust and for cooperation in
a spirit of gratuitous friendship. This can be a unique opportunity to both enhance our
competitiveness with regards to other business school and to form Christian business leaders
who desire to work for a better world.
Hellen A. Bandiho
Catholic universities are a new phenomenon in the East African region particularly in Tanzania.
Therefore, business schools within these universities face challenges of newness in addition to
living the Catholic mission and identity. Enrolment for survival, recruiting, hiring and educating
for a mission as well as opting for the poor and the marginalized in the midst of creating new
universities are issues discussed in this paper. Experiences lived by the Tanzanian Catholic
University may be a lens through which we can learn the challenges faced by newly founded
Catholic universities in the region. A call for partnership in the midst of these interesting
growths of Catholic universities and their business schools is extended.
Catholic schools excel in quality at secondary school levels in Tanzania and the same quality is
expected in higher education. Quality of education in this country, in the midst of university
creations and expansions is indeed a challenge. This paper highlights issues and challenges faced
by business schools within newly developed Catholic Universities. Business schools within
these universities face double challenges --- challenges of newness and their ability to
demonstrate their Catholic mission while the universities in which they belong to and from
which they draw the Catholic identity and mission are still struggling for survival --- and
understandably leaving what makes these universities Catholic second in priority.
The quality of university education in Tanzania is controlled by state organs. Thus, as far as
quality of the programs is concerned, there is a legal framework in place. The key issue for
individual institutions, such as Catholic universities is what can add value to the education they
offer. Catholic Higher Education mission which is centered on a human person and not mere
money-making is fundamental. The Catholic mission for higher education is therefore an
opportunity for Catholic universities in Tanzania to make a difference in business. This addedvalue-type of education, in which people are served with Christ’s vision and love, will make our
new Catholic universities and business schools unique and valuable.
Business School’s Challenges of our times
Social justice issues are part of business and business schools. Corruption, which is a major
obstacle in Tanzania’s economic development, abject poverty, child labor by businesses, unfair
economic trade agreements, and environmental pollution by major businesses are but a few
examples in which business education ought to give direction to future business leaders. Poor
working conditions, salaries that do not meet people’s basic needs, and the negligence of
companies that produce hazardous products, are some of the many social issues which should be
a concern of businesses and business schools in Tanzania and Africa. Business schools within
African Catholic universities are challenged also to support students from economically poor
families while the number of their alumnus willing and able to support their former universities
is still in its infant stage.
Business educators and their students have much to learn from the institutional failures, frauds,
and past business immoral decisions. They should be able to point out injustices that are
encountered at Marerani, Kahama, or Geita mines in Tanzania. My university, SAUT, (the first
Catholic university in Tanzania founded in 1998) is located on the West of Tanzania, a region
rich in mineral resources. These minerals are currently being extensively explored and investors
from around the world have been invited to invest in this industry. Unfortunately, mining
presents an environment that can accelerate the lack of human rights. Inadequate compensation
to those whose property was taken, marginalization of small miners, poor working conditions,
inadequate salaries and benefits and various forms of social injustices, are just a few of the
attacks on fundamental human rights.
Catholic University education in Tanzania should support research and transmit information that
enable the Tanzanian society to see the wrong doing in killing elderly women and albinos (as it
is the case in Tanzania) for personal benefits or paying a pittance to people working in private
sectors and at people’s homes. Responding to such issues will indeed be representing the
Catholic Social Thought (CST). Researches we direct and do, should be geared towards making
the world a better place for all inhabitants not for a few individuals. We are educating future
business managers and future influential business leaders. The education we offer to them must
help them to understand their reality and must reveal its moral context.
Catholic universities are positioned to prepare lawyers, engineers, economists and future
business people well grounded in Catholic Social Thought concepts. Areas in which human
rights are being neglected should be our business in both our teaching and scholarship. We ought
to defend such people who cannot defend themselves (Option for the poor!). Catholic
universities should be voices for the voiceless. They should become living institutional witnesses
to Christ and his message and they must do so in the context of the very real problems of their
societies and economies.
A Catholic University, as any university, exists to serve human society. It is an extension of its
service to the Church and an instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for the
society. The bias in favor of the underprivileged defines a Catholic University and differentiates
it from other universities. It has been a tradition and rightly so for Catholic schools to open arms
to the poor and the marginalized. In the case of Tanzania the poor and marginalized may include
the orphans, mainly due to AIDS, women whose education has been neglected for a long time,
and students from very poor families particularly those from rural areas. Should these students be
denied a chance to be educated and an opportunity to escape the poverty cycle? How can the
tradition of supporting the marginalized be enhanced at a university which is also struggling to
Value added by Catholic Higher Education
A Catholic education orientation in Africa today ought to add value to business education which
is consciously delivered with a focus on the problems that prevent the development of African
economies and progress in the eradication of poverty. The common good always exists in the
concrete specifics of the reality of time and place and education for the common good must
reflect this. Catholic Universities have a prophetic role on behalf of social justice, peace and the
marginalized in the society. They need to be that voice. While there are secular and non-secular
universities that do that, Catholic universities should be informed by the Catholic social teaching
Catholic business schools in Tanzania should prepare candidates with integrity; those who are
able to reduce or eradicate siphoning of public funds which is common in this country and in
many African countries. They should be graduates who will increase revenue collection to enable
the financing of social services and facilitation of economic growth. Catholic universities
therefore, should be nurseries for responsible future business leaders. These universities ought to
produce graduates who are capable of processing and translating business policies and making
decisions that favor the poor and the marginalized in this depersonalized world. They should be
candidates who strictly adhere to the transparent administration of tendering and procurement
procedures and those who will provide good leadership in all business and civic endeavors.
Problems that Tanzania faces today could partly be solved if business owners, organizational and
political leaders are people of integrity. Catholic business schools in the region, because they are
private and somewhat insulated from societal pressures and because they are grounded in
Catholic values, are uniquely positioned to play an active role in the alleviation of these evils.
Catholic business schools particularly in Tanzania are therefore challenged to develop programs
that create awareness on how corruption harms the economy, curriculums that are relevant to the
African environment. The African society is in dire need of graduates who will ultimately
transform the fabric and values of society. It is the responsibility of Catholic business schools in
Tanzania to advance business to a respectable level and reverse a trend of business
mismanagement and corruption.
Students’ enrolment for the mission
Student enrolment is observed on all university campuses in Tanzania. Enrolment at St.
Augustine University of Tanzania for example in 2002/2003 was about 400 students and
currently (2007/2008) enrolment is 4067 students. This is an increase of almost 1000% in just
five years. This academic year the Faculty of Business Administration has 1592 students in
different business programs which represent 39% of University population. Similar increasing
trends are observed in other universities, public as well as private. Much as we applaud these
expansions, it is also a call for serious questions. Are these expansion done in the name of
survival? In most cases they are and it may be rightly so especially in Catholic universities. If not
carefully administered, the end may be dangerous. Thus, if Catholic universities have no other
major claim apart from expanding enrolment, ability to attract many students alone can never
make such universities Catholic. In addition, universities in Tanzania, enroll students from
various backgrounds. Some of our students come from broken families, from very poor families,
and from families headed by children whose parents died of AIDS. If we are serious about the
fate of the future of the people we claim to serve, aggressive formation of the young generation
is a must.
Quality is always at the heart of any education---public or private. Catholic universities are
invited to go a step further. Knowledge of financial accounting as well as management
accounting, cash flow statements and company accounting may enable students to pass CPA
examinations which accredit them to accounting professional boards. While this may perpetuate
the Catholic University quality reputation it may lack the Catholic foundation. If university
education is not grounded in Catholic values such an education may produce students who are
morally limping resulting into scandals we observe today. We need to merge business education
with Catholic values to enable students to see the importance of service, honesty, and integrity
while preparing profit and loss accounts, advertising for a product, creating new business
ventures or negotiating business contracts. Therefore, there is a compelling need to move
beyond a purely technical view of business management and show concern for its ethical
dimension, its impact upon society and the natural environment.
Recruiting, hiring and educating for a mission
Certainly, competence and values are pillars which are both necessary in academic hiring. The
Catholic Church is clear on university teachers and administrators. It calls for recruitment of
teachers and administrators who will promote the Catholic identity. These are Catholics who are
faithful and non Catholics who respect Catholic doctrines and morals in their teaching and
research. In order not to endanger the Catholic identity, Catholic universities are encouraged to
maintain a balance when hiring in that the number of non-catholic teachers should not be
allowed to constitute the majority within the institution which is and must remain Catholic.
However, to get such a mix in newly developed universities in Tanzania, where a few competent
professionals continuously emigrate to ‘greener pastures’ or opt for private business, is still a
It is true that no efforts to bring Catholic Social Thought (CST) to higher education will be
successful unless it is centered on changing the minds and hearts of those who teach the students.
Due to that, formation of faculty becomes the first strategy towards bringing CST to business
School. Without a critical mass of faculty to drive a mission centered business education,
Catholic will be simply in name only and programs cannot represent our identity without
Catholics. We need people of conscience, well prepared people who place their professional
expertise at the service of the society. Does the Catholic University in Africa have sufficient pool
of such candidates? What I see to be lacking in our emerging Catholic Universities are educators
who are immersed in both academic excellence as well as able to demonstrate the Catholic
mission through teaching ‘secular professions’. Most of these universities lack educators who
can pick up a business case study that carry double meanings; teaching quality as well as values.
Catholic universities and their business schools may play a role, for good or for bad, in
influencing the direction of trade in their countries and beyond. They may do that through what
they teach and research. They are a recognized institution that can work with the government to
consolidate and assert the policy position on such negotiations, taking account the political and
economic realities of the countries in which they reside. Catholic university professionals may
suggest ways and policies that will help Africans to stand on their own feet. Indeed, voices of the
Catholic university are able to breed and nurture freedom, justice and human dignity. On the
other hand, if they attempt to teach and research only “value free techniques”, without
consideration of the common good, they can prepare graduates who are corrupt or insensitive to
the needs of the society. We are challenged to prepare such educators for the future of the
African Church.
Recently, SAUT developed an MBA program whose majors are in Accounting, Finance,
Marketing, and Human Resource Management. Through word of mouth, more than 100
candidates applied and 40 were admitted. The challenge was to find the right professors who are
qualified, let alone adherence to the mission. Survey shows that in Tanzania, there are less than
10 PhD holders in Accounting and all are centered in Dar es Salaam --- a city that attracts many
would be teaching candidates. With more than 30 colleges and Universities in the country at
which most of them offer business programs, available professors are very volatile. In such
circumstances, when survival of a business school is at stake due to less competent professors,
religion orientation and Catholic values are likely to come second in priority.
Should Catholics in developing countries wait for 15 or more years to train and form their own
educators before creating indigenous universities while public universities and other Christian
denominations’ universities are mushrooming every year? Since we are all Catholic universities,
isn’t collaboration among Catholic Universities in place at this juncture? Under these
circumstances, what is at risk is moving forward on the academic front while putting the Catholic
on hold. Thus, getting the right balance may be the toughest set of decisions new Catholic
universities face.
Every new venture is a challenge and so are Business Schools within new universities. In
Tanzania and Africa, their newness provides unique opportunities for growth. To become what
the founders envisioned these universities to be requires dedication and adherence to the mission.
The African society needs Catholic education to entangle itself from abject poverty, wars and
corruption. Collaboration among and between Catholic universities will indeed strengthen these
universities and their business schools. We therefore invite all stakeholders in Catholic Higher
Education to be partners and missionaries of our time in the exciting developments of our
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