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Francisco J. Valle, Patricia G. Martinez

Enacting the Inspirational Paradigm: Business as a Force for Good within the U.S. Hispanic Community

A major business, demographic, and economic phenomenon is occurring in the United States as a result of the explosive growth in population and purchasing power of the Hispanic community. However, alongside this growth the U.S. Hispanic community faces uncertainty surrounding immigration policies and the current pandemic, all forces which threatens its economic progress. The Inspirational Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education highlights how many groups are excluded from the benefits of a market economy, and it calls on Jesuit business schools to address these challenges and to build opportunities for positive change. In this vein, we combine principles of demography, including insights into the Hispanic market and key cultural factors, with traditional and innovative strategic, marketing, and management concepts. Additionally, since most research on the Hispanic market has been conducted independently within each discipline, the need exists for integrating this knowledge into a general model of the influence that the U.S. Hispanic community will exert on the future of the United States. Our goal is to present a culturally-grounded model for examining how organizations can genuinely understand the needs of a market segment, while providing a blueprint for how these efforts can lead to gains in the health and economic status of this population. Within these demographic shifts and challenges lie opportunities for educational institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses. We also make the case for how a Jesuit education provides a sustainable advantage because it does not face the type of pedagogical constraints faced by public institutions of higher education. Jesuit institutions are rooted in values that allow colleges of business to focus on the economic progress and wellbeing of disadvantaged and marginalized communities. If indeed Jesuit institutions heed this call, it requires attention to the Hispanic community, the U.S. ethnic/racial group experiencing the lowest level of educational attainment and experiencing the greatest number of COVID-19 cases. According to Dr. Lisa A. Cooper (John Hopkins U) Hispanics are “born into poverty and other adverse circumstances, putting them at risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.” All of these factors have led to this community experiencing the largest number of COVID-19 deaths across all racial and ethnic groups, as well as the greatest drop in life expectancy (3.05 years.) Our goal is to influence administrators, faculty, students, and leaders of Jesuit institutions to consider how Hispanic communities provide opportunities for enacting the Inspirational Paradigm and the Jesuit principles of “Finding God in All Things" and helping people "For the Greater Glory of God." Finally, we conclude with a case study of how a nonprofit hospital, located in a service area with a large Hispanic population, focused on better serving the needs of this community. This initiative required a deep understanding of key cultural factors and demographics in order to reach and connect with the community. Alongside the increased profitability of the facility, quadrupling the market share of Hispanics, was significant progress in the hospital’s community impact, highlighting “business as a force for good.”