2021 CJBE Annual Conference

Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
All
Authors: 
Kevin T. Jackson, J.D., Ph.D.

Faith-Based Business Models, Ignatian Spiritual Values and Jesuit Business Ethics Education

ABSTRACT: Faith-based business models proceed from a spiritual conception of humankind. According to such a conception, human persons are fundamentally sacred, soul-possessing beings that are situated in a physical world. Further, from a spiritual perspective, we are understood to harbor both materialistic and non-materialistic drives and motives. For faith-based business models, secular (material) wants and outcomes are, from practical and moral standpoints respectively, mediated within, and evaluated against, deeper spiritual convictions, eternal truths, and sacred commitments. My paper seeks, at the outset, to analyze and compare a set of faith-based innovative business models arising out of various spiritual traditions and situated within diverse socio-economic contexts across the globe. Some of the exemplary models to be examined will include: Mt. Saint Mary’s Abbey (candy factory of Trappistine Sisters in Wrentham, MA); Leket Israel (largest nonprofit food rescue charitable organization in Israel); Economy of Communion (project of the Focolore movement seeking to unite through love of neighbor and humanity); Scott Bader Co., Ltd. (global chemical firm founded upon Quaker Principles, with common ownership/trusteeship); Organic India (certified B-Corp. embracing “vehicle of consciousness” business vision); Mondragon cooperatives (for-profit employee-owned network of firms in Spain); Eye Care System (network of medical facilities, community outreach efforts, factories, and research and training institutes in Southern India); Grameen Bank (microfinance organization and community development bank founded by Muhammad Yunus); and TAHITO Financial Services (indigenous ethical investing firm based on Māori ancestral principles). The ultimate objective of the paper is to explore the points of convergence of such business models — in light of their respective philosophical and religious orientations — with Ignatian spiritual values, and to consider their relevance for the ethical aspirations of contemporary Jesuit business education. In the process, I hope to reflect upon a few perplexing questions such as the following: Is there a meaningful distinction that may be drawn between faith-based versus spiritually-based business models? What is the necessary role, if any, of "faith" within "spirituality"? What is the essence of “faith” in the context of this inquiry? Can faith be taught, in ways that matter for entlightened business, and if so, how? Does faith contribute something essential to the peculiar moral quality captured by faith-based and spiritually-based business models? Are Jesuit business schools especially well-equipped to prepare students for (servant) leadership roles in faith-based enterprises? Select Bibliography Bruni, L and Uelmen, A. (2006). The Economy of Communion Project. Fordham J. Corp. & Fin. L. , 11, 645. Castello, S. and Sharp, A. (2017). Ignatian Business Values and Benefit Corporations: A Countercultural and Revolutionary Theory of the Firm. Jesuit Business Education 8(1), 85-95. Catholic TV Network, Hidden: A Life All for God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntt98rTky-g&t=551s. Gallagher, J. (2014). Communion and Profits: Thinking with the Economy of Communion about the Purpose of Business. Revista Portuguesa De Filosofia, 70(1), 9-27. Goodpaster, K.E. (2011). Goods that are Truly Good and Services that Truly Serve: Reflections on Caritas in Veritate. 100 Journal of Business Ethics 9-16. Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant Leadership. New York: Paulist Press. Hanh, Thich Nhat. (1995). Living Buddha, Living Christ. New York: Riverhead Books. Jackson, K.T. (2016). Economy of Mutuality: Merging Financial and Social Sustainability. 133 Journal of Business Ethics 499-517. Jones, Autumn (2014). The New Brand of Jesuit Universities. The Atlantic (December 30). Kassoy, A., Houlahan, B., and Gilbert, J.C. (2016). Impact Governance and Management: Fulfilling the Promise of Capitalism to Achieve a Shared and Durable Prosperity. Center for Effective Public Management. Brookings Institute: Washington, DC. Pruzan, P. and Mikkelsen, K. (2007). Leading from a Spiritual Basis. Asian Management Review 2(1), 104-112. Sipe, J.W. and Frick, D.M. (2009). Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving. New York: Paulist Press.