"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Business as an Agent of World Benefit

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead[1]

Over time, the main objective of businesses has been to make a profit for their shareholders, sometimes at the expense of other stakeholders. With all the revenues organizations generate today, they have the power and the knowledge to accomplish more than simply making money. With their influence and power, they have what it takes to make the world a better place. This is the essence behind the concept of a business as an agent of world benefit (BAWB).

The center for BAWB brings together individuals from various backgrounds and disciplines to foster ideas of how businesses can use their powerful influence in society in a positive way. It has its home at Case Western Reserve Center University in Cleveland, Wheatherhead School of Management, Ohio. It’s location on a university campus is an advantage the center possesses. The field of management needs to reinvent itself to take into account the new challenges of today’s business world. The teachings of management need to integrate the fact that businesses are also there for the improvement of society.

Ante Glavas, a Ph.D candidate at the university, is the executive director of the center and manager of the upcoming Global Forum 2008. The center is composed of Ph. D. students, professionals and faculty members, partnering organizations, friends of the center and other contributors, who all combine theory and practice within all the disciplines to create more knowledge and solutions to today’s societal problems[2]. It has annual online conferences with people worldwide who discuss and share ideas on topics relating to sustainable development.

The center for BAWB is made up of a world inquiry, an innovation bank, a resource center institute and a research and teaching facilities. Through its global forum, the center for BAWB looks into important topics like social corporate responsibility, business ethics, human rights, community development, fair trade, peace making and many more. Bringing all these elements together is important since they are all part of the concept of constructing a sustainable environment in which businesses and society can grow and positively evolve together. In an era where corporations are often negatively perceived by the society in general, present and future leaders and managers need to be aware of associations such as this one in order to develop their organization for the benefit of the people and their environment.

The leaders, managers and academics of today can come together and share their innovative solutions and ideas which can help other organizations do more for their own organizations and ameliorate its impact on society. Through the appreciative inquiry, ideas are shared, relationships are fostered, and minds mingle together to amplify social good. The center for BAWB also has an innovation bank where every idea and innovation that has helped make a positive change in society is archived and analysed for future references and inspiration. The sharing of ideas and their application will become essential in the future.
The center for BAWB is an innovation in itself and is what the world needs today to overcome the future challenges everyone in society will be facing, from global warming to the quest of eliminating the gap between the rich and the poor.

[1] http://worldbenefit.case.edu/partnerships/, Retrieved July 21, 2007
[2] http://worldbenefit.case.edu/center/about-who.cfm, Retrieved July 21, 2007

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