A discussion moderated by Dean Krehmeyer, Executive Director, Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics

Visit Biographies for more about presenters

How can partnerships help business in contributing to peace and stability?
One of the often recommended approaches for fostering peace through commerce is a partnership model. Because businesses may not have the expertise or capabilities to know how best to engage in a geographic area, they team with those who can provide them with such insights.

Presentations:
Partnership Approaches to Advancing Business' Contribution to Peace - with NGOs and Employees
Watch the four videos and join the discussion with presenters below.

Norman Bishara, Assistant Professor of Business Law & Business Ethics, and
Cindy Schipani, Professor of Business Law, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

"Complementary Alternative Benefits to Promote Peace " (6:12)

Kimberly Eaason, Director of Strategic Relationships, TransFair USA


"Fair Trade Certification: Good Practice for Business and Increased Prosperity for Developing Communities"
(7:03)

Virginia Haufler, Associate Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland

"New Institutional Models: The Kimberly Process" (6:37)

Michelle Westermann-Behaylo, Doctoral Candidate, George Washington University

"Institutionalizing Peace Through Commerce: The Partnership Dimension" (3:06)

Resources

Discussion: How can partnerships help business in contributing to peace and stability?

1. For the business partnership models presented, what are the unique strengths? Are these models replicable, and what are the hurdles to replicating?
2. Where should the discussion of business partnership models be initiated – is this primarily a management-led issue or a board/governance-led issue? Who could most make positive action happen?
3. Does the partnerships described in the presentations reduce risk? Create value? How would a newly hired MBA-graduate who has participated throughout the “Business Fights Poverty” eConference make the pitch for their company to “get on board”?

Views: 640

Replies to This Discussion

Dean

Thanks a lot for the references! What a goldmine! Is this Ed Freeman, the author of the seminal book "Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach" (1984)? Wow!

Can I trouble you to know how I can lay my hands on Freeman, R. Edward & William Evan (1990). “Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Interpretation." The Journal of Behavioral Economics, 19(4)? I am doing research on corporate directors' duties and have identified that article as a must read. It goes without saying its relevance to the promotion of business responsibility and peace agenda.

Thanks again!

Marilyn Ong Siew Ai
University Malaysia Sarawak
East Malaysia
ong_msa@yahoo.com
I sought to find a copy or link to the "Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Interpretation" you identified, but I was unable to do so, as our research library is not a subscriber to Journal of Behavioral Economics. I did run across another article, recently published and which I have not yet read, which may be of interest: "Stakeholders vs. shareholders in corporate governance" by Alberto Chilosi and Mirella Damiani. The link is at http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2334/

Hope this helps-
Dean
Thanks a lot, Dean! I just printed it out. A good 48 pages read.
In response to question 3......

I wonder if there is a link to both Norman Bishara's and Virginia Haufler's video. What if a company provided additional incentives that were targeted directly at controversial issues in an attempt to create peace or improve the quality of life? For instance, what if a business were to give incentives to its employees that bought hybrid vehicles? Built homes out of non-"blood timber”? Were rewarded for another type of action that would be counter productive to an unethical company or industry? Does anyone know if this is happening at any companies? It may not be as effective as the Blood Diamond campaign but if enough companies joined in it may end up making a difference.
Steven,

You asked if there are links to Bishara's and Haufler's videos. Yes, all of the videos in this eConference have their own links so they can be easily shared.

There are two ways to get the specific video links:
- If you click on the triangle on the far right lower corner of each video you'll get a menu, including an option to 'Share' (the second option from the bottom). If you click this, and then "Share this video link" it will take you right to a page to send the link from.
- Or, you can click in the middle of the video, to make a new window pop out with details for that video. You can copy the web address from that page, or use the "Share" option there.

For now, here are the links to the videos above:
Norman Bishara: Link http://businessfightspoverty.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2014886:V...
Kimberly Eaason: Link http://businessfightspoverty.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2014886:V...
Virginia Haufler: Link http://businessfightspoverty.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2014886:V...
Michelle Westermann-Behaylo: Link http://businessfightspoverty.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2014886:V...

Let me know if you need any help!

Alexis
Steven,

On the one hand, I agree that if companies provided incentives to employees it could make a big difference. The example that comes to mind is the companies that provide employees with incentives to use public transportation, which can help cities that have overcrowded highways and high pollution. Some companies encourage all sorts of volunteerism by their employees, by supporting time off or other benefits. But, from a company's standpoint, too many of these kinds of activities could end up being overwhelming to administer and monitor, not to mention increasingly expensive as we add more and more items to the list of behaviors to encourage. But I could imagine putting together a public-private partnership in which many companies together, along with NGOs and/ or governments, could put something like this together-- a public-private partnership for peace.
I completely agree with what you mentioned above Virginia. I think that it is in the corporations best interest to provide its workers with certain beneficial incentives. These incentives can attract new workers to the firm, as well as keep old workers at the firm. These incentives create a kind of community for the worker - they all unite to do something good for the environment, or other causes. But, of course, there has to be a certain limit. A company can not possible afford or regulate everything that goes on with its employees. But these incentives motivate - and if you have motivated employees - good business happens.
In response to Steven Sciuto....
This is a really good point, and I didn't immediately realize how these two perspectives could build off one another to be even more successful. Collaborative efforts like this are crucial for peace and sustainability world-wide. It's not a matter of getting a handful of individuals, or companies, or industries on board. It order to promote peace, our norms have to reflect as a worldwide community. I really like your suggestion about a company subsidizing its employees making decisions that would benefit the worldwide community in support of certification regimes, for instance. Haufler suggests similar campaign to the Blood Diamond one to regulate the timber industry. By setting up new standards, there would be an increased awareness about issues facing the industry. Companies could support these standards by offering their employees specific benefits to enforce the new standard.
I should point out that, historically, the solution to the problem of security/ peace was to establish an effective state able to police affairs within its borders. It may be that the best way to promote peace even today is to increase the capabilities of weak states and facilitate the development of democratic governments that care about the security of their own citizens. Ending war and promoting peace are inherently political activities, and it takes political will to overcome the incentives to violence.

On the other hand, when establishing an effective and just state is impossible or has to be a long term goal, then these other mechanisms-- including international and local partnerships that include a role for business-- may be a second-best solution. We certainly cannot simply stand by in the face of extensive bloodshed. Public-private partnerships may provide a framework and incentives that establish a foundation on which peace can be built.
I agree with your statement about peace being long-term goals and mainly political. However when a country or nation is more stable economically it can contribute to the peace process. For instance violence in poorer nations can be linking to survival. Groups attacking each other for goods and “control.” If partnerships between businesses and government’s take place the goal of peace can be achieved with the help of commerce and businesses.
I agree with you Brandon. I think that establishing business and government partnerships is key in stablizing economies and overall contributing to the peace process. I think an important perspective that should be examined is the tourism industry. If governments with poor, unstable economies establish partnerships with big business corporations, then there may be opportunities for tourism to bring more money into these economies. Theres always going to be people who want to explore new places and if governments can help establish a tourism industry through partnerships, I think there is a lot that can be done. People want to experience different cultures and see different places. If a country can show the prospect for tourism while keeping its culture in tact for people to enjoy, I think there is always possibilities from foreign investors like big corporations. What do others think about this? I don't know how often, or how feasible it is for goverments to be eager to attempt this, but I think it is possible, and I wonder if these partnerships are even out there. Thanks, it has been enjoyable to read everyone's feedback on this discussion.
Leon

I think your example of the tourism industry is a great example. There are so many partnership possibilities within the tourism industry. Some countries highly depend on tourists to support their businesses, and travel, learn, and buy things/services, etc from them. I agree that larger corporations should really take the initiative and work together with smaller companies and help them with their growth. If big corporations start, I truly believe that governments will follow quickly - and really enable MNCs to work closely with their local businesses. I think overall, this would be very beneficial to all parties, so I don't see any reason why they wouldn't want to participate in something like this. Thanks.

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