Why might business contribute to peace?


(M Caitlin Young) #81

I believe you explained the relationship between business and peace perfectly. To add, I believe businesses today work to find a balance between profit and ethical behavior. My generation is much more concerned with the processes and motivation behind the profit than just the profit itself. Therefore, the decisions made my todays businesses must take this closely tied relationship into account.

Alyse Phillips said:

I don't necessarily believe that businesses contribute to peace because they feel it's the morally right choice. I think decisions in business come from a desire to increase profits and build relationships with customers. When businesses make decisions to better the world by contributing to peace, they are also creating a positive reputation for themselves to appear socially responsible and invite a larger pool of investors. As the business world evolves, customers are expecting more from business owners and through social media they are always aware of the state of the business. Now more than ever it's necessary for business owners to consider how each decision they make to increase profits will be perceived in the media by the public. Regardless of motivation, I think the important thing to consider is if each particular business is contributing or detracting from peace.


(Seth Grossman) #82

I agree businesses are responsible to their shareholders. They should focus not only on making them a profit, but also on improving their lives. A business that makes shareholders money, but then ruins the community of the shareholder has done no good for the shareholder. Businesses operate on two fronts, the profit side, and the public side, and they should be looking out for society, and shareholder's best needs on both sides. Businesses have this responsibility due to their extensive resources and ability to organize people in order to achieve monumental tasks. We expect businesses to look out for us because we believe they have the ability. We want to have a mutually beneficial relationship with these organizations, and not one that is one-sided against us.

Daniel Schwartz said:

Although it may not be covered as the main driver of the bottom line and shareholder theory, a business that contributes to peace will often outperform those who do not. Not simply because creating peace is the right thing to do, but rather, it is a cause people internally and externally can rally behind. We live in a much different world nowadays with social media and television; thus, it is now expected companies do more than simply make profit, they are expected to give back to the community. One way of doing this, is promoting peace through community involvement, job creation, or charity work. By creating peace, a business helps create value for all stakeholders. A business that creates peace, inspires inclusion for the community and employees at the firm. Employees who are creating change and creating opportunities for others, will be highly motivated and likely to outperform their competitors. On the other hand, a company that creates value for its community is a company that investors and customers can get behind; a customer is likely to feel good by being a part of a company that encompasses values he/she deems as ethical. All in all, businesses that practice peace creation will lead to a larger customer and profit base, which will in turn help the economy grow and prosper.


(Tanner Wolfe) #83


This is great to hear, Jerry! I agree that many people assume that entrepreneurs are only in business to make money. It is obviously important to make money, but at the heart of most entrepreneurs is the desire to fix a problem in society and change the world. I believe that the world would be more peaceful if there were more small businesses as opposed to large companies. It may be hard to see how your actions affect the community when you are working for a large company. However, when you are working for a small business, your name and reputation in your community are on the line. I hope that you continue to think with the mind of a small business person even as your business grows.
Jerry Marshall said:

My business in Palestine is a for profit triple bottom line business set up in 2012 by three of us wanting to support peace by creating robust jobs and service exports unaffected by the Wall and bridge the political divide. Now, we have 90 staff serving Israeli, Palestinian and US clients, modelling integrity and gender equality. What academics sometimes forget is that entrepreneurs are maverick moral beings wanting to change the world! Google Transcend Support Palestine. Though our web site is about to be massively improved!

(Tanner Wolfe) #84

I would go a step farther than this and say that it is virtually impossible for a business to grow in an environment with no peace. I believe that this is the number one reason why businesses should promote peace. I believe that momentum is a huge factor. For example, if one company sees another company promoting peace, the first company will be more likely to keep the ball rolling. However, momentum can also work in a negative direction. This is why it is extremely important for businesses to promote peace.

Grant West said:

A business might contribute to peace because, in general, it's the right thing to do. In my opinion, the way to a more peaceful world is a more peaceful business world. So if businesses start acting on what is in the best interest for peace (and not just revenues), then we could progress toward a more peaceful business world and business world. Another reason for a business to push peace relates to the bottom line. An economic environment with a lot of fear and hate isn't very efficient. When businesses try to force peace instead of hate, the affected economy could grow, and a growing economy is more beneficial to business.


(Cara Golberg) #85

Cam,

I think what you said is very interesting. My thoughts were also along the lines that companies, at the end of the day, are just trying to have high profits. I think companies try to contribute to peace to make themselves look better to the public. For example, some corporations have foundations to give back to the city where they are located. It could be because they really do want to give back to a place that is giving so much to them, but I also think it could be for the appearance that they are a company that wants to give back. Their customers will see them as socially aware, and may be more likely to become loyal customers because of that.

Camden Newton said:

I agree with your two ideas about why a business might contribute to peace. With that being said, most organizations are primarily only focused on the bottom line and being a successful company. I think it would be hard to convince businesses to start making huge efforts towards peace. A company cares the most about its success so I believe, that is the most important motivator for continuing peace in the future. As Tim Fort noted, respecting employees and treating them fairly contributes to peace. If companies can end the old practices of discrimination based on age, gender, race, and other factors than it can help businesses. By creating an inclusive workforce and hiring people based on qualifications rather than physical differences improves peace as well as the bottom line. The incremental approach also plays a role in this because taking small steps towards overall peace will change the environment and hopefully become common practice. If this is the case peace will eventually be reached and businesses might not even notice they are doing it.


(Seth Grossman) #86

I like the ideas here, and support you Jerry. The world needs entrepreneurs who come in with good mindsets, and the heart to fight for peace. If enough small companies can use their resources for peace, then bigger multinational corporations can see that it is possible, and will work to become that way to, but the movement needs to begin on the ground with the people that a lack of peace truly and directly affect.

Tanner Wolfe said:


This is great to hear, Jerry! I agree that many people assume that entrepreneurs are only in business to make money. It is obviously important to make money, but at the heart of most entrepreneurs is the desire to fix a problem in society and change the world. I believe that the world would be more peaceful if there were more small businesses as opposed to large companies. It may be hard to see how your actions affect the community when you are working for a large company. However, when you are working for a small business, your name and reputation in your community are on the line. I hope that you continue to think with the mind of a small business person even as your business grows.
Jerry Marshall said:

My business in Palestine is a for profit triple bottom line business set up in 2012 by three of us wanting to support peace by creating robust jobs and service exports unaffected by the Wall and bridge the political divide. Now, we have 90 staff serving Israeli, Palestinian and US clients, modelling integrity and gender equality. What academics sometimes forget is that entrepreneurs are maverick moral beings wanting to change the world! Google Transcend Support Palestine. Though our web site is about to be massively improved!

(Cara Golberg) #87

Wow! Thank you for sharing about your business. You bring up a very good point. I think often times were assume the worst from organizations. People do want to give back to the world they live in, and not just to make it look like their company is compiled of good people. Your business involves many different countries all which may not get along. Just by providing service shows that you care about your clients and are wanting to make the world a better place. Having a corporation allows people to have a larger impact than they might on their own individually. Your business is a wonderful inspiration and reminder that businesses do want to create peace.


Jerry Marshall said:

My business in Palestine is a for profit triple bottom line business set up in 2012 by three of us wanting to support peace by creating robust jobs and service exports unaffected by the Wall and bridge the political divide. Now, we have 90 staff serving Israeli, Palestinian and US clients, modelling integrity and gender equality. What academics sometimes forget is that entrepreneurs are maverick moral beings wanting to change the world! Google Transcend Support Palestine. Though our web site is about to be massively improved!

(Jessica Harrison) #88

You said, "happy employees are going to be more likely to devote their time to their work" and I completely agree. Employees that are happy with the way things are run are going to have more faith in the company and will invest more of themselves in their work. With happier, harder working employees, we will see an increase in the quality of their work. Once a business has established themselves as a place that cultivates happiness in their employees, one would hope this reputation lasts for years to come. But, what happens when a major scandal happens and employees' trust is betrayed? How do companies come back from that? And, how will companies recruit in the future after betraying those working for them?

Jessica Cruse said:

I agree that steps toward overall peace in the business world will be very incremental. I believe peace within the business world is going to start within each individual company and from there going to happen naturally. Like Camden said, by doing things like creating an inclusive workforce and promoting a healthy work environment, employees are going to be much happier. Happy employees are going to be more likely to devote their time to their work and be passionate about a company in which they enjoy working at. With hardworking employees comes improvements in business practices and ideally growth and success for the business overall. At this point in time when companies think about creating peace I believe they should think less about external factors and what they can do to directly impact the community, and more about internal factors and make sure they have happy employees that are devoted to their work and always act with integrity. From there, I think everything else will happen naturally because others will start to look to these companies as role models and motivate other companies to take the same actions and act in the same manner.


(Nicholas Heiny) #89

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Nicholas Heiny) #90

I agree with your assessment of the ways in which a business contributes to peace. Organizations are primarily focused on the bottom line and pleasing their shareholders/stakeholders. With that being said, if there are more concrete ways of promoting peace while also benefitting the bottom line, companies would be much more willing to put a leg in the fight as that would not only help the bottom line, but also increase the company's public image with consumers.

The hard question is, how do we enable and convince companies to turn away from nepotism, sex and racial discrimination, and similar practices if that is the company culture? A frog that jumps into a boiling pot of water immediately jumps out, but if it jumps into a of cold water, it will in even when it is heated to the boiling point, boiling itself alive. Applying this to corporations, ethical people tend to want to be around other ethical and peace-building people. So how do we as a society encourage the creation of more ethical and peace building companies, while advocating for cultural changes to existing companies, when most companies don't view ethics as priority number one? Do we need to increase the number of ethical people, or do we need to put incentives in place or people to act more ethically in the business context?

Camden Newton said:

I agree with your two ideas about why a business might contribute to peace. With that being said, most organizations are primarily only focused on the bottom line and being a successful company. I think it would be hard to convince businesses to start making huge efforts towards peace. A company cares the most about its success so I believe, that is the most important motivator for continuing peace in the future. As Tim Fort noted, respecting employees and treating them fairly contributes to peace. If companies can end the old practices of discrimination based on age, gender, race, and other factors than it can help businesses. By creating an inclusive workforce and hiring people based on qualifications rather than physical differences improves peace as well as the bottom line. The incremental approach also plays a role in this because taking small steps towards overall peace will change the environment and hopefully become common practice. If this is the case peace will eventually be reached and businesses might not even notice they are doing it.


(Ibby Tiplick) #91

I completely agree with you Alyse. I feel like the majority of companies have a alternative motive for contributing to peace. I think there is companies out there who contribute to peace and choose to make morally right decisions because they feel it is the right thing to do and because they want to for the mere face of it; however I think there is more companies who do it for the former. Companies are under a lot of scrutiny from the public to do what they feel is right. Recently, the environment and social issues of companies affects if people support a company or not. I have several friends who will hear a company participates in violating child labor laws or hurting the environment in some way through their business practices, and therefore will not give them business. This is why I think why companies choose to be ethical in their decision making and business practices so they will be able to keep their business running profitably and to a have a good reputaiton.

Alyse Phillips said:

I don't necessarily believe that businesses contribute to peace because they feel it's the morally right choice. I think decisions in business come from a desire to increase profits and build relationships with customers. When businesses make decisions to better the world by contributing to peace, they are also creating a positive reputation for themselves to appear socially responsible and invite a larger pool of investors. As the business world evolves, customers are expecting more from business owners and through social media they are always aware of the state of the business. Now more than ever it's necessary for business owners to consider how each decision they make to increase profits will be perceived in the media by the public. Regardless of motivation, I think the important thing to consider is if each particular business is contributing or detracting from peace.


(Ibby Tiplick) #92

I agree with the points both of you guys have made. But answering your questions, I believe when a employees trust is betrayed by their employer it causes them to ruin their good work ethic and their standing with the company from when before they were devoting their time to their work. Some employees could be able to heal from the scandal, and be able to move on. However, I feel a majority of employees would feel the need to quit or stay with the job but not be as hard working as before. I do believe that employees are harder workers when they enjoy what they are doing and have trust in the company they are working for, if their trust is broken then they will not give as great work. Therefore, the service, product, or work the company does will he harmed and customers will be able to recognize this and it will hurt their profits.

Jessica Harrison said:

You said, "happy employees are going to be more likely to devote their time to their work" and I completely agree. Employees that are happy with the way things are run are going to have more faith in the company and will invest more of themselves in their work. With happier, harder working employees, we will see an increase in the quality of their work. Once a business has established themselves as a place that cultivates happiness in their employees, one would hope this reputation lasts for years to come. But, what happens when a major scandal happens and employees' trust is betrayed? How do companies come back from that? And, how will companies recruit in the future after betraying those working for them?

Jessica Cruse said:

I agree that steps toward overall peace in the business world will be very incremental. I believe peace within the business world is going to start within each individual company and from there going to happen naturally. Like Camden said, by doing things like creating an inclusive workforce and promoting a healthy work environment, employees are going to be much happier. Happy employees are going to be more likely to devote their time to their work and be passionate about a company in which they enjoy working at. With hardworking employees comes improvements in business practices and ideally growth and success for the business overall. At this point in time when companies think about creating peace I believe they should think less about external factors and what they can do to directly impact the community, and more about internal factors and make sure they have happy employees that are devoted to their work and always act with integrity. From there, I think everything else will happen naturally because others will start to look to these companies as role models and motivate other companies to take the same actions and act in the same manner.


(Ellen Gottlieb) #93

I believe that there are multiple different reasons why a business would be motivated to contribute to peace. As others have noted, contributing to peace can just be good business. More and more consumers are becoming more socially conscious and want the businesses they support to be socially conscious as well. In order for companies to gain and retain support, they need to be viewed as ethical, which goes hand in hand with being peaceful. Contributing to peace can give a company an additional point to market their brand on and stick out from their competition. Additionally, another reason why a business would be motivated to contribute to peace is because the leaders of the business are aware that contributing to peace is the right thing to do. However, it is important to note that bringing peace to business is only recently gaining popularity, and some industries are adapting more quickly than others. Because of this, it will be a slow process for the entire business world to truly become peaceful.


(Alec Engblom) #94

Business are motivated to contribute to peace because of the negative side effects war-time brings. During a time of war economic markets for the most part take a dramatic decline in performance. This causes distress for investors, for managements, and for the employees of these companies who may be facing cutbacks or budget constraints. Another motivation factor may be to gain a greater public image. Everything a public company now does is scrutinized down to every detail, being involved with organizations that contribute to peace increases their goodwill and raises the public's perception of that company. It's the right ethical thing to do, but also has many benefits in terms of performance and profitability. Companies are no longer looking at investors as the sole stakeholder but also the surrounding community, their employees, and any other individuals affected by the companies actions. When a company is contributing to long term peace a commitment must be made between them and the community to ensure this commitment us upheld but also to help the long term success of the business.


(Caroline Bleser) #95

I agree with Thomas’s point that businesses work for peace to make significant reputational gains with consumers as a core strategy. It’s important to note key differences in consumer facing businesses and business-to-business firms. It’s like the discussion we had in class about the H.B Fuller case; it’s more incentivizing to overtly strive for peace when consumers can see you on a more public scale. It is more difficult for business-to-business companies to use that logic when deciding to strive for peace. For this reason, maybe non-consumer facing firms can put greater energy into ethics, fair employee treatment, and company culture to begin their peace journey. In echoing other comments, by striving for these goals you are benefitting your company while creating peace, even if it’s unintentional.


(Ellen Gottlieb) #96

I think you bring up a very relevant point regarding business and the importance of peace. I know that I will avoid going to business that are located in what I would believe to be a sketchy part of town. Additionally, our society has seen an increasing number of protests that unfortunately turn violent and destructive, resulting in an un-safe feel of businesses in the area. In order to retain decent returns, businesses must recognize that they must step up and take an active approach to increasing peace in the surrounding areas. Further, by actively trying to create a peaceful environment, the businesses may be regarded in a more positive light since they are getting involved in and improving their community. This recognition can lead to higher brand positioning, resulting in increased profits.

Camden Newton said:

If businesses move towards shared value for everyone it will benefit them as well as society. In neighborhoods around my town when there were protests and increased crime people were less willing to go to stores near there. If businesses work on creating a safe community it will benefit them because like Karen said peaceful societies hold greater returns. If people don't feel safe in an area or passing through an area to get to a business than profits will suffer as a result.


(Alec Engblom) #97

I completely agree with your point here Nicholas. Not-for-profit corporations may have the betterment of society as their number one goal driving their operations but for a corporation who's main goal is to increase their bottom line, peace is an afterthought, but an important one. Your point on the companies in local communities allowing opportunity for employment and advancement is a good one, however it could work the other way. Back in 1945 during WWII, many corporations who were responsible for manufacturing war time supplies such as tanks, bullets, and army uniforms were making immense profits. Most of the products they eventually sold to the US army were used to harm others rather than contribute to peace.


Nicholas Heiny said:

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Saee Lele) #98

I agree that most businesses focus on the bottom line, and that taking small steps towards overall will peace will result in the necessary changes eventually. Companies that might be in a financially secure position might be more willing to work towards establishing stability and peace. So approaching such financially secure players and pitching small initiatives rather than big and expensive commitments might help get them involved in peace-building initiatives.

Camden Newton said:

I agree with your two ideas about why a business might contribute to peace. With that being said, most organizations are primarily only focused on the bottom line and being a successful company. I think it would be hard to convince businesses to start making huge efforts towards peace. A company cares the most about its success so I believe, that is the most important motivator for continuing peace in the future. As Tim Fort noted, respecting employees and treating them fairly contributes to peace. If companies can end the old practices of discrimination based on age, gender, race, and other factors than it can help businesses. By creating an inclusive workforce and hiring people based on qualifications rather than physical differences improves peace as well as the bottom line. The incremental approach also plays a role in this because taking small steps towards overall peace will change the environment and hopefully become common practice. If this is the case peace will eventually be reached and businesses might not even notice they are doing it.


(M Caitlin Young) #99

I agree with your argument Nicholas that the average corporation's main goal is to make a profit. Without a profit focused culture, the company wouldn't make it shareholders happy and would eventually fail. For this reason, a business must have profit in mind but may indirectly contribute to peace along the way.

Nicholas Heiny said:

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Alec Garwood) #100

I agree with you, Grant. Businesses are so prominent and the foundation of society outside of government. With playing such a large role in everyday life, peaceful businesses will lead to a more peaceful society. The vast majority of business practices are ethical and are done for the betterment of society, and this is essential to a sane community. In addition, it is not required for a company to do social work for the community, but this has become a recent trend. The traditional business model is simply based on profit, but the triple bottom line (people, profit, planet) has become much more prominent. Working to help society and the environment through programs and donations can improve a company's image and attract customers. This directly influences sales and overall profit of the company. When companies work to help society, the world is a more peaceful and successful place.

Grant West said:

A business might contribute to peace because, in general, it's the right thing to do. In my opinion, the way to a more peaceful world is a more peaceful business world. So if businesses start acting on what is in the best interest for peace (and not just revenues), then we could progress toward a more peaceful business world and business world. Another reason for a business to push peace relates to the bottom line. An economic environment with a lot of fear and hate isn't very efficient. When businesses try to force peace instead of hate, the affected economy could grow, and a growing economy is more beneficial to business.