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October 28, 2005

TRC Boardroom, Main Building, CSB

Virginia Arthur, Management

Managing as if People Mattered*: How Catholic Social Teaching can inform Management Practice

* With apologies to E.F. Shumacher.

A seemingly endless stream of news about corporate misdeeds and the spectacle of CEO “perp walks” has made the teaching of ethically sound management practices a higher priority than ever. Surveys of business students conducted by the Aspen Institute indicate, alarmingly, that most MBA graduates are less sensitive to social and ethical issues they will encounter at work than when they begin their education. A new approach to business education is clearly needed.

Given the Catholic, Benedictine character of our institutions it seemed reasonable to investigate the lessons that might be offered to future business persons by Catholic social teaching. With support from a Heritage Fellows summer grant from the SJU Vocation Project I undertook further study and exploration of how the principles of Catholic social teaching could be integrated into the courses I teach on Human Resource Management and Business, Government and Society. My goal has been to redesign my courses so that consideration of social teaching principles will be used to critique and reframe standard management practices. Thus, I have been reworking exercises and assignments as a way of reinforcing the message that Catholic social teaching offers a practical approach to becoming a good manager who does “good things”.

During the presentation I will summarize what I’ve learned from looking at management practice in this new light and will share examples of how I integrate these principles into lessons about “good management."