The words are the Pope’s words and they were pronounced in a message exclusively sent to the participants in the World UNIAPAC Congress and read in its opening session. Besides the videos also sent by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the Cardinal Peter Turkson for the same occasion, this first session was also marked by Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffés’ alert. He reaffirmed the urgency of a new cultural paradigm of development, which equally serves management, protects “life, the planet and people” and may be able to overcome the fight “between the mere profit” and the other interests such as “dignity, solidarity, love” – and for the five pillars that, according to the economist Stefano Zamagni, will be useful in helping the enterprises in their crucial “big transition” to new models of cooperative leadership.
BY HELENA OLIVEIRA
A totally full auditorium received the Opening Session of the XXVI UNIAPAC World Congress, and the headmistress of the Portuguese University was the first person on stage, stressing the strategic and already long lasting partnership with ACEGE and, bearing in mind the themes on debate, also remembered how the idea of enterprises having just the responsibility and creation of profit for the shareholders has become obsolete with time. Quoting American economist Milton Friedman, who considered corporative social responsibility as “a subversive doctrine for society”, also with welcome words to all presents, Isabel Capeloa Gil opened the congress that would be a true marathon of ideas, testimonies, reflections and debates during three days.
Thanks to the wonderful new world of technology – that offers so many opportunities together with challenges – three speeches transmitted by video and specifically sent for this welcome session brightened this crowded Opening Session, serving as well as a kind of blessing and inspiration for the works ahead.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reminded that “in a world that promotes misunderstanding quicklier than agreement”, businesses based on the “person’s dignity” consist of an ecumenical and catholic view and that all who share it should bear in mind that their promotion in entrepreneurial life should be done through “equity, justice, competence merit and service towards the others”; cardinal Peter Turkson, present perfect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of the Integral Human Development (entity that came from the fusion of four other pontifical councils, by Pope Francisco’s initiative), defended the creation of an inclusive entrepreneurial system where businesses should be orientated for the common good, also stressing that “to have capital at one’s disposal” only represents a rise of the value if it attracts the entrepreneurial leaders to “the free responsibility of helping the poorest”, and monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffé , secretary of the same Dicastery, brought in hands a written message from Francisco (that will be developed below).
The member of the Roman Papal Court , “attentive to the main role the enterprise and its actors perform facing economy and development”, defended the relevance of “seeking, in a permanent way, what contributes to the construction of a fair world” – including in what concerns innovation – in the “post-modernity” age, stressing that, more than ever, and facing questions such as the technological revolution and uncertainty of the future in environmental issues, it is necessary “to develop human skills”, answering the present “challenges for the future of mankind” concerning “the development direction”.
Also remembering that the church may offer (the enterprises) an anthropological approach “always beginning by the power and its rights”, Bruno-Marie Duffé also criticized the fact of existing many actors in economy who “want to be free from all the ethical-moral references, wishing to possess more and more”.
And it was precisely to contradict this reality that the Pope created the Dicastery, for the promotion of the Integral Human Development, with the objective of “getting out of a too segmented approach of society, which damages “people’s dignity” and the purpose of “community”.
More than “do for”, it’s worthy to “build WITH”, Bruno-Marie Duffé
For the secretary of the Dicastery, who also presented the new edition of “Entrepreneurial Leader’s Vocation”, and in plain harmony with the Holy Father’s words, it is necessary “a new cultural paradigm of development” that protects “life, the planet and people” and that may overcome the fight “between the mere profit” and the other interests such as “dignity, solidarity, love”.
The building of this new paradigm – that also serves management which Pope Francisco refers – should, so, be based on a “source inspired by the Evangel and the Social Doctrine of the Church”, as Bruno-Marie Duffé affirms, defending that “what really matters on this perspective is the man, each man, till all humanity”.
What is particularly important is “to let us be touched and conducted by what each person’s talent is”. In general, it is pertinent “to share the fruits of that talent” through a vocation that allows “to transmit a transversal approach to knowledge” and “to suggest a dialogue among actors.”
In short, more than “do for” it is worthy to “build WITH.”
The orientating principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church should be accomplished by the entrepreneurial leaders.
The main idea transmitted by the Pope was “to promote a more human economy”. He also considered that “the decision of reflecting about the mission and vocation of the economical and businesses leaders is more essential than ever.”
In his message, dedicated exclusively to the participants of the Congress, Francisco remembers, and, about the decision of reflection on the vocation and the mission of economy and the entrepreneurial leaders, an excerpt from encyclic Laudato Si’: “to the intensification of the rhythms of life and work (…) adds the problem that the objectives of this rapid and constant change aren’t necessarily orientated for the common good and a sustainable and integral human development. Change is something desirable, but it becomes worrying when it transforms itself in deterioration of the world and quality of life of a large percentage of humanity.” (18)
In this same message the Holy Father also appealed to the entrepreneurial leaders “to be faithful to your vocation and mission implies to maintain a delicate equilibrium between innovation and a more and more competitive production and, at the same time, to face progress in a wider horizon that includes common good, human dignity and the suitable use of the natural resources confided to us.” The Pope affirms it is useful for the entrepreneurial leaders to be always aware of three big orientating principles of the Evangel and of the Social Doctrine of the Church, as, throughout their professional lives, he reinforces, it is frequent to have to face situations where these values are under tension, what consequently forces them to take practical and important decisions in what concerns management and investment.
The first one refers to people’s centrality – meaning they should be treated as “individual” people, bearing in mind their capacities, aspirations, together with their problems and difficulties. “When an enterprise becomes a ‘family’, in which management worries whether the labour conditions serve the community, the workers, for their part, become “a source of enrichment’”, he writes, also adding that “these ones feel more encouraged to place their talents and capacities on the service of the common good, knowing that their dignity and circumstances are respected and not only explored.”
When an enterprise becomes a ‘family’ (…), the workers, in turn, become a ‘source of enrichment’, Pope Francisco
The second one is related to the exercise of “economical discernment” in which the objectives must be always orientated by the common rule. “This fundamental principle of the social thought of the church illuminates and, as a compass, directs the social responsibility of the enterprises, their investigation and technology, their quality control responsibility, towards the construction of a more fraternal and human society so that ‘the goods of this world may be more accessible to all” (Evangelii Gaudium,203). Francisco also stresses that the common good principle leads the way to a more equitable growing where “the decisions, the programs, the mechanisms and the processes are specifically orientated to a better distribution of the income, to the creation of work opportunities and an integral promotion of the poor that overcomes the mere assistance” (ibid., 204). And it is also this way that “the entrepreneurial leaders’ vocation will become “a noble commitment” as it will be more open to be “defied by a bigger meaning for life”’ (ibid,.205).
Last, the Pope also affirms that one cannot lose sight of the economical and moral value of work, which consists on “the way one cooperates with God in a ‘continuous creation’ (…) respecting the human being’s two dimensions, individual and personal”.
So, “the entrepreneurial leaders’ noble vocation will be visible as all human activity changes into an evidence of hope in the future and an incentive towards a bigger responsibility and worry, through the intelligent use of talents and each person’s capacity”, also adds Francisco. He ends his message remembering the present leaders that, similarly to the first appostles’community, and also executives and Christian managers are called to undertake the path of conversion” (…), allowing that “God inspires and guides them on the growing of our actual social order”.
One cannot lose sight of the economic and moral value of work, Pope Francisco
The opening session of the congress ended with a presentation by professor Stefano Zamagni (interviewed by VER), in which he presented the five pillars of the Corporate Governance and stakeholders’ involvement for the enterprises.
It is necessary to fight a war against the moral untying
Beginning his talking by quoting the famous book “The Big Transformation” by the Hungarian philosopher and economist Karl Polanyi published in 1994, Stefano Zamagni affirmed that we are living a second transformation “connected to the phenomenon of globalization and the third and fourth industrial revolutions, also referring that if there is an agreement between social scientists, economists and entrepreneurial leaders in what concerns the urgent necessity of change and reform of the world order, the same does not happen with the direction these must follow.
In parallel, the economist equally quoted a study accomplished in partnership between Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact, applied to 1000 CEOs, that concludes, similarly to what emeritus Pope Ratzinger had announced in his encyclic Caritas in Veritate, that “the global economy is on the wrong path and the enterprises are not doing their part in order that a sustainable future may be created”. In the same study, the interviewed entrepreneurial leaders equally agree that bad behaviour is encouraged instead of penalized, what is equally defended by at least two economists rewarded with Nobel, Akerlof and Schiller, who also recognize that the current rules of the market don’t “support” good behaviour, giving, in an opposite way, incentives for the bad behaviour. And it is following the “rotten apples in the basket” that the also teacher of Economy offers his vision on those he considers to be the five pillars capable of transforming the actual model of corporative leadership.
The first one is related to the fact that the enterprises are complex organizations whose functioning depends more on inner motivations, such as, for example the incentives plans, which, and according to Zagmani, are “always, always dangerous” and, “despite what we read in several economy books intentionally written to transform people’s mentality”. Long term, he adds, this type of incentives systems tend to destroy the confidence that, “when broken, there is nothing left to do”. The professor also remembers that the financial crisis in 2008 had much to do with this type of incentives.
The current market rules do not stimulate good behaviour, giving, on the contrary, encouragements for the bad behaviour, Stefano Zamagni
The second consideration is related to the fact that the organizations are only successful in prospering if they are able to learn and adapt to transformation over the ages – this way he stresses not Polanui’s big transformation, but instead the “big transition”.
Stefano Zamagni also remembers that the Taylor model of work organization – and mentioning the publishing of the book “The Principles of Scientific Management” by Frederick Taylor – although obsolete, continues to prevail in many enterprises and not because they have no conscience of their caducity, but rather because it is difficult to accomplish complex changes.
Nevertheless, a new model of organization is emerging, according to the concept of holacracy, molded in the book “Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World” by the teacher from Harvard Brian Robertson, which relates particularly to the redistribution of power inside the organizations. Zamagni also draws a similarity to the document presented by Bruno-Marie Duffé, affirming that the ideas born with the Social Doctrine of the Church – “which are transversal to the work of UNIAPAC developed in the last 15, 20 years” – have a great impact on this new way of organization. Or, as he ends, “we need to change our organizations, not particularly because they are rotten, but because their models are obsolete”, mainly in the era of convergent technologies, Artificial Intelligence or do machine learning.
The third pillar introduced by Zagmani is based on the many and new functions that nowadays enterprises “realize” in society, besides the creation of richness, employment, goods and services. That is, and as he affirms, “it is very reductionist to consider that the enterprises are merely instrumental”, and the economist goes further, considering them as “political agents”, not in the sense of “political parties”, but back to the Greek word that means “community”.
We don’t miss CEOs or competent executives, but we do miss true leaders, Stefano Zamagni
So, and if enterprises can´t isolate themselves from the rest of the world they should as well have into consideration that it is not possible to do “good businesses in a ‘damaged’ society, he alerts. Or, in other words, what Zamagni intends to say is that if an entrepreneurial leader – or any other citizen – has the notion that the society where he lives is “broken” he can´t think he has nothing to do with it, but rather question himself about what he can do in order to change that situation. That’s what we call “civil corporative responsibility”, a much wider concept than the well known term “corporative social responsibility” that, these days, is not simply enough.
Time for the Economy Professor to express himself about the theme of ethics or ethical values, “everybody speaks about, but without paying attention that not all ethical theories are ‘mankind’s friends’ – utilitarian ethics is an example. He agrees, as expectable, that the enterprises need ethical regulations that orientate them in their interactions with other constituents. But it is the so called “virtues ethics” that have to prevail as an organizational rule and one should avoid the mere “ values language” when it is separated from the spiritual and cultural fundaments which also guide the enterprises.
Last but not less important at all, Zamagni refers to the need of “fighting a war against the moral disengagement”, a concept majestically analysed by the psychologist Albert Bandura in his book with the same title Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves. Synthetically, this consists on a “cognitive process that is useful in deactivating the self-regulatory processes that usually prevent individuals from reacting”. So, and according to Bandura, the [correct] language of values is a powerful antidote against this “moral disengagement”, and this same language of values may be found in the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Still tracing some considerations about the implications that result from these five pillars in the business world, Stefano Zamagni also accuses the lack of leadership that exists nowadays. “We don´t miss CEOs or executives”, he affirms, “but we do miss true leaders”.