From Harvard Business School (Link here)

'Lagace: What is an example of a business issue that someone could start to discuss with his or her theologian?

Nash: Let me back up and give you an example of the kind of thing that might cause them to say, "My religion is of relevance here." But then whether they should talk directly with their theologian is an open question.

Say you are in a negotiation for a large contract. If you get the contract, the company's going to grow quite a bit. But you've had to put a lot of resources into the construction of this deal. And it's risky, very risky. The terms of that deal begin to look unethical to you from any number of standpoints—layoffs; cost-cutting to the point where you know you're going to stretch your work force very, very thin; quality tradeoffs that may mean that you're not going to be delivering on what you say, and there may even be a safety factor. Honesty inside the marketplace in terms of how you're representing yourself and what you can deliver.

All these things are typical stresses in the business environment.

Where would religion fit in there? Well, religion could fit in a number of ways. One is, first of all, the personal perspective, that sacred self: "I am more than the deal." It's really easy to forget that you are something more than the deal when you get in these high-stress situations.'

The beginnings of the next generation of business consulting theologian?

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Replies to This Discussion

I know that this is a clip from an old article - which I've already responded to - but Theology provides no skillset that would be beneficial to a business. We don't get morals and ethics from religion and religion hardly has provided good business advice.

The only thing that religion can teach us would be how to operate a successful pyramid scheme :)
It's odd, but when I was younger I thought my activity at church was a positive asset to my employer. I prayed over business descisions and then pressed forward confident that the LORD would influence my choices in a positive way.

Now it all seems hokie, like some bronze age belief that painting the symbol of your favorite deity on your sheild would protect you from the sword, spears and arrows brough against you by worshipers of lesser deities.

The good news is that I always did what I felt was right to do AFTER taking the time to consider the facts and the options. I pretty much figured that if I was "created" with those brains, the Creator expected me to use them.

Sadly, it seems that most religions teach their adherents set aside their intellectual faculties and put them in submission to their emotional (oops, spiritual) faculties. I think that is very present in sales, my current occupation.

My managers and associates ride an emotional high wave when a sales manager has a "big day" and they appear to only be able to count the big days. They also get off on big growth numbers. I'm all over sustainability and so I'm the odd man out. I've been doing this for two years and I've watched the big sales guys and the big growth guys burn themselves out achieving overall sales numbers that are only slightly better than others who are labelled underacheivers. There doesn't seem to be any logical way to persuade someone who has had the emotional gratification of a big day that it would be better to have a lot more good days and fewer big days.

Maybe I'll gripe about this more later, my point is that the emotional satisfaction of big sales days is interfering with a more sustainable and intelligent approach to managing sales and sales growth. Something in the human computer blocks out unsatisfying facts in favor of more pleasing sensations.
Hi Zarathustra,

Just on the points you make re: your attitude during your younger days... a few questions:

* How much time did you tend to devote to that?
* Did you express to your employer that you made those efforts?
* Did you make others around you aware of the efforts?

Good point you make - what motivates the human computer.
The only thing that religion has to offer to business is the perfect business model; The Catholic Church.
Certainly not a recent article....

Ever had a direct instance of a pause happening in a business relationship due to one party needing to consult the guru on spirits?

We have a customer who I worry will dump us if they find out we are atheists but that's the closest religion has ever come to influencing anything in our business.

My response to the clip above is, why create a deal that is so unethical? If you work with ethics, you don't have to worry about stuff like that.
Which raises the whole question of applied ethics. The deal itself might not be unethical - but the unwarranted delay to consult spirits might be (yardstick dependent).

Say for instance if you were heading up a governmental agency that had to deal with Not-for-profit NGO's that all happened to be operated by religious institutions. They might seldom make choices in fast time - all preferring to sit in their ecclesiastical groups chewing over what is ethical and what is not... and waiting for divine guidance from the big invisible spirit.

Whichever way you act... as the government officer... and 'work with ethics' .... any attempt to move the considerations along more quickly could be framed as the State attacking the freedom of Religion.

So regardless of any weaknesses in the attempt above to illustrate the point..... the main sentiment is that you can't always just dry-drop a situation (deal or otherwise) as doing so makes it easy to say 'I only work with ethics'. In some cases ethical dilemma's evolve where that isn't possible. But to what degree do the spirit lovers deliberately guide considerations so that they get wedged on ethical paradoxes?

There would be people here that have been victims of that way of handling moral philosophy in commerce; and not just governmental employees.... but those of the wider private sector.

I'd be interested to hear of the experiences...
One of my advertising consultants encouraged me to add a Jesus fish to an ad I was running. I told him that I wasn't a believer and he said "Oh, that doesn't matter, people are suckers for that stuff." :)
Nate add FREE CHOCOLATE to the ad
I guarantee it will work wayyyyyyyy better with me
Give the Pagan's back their fish!
Hey, then there's the Kent Hovind business model...oh wait, isn't he serving time?




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