Rethinking business



AT De La Salle University, we have produced generations of business leaders who have been taught that the primary purpose of business is to generate profit for its shareholders by producing goods and services needed or wanted by the market. This is conventional thinking that has, in many ways, created a variety of business organizations that have benefited society by providing employment and coming up with new and innovative products.

However, we have come to realize that the material gains that we have attained over the past few decades have not really trickled down to the ‘poorest of the poor,’ which still constitute a significant portion of our population. Also, members of the working class still struggle to make ends meet and have become victims of the ‘contractualization’ of jobs that businesses have resorted to in order to keep production costs down. Even knowledge workers are suffering from stress and illnesses, due to pressures at work and unhealthy lifestyles. Moreover, the drive towards greater productivity has taken its toll on the natural environment, and has given rise to concerns about the sustainability of current business practices.

As business educators in a Catholic institution, we have started to reflect upon the relevance of conventional business thinking in our present context. While concepts like profitability, productivity and competitiveness have taken center stage since the Industrial Revolution, we have become increasingly conscious about concepts such as social responsibility, humanistic management, and sustainability as well. More recently, we have even drawn inspiration from Catholic social teachings, which emphasize human dignity and the common good in the conduct of human affairs, including business.

Needless to say, these developments have led to some changes in the content of some of our business subjects. In the basic management course, for example, we have already introduced ‘multistream management,’ which is a marked departure from conventional management thought. While ‘mainstream management’ emphasizes profitability and productivity and prioritizes the interests of shareholders, ‘multistream management’ highlights the importance of various forms of well-being of different stakeholder groups, including their employees. This means that management must not only know how to develop the physical, material, and social well-being of their employees but their moral, emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic well-being as well.

As a result of the changes in our educational approach, faculty members of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) have also started to do research along the lines of these emerging ideas. Some of these research papers have been compiled into a book titled “Rethinking Business—Responsibility and Sustainability; Governance and Finance”, which is published by the DLSU Publishing House and the Center for Business Research and Development (CBRD). Edited by Raymund B. Habaradas and Denver Bingski D. Daradar, this volume contains articles on enlightened human resource practices, corporate governance disclosures, consumer perceptions of CSR practices, symmetricity of cost behavior, and the artistic flow of businesses, among others.

“Rethinking Business” will be launched on November 20, Thursday, at the European Documentation Center, 13th Floor of the Learning Commons, De La Salle University. Interested parties may contact Joanne Castañares at 523-4281; 524-4611 loc. 271; dlsupubli; or Julie Ann Sebastian: 524-4611 loc. 149; for details.

Raymund Habaradas is an Associate Professor at the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University, where he teaches Management of Organizations, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, and Management Research. He welcomes comments at The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.


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