Dec. 6, 2017
Drs. Michael J. Urick, William J. Hisker and Jeffrey L. Godwin, all management professors who teach in the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program in Saint Vincent College’s Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government, recently published “Management Response to Laudato Si: An Operational Excellence Perspective” in the Journal of Biblical Integration in Business.
In the research, the authors explore Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical (2015) in which he addresses many major modern world concerns that negatively impact the care for humanity’s common home. Throughout their exploration, the paper notes some of Pope Francis’ major concerns and advocates that businesses take an “operational excellence” (OE) approach to address them.
According to Urick, “Operational excellence stresses the importance of waste reduction, problem solving and improvement – themes that fit very well with the statements in Laudato Si. In his call to be stewards of the earth’s resources, it is easy to see how waste reduction fits with Pope Francis’ encyclical. Likewise, problem solving and improvement also fit in. The Pope is suggesting very complex interrelated problems facing the world today, and we advocate responding to them using proper OE problem-solving techniques.”
“Management Response to Laudato Si: An Operational Excellence Perspective” is not written as a theological document,” Urick continued. “Rather, it is intended to present tangible suggestions to business leaders regardless of faith. As the authors note, such practices would be beneficial to businesses and society regardless of the fact that the ideas came from Church teaching. In their recommendations, the authors suggest four crucial areas of concern for business leaders including: waste reduction, focusing on people, focusing on culture and understanding interrelatedness.”
Urick notes that OE (or lean initiatives as they are often described) is not just about providing improvement tools to organizations. Rather, it requires a change in mindset or culture within organizations. “To truly embrace OE is to not focus on process or tools solely, but to treat employees and customers with dignity to improve interactions, find commonalities and work together to improve society,” he explained.
The research team notes that they were inspired to examine how OE and Laudato Si fit together after encouragement from Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B., president of Saint Vincent College, at a college-wide meeting shortly after Laudato Si was published.
“It is our hope that businesses can take our findings to address some of the challenges that they face and are faced by society as a whole to improve upon some of the issues noted by Pope Francis,” remarked Urick.
The Journal of Biblical Integration in Business (JBIB) serves as a refereed forum for discussing faith-learning-life links in business. It is committed to the proposition that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17). JBIB is published annually by the Christian Business Faculty Association. The article will be available at www.cbfa.org.
The Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government at Saint Vincent College takes an innovative approach to exploring major issues facing managers in today’s turbulent business climate. Through a close partnership with the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence, Saint Vincent College’s management and operations consulting group, the MSMOE supplements classroom learning with a hands-on approach that provides students the tools they need to minimize waste in their organizations while increasing quality, improving efficiency and fostering employee commitment. As such, the MSMOE defines “management” as focusing on three interrelated areas: people, organizations and processes.
Photos: Dr. Michael J. Urick, Dr. William J. Hisker, Dr. Jeffrey L. Godwin
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