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The Arrupe Program in Social Ethics for Business
The Program's Mission
The mission of Woodstock’s Arrupe Program in Social Ethics for Business is to develop, refine, and communicate an empirically-based Christian social ethics for business. The Arrupe Program pursues its mission following the Woodstock Theological Center’s unique approach to theological reflection, at all times employing a method of research, reflection, understanding, and judgment in a cumulative and iterative process that honors the data of experience. It engages the talents and attentive listening skills of highly qualified and experienced business leaders working with theologians and academics. Faithful to this approach, the Arrupe Program’s collaborators, theologians and business leaders, frame the investigation, explore and come to understand the data, reach insights (theological and practical), make judgments, offer conclusions and suggest actions from the perspective of what will be useful to those in the business community.
The Steward Leadership Initiative
Over the past several years, the Arrupe Program’s collaborators employed this process to conclude that the prevailing business leadership approaches fell short of the mark. Indeed, even business ethics from a Christian perspective found in the popular and academic literature and espoused by renowned business leadership experts lacked something crucial. The prevailing approaches were seen as “top down”, “rules based” articulations imposed upon those in business which sometimes disregarded the actual experience of business leader. They failed to account for the dynamics of the interior life of the individual business person or entrepreneur.
As articulated by Woodstock Senior Fellow, John Haughey, S.J., what has been missing was is a question of identity: “The self-understanding of those in positions of leadership that all the resources at their disposal do not belong to them but to God. They are entrusted to use them in order to carry out God’s purposes.”
In 2008, the Arrupe Program launched its Steward Leadership initiative, to address this need. This project probes how the values that make up "Steward Leadership" are identified, lived, and spread by business leaders. Understanding what makes a Steward Leader tick and how to promote Steward Leadership more broadly became the order of the day. The several aspects of the Steward Leadership Project include:
Relationship to Woodstock's Strategic Goals
The importance of the Arrupe Program is emphasized in the 2006 Strategic Plan prepared by Woodstock's Board of Directors, which ses an urgent need in today’s world for a program that: