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Posted 1.9.06

The Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (B·A·W·B) announces the launch of an Interactive Working Paper Series for research on, or regarding issues in the area of, business as an agent of world benefit. The inaugural edition will be published during mid-February 2006. Potential papers for this edition will be accepted until January 24, 2006.

The B·A·W·B Interactive Working Paper Series is similar to other working paper series. We seek publishable drafts that have not yet undergone the extensive review process necessary for publication in traditional journals or other types of publications. Examples might include written versions of presentations made at conferences or other types of open forums. The interactive aspect of the forum we offer will allow authors to gain feedback from interested readers who may help each writer to improve his or her writing.

The Interactive Working Paper Series should be in harmony with the research focus of B·A·W·B, which is to develop an understanding of the social mechanisms, processes, characteristics and beliefs that create an environment in which business functions as an agent of benefit, enhancing the well-being of people, groups, organizations, communities and society.

We define business as an exchange relationship between two or more parties in which the opportunities and needs of participants are fulfilled and extended. We suggest that business functions as an agent of benefit to society when the opportunities of each party in an exchange relationship are enhanced. For instance, all participants emerge from the relationship with some benefit: greater self-sufficiency, more empowerment, just or fair compensation, improved health, or restored environment. Organizations are strengthened in their resiliency and capacity. Employees are transformed in their ability to exercise moral judgment. Communities and nations resolve societal issues, creating greater security and prosperity. The potential for these mutually enlarging effects are generated when business acts as an agent of world benefit. Please join us in an effort to understand the factors that allow for business to function as an agent of benefit. Related research questions include several potential avenues that cut across multiple disciplines. The following are suggestive of, but not exclusive to, the types of themes we seek:

  • What are the mechanisms of business practice that can be used to improve the condition of people or increase their self-sufficiency? What conditions allow for these practices to flourish or take root?
  • Why might existing business organizations target disadvantage populations (such as those at the “Bottom of the Economic Pyramid” or communities with the intention to improve (rather than merely exploit) their condition? What are the factors, relationships or mechanisms that make it viable for business organizations to reach these populations?
  • What are the ways in which business organizations engage in unusual management practices to create benefit or shift the norms of well-being in society (e.g. supply chain management, exceptional labor practices, etc)? What are the incentives for business to engage in such activities?
  • What are the conditions that allow for social entrepreneurs to engage with or form their own business organizations to develop and implement beneficial business innovations?

Please email your paper to david.bright@case.edu with an appropriate cover letter.

Submissions should be formatted in accordance with APA or Academy of Management Journal style guidelines. Please embed all tables and figures in the body of the paper. All papers will be reviewed by an editor and at least one other person before a decision on acceptance is made. Our aim is to be inclusive rather than exclusive of high quality papers.

Commentary on accepted papers will be invited by the public, and may include a formal response by interested readers.

Submission of a paper represents the author's agreement to allow B·A·W·B to publish the paper in any written or electronic format for distribution to all interested parties in perpetuity with or without compensation to the publishers and without compensation to the author. The parties understand that the author is granting a nonexclusive license and all copyrights remain the property of the author.



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