Academic journal article Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

Panel Two: Managing as If Faith Matters1

Academic journal article Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

Panel Two: Managing as If Faith Matters1

Article excerpt


Joseph E. Geoghan, Esq.

Retired Vice-President and General Counsel, and Member of the Board of Directors, Union Carbide Corporation

Talat Ansari, Esq.

Partner, Kelley, Drye & Warren, LLP

Charles M.A. Clark

Senior Fellow, Vincentian Center for Church and Society, and Professor of Economics, Tobin College of Business, St. John's University

MS. UELMEN: I think we are just about ready to get started with the 11:30 panel. We have "Managing as if Faith Matters." We stole the title from a book by Michael Naughton, who is our moderator. I am very grateful that he has traveled to be here with us.

Then we have Joe Geoghan, who is the Retired General Counsel of Union Carbide; Talat Ansari, who is a Partner at Kelley, Drye & Warren; and Charles Clark, who is at St. John's Business School. We are very delighted to have this wonderful panel assembled.

There is also more background on each of the speakers in your materials. They have extensive biographies.

We will turn it over to Michael for "Managing as if Faith Matters." I think you all know about the hypothetical that is also in your materials.

PROF. NAUGHTON: Thank you, Amy.

While the title of our session comes from our book, we stole the title from another title of a book by E.F. Schumacher, a book called Small Is Beautiful.2 The subtitle of that book is "Economics as if People Mattered." Schumacher's assumption is that the economic profession was going astray and that economics itself had to be redirected toward its primary object, which is the health and development of people.3

In a very similar way, what we want to do in this session is to explore together what corporate board decisions could look like, as if faith mattered. But in a very similar way, like Schumacher, we also come to the reality that often sometimes, we ourselves do not act or do not manage or do not work as if faith mattered.

But of course the reason why we are here is that we also believe and I think there are great signs in our culture that point this way - that people want to be faithful, because they want a greater depth of integration between their faith and work.

If I can just give you one quote from a poet, David Whyte, who speaks about this question of this integration, this reconnection, between faith and one's work, he says: "Whatever strategy we employ, or whoever we choose to speak with, we are eventually compelled to bring our work life into the realm of spiritual examination. We simply spend too much time and have too much psychic and emotional energy invested in the workplace for us to declare it a spiritual desert, bereft of life-giving water."4

And yet, if we are to engage these religious values, religious traditions, we of course cannot neglect the technical, the financial, the legal, and the various dimensions that modern corporations have to exist in.

The challenge for people of faith, of course, is to engage these technical dimensions within their particular theological religious tradition. This is no doubt a complex and difficult undertaking, but I think most of us realize it can reap great rewards, not only for one's own deep personal meaning in life, which we all seek, but also for a more just workplace and a better culture.

This morning we are very fortunate to have with us together three men who can help us both understand the complexities and bring their unique faith tradition to bear on the problem of outsourcing. What we plan to do this morning is to examine a particular case about a board of directors that has to make a decision whether to move operations from the U.S. to India. The question before the Board is whether to go or not to go.

Now, of course, as with all cases, we do not have all the facts, and we are just simply going to have to face that reality. But the focus that we want is: What do religious values specifically have to do when facing this particular case? …

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