Peace of the Action

In these days of Katrina and Iraq, what’s the purpose of business? Several readers have expressed concern that their work matters less in the face of disaster — and it’s challenging to remain focused on workaday business activities in recent weeks. In a new paper, Gretchen Spreitzer, a professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, suggests that work indeed matters — business leaders can contribute to sustainable peace.

In the study, entitled “Giving Peace a Chance: Organizational Leadership, Empowerment and Sustainable Peace,” Spreitzer analyzes data from about 80 countries, finding less corruption and less unrest in countries where the leadership of business organizations is more participative.

It may be fashionable to snark about Halliburton’s involvement in redevelopment efforts, but some organizations and business leaders are working hard to help rebuild and, yes, spread peace. How does the work you do increase peace?