Can Benevolence Change the World?

Online | Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Benevolence, understood as the willingness to help or to do good unto others, is not frequently considered in business, although it can affect central aspects of business activity at several levels.

At the individual level, benevolence serves to present a leadership style characterized by a variety of kindness-based behaviors. These include: adopting a humane approach; fairness and equity; accommodating personal issues; treating others with respect; caring and being responsive; communicating with a personal touch; sharing information in a transparent way; explaining logically; listening intently and valuing the views of others; counseling and mentoring; and being inclusive as a leader.

At the organizational level, benevolence can inform reflection on the very purpose of business activity, placing the person at its center. At the social level, it can clarify the motives behind corporate social responsibility programs. Beyond self-interest, benevolence provides more altruistic motivations oriented towards the contribution of the company to the common good of society.

This Experts Meeting gathered thinkers from the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology and management to explore the role of benevolence in business and in social life. The discussions were grouped under four concepts:  Benevolence, human flourishing and social development; Integrating benevolence into economics and management; Benevolence, business activity and leadership; and Benevolence across cultures. 

Discussion of the first two areas was held online, with the other two areas left for a later date. The published volume will include all the papers, with an introductory chapter by the project’s academic leader, Joan Fontrodona. 

Benevolence, human flourishing and social development.

Robert Emmons "Gratitude: A Virtue as Vast as Life Itself?"

Mauro Magatti "Benevolence and Social Generativity"

Integrating benevolence into economics and management

Luigino Bruni "Benevolence and Economics: History, Theory, Challenges"

Stephen Green "Benevolence in the Marketplace: A Geopolitical and Cultural Perspective"

Academic Leader

Joan Fontrodona - IESE Business School


Luigino Bruni - Lumsa University, Rome

Robert A. Emmons - University of California, Davis

Stephen Green - Natural History Museum, London

Mauro Magatti - Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan