New book by Weatherhead School of Management researchers sets course for economic revival

Chris Laszlo
Chris Laszlo

America is on course to be surpassed economically by China and India. With a disengaged workforce and a shrinking middle class, the quality of life for the masses, long held as the American Dream, is suffering.

But a new book by a team of business management researchers from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University details a progressive “people first” approach that—with minimal investment—is delivering profitability while restoring our place in a healthier and more prosperous world.

Flourishing Enterprise: The New Spirit of Business (Stanford University Press, 2014), released in August, provides the framework for an upcoming conference, Flourish & Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The Global Forum is expected to bring together 1,000 executives, managers and teams from companies around the world on Oct. 15-17 at Case Western Reserve to explore how successful enterprises can achieve flourishing and prosperity for all.

The book describes vital links between paying more attention to personal well-being and concern for the planet, as well as running a successful business.

“Flourishing is the business opportunity of today—inspiring people, solving complex problems, collaborating across supply chains, and catalyzing systems change for value and profit,” said Chris Laszlo, an associate professor at the Weatherhead School and director for research and outreach at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit.

As a lead author of Flourishing Enterprise, Laszlo explains the three primary takeaways from the book:

  • When people are inspired by new magnitudes of purpose for business and society, they bring their deepest and best selves to work.
  • In flourishing organizations, innovation emerges everywhere.
  • Flourishing enterprises sustain industry leadership in the face of continual change and complexity.

Companies such as Google, General Mills, Patagonia, Fairmount Minerals, Schuberg Philis (Holland), Natura (Brazil), and Kyocera (Japan) already model many essential facets of flourishing enterprises, Laszlo said.

Nine coauthors contributed to the book, including Judy Sorum Brown, author of A Leader’s Guide to Reflective Practice and The Art and Spirit of Leadership. She is a senior fellow in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Fowler Center and has served as a White House fellow and as vice president of the Aspen Institute.

Flourishing Enterprise includes a foreword by Peter Senge, a well-known sustainability author and senior lecturer on leadership and sustainability at MIT Sloan School of Management.

“In a business world where growth and profit is king, this book provides an inspiring alternative to what success can look like and how to achieve it,” said David Baker, senior manager of the Boeing Co. “I highly recommend it for business leaders and managers at all organizational levels.”

Flourishing Enterprise: The New Spirit of Business (Stanford University Press) is available at More information about the Flourish & Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit conference is available at