Executives from Ford Motor Co., Whole Foods Market, and Procter & Gamble will be among the speakers and facilitators at a conference at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan next spring. The inaugural event will address how affirmative business strategies can have a dramatic impact on employees and profits.
The three-day program at U-M in Ann Arbor, to be held May 15-17, will feature keynote addresses, case studies, research presentations from Ross faculty, and hands-on workshops. Each speaker will share first-hand experiences and best practices for implementing innovative management that can have a positive impact on employees, organizations, and society.
“Positive business is the pursuit of mainstream business goals such as profitability, while simultaneously making a positive contribution to employees, the communities in which we work, and the environments in which we live,” says Chris White, managing director of the Center for Positive Organizations. “Things like pro-social motivation — which is a fancy term for ‘how do you connect peoples’ day-to-day work with the people who are benefitting from that work?’ — can make a positive difference in the workplace.”
An example, White notes, comes from a 2005 study that considered two different groups of callers in a telefund. The group that heard a positive message from a fundraiser before they began their shifts ultimately performed better than those who did not hear the talk. “The only difference between the two groups was that one had the positive emotions and positive meaning associated with their work,” White says.
White says making a positive difference in the world through business is one of the center pillars at Ross. “It’s something that we are uniquely capable of offering. We have a great convening power to bring together some amazing leaders and some of the best teachers and researchers in the world,” he says.
The conference is expected to draw 500 business professionals, academics, students, and industry leaders. Registration is $650 per person. For more information, or to register, visit positivebusinessconference.com.