Friday, January 23, 2015

January 23, 2014 - Tim Busch in WSJ "Teaching Capitalism to Catholics"

School of Business and Economics Board of Visitors member, Tim Busch, released an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal explaining, "Why I'm joining Charles Koch and others in funding a program to teach about free markets." In it, Mr. Busch explains why the School's aim to provide education on capitalism and Catholicism not only makes sense, but why it is necessary.

As the only pontifical university in the United States, The Catholic University of America's business school has an obligation to shed light on how, as Mr. Busch puts it, "the principles behind this initiative and the principled entrepreneurship program are consistent with Catholic teaching."

The article goes on to say:
Timothy R. Busch
"Capitalism meets these criteria better than any other economic system. It is also the single most effective means of alleviating poverty. In the past 20 years alone, it has lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty, according to the Economist. It is also single-handedly responsible for creating a global two-billion-person middle class over the past 300 years.

But free markets only work within a moral culture. When business is unmoored from a concern for the common good, capitalism can slide into cronyism and corruption—exactly what Pope Francis has critiqued in recent months. It is such perversions of a free-market economy that do not fit Catholic teaching.

These issues should be addressed in part through the education of future business leaders."
 We encourage you to read the full article in the WSJ here. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 2015 - Professor Widmer in Catholic Business Journal

During a meeting with the Roman Curia on December 22, 2014, Pope Francis named fifteen ailments of the Curia that hold the Church back from being healthier and more harmonious. Drawing from Pope Francis' keen insights, Professor Andreas Widmer shows that these ailments can also be applied to businesses. Professor Widmer includes how each ailment can be cured in the workplace.

To name one particularly poignant ailment, Professor Widmer states:
10. The disease: DEIFYING LEADERS

Celebrity CEOs are the order of the day. Larry Ellison, Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs are celebrated far beyond the confines of their companies. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Inside companies, celebrating management is even more common – though it’s more akin to “the king’s new clothes” than true admiration. Not even a failed CEO leaves a company without a hefty severance package. And it’s not just the board of directors or senior management who participate in this idolatry. Francis points out that those who “court their superior” become victims of “careerism and opportunism” and “live their vocation thinking only of what they must gain and not of what they should give.” It seems that this well-practiced business behavior has not spared the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church.

Great teams have a culture of honesty. This allows the truth to be spoken and issues addressed. This is the leader’s responsibility: to create an environment where honesty is honored, no matter how inconvenient it might be. To establish such a culture, managers and CEOs simply have to start publicly praising and encouraging small expressions of truth to prepare the way for the larger ones to come forth.
Published in the Catholic Business Journal, you can read Professor Widmer's full article here.

January 22, 2015 - School Accepts $3 Million Grant

The School of Business and Economics is elated to share that it has accepted a new grant. Please read the full press release below, as posted on the CUA Public Affairs website:
The Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics has received a commitment of up to $3 million from the Charles Koch Foundation ($1,750,000), the Busch Family Foundation ($500,000), and three business leaders (each contributing $250,000) to support additional faculty members who will bolster the school’s goal of advancing the study and practice of principled entrepreneurship.

“This new $3 million grant puts our school far along the path of creating a cadre of faculty dedicated to research exploring how we can make business and economics more humane,” said Andrew Abela, dean of the school. “That’s not only the vision for our school; it’s also a moral imperative that Pope Francis has been championing with great passion.”

The $3 million pledge comes a little more than a year since the Charles Koch Foundation and the Busch Family Foundation committed $1 million and $500,000, respectively, to the business and economics school to support four visiting scholars researching principled entrepreneurship as a catalyst for improving society’s well-being.

The four additional faculty, who may be hired as early as fall 2015, will be long-term scholars who teach in the management area and share a common focus in research on the integration of Catholic social doctrine within business professions.

The Charles Koch Foundation supports research and higher education programs focused on advancing an understanding of how free societies improve well-being, especially for the least fortunate. The Busch Family Foundation was founded by Timothy R. Busch and his wife, Steph. Timothy Busch is a member of The Catholic University of America’s Board of Trustees and the School of Business and Economics Board of Visitors, and chairman of the board of the Napa Institute.

The three Catholic business leaders who have each committed $250,000 – Sean Fieler, Frank Hanna, and Michael Millette – are all members of the business and economics school’s Board of Visitors. Millette is a member of CUA’s Board of Trustees.

“I am proud to donate to CUA’s vision for an educational program that shows how capitalism and Catholicism can work hand in hand,” Timothy Busch said. “The school, an integral part of the only pontifical university in the country, will have a unique role in teaching this message to future business leaders – and to the rest of the American Church.”

“Catholic University’s increased commitment to exploring principled entrepreneurship will engage more students and scholars in crucial debates about the role of business in society,” said Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation. “This additional grant will accelerate the University’s efforts to understand how businesses best create value in society.”

The University will search for, recruit, and select the new professors in accordance with existing University hiring policies.

The mission of The Catholic University of America School of Business and Economics is to provide intellectual leadership in business and economics through practical and theoretical education and scholarship, inspired by the Catholic principles of human dignity, solidarity, subsidiarity and the common good, in support of the mission of the University. It is one of 12 schools at the University, which was founded in 1887 as a graduate research institution.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy Hines in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015 - Guest Blog Post By Pat Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni is the founder of The Table Group, an author and a business speaker. Pat has authored 10 books - two of which are New York Times bestsellers - which have sold over 4 million copies. Over the past 15 years, Pat has spoken around the country to business leaders and students on leadership and organizational health.

Pat Lencioni (center) sporting his CUA hat, with Professor Andreas
Widmer (left) and Dean Andrew Abela (right).
Shortly after the creation of the School of Business and Economics, members of the School Administrative Leadership Team had the privilege of learning from Pat during a two-day strategic workshop. This personal one-on-one encounter with Pat helped the leadership team to organize and prepare for the future of the school.

In hopes of sharing a little bit of Pat with the rest of our school community, we encourage you to read Pat's blog post below. In it, he shares with us some valuable insight on passive and active leadership in a team environment, stemming from his experience working with a college baseball team:
"The jerk Factor" - Patrick Lencioni
I had the opportunity to work with a college baseball team recently, and came to a realization that helps explain why accountability is one of the biggest challenges for team members and leaders alike.  I call it “The jerk Factor,” and yes, the “j” is not capitalized for a reason.

I was doing an exercise with a group of about ten team leaders, in which I asked each of them to identify their key strength and weakness as a leader.  After a few players admitted that their weakness is their reluctance to confront teammates who aren’t living up to the team’s standards, another of the leaders reported that his weakness is being too confrontational.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing here because college guys don’t talk the same way that executives do: “I felt like a jerk the other day when I called out the team and said they were wimps for not doing enough reps in the weight room.”  One of his peers replied, “yeah, I heard a few of the guys say they thought you were being a jerk, but they also said you were right.”

This didn’t seem to make the leader feel any better.  I advised him to go back to his teammates and admit that even though what he said may have sounded harsh, he was doing it for their good, and the good of the team.  And that’s when I realized that part of being a leader and team player is the willingness to be a “jerk” from time to time.

Now, when I spell jerk with a small letter “j”, I’m referring to someone who is willing to say or do something that pushes a peer or subordinate far out of their comfort zones in order to make them or the team better.  This often comes in the form of a pointed comment during a meeting, or a dose of tough love delivered one-on-one.  For a few minutes, hours or even days, jerks may be unappreciated, even resented by the people who are on the receiving end of their input, until those people come to the realization that what the jerk said or did was exactly what was needed.

Jerks with a capital “J” are different animals.  They are the ones who consistently demonstrate harshness and attitude, with no apparent reason, certainly not for the good of the team and its members.  They almost seem to enjoy treating others roughly, and rarely, if ever, acknowledge that their attitude may have been inappropriate or uncalled for. Of course, these Jerks don’t earn the respect of their team members, rarely sustain any meaningful level of success over time, and should be avoided whenever possible.

But let’s just focus here on “small j” jerks, because failing to appreciate them can hurt an organization in a big way.  To understand how, it’s necessary to realize that they aren’t the only jerks on the team.

Remember that exercise with the college baseball team?  And remember the first leaders in the group who said that their weakness was that they often hold back their input when they see people behaving in a way that isn’t good for the team?  Well, it’s time to recognize that they’re being jerks too.  Passive ones, perhaps, but jerks nonetheless.  When they withhold information or feedback out of fear that they might be temporarily disliked, they’re depriving the team of the opportunity to improve.  Essentially, they’re putting themselves and their feelings ahead of the good of the team.  But since no one knows it, they don’t feel the sting of having been a jerk.

Think about the implications of this. Passive jerks hurt the team but experience almost no discomfort or pain.  Active ones help the team but suffer for it.  The logical result of this is clear: more people will choose to be passive jerks than active ones.  I see it all the time and it is a recipe for mediocrity as important issues remain unaddressed and unproductive behaviors are not confronted.

So, what can we do to avoid this?  First, we need to be clear that there is a big difference between a jerk and a Jerk.  As long as we allow jerks to be labeled as Jerks, we’ll have far too few of them.  Second, we need to be equally clear that there are active and passive jerks, and that active ones are the helpful ones.  Finally, when someone acts like a jerk, call them out and reward them for it, and dispel any concerns they may have that they’ve done something wrong.

If we can do those things, we’ll create a culture in which people will have the courage to speak up and endure the pain of being temporarily unpopular.  That may be the most selfless thing a leader or team member can do

Originally posted on The Table Group's website:

January 20, 2015 - Economics Professor Researches Influence of Charitable Donations

Ordinary Professor of Economics, Dr. Ernest Zampelli, has taught at CUA for almost 30 years in the area of microeconomics. Having published in some of the leading academic journals, his research focuses on public sector microeconomics, energy and environmental economics, and the economics of philanthropic behavior.

Dr. Ernie Zampelli
One of his most recent articles, co-authored with Dr. Steven T. Yen, was published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. The article is titled, “What Drives Charitable Donations of Time and Money? The Roles of Political Ideology, Religiosity, and Involvement.”

The paper examines the factors which influence charitable donations of time and money. It highlights the roles of political ideology, religiosity, political and social involvement, and diversity in personal relationships while controlling for other factors commonly identified in the scholarly work on philanthropic behavior. We welcome you to read the full article here.

Congratulations to Dr. Zampelli on 30 years of service to the School of Business and Economics!

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015 - Professor's Company Ranked in SmartCEO's 'Future 50'

Over the last several years, the School of Business and Economics has been fortunate to have Greg C. Smith teach the senior capstone management course, Business Strategy, on a part-time basis while simultaneously running his company. The company, G2SF Inc., was founded by Greg in 2008 and is based in Reston, VA.

After only seven years, G2SF Inc. has been named one of SmartCEO's Future 50 companies. According to SmartCEO:
"This program recognizes 50 fast-growth, mid-sized companies in the region... These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success."
The winners were chosen based on their employee and revenue growth average over the past three years. To learn more about the companies and Professor Smith's outstanding accomplishment, please see the full ranking here

Please join us in congratulating Professor Smith on exceptional dedication to his company and to his students, who have the privilege of gaining challenging and practical insight from their thriving instructor!