The Dialogue Project
How Business Can Reduce Polarization and Build Common Purpose
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, says he experienced two very different reactions in society related to the development of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. The first was a hero’s welcome.
The Dialogue Project recently staged a crisis simulation exercise at the annual conference of the Page Society, the global association of chief corporate affairs officers. Using a hypothetical but highly realistic event, and with the participation of some of the world’s most admired leaders from business, government and journalism, the session explored how a multinational organization must manage a range of stakeholder demands as it confronts a crisis that combines a global public health issue with the politicization that unfortunately accompanies it.
As CEO of Merck, Ken Frazier didn’t shy away from taking a position or making a statement that he knew some employees might disagree with. But whenever he did so, he also listened to their views.
During 2020, we have experienced a range of emotions – from those related to the COVID-19 pandemic to those stemming from racial violence and injustice. In both cases, my inspiration and hope for the future come not only from seeing how people have reached out to others and how they have come together to solve problems, but also how they’ve done so despite their differences.
As the leader of an organization that empowers people to live better as they age, and as the mother of a son and daughter—both millennials—I am disheartened by the deterioration of civil discourse in this country. We have become a polarized nation. It appears dialogue, bipartisanship, cooperation and the ability to compromise have all but disappeared.
As a college student in Argentina 35 years ago, we had very limited access to textbooks. When it came time to study, we had to check out books from the campus library, take them across the street to make photocopies of the pages we needed, and then return the books to the library.
As the nation’s political polarization teeters on the toxic, the downstream consequences are becoming apparent. These include political gridlock, erosion of faith in institutions, extremism, social unrest, and even violence. This begs the question: Why are Americans so bitterly divided over politics? Did we choose this?
This spring, The Dialogue Project, a program inside the Fuqua School of Business that explores what role business can play to help reduce polarization in our society, hosted a discussion as part of the school’s alumni reunion weekend, in which …
Companies and researchers outline frameworks for speaking out on societal issues
Southwest, long known for its heart, is promoting civility and kindness as values that work for its employees—and for everyone else.