During the summer I teach an interesting MBA course titled Integrating Faith & Business. It is much different than the typical business course and one of the ways our MBA degree is distinctively different from other MBA degrees.
During a recent class session we had an exciting discussion regarding the deeper significance of a person’s work. Work is not just secular. It is an altar of worship. I am not the only scholar who has recognized this, but this theme has become an important part of my teaching business students.
This recent class session created an unbelievable dynamic discussion. It helped some students see for the first time that work is not just work for money. It is something bigger for society and for God.
I handed out a sheet of paper with the following information and questions:
Given a list of occupations, discuss how God is at work through human effort in each one. (If you prefer, divide up the list among your group members, give an assignment to each group member to present a proposal for a few of these and then group members respond to the proposals.)
- Bank manager
- Factory assembly line worker
- Building maintenance worker (heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing)
- Off-shore oil pump operator
- Investment banker
- Accounts payable clerk
- Transit bus driver
- Air traffic controller
- Member of the House of Representatives or Senate
- Registered Nurse
- Urban police officer
- Farmer in subSahara Africa
- Coal miner
- Tour guide for families on vacation
What other occupations would make an interesting conversation about God at work through human effort?
What is the sacred dimension of your current work, even if your work only part time is a full time student, volunteer, or if you work at home (but not for pay).
When students return for Fall Semester, many of them will have followed the events surrounding the FIFA World Cup competitions in Canada. This summer FIFA is in high-gear as Canada hosts the FIFA World Cup for women’s soccer. The games have been exciting. By the time Fall Semester rolls around the outcome of the competition will be known.
Just as exciting were the events occurring off the pitches during the weeks leading up to the games. Several stories have appeared in the media carrying news that in May, 2015 the FBI arrested seven FIFA officials on charges of corruption. Allegedly, officials had received kick-backs, engaged in racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
After seven FIFA officials were arrested, many people called for the resignation of Sepp Blatter, the 79-year old Swiss CEO. He was not one of the executives that had been arrested. Blatter refused. He accused US Justice officials of interfering in his bid for re-election as FIFA top-level leader. He and others insinuated that because the USA had lost its bid to host the FIFA world cup in 2022, it was trying to pay FIFA back.
Then just three days after he won re-election as FIFA president, things changed. On June 5 Blatter appeared before news cameras in Zurich, Switzerland and announced that he would step down from his position and that a new election would be held to choose a successor.
Rumors began developing that perhaps Blatter was himself had become a target of the FBI probe. People began wondering if one or more of the seven officials who had been arrested would rat on Blatter.
Think about having a conversation with your students about some of the management issues from a Christian point of view.
- What is the difference between an action that is unethical and one that is illegal?
- If Mr. Blatter knew he was not guilty of any corruption crime, should he have caved into the outside media pressure and stepped down even if he had not been arrested?
- What might have happened inside and outside FIFA as an organization if Mr. Blatter had decided not to step down?
- How much responsibility must a manager, at any level, take for the unethical or illegal actions of subordinates if the superior manager truly has no knowledge of subordinate actions?
- Should a superior resign only if the unethical / illegal actions of subordinates gain high visibility?
- How can a manager know that it is time to step aside when his or her continued presence becomes a distraction?
- What Scriptural principle is at stake when a manager is faced with the decision of whether or not to voluntarily resign because of the actions of subordinates?