Defense of dissertation: Business for Peace

The questions Tilman Bauer asks in the study are “What is business?”, “What is peace?”, and “How are the concepts interconnected?”.
People walking and standing. Photo: Aalto University/Kristian Presnal
Photo: Aalto University/Kristian Presnal

The public defense of the doctoral thesis titled “Business for Peace: A New Paradigm for Making a Collective Living” by Tilman Bauer will take place at Aalto University School of Business and online on November 24, 2023 (event info at the end of this page).

Tilman Bauer's research addresses the question of how business can foster peace in society. The normative intention is to make business a force for good. To achieve this purpose, the study asks, “What is business?”. The ensuing analysis uncovers the origins of the business concept, its true meaning, and the role of business in society. The initial finding is that “business” and “purpose” are inherently interlinked. Challenging the notion of profit maximization as overriding goal, the study posits that the purpose of business must revolve around some form of positive contribution to society.

But what does “positive contribution to society” mean? In order to answer this question, the research addresses the concept of peace. Through a detailed analysis of peace research literature, the study argues that peace is the substance of any positive impact. From this, it follows that: If the purpose of business is to create positive impact in society, and if creating positive impact means, in substance, fostering peace, then the purpose of business in society is to foster peace.

Advocating for a paradigm shift, the study shows that peace is relevant for business – in theory and practice. Empirical studies have shown that ethical business fosters peace as a side effect. In this study, the idea is taken further by placing the notions of responsibility, sustainability, and doing good into the center of business, arguing that the ultimate purpose of business is to make the greatest possible positive contribution to society. Doing good is no longer a fringe topic of peripheral concern – but the very essence of business.

As businesses grapple with the imperative to contribute to society and the environment, the proposed framework offers a comprehensive understanding of how they can do so. By embracing the idea that peace is the substance of any positive impact, businesses can elevate their purpose in society beyond mere profit maximization, paving the way for a more ethical, sustainable, and peaceful future. For this, the study concludes with the development of the Business Peace Index, designed to quantify corporate peace impact.

Further infomation and possible interview requests:
Tilman Bauer
[email protected] 

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Defense of Thesis in Organization & Management, Philosophy of Management, Tilman Bauer, Msc (Econ), MSc (Sustain.), MA (Peace)

Title of the thesis is: "Business for Peace: A New Paradigm for Making a Collective Living"

The picture shows Tilman Bauer near the stairs in the School of Business building.

If you want to foster peace, study business!

Doctoral researcher Tilman Bauer studies peace at the School of Business. According to him, the purpose of business in society is to promote peace.

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