European SPES Institute | Spirituality in economics and society - The European SPES Institute promotes spiritual value orientation in economics and society.

  • Economic Ethics | European SPES Institute - The European SPES Institute promotes spiritual value orientation in economics and society with special focus on ethical and sustainable business.
  • Our Mission: Spiritual-based Humanism | European SPES Institute - The European SPES Institute is an international network of individuals and organizations promoting spirituality in economic and social life. It is our belief at the European SPES Institute that spiritually motivated actors who define success in multidimensional and holistic terms may serve the common good of nature, future generations and society. The mission of the European SPES Institute is expressed in the key word of SPES, being on the one hand an acronym for ‘SPirituality in Economics and Society’ and, on the other hand, the Latin word for Hope, the virtue that sustains our belief in a better future. Spirituality is defined in broad and pluralistic terms so that the European SPES Institute may bring together people from different spiritual backgrounds and traditions. We understand spirituality as people’s multiform search for meaning interconnecting them with all living beings and to God or Ultimate Reality. Within this definition there is room for differing views, for spiritualities with and without God and for an ethics of dialogue. The European SPES Institute stands for a spiritual-based humanism which, among others, European ‘personalist’ philosophers have defended on philosophical grounds. The European SPES Institute (formerly the European SPES Forum) was founded in 2004 in Leuven. It is part of the  SPES Forum vzw, a formal non-profit organization under Belgian law. Its activities are led by a steering committee and chaired by a president. Every three year, during its annual conference the president and the steering committee are (re)elected by the the members of the Institute and appointed by the Governing Board of the SPES Forum vzw.   The origin of SPES goes back to the year 2000 where it was started as a ‘personalist studygroup’ in the Center for Economics and Ethics (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) in cooperation with the Center for Ethics (University of Antwerp, Belgium). In 2004  as SPES Forum vzw it became an autonomous nonprofit organization under Belgian law. The initiative was successful and resulted in setting up the Belgian SPES Academy (2004) and the European SPES forum (2004).
  • Ethical Leadership: Indian and European Spiritual Approaches | European SPES Institute -   The book contains sepected papers from the international conference coorganized by the European SPES Institute and  IFIM Business School in Bangalore, India on January 9-10, 2014.Addressing issues of human values, ethics, spirituality and leadership in business the authors of this volume create a dialogue and interchange between Indian and European cultural traditions. Topics include spiritual orientations to business in Hindu, Buddhist and Christian traditions; the effect of spirituality upon contemporary leadership theories; sustainable business models in India and Europe and a comparison between Indian and European philosophies of leadership.   Praise for the book: "This unique collection looks at leadership through the lens of spirituality. Both academics and practitioners will find insights into how awareness of our connection to each other on a shared planet can change the ways that we lead, do business, and regard economics and the environment." Professor Joanne B. Ciulla, Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, USA "Madhumita Chatterji and Laszlo Zsolnai have edited a much-needed volume. It provides rich insights into the differences and similarities between European and Indian approaches to the ethical and spiritual dimensions of leadership. These insights are provided by scholars who are well-grounded in the cultures of both of these “continents”." Professor Emeritus Peter Pruzan, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Visiting Professor, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, India "A startling breakthrough in scholarship and case study on the India-Europe cross-fertilization of ethics and spirituality. The authors enliven and apply traditional Indian wisdom literature to enable spiritual leaders to develop mindful leadership, democracy, co-creativity and co-responsibility in creating alternative management models aimed at empowering people to flourish in their organization." Dr. Mike Thompson, Chairman of GoodBrand London, UK and Visiting Professor of Management Practice, China-Europe International Business School Shanghai, China
  • Research Methodology: The Aims, Practices and Ethics of Science | European SPES Institute - This book by Peter Pruzan (member of the Advisory Board of the European SPES Institute) is an in-depth guide to effective scientific research. Ranging from the philosophical to the practical, it explains at the outset what science can – and can’t – achieve, and discusses its relationship to mathematics and laws. The author then pays extensive attention to the scientific method, including experimental design, verification, uncertainty and statistics. A major aim of the book is to help young scientists reflect upon the deeper aims of their work and make the best use of their talents in contributing to progress. To this end, it also includes sections on planning research, on presenting one’s findings in writing, as well as on ethics and the responsibilities of scientists.
  • Spirituality in Business (in Spanish) | European SPES Institute - Carlos Hoevel and Laszlo Zsolnai edited a special issues on Spirituality in Business in Spanish for the journal „Revista Cultura & Económica” Vol 32, No. 88. The volume contains the following papers: The Mission and Activities of the European SPES Institute Luk Bouckaert (Leuven): Spiritual Discernment in Decision-Making Hendrik Opdebeeck (Antwerp): Rediscovering the Personalist Philosophy of  Jacques Maritain Laszlo Zsolnai (Budapest): Spiritually Driven Entrepreneurship Henri-Claude de Bettignies (INSEAD): Can We Develop the Responsible Leaders We Need? Mike Thompson (London and Shanghai): Managers’ Self-understanding of Wisdom
  • Business, Ethics and Peace | European SPES Institute - Good business needs a peaceful and just world in which to operate and prosper. Likewise, peace thrives in a healthy economic environment. However, many companies - either directly or indirectly - are involved in the arms race and in a battle to exploit and control scarce resources. As a result of the ambiguous power of business, a timely reflection on its impact on war and peace is needed as well as a conscious pro-peace commitment. Business, Ethics and Peace gathers a selection of papers presented at the International SPES Conference Business for Peace, Strategies for Hope at Ypres, April 10 - 12, 2014. Among the many initiatives commemorating the centennial of World War I, this project focuses on the ethical need to prevent the next conflict. It interprets and presents peace as a holistic and evolving concept, defining the need for an ethical charter of human rights and responsibilities. The papers illustrate the impact of religion in peace management and present solutions and practices for corporate peace-building.
  • The Spiritual Dimension of Business Ethics and Sustainability Management | European SPES Institute - This book discloses the spiritual dimension in business ethics and sustainability management. Spirituality is understood as a multiform search for meaning which connects people with all living beings and God or Ultimate Reality. In this sense, spirituality is a vital source in social and economic life. The volume examines the spiritual orientations to nature and business in different cultural traditions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. It studies how spirituality and ecology can contribute to transforming contemporary management theory and praxis. It discusses new leadership roles and business models that emerge for sustainability in business and shows how entrepreneurship can be inspired by nature and spirituality in a meaningful way.​ Preface.- Part 1   Introduction.- 1 Laszlo Zsolnai: Spirituality, Ethics and Sustainability.- Part 2 New Perspectives in Business Ethics and Sustainability.- 2   Luk Bouckaert; Spirituality: The Missing Link in Business Ethics.- 3   Hendrik Opdebeeck; Spiritual Sustainability Management.- 4   András László; The Inner Perspective – The Sufi Approach.- 5   Knut J. Ims; Deep Ecology and Personal Responsibility.- 6   Gábor Kovács; Spiritual Orientation to Nature in Buddhism.- 7   Rita Ghesquière; Sustainability and Wisdom: The Power of the Fable.- Part 3    Innovative Practices and Policy Reforms for Sustainability.- 8   Jean-Paul Close; Sustainocracy: Spirituality and Sustainable Progress.- 9   Laurie Michaelis; Quakers and Climate Change.-  10  Aloy Soppe; Sustainability and Long Term Growth in the Financial Market System.- 11 Arundhati Virmani and François Lépineux; Spiritual-Based Entrepreneurship for an Alternative Food Culture: The Transformational Power of Navdanya.- 12 Janos Vargha; The Enforcement of the Self-Interests of Nature Transformers.- 13 Nel Hofstra; Entrepreneurship Inspired by Nature.- Part 4  Spiritual-based Leadership in Business.- 14   Peter Pruzan; Spiritual-based Leadership: A Paradox of Pragmatism.- 15   Joanne Ciulla; Educating Moral Business Leaders Without the Fluff and Fuzz.- 16  Steven B. Young; In Admiration of Peter Pruzan’s proposal for Spiritual-based Leadership.- 17   Paul de Blot; The Paradox of Pragmatism.- 18   Katalin Illés; Reflections on Peter Pruzan’s “Spiritual-based Leadership”.- 19   Peter Pruzan; Further Reflections on Spirituality and Spiritual-based Leadership.- Part 5   Conclusions.- 20   Laszlo Zsolnai; Spirituality for Business Ethics and Sustainability Management.
  • The Ypres Manifesto | European SPES Institute - Participants of the 10th Anniversary Conference of the European SPES Forum in April 10-12, 2014 in Ieper, Flanders Fields, Belgium launched "The Ypres Manifesto on Business for Peace". It reads as follows: In commemoration of the Great War of 1914-1918, we gather together in Ypres, April 10 to 12, 2014, as an international group yearning for Peace and coming from more than ten different countries. In the war trenches of Ypres, thousands of young people lost their lives, their innocence and dreams. It does not suffice to hold a moment of silence to respectfully remember those who perished. No, commemorating the Great War demands a brutally honest and open reflection upon what we must do today in order to prevent the next war, the next slaughter. It is our duty to resurrect the lost dreams of a sacrificed generation and to transform their heroism in warfare into heroism for peace.
  • The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business | European SPES Institute - The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business summarizes the most important issues, approaches and models in the field of spirituality in business, economics and society. It presents a comprehensive pluralistic view covering all the major religious and spiritual traditions. It is a response to three developments that challenge the business-as-usual mindset. Firstly, in response to a growing interest in spirituality applied to models of transformational leadership, in theories of social capital and in practices of values-driven management, it explores the emerging field of business spirituality—its main concepts, models and practices. Secondly, there is a growing awareness that the world is unsustainable without a strong commitment to frugality and self-restriction, and that material resources such as clean air and water, as well as non-material resources such as trust, compassion and peace, are fragile.
  • Economics as a Moral Science | European SPES Institute - With Peter Rona (Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford) and Laszlo Zsolnai edits a book for Spinger under the title Economics as a Moral Science to be published in 2017.  The book is an attempt to reclaim economics as a moral science. It argues that ethics is a relevant aspect of all levels of economic activity, from individual and organizational to societal and global. Taking ethical considerations into account is needed in explaining and predicting the behavior of economic agents as well as in evaluating and designing economic policies and mechanisms. The book employs the personalist approach that sees human persons with free will and conscience as the basic agents of economic life and defines human flourishing as the final end of economic activities. The book intends to demonstrate that economics can gain a lot in meaning and also in analytical power by reuniting itself with ethics. The unique feature of the book is that it not only analyses ethics and economics on an abstract level but puts behavioral, institutional and systemic issues together for a robust and human view of economic functioning. Economic “facts” are interwoven with ethical contents. Utility calculations and moral considerations co-determine economic behavior and outcomes.
  • Art-based Business | European SPES Institute - Laszlo Zsolnai and Doirean Wilson published a paper on art-based business. Their paper argues that with its exclusive focus on profit-making, modern-day businesses tend to violate the integrity and diversity of natural ecosystems, the autonomy and culture of local communities and the chance that future generations will lead a decent life. The core of the metaphysics of modern-day business is what Martin Heidegger calls “calculative thinking”.

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