This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Paul Almeida just became the Dean of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in August.  This Jesuit university is the oldest Catholic university in the US.

In October, Dr. Almeida wrote an article for the Financial Times defining the structure and principles of the workings behind the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius of Loyola, as a valid and current model for any multinational company.

In this extremely interesting article, he describes the elements of the inner workings of the Society of Jesus, calling this organization a “success case”.  The texts mentions two Basques, both of them saints and Jesuits: St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier.  Miguel de Unamuno once said, “The Society of Jesus and Republic of Chile are the two great accomplishments of the Basque people”.

What we found curious is that there was no mention of them being Basque, when so much of what “being Basque” means can be found in the spirit of the Society.  The article highlights Ignatius’ status as a nobleman, part of the upper classes, while actually, his family was noble in a society where “nobility” was widespread.

We’re not experts in Management; we really don’t know anything more than some general definitions, but we were surprised to see the author tiptoe around one of the basic aspects of managerial technique that has been applied by the Jesuits very successfully for centuries.

Their role as missionaries, of diffusion of their doctrine and the principles of the Roman Catholic Church, has, as the article states, allowed them to reach all the corners of the world, in addition to becoming educators, creating centers of learning not only for those who could afford it, but also for those many cases of those who were worth it.

And they did so, and this is what we would like to have seen in the article’s description of the Society’s values, by adapting to local needs, learning to fit into their surroundings, and choosing to reach their goals by defending the peoples they integrated in with against the established powers of those places, in situations of persecution and even martyrdom.  We can see this in the Jesuit reductions and their leading role in Liberation theology.

Going back through old school notes, just to refresh our memory, we found this principle:

Management is made up of the integration of people in a common project, and that’s why it’s deeply inserted in our culture.  It implies that one of the basic challenges a society must face is that of finding and identifying those elements of its own tradition, history, and culture that can be used as Management building blocks.

As we said above, in order to understand the Jesuits, one cannot forget their founder was Basque, just as we can’t forget the loyal following of the principles marked by the papacy in the Second Vatican Council that it was with another Basque as the General Provost of the Society of Jesus, father Pedro Arrupe, that the Jesuits decreed in 1974:

faith in God must be inextricably linked to the indefatigable struggle to abolish all the injustices that weigh on mankind.

This led them to reinforce their commitment to helping the poorest around the world.

We’re also linking to another article in the Financial Times by Ivan Bofarull about the role of the Jesuits as explorers, in which he highlights the need to get to know and to adapt to new horizons.  The author cites some Jesuit explorers, and to that list we need to add José de Anchieta, or Padre Anchieta, the founder of Sao Paulo, who’s directly related to St. Ignatius and is a key figure in the history of Brazil.  He was also, coincidentally, a strong defender of the Indians and their culture and language.

Financial Times – 15/10/2017 – USA

Why a 16th-century saint is a model of modern management

When Pope Francis assumed the papacy in 2013, there were cheers from many around the world. Francis was the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit. While his appointment focused new attention on the Jesuit Order, the Society of Jesus has been around since 1540, when it was founded by St Ignatius Loyola.

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Financial Times – 27/10/2017 – USA

Jesuit explorers adopted a learn-it-all mindset

When Pope Francis assumed the papacy in 2013, there were cheers from many around the world. Francis was the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit. While his appointment focused new attention on the Jesuit Order, the Society of Jesus has been around since 1540, when it was founded by St Ignatius Loyola.

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