What makes business leader and CEO activism more impactful? Today’s business leaders have more power to solve societal issues than any elected official, and Millennials and Generation Z expect business leaders to speak up on issues that are important to society. Activate World, hosted by Jon Mertz, explores this modern leadership model. Be a part of a think tank in action!
Building an Engaging Social Movement for Good
Derrick Feldmann, millennial and cause influence researcher and author, discusses how to engage in a social movement for good. Many are belongers in social causes. The goal is to move people from belongers to believers. Leaders design social movements where believers can self-organize and engage others to gain momentum and social change. Business leaders can build community with millennials, gen Z, and across generations, a necessary leadership skill in today’s social cause orientation.
Galvanizing Workers for Workplace Change
Jess Kutch co-founded Coworker.org in 2013 as a platform for employees to advocate for change in the workplace. She saw the opportunity to provide digital tools to workers allowing them to launch their own campaigns and affect change in their work lives. She shares her perspectives on “the fourth industrial revolution,” or a new labor movement enabled by the internet. Jess is an advocate for giving workers economic power to counter the extremes of capitalism and rising wealth inequality.
What Business Leaders Can Learn from Nonviolent Resistance (and Sociology)
Professor Sharon Nepstad’s research covers topics including social movements, and nonviolence and civil resistance studies. She notes that business leaders play important activist roles in communicating societal values and promoting change in areas such as gun control, immigration, and climate actions. She discusses the concept of leadership capital and its impact on leading change in business and society. Business leaders often have resources for social change that grass roots activists lack.
How Characters and Storytelling Drive Social Change
Professor Francesca Polletta researches the role of storytelling in social movements. She says stories can do three things: get us to care about an issue, create or jump-start a movement, and tell new stories about issues in fundamentally different ways. Social movements’ most important impacts are in changing opinions, beliefs, values, and behaviors. Professor Polletta’s focus is on people who are affected and influenced by movements and bring those ideas and values into their workplaces.
Social Principles Transforming Businesses
Greg Satell managed a news organization during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and saw the power of social movements. The same principles underlying successful social and political movements are present in corporate transformations, such as networking, creating a vision of shared values and consciousness, and keystone change. Through cascades, small groups that are loosely connected but united by a common purpose, a company can be transformed, an industry disrupted, or an entire society reshaped.
Social Activism Showing Up in Social Entrepreneurship
Dr. Jerry Davis, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and associate dean for Business Plus Impact, is finding more ways for business to contribute to social betterment. Information and communications technologies now make corporate activities very public, and in turn, force companies to understand their values and what they stand up for. Dr. Davis believes activism should be encouraged, as risk taking, innovation, and passion can serve the businesses’ interests.