Cover of The Diplomat in the Corner Office by Timothy L. Fort
The Diplomat in the Corner Office
Corporate Foreign Policy
Timothy L. Fort

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October 2015
224 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804786379
Paper ISBN: 9780804796606

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Winner of the 2016 SIM Book Award, sponsored by the AOM Social Issues in Management Section.

In The Diplomat in the Corner Office, Timothy L. Fort, one of the founders of the business and peace movement, reflects on the progress of the movement over the past 15 years—from a niche position into a mainstream economic and international relations perspective. In the 21st century global business environment, says Fort, businesses can and should play a central role in peace-building, and he demonstrates that it is to companies' strategic advantage to do so.

Anchoring his arguments in theories from economics and international relations, Fort makes the case that businesses must augment familiar notions of corporate responsibility and ethical behavior with the concept of corporate foreign policy in order to thrive in today's world. He presents a series of case studies focusing on companies that have made peace a goal, either as an end in itself or because of its instrumental value in building their companies, to articulate three different approaches that businesses can use to quell international conflict— peace making, peace keeping, and peace building. He then demonstrates their effectiveness and proposes policies that can be utilized by business, civil society, and government to increase the likelihood of business playing a constructive role in the conciliatory process.

This book will be of enormous use not only to students and scholars but also to leaders in NGOs, government, and business.

About the author

Timothy L. Fort is the Eveleigh Professor of Business Ethics and Professor of Business Law and Ethics in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

"The question of what, if anything, business in general or a business entity in particular owes to society has been debated by those interested in corporate social responsibility at least since the mid-1970s. Fort offers a new and compelling perspective on this question . . . Fort demonstrates how this type of "gentle commerce," a marriage of ethics and economics, actually rests on principles expounded by Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Immanuel Kant, and others."

—T. R. Gillespie, CHOICE

"Tim Fort's book is persuasive, inspiring, and practical. It will convince skeptics that there are compelling reasons for businesses to adopt a "corporate foreign policy." While some firms may have incentives for "peace-keeping," Fort shows that many already work incrementally, if unintentionally, to create conditions that promote peace. Recognizing this will enable companies, government, and civil society to better leverage business as a force for peace."

—Kathleen A. Getz, Dean, Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola University Maryland

"Using real world examples, Fort—a pioneer and thought leader—makes a compelling case for why a peace-oriented international business strategy makes economic sense. This book demonstrates that managers and their firms can impact the peacefulness of our society. The Diplomat stands to change how you think about the business of business."

—Jennifer Oetzel, American University

"This is a most thoughtful exploration of how it is that private business contributes to peace, about the possible pitfalls, and the need for new innovative practices. In a rapidly growing field, Fort's book is a must-read— for business leaders and strategists, for peace researchers, and for all those who are devoting their lives to overcoming armed conflict."

—Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

"Fort is the most noted scholar writing today on business and peace. He expertly navigates the macro- and micro-levels of corporate impact, and draws on wide-ranging scholarship to develop a framework for corporate practices that strengthen communities. This book should be required reading for business leaders, peace activists, and policymakers alike."

—Virginia Haufler, Center for International Development and Conflict Management, University of Maryland

"Milton Friedman gave voice to the view that 'the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.' But, today's executives are expected to lead their companies on a quest to fulfill a much larger set of functions—including peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding through the pursuit of profits. Fortunately, Timothy Fort has written a very useful roadmap for this journey. A must-read for everyone in the corner office."

—John Sullivan, Center for International Private Enterprise