Broadening the Frame around Sustainability with Holistic Language: Mandela and Invictus
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We argue for the need for a new language for business – one that is capable of changing the current business decision-making frame of wins and losses to a frame of community and social learning. This paper outlines a classroom exercise about Nelson Mandela’s leadership, involving movies, case studies and poetry, and shows how the more holistic approach helps shift student views of the triple bottom line. Since neuroscience literature has shown that poetry can help enhance learning, students carefully study “Invictus,” a poem written by Victorian-era poet Henley and revered by Mandela. As students dig deeper into the case study through classroom discussion, they begin to see Mandela’s leadership through a new frame, and in doing so broaden their own views. This more holistic approach to studying leadership may allow decision makers to adjust both their goals and the focus of their analysis to go beyond monetary outcomes to include socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes.
KeywordsBusiness school education Triple bottom line Framing Holistic management Poetry and business Sustainable decision making
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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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