Company culture and its impact on profit focus of new CVDL research partnership

June 29, 2012

CVDLLisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University's Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL, www.cvdl.org), which seeks to help business leaders forge new paths to profitability, today announced a new research initiative, "Return on Values," which will explore the relationship between corporate culture and business success factors in small- to mid-size companies.

"Return on Values" is a joint initiative of the CVDL and the Small Giants Community (SGC, www.smallgiants.org), a global group of company leaders who define success not only by their bottom line but by theircontributions to their community, dedication togreat customer service, and the creation and preservation of workplacecultures of excellence.

The two organizations announced the initiative at the SGC annual international summit in San Francisco.

"A growing body of literature indicates there is a clear business case for doing business the right way – with concern for your employees, community and customers," said Jim Ludema, Ph.D., director of the CVDL and principal investigator for the research initiative.

"We know many businesses that are shining stars in this area, leading the way in their industries while being responsible and caring to their stakeholders," he added. "But we don't yet have a clear understanding of how these factors directly impact traditional measures of business success, like revenue and profit. The Return on Values study will explore the business case of their success."

"Return on Values," which will officially launch on August 1, 2012, is a three-year undertaking which will explore qualitative and quantitative measures of the relationship between cultural factors and business success.

"We want to show that engagement with multiple stakeholders is not just the right thing to do for small- and medium-sized businesses, but it is good for business," said Paul Spiegelman, founder of the SGC and CEO of his own corporation, The Beryl Companies (www.berylhealth.com). "We want to connect the academic world and the practitioner world around these concepts."

The study will also result in resources that business leaders can employ to replicate similar success.

"We expect to uncover not only empirical data, but great case studies that can be used to teach others about how to run values-based businesses and become the framework for curriculum development for future business leaders," Spiegelman said.

SGC and CVDL first connected through Chicagoland business owner Tom Walter, a member of the SGC who has frequent interaction with graduates of Benedictine's College of Business. "This collaboration combines two organizations that understand the importance of values in the workplace – one academic-based and one a community of businesses," Walter said. Businesses like Walter's award-winning Tasty Catering (www.tastycatering.com) will be studied as part of the initiative.

The CVDL will partner with other research institutions to complete the work, which will then be published in both academic and practitioner markets. Other initiatives of the CVDL include its doctoral program in values-driven leadership (www.cvdl.org/doctorate), and the Champion of Responsible Business video series (www.youtube.com/BenedictineCVDL).

"We're delighted to be working with the Small Giants Community," Ludema said. "Although we have different skill sets and resources, we are like-minded organizations that together can make a valuable contribution to the body of academic knowledge which will have an immediate and lasting impact for engaged practitioners. It's a win-win."

"The Center for Values Driven Leadership has an outstanding reputation for teaching business leaders how to run their businesses based on a foundation of core values," Spiegelman said. "This aligns perfectly with our business philosophies. We know that CVDL has the resources and people to manage this project to achieve groundbreaking results."

For more information on this initiative, please contact Amber Johnson, CVDL corporate relations advisor and the research initiative's communications manager, at (312) 316-0680 or amberjohnson@ben.edu.

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.

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