Aspen Institute Honors Business Teaching on the Forefront of Inclusive Capitalism in 2020

September 30, 2020

The Aspen Institute recognizes nine business courses that respond to the global crises of 2020 by innovating in form and content — and suggest a new way forward for business, as society calls to rebuild.

Contact: Keith Schumann
Communications Manager
The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program
(212) 895-8004│

New York, NY, September 30, 2020 – The Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program recognizes nine exceptional courses and the faculty who teach them with the 2020 Ideas Worth Teaching Award. This award honors faculty who are redefining business education –  providing learning experiences that equip managers of tomorrow with the context, skills and decision-making capabilities needed to lead in an increasingly complex business environment –  and world.

“With each new headline, 2020 has underscored the need for fresh thinking on issues at the intersection of business and society,” said Business & Society Advisor Claire Preisser. Preisser adds: “Whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis it triggered, or protests for racial justice, this year is an urgent call-to-action to reset business norms so that, in rebuilding our economy, we rebuild for better human – and not only financial – outcomes.

2020’s headlines are reflected in both the innovative form and content of these courses. The possibilities of online education, for example, are dramatically demonstrated by Organizing in the Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19, a team-taught course whose instructors span several universities and even across national borders. Content of other courses, like Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability, which highlights an indigenous perspective and framework, have only became more significant in light of a summer of protest that sparked debates about how to redress centuries-old racial injustices embedded in modern social and economic systems.

In the United States, at least, much coverage of higher education has focused on the challenges of delivering education during the pandemic. But, says Preisser, “even as institutions of higher education navigate a difficult fall, this global cohort of courses are a reminder of what business education can aspire to be.”

Business & Society Executive Director Judy Samuelson and author of the forthcoming book, “The Six New Rules of Business,” underscored the power of scholarly ideas to influence the practice of capitalism. “Fifty years ago this month, the New York Times published Milton Friedman’s famous essay, which called on executives to focus solely on profits and share price. This became and remained the animating spirit of business, markets and business schools,” said Samuelson. “But times are changing. The teachers and scholars we celebrate here are vanguards of a new animating spirit — one that reveals for students the profound connections between 2020’s headlines and business decision-making and equips them to make decisions that help build a more inclusive economy.”

This year’s award winners were announced during a live, virtual event which featured a conversation with Kerwin Charles, Indra K. Nooyi Dean of the Yale School of Management, and Dan Schulman, CEO and President of PayPal. The two leaders discussed the skills and frameworks needed to build a more just and sustainable version of capitalism and the role of business education in supporting systemic change. The conversation laid the context for what this year’s Ideas Worth Teaching Award-winning courses have to offer for business practice in this pivotal moment.

The 2020 Ideas Worth Teaching Award Winners:

+Impact Studio: Translating Research into Practice
Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks
University of Michigan; Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Corporate Diplomacy: Aligning Stakeholder Analytics & Strategy
Witold Henisz
University of Pennsylvania; The Wharton School

Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability
Marjolein Lips-Wiersma, Peter McGhee, Amber Nicholson, Peter Skilling
Auckland University of Technology; Business School

Ethics: Value-based leadership for cosmopolitans
Gianpiero Petriglieri

Future of Work
Siddhartha Saxena
Ahmedabad University; Amrut Mody School of Management

Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19
Leonhard Dobusch
University of Innsbruck; Faculty of Business and Management

Elke Schüßler
Johannes Kepler University Linz; JKU Business School

Resource Allocation in Organizations
Elizabeth Castillo
Arizona State University; College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Seminar in Business & Society
Oscar Jerome Stewart
San Francisco State University; Lam Family College of Business

The 360º Corporation
Sarah Kaplan
University of Toronto; Rotman School of Management

Additional details about each of these award-winning courses and faculty, including their syllabi, are available online at

The Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program recognizes the power of business school teaching to influence the culture embedded within capitalism and, as a result, has been honoring innovative faculty since 1999. These 2020 Award winners join an esteemed fellowship of previous winners who are courageously rethinking the path forward for business and society.

Award winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of nominations by Aspen Institute staff in consultation with academic advisors:

  • Bruce Buchanan – C.W. Nichols Professor of Business Ethics; New York University Stern School of Business
  • Michael Bzdak – Global Director, Employee Engagement, Global Community Impact; Johnson & Johnson
  • Andrew Hoffman – Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise; University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  • Maureen Scully – Associate Professor of Management; University of Massachusetts Boston College of Management
  • Peter Tufano – Peter Moores Dean and Professor of Finance; University of Oxford Saïd Business School

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The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program (Aspen BSP), founded in 1998, works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society — and the planet. Through carefully designed networks, working groups and focused dialogue, the Program identifies and inspires thought leaders and “intrapreneurs” to challenge conventional ideas about capitalism and markets, to test new measures of business success and to connect classroom theory and business practice. The Business and Society Program is most known for the First Movers Fellowship, for dialogue on curbing short-termism in business and capital markets, and for fresh thinking about the Purpose of the corporation. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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