Faith-based versus Faith-friendly Companies in the US

Posted on March 4, 2007


By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writer
January 17 2007

NEW YORK (Fortune) — […] [According to] David Miller, a minister, author and former business executive. Ford, American Express and Tyson Foods are among the better-known faith-friendly firms.

Minister, author and former business executive David Miller is currently executive director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. More often, though, companies don’t invite their people to bring their whole selves, including their faith, to work, and they are missing an opportunity, he says.

“Most people would acknowledge that we as humans are a mixture of mind, body and spirit,” Miller says. “If you deny the spirit, you are denying a major part of people’s identity.”

In a new book called “God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement” (Oxford University Press, 2007), Miller chronicles the rise of a movement among business people who want to integrate their religious beliefs and their work. This is a welcome development, he says, good for business people and for their companies.

“The integration of faith and work, when done in healthy, respectful and appropriate ways, and with the recognition that we live and work in a pluralistic culture, is a good thing,” he writes. […]

As an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, Miller makes a distinction between faith-based and faith-friendly institutions.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a public traded company to be faith-based because you are then privileging one religion over another,” he says. “In contrast, a faith-friendly company tries to accommodate on an even playing field the spiritual dimension of people.”

Ford (Charts) is a prominent example. The Ford Interfaith Network (FIN), formed in 2000, encompasses organized groups of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu employees. FIN says its mission is “to help management to increase and maintain religious diversity, attract, develop, and retain talented employees of faith, and be more aware of religious consumers’ and investors’ needs.”

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