Structures of Grace
This is a book about the business practices of a group of companies who are dedicated to changing the world. These companies participate in the Economy of Communion (EOC) project, which is an initiative of the international and ecumenical Focolare movement. For these companies, changing the world means “humanizing” the economy by consistently privileging relationships over profit-maximizing, and by putting profits in common and using them to address acute social needs and concerns. It also means “humanizing” companies and organizations through business practices that respect the inherent dignity of each person, and that are aimed at breaking down barriers between people in business.
The book is the product of a rigorous, robust and multi-year research project involving more than a dozen U.S and Canadian based EOC companies, and should be considered a case study of the EOC rather than a study of any of the individual companies. What, indeed, do we mean by “structures of grace”? First and foremost, the title reflects our conviction that EOC companies are indeed different. And that difference is centered on a conviction of the business as a set of relationships, or more accurately, a community, and the conviction that the purpose of economic activity — the production and distribution of goods and services — is to bring people together, to create community. For us, this is the defining characteristic of the EOC.
EoC entrepreneur Gonzalo Perrín experience's excerpts
What did you see in the EoC? When they asked him the same in an interview with McDonald's (as a potential customer), he replied: ‘Here I have friends who love each other, you see them happy together and this means that they are successful in what they do and in their lives...’
Gonzalo also talked about what he does with the profits Pasticcino makes: ‘We divide the profit into three parts according to the EoC principle; at times we had to ask for money from the bank in order to make our contribution to the EoC.’ Perhaps someone could ask whether the sacrifice is worth it and if it wouldn't be nicer to have a good car, a house of one's own or just travel more... Gonzalo is very clear about this: ‘Yes, it would be nice. I travel with my Berlingo (that sometimes seems like a wreck) and when I get in the car of my friends I often say “what a beautiful car!”, But then I do not think I am missing anything, I have everything I need. The most important things in life are the ones you cannot buy with money. The most valuable things are the relationships I've built over the years. I do not know how long the company will live, 10 or 100 years, we'll see; but even if it ends one day, the relationships and all that we've lived together will remain. These are the most valuable assets I have.’Click here to read full experience
"Structures of Grace: The Business Practices of the Economy of Communion explores the fundamental building blocks of the Economy of Communion as constructed in daily life. This important contribution takes a deep dive into what it means to grapple with the Economy of Communion's invitation to "humanize" the economy through everyday actions and encounters. The stories and best practices offer guidance for entrepreneurs, business managers, employees, and others motivated to change the world through business.”
President, North American Economy of Communion Association
"How do faith and business converge? In clear and compelling language, Gallagher and Buckeye explore how the EoC is reconceptualizing "company" as "community." Structures of Grace raises questions at the very core of modern business and social institutions and - urgent and welcome inquiry.”
Associate Professor of Sociology and author of
Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful is Changing the Church
"The Economy of Communion (EoC) is an exciting approach to living the Gospel in business that has received an explicit papal endorsement (Caritas in Veritate, #46). Gallagher and Buckeye have provided an invaluable service in documenting in a scholarly yet accessible manner the practices of EoC companies. Every business person who is interested in an authentic, workable faith-based approach to business ought to buy and study this book.”
Andrew V. Abela, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Business and Economics, The Catholic University of America,
and co-editor, A Catechism for Business (CUA Press, 2014).
"This book is a gift of discernment, anchored in careful case research and reflection. It shows us how businesses can be communities faithful to a larger calling.”
Kenneth E. Goodpaster
Professor Emeritus, University of St. Thomas
and author of Conscience and Corporate Culture
About the Author
John Gallagher is a Professor of Management at Maryville College, Maryville TN and at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Executive Education.
Jeanne Buckeye is an Associate Professor of Management in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.
Both are highly experienced college professors with specialties in strategic management, business ethics, faith and work issues, and entrepreneurship. Both authors also have considerable business and corporate experience that stems from successful business careers prior to their joining the academic community.
|Publication Date||Dec 10, 2014|
|Author||John Gallagher and Jeanne Buckeye|