November 20, 2007

Professor David Cooperrider named Aspen Institute faculty pioneer


For his work in integrating social and environmental issues into academic research, educational programs and business practice, David Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University professor of organizational behavior, has received a 2007 Faculty Pioneer Award from the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education.

Cooperrider (GRS '86, organizational behavior), Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship and director the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) at the Weatherhead School of Management, received the External Impact Award. The award is given for positive and visible impact on business and organizational management practices in social impact and/or environmental areas.

"This award is meaningful because the academic sector is following the steps of other major awards such as the Nobel Prize," said Cooperrider. "The last two Nobel Peace prizes were given to individuals and organizations that were finding ways for business to address social and environmental issues."

He added, "I am proud that our school received this award because our work has shown clearly that sustainability is the biggest opportunity of the 21st century. It's a huge opportunity for corporate leadership; it's a huge opportunity new sources of innovation."

The Faculty Pioneer Award winners were announced by the Institute last week and were honored November 16 in New York City. A panel of corporate judges selected the recipients from 136 nominees in 20 countries.

Cooperrider's work is driven by the belief that the huge myth that doing well and doing good do not go hand in hand is quickly dying. As a result, numerous leaders are seeking his leadership, BAWB and Case Western Reserve University to provide guidance in transforming the business sector into one that both benefits society while adding value to the business.

As a result leaders such as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama and numerous organizations such as Hewlett-Packard, Parker Hannifin, Mckinsey and the Carter Center have cooperated with Cooperrider and BAWB in shifting the face of management.

"I am so proud to be at the Weatherhead School of Management and for its leadership in this area," he said. "It has enabled our university and even our region to take part in the most important work being done at a global scale today."

The emerging leadership and importance of the Weatherhead School was seen today as only two schools were represented on the elite panel at the Aspen awards -- Stanford University by the dean of its business school and the Weatherhead School by Cooperrider.

His research interests include the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), organization development and change, advances in "business as an agent of world benefit," positive organizational scholarship and qualitative theory-building methods. What has motivated his work is the AI methodology for which he is best known. Cooperrider's founding theory in this area is creating a positive revolution in the leadership of change, helping companies around the world discover the power of strength-based approaches to planning and multi-stakeholder cooperation.

His work is especially vital because of its ability to enable positive change in systems of very large and complex scales and has been applied in such organizations as the U.S. Navy, United Nations and Verizon.

In addition, Cooperrider's work has leveraged his AI methodology through a Web-based architecture based in BAWB that searches the world for stories of 21st century business innovations that demonstrate strategic and mutual benefit to business and society, including business as a force for sustainability and social entrepreneurship. To date, BAWB has collected over 4,000 stories from around the world.

The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) seeks to create business leaders for the 21st century who are equipped with the vision and knowledge necessary to integrate corporate profitability with social value. It offers programs that provide business educators with the resources they need to incorporate issues of social and environmental stewardship into their teaching, research and curriculum development.

"Today's M.B.A. students will be tomorrow's business leaders," said Rich Leimsider, director of Aspen CBE. "The 2007 Faculty Pioneers are taking great strides in their teaching, research and other activities to ensure that their students will effectively manage the social and environmental challenges and opportunities in mainstream business."

Additional information on the awards and winners is available at

For more information, contact Jason Tirotta, 216-368-6890.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, November 20, 2007 10:04 AM | News Topics: Administration, Awards, Environment, Faculty, Faculty, Research, Weatherhead School of Management

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