Fifteen year partnership: Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, along with Professor Warner Woodworth, global social entrepreneur and faculty emeritus, at the Marriott School, Brigham Young University.
Welcome to my website! Thanks for being interested. On it you will find the various thrusts of my life’s mission, my passions, and the core of my academic, professional and humanitarian work over the years.
For those who know me, it’s clear I’m not a traditional academic who plows ahead with a plethora of research projects, the results usually yielding obscure theoretical concepts for others to assess and perhaps on which to build. Although I was always one of the most prolific researchers at BYU and easily jumped through the school’s ever-increasing hurdles to move up the professorial ranks and secure tenure, my areas of study went far beyond organizational behavior and human resources. I’ve presented scholarly papers and published numerous articles, from OB to strategy, sociology to psychology, Mormonism to other spiritual traditions, trade unions to workplace team building, economics to globalization, managerial ethics to corporate social responsibility, democratic management to worker ownership, politics to social justice, environmentalism to rural development, feminism to community organizing, Third World poverty to microfinance, and so forth. While I have had a wide variety of intellectual interests and theoretical curiosity, there have alway been several major trajectories: Change, equality, and the reduction of human suffering. Thus, my website is more like traveling through the jungle, not a nice neat overview of a sterilized academic career.
As a professor, I’ve not been one who enjoys never-ending faculty meetings where policies are reviewed in insignificant detail and in which decisions are rare. My years as an administrator were hard to manage because I never did seek a Ph.D. to be a university bureaucrat who sought to manage minutia. I was always more interest in changing each university I’ve worked at, not reinforcing its bureaucratic structures. My colleagues who entered the management levels of governance may have enjoyed teaching less and getting paid more, but in my view those roles also took a human cost.
I loved teaching university students and the fun debates, class conflicts and alternative perspectives that enriched everyone’s understanding. But I didn’t like the individuals who wanted to be spoon fed, those expecting clear hard answers from a text, and those who were dependent. I sought to push rigorous thinking, complexity, and initiative. Over the years, various deans told me I was the toughest grader in the Marriott School, a distinction I didn’t seek, but one I accepted as a certain badge of respect. It cost me in student ratings, but it produced excellent results. I’ve had the privilege to see many outstanding young people go on to graduate degrees at both the master’s and Ph.D. level and impact the larger society in amazingly successful ways. As with many universities in the United States, BYU had to wrestle with it’s image as a soft, easy, academic institution suffering from grade inflation which diminished the universities credibility and reputation. As a tough grader I was recognized as the faculty who pushed to legitimize BYU’s university status.
In viewing this website, the reader an see it’s not like the typical professorial link. It’s more like heading out into the wilderness. Let’s say that it’s akin to a safari in Masaai Mara, the great bush region of Kenya where various big game creatures are observable and where we can learn much. Alternatively, this site may be thought of as an exploration of Brazil’s great Amazon basin where rivers meander and new jungle wildlife abounds. As you travel through my website, consider it a chance to explore, not to simply review what is known. My career is not a safe, manicured landscape where the farms are neatly laid out and fenced, the boundaries all drawn. Rather, join me in pioneering new vistas, climbing peaks of uncertainty, canoeing through rivers without maps. Hopefully, you will discover new things as you read, think and confront innovative perspectives and see ways to improve the maps of your own mind.
As one of my great mentors, Hugh Nibley, advised: “Don’t be like anybody else. Be different. Then you can make a contribution. Otherwise you just echo something; you’re just a reflection.”
The broad categories of my productivity are listed at the top of the home page: Home, Microcredit, Humanitarianism, Education And Teaching, Worker Empowerment, General Management, Organizational Change, Religion And Spirituality, Third World, Political Issues, Media Coverage, Vita, Personal And Family, Blog, Contact. Each main link has a brief description that defines each area and contains sub-links for the specific interest you may have. As will soon become obvious, much of my work is “off the beaten track” of traditional professors. This fact is not inadvertent; it is intentional.
This entire website exists for several reasons. One is that the many individuals seeking information about me, my research, the projects I have (or had), my courses and media coverage has become too demanding for me to respond to all inquiries. By going to my website, people can retrieve articles, books, course descriptions, and so forth. This will make it not only easier for me, but more available to you as well.
Secondly, the website helps me become more transparent as to the work I do, the values I hold, the dreams and strategies I pursue in building a better world. With the ever-growing problems of unethical, illegal and ineffective decision-making carried out by those in power, I’ve grown concerned that too much is done behind closed doors, where secret decisions are made, inappropriate actions occur, and societal damage is inflicted, especially on those at the bottom of the social pyramid.
Hence, one promising objective of the worldwide web for me is to create greater openness, accountability, and transparency. I support legislation known as “sunshine laws” that require governments to hold open meetings accessible to the public rather than doing back room deals. I’ve come to increasingly believe, as have prominent world figures like George Soros, Nelson Mandela, and Mohandas Gandhi, that a more open society is a healthier society.
Often, I am asked: “How did you get to where you are now, being able to have a degree of influence for good around the world?” I am continually questioned about this by current students who seek their future life’s purpose, as well as by managers who want to give up corporate positions in order to become social entrepreneurs. Such inquiries also occur when NGO leaders inquire about moving into the private sector. Also donors, housewives, university alumni, government officials, academic colleagues, and others raise similar questions. This internet site is an attempt to respond to such inquiries.
A final point I want to make up front is that if I have done any good in the world, I must humbly acknowledge the hand of God, according to spiritual values and principles of the Mormon tradition. All I have ever sought to do is serve a greater purpose, find my own calling in life, and use my time, skills and resources to bless those in need. Being prompted throughout my years by the Holy Spirit, I hope that the world is a tiny bit better.
It is an article of my faith that, as the Apostle Paul declared, “I believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all….I believe all things, I hope all things, I have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, I seek after these things.”
Stages of Warner P. Woodworth’s Career
Below is my attempt to show the stages of my career and highlight key elements of each stage, drawing on the theoretical model of my two former Organizational Behavior (OB) colleagues at BYU, Gene Dalton and Paul Thompson.
Apprentice: As a new Ph.D. in OB from the University of Michigan in the 1970s, I came to BYU without a clear career focus. I became a young assistant professor in the Master of Organizational Behavior (MOB) program. I had a wide range of passions for multiple issues: civil rights, women’s liberation, employee empowerment, leadership and management, quality of working life, and organizational change. I taught courses in these areas, did research and published articles, and served to foster these social agendas in various communities of practice. I created new, innovative courses at BYU, including the following: Leadership; Business Ethics and Social Responsibility; Quality of Working Life; and the first course at BYU on Women’s Studies (co-taught with a professional woman from the community).
With others from across campus, we created a committee to advise the university administration on women’s concerns, race and diversity. We launched a campus-wide women’s conference which, in those days, centered on women students, rather than the current event that primarily serves older LDS women from the region, not young female BYU students. Teams of my students designed and conducted service learning projects with immigrant workers, women’s advocacy groups, and I mentored several student projects that would help to change university policies. These included, for instance, how women are treated on campus, why and how the football program could begin to attract and retain African American athletes.
Some of my research added to a growing scholarly reputation. For instance, I drafted an innovative paper entitled “Consulting with Conflicting Parties” and submitted it to the National Academy of Management. It was not only accepted for presentation at the Academy’s annual conference, but was also chosen as one of the “best” to be published in the Academy of Management Proceedings.
Expert: In the 1980s I began to focus my energies on key problems that were increasing in U.S. society: decline of the labor movement and growing trade union struggles, factory shutdowns and deindustrialization, increasingly bureaucratic organizational structures, unethical management, absentee-owned companies, and community economic disintegration. I also helped to design and implement new managerial interventions: Quality of Working Life (QWL) methods, TQM and quality circles, participative management, area labor-management committees, ESOPs, worker-owned cooperatives, European industrial democracy and co-determination. In this phase of my career, I greatly expanded my action research agenda by consulting with companies and unions jointly, collecting data, writing various articles, cases, and books. I had papers accepted at innovative conferences around the world including events in Asia, as well as the countries behind the Iron Curtain and Latin America.
I advised governments on how to democratize industry–from the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to Communists in East Germany and Poland, enjoying a growing degree of recognition and influence. Indeed, Dr. George Strauss, a prominent OB professor at Berkeley, told BYU officials that “No successful conference on worker-ownership could be held anyplace in the world without Warner Woodworth’s presenting a paper on his research.”
With support like this, I easily moved from assistant to associate professor during this period, receiving high course and teacher ratings in the classroom, giving strong professional and community service, as well as conducting considerable research and enjoying publication success. Treating many of my students as “colleagues,” not just dependent classroom conformists, we collaborated on various field projects, doing action research at Jamestown, New York and Rath Packing in Iowa (with academics at Cornell); studying worker co-operatives with colleagues at Harvard; becoming the lead consultant on famous worker buyouts like Hyatt Clark Industries, and advising Lee Iacocca’s board at Chrysler, etc.
With my students I established several nonprofit consulting entities: Action Research, Inc.; Organizational Resources, LLC; and the WMP (Worker-Managed Program) we created within the Marriott School. Later, with faculty associates from the MOB Department, Sociology and the College of Education, we established the Program on Economic Innovation and Revitalization (PEIR), to help communities across the nation combat corporate flight and plant closings. We also created a hands-on, financially-independent social enterprise at BYU, called Equitech, a worker/student/faculty-run industrial cooperative that manufactured products which were sold throughout campus.
All these programs became very successful efforts, enabling me as a professor to practice what I preached, or in today’s vernacular, mentor students and “walk the talk.” At the same time, such projects allowed students to get real-world experience through utilizing OB theories and tools. For instance, at Equitech, by actually setting up a firm, having to design the organizational structure, create accounting systems, manufacturing processes, marketing and sales, as well as learn management/worker problem-solving and decision making–students really learned critical skills in each relevant area, as well as entrepreneurship and democratic managerial tools.
Throughout this Stage 2 Expert period, it should be mentioned that a key partner during much of this was Christopher Meek, a Cornell Ph. D. then teaching at Boston College, who we later hired at BYU. Chris’ collaboration was central to expanding my own efforts and impacts. Together we consulted with unions and executives, expanded action research projects, co-authored books and a number of joint papers and articles. We organized major events at prestigious occasions like the Academy of Management’s “Showcase Symposium” with Joseph Vittoria, CEO of Avis in Washington, D.C. We also helped formulate U.S. legislation to promote ESOPs, worker co-ops, and other innovative approaches to save jobs and build community well-being, as well as socio-economic justice. We testified at congressional hearings to help create the National Cooperative Bank with $400 million in start-up funds to foster worker ownership.
I enjoyed considerable prestige by being invited to speak at Harvard, Yale, the U.S. Economic Administration, U.S. Labor Department, and so forth. My work was featured in the national media such as the New York Times, Business Week, Time, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and on national television, NPR radio, and so forth. By this time, I was being sought a great deal to provide policy suggestions, share my research, and give expert testimony in lawsuits, in congressional hearings, to aid radical environmentalists like N-RAG (the Northern Rockies Action Group) in Montana, and conservative groups such as the Catholic Church’s U.S. Conference of Bishops as they put together a position paper on the U.S. economy. I served academic and professional groups like the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Association for Workplace Democracy, both of whom elected me to their boards, as well as other organizations.
Mentor: From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, my career fully evolved into a new stage, that of mentoring students within and groups outside of the university. My OB corporate work that had focused primarily on U.S. and European organizational issues, shifted more to the Third World. I moved from the formal economy of big business, trade unions, and government to the informal economy of black-market, or underground, income-generating activity. Instead of labor-management cooperation, the emphasis was on emerging new markets and nations in transition.
In this stage, I began to mobilize and train students to go among the global poor, helping them to develop their local, indigenous economies, not from top-down, but rather, from the bottom-up. With a small team of students in 1988-89, for example, I organized a seminar on the Philippines’ economic and social plight. It ultimately led to our incorporating as a nongovernmental organization (NGO), eventually known as Enterprise Mentors International. Since that startup, EMI has given out over $9 million in microloans, and today has some 20 offices in 5 countries. It has 7 indigenous non-profit partners and annually trains over 30,000 poor people in basic microentrepreneurship. As a founder, board member, secretary/treasurer and eventually vice president, I’ve enjoyed mentoring poor Third World families, middle-class BYU students who interned with EMI, and wealthy U.S. executives who joined our board because they wanted to make a difference, but didn’t know how.
Nor was EMI the only such group that I co-founded. Together with students, community volunteers, church associates, and others, we developed two innovative streams for aiding the Third World. One was microcredit, a strategy that includes business skills training, microloans, and on-going consulting. Numerous new groups we collectively established also started to do microlending including Chasqui Humanitarian, Accion Contra la Pobreza, Humanitarian Link, and so on.
The other thrust was a broader humanitarian approach to development. This includes disaster aid during a crisis, equipment for digging wells so water can be accessed in drought-stricken regions, seed for family gardens, and so on. An example of my work here is that of being a board member, vice chair and eventually board chairman of the Ouelessebougou-Utah Alliance working in Mali, West Africa with over 70 impoverished villages.
As a mentor, I also helped form other boards of trustees for new NGOs, served as a volunteer corporate officer on several of them, designed and conducted training sessions on topics such as defining the mission, establishing or changing the organizational culture, altering the structure, conducting team building, planning fund-raising campaigns, doing performance assessments and so forth.
Sponsor: The fourth stage of my career has developed from the mid 1990s into the new 21st Century. By this point I had been an Apprentice (1976-83), an Expert (1984-89), and these stages were followed by becoming a Mentor (1990-96) to students, young faculty, and corporate colleagues as they sought to change the world. My career next evolved into becoming a Sponsor for accelerating innovative programs, new NGOs, and expanding global movements (1997-2005).
What is a Sponsor? It’s one who moves beyond details of a narrow specialty, or supporting a few individuals, and begins to leverage whole groups or organizations, helping them implement new visions, accelerate existing efforts, and have a wider and deeper impact for good. It may even lead to the creation of new social inventions and institutions in society.
As I began to envision new possibilities for building self-reliance among poor families around the globe, I started to realign my teaching/research and outreach strategies. I moved farther away from traditional OB issues like management skills, teams and ESOPs in the U.S. and Europe because those efforts had begun to be widely practiced. The thrust of my work turned increasingly to the Third World–to international development, NGOs, microcredit, and social entrepreneurship. I began to develop and teach new college courses in these areas. They integrated theory with practice, as well as spiritual teachings and economic values.
I became an informal advisor to LDS Church welfare and humanitarian programs. I had lobbied long and hard for the creation of an LDS humanitarian fund, and it eventually began to be established. Next, I proposed a unique new entity in the Church, our own NGO. By 1996-97, Latter-day Saint Charities was formally organized as an LDS parallel to Catholic Charities and the Mennonite Third World economic development program. Over the past 15 years, the Church has given out some $643 million in assistance to those in need throughout 154 nations.
From the early 1990s, I also advocated the creation of a new program to help returned missionaries in developing nations, and I suggested that it be called the “Perpetual Education Fund,” modeled after the early Mormon pioneer “Perpetual Emigration Fund.” Several ex-mission presidents later began to promulgate this idea too, and they launched programs to achieve this, particularly Arturo De Hoyos in Mexico. Also, several NGOs we created began experimental education efforts, most notably in Brazil and Chile, but also the Alma Success Academy that trained returned missionaries in Guatemala.
Helping to advocate and sponsor these innovations in the Church was for me a great joy. These efforts also led to sponsorship of many more humanitarian NGOs in that people in Utah began to move beyond our national reputation for being a place that fostered lots of business startups. Instead, we began to achieve similar recognition for creating new nonprofit startups. Over time, I gradually became acquainted with numerous Utah business entrepreneurs who wanted to start using their talents to lift impoverished Third World families. They didn’t want to merely pay their taxes and hope that the U.S. government could fix global problems. Nor did they simply feel that if they donated to the Red Cross, the travails of the world would easily be eliminated. Rather, they felt that they, too, could actually do something on a concrete, personal level to really make a difference.
During this Stage 4 Sponsorship, I gave dozens of speeches annually to such groups as the Business Roundtable, the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum, BYU alumni associations, Rotary Clubs, and so on. Individuals began to be inspired with the notion that while they couldn’t do everything, each of us can do something. People like Todd Manwaring read my book, Working Toward Zion, and felt inspired to give up his lucrative job selling computer systems to Boeing in Seattle, move to Utah, and become one my MOB students. Since then Todd has helped start several new NGOs including Humanitarian Link, and Action Against Poverty, two networks of like-minded people who seek to make a difference. Likewise, Denver entrepreneur, Steve Gibson, listened to me speak at an entrepreneurship conference. He followed that up with personal action, first donating to Enterprise Mentors International, then selling his business and moving to Utah to begin volunteering at the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship and joining EMI’s board. He became so struck by the plight of struggling returned Filipino LDS missionaries through EMI, that he and his wife Bette designed their own NGO, the Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE), moved to the Philippines, to implement a successful program to bootstrap new business startups.
These examples suffice to illustrate my developing career role in the late 1990s as a Sponsor of innovative social institutions. Essentially, although I continued to mentor growing numbers of individuals, this new stage moved to my focus on establishing new organizations that I could guide, offer insights, and assist in board formation and fundraising. Instead of these just being my projects, they were “owned” by others who sought to alleviate poverty–in Latin America, Asia and Africa, among LDS communities, as well as Catholics, Protestants and Muslims.
The ripple effects of such initiatives gradually increased. From a half-dozen or so LDS-related programs in the mid 1990s, new NGO creation multiplied annually until there were perhaps 40-50 by 2000. Today the number has tripled to approximately 150 known groups working in nearly a hundred countries. They do microcredit, square foot gardening, women’s empowerment, adult literacy, orphanages, worker cooperatives, reforestation, access to water, small-scale family agriculture, computer skills, health care and sanitation, leadership development, child adoptions, community organizing, microenterprise training, HIV-AIDS prevention, crisis response, microentrepreneurial consulting, medical and dental excursions, new home construction, and rural health care. Together they utilize various tactics for accomplishing village development. In-depth descriptions of many of these programs can be found by clicking on Third World at the top of this web site.
As these strategies have been designed and implemented, my role as a Sponsor has led to making one or more types of contributions: to help legitimize new start-ups, to get them funds and donors, to suggest potential board members, to critique their progress, to be a sounding board, and to enable them to learn about the work and results of similar groups. My growing numbers of books, papers, cases, and training materials provide technical assistance. I also often sponsor such efforts by soliciting trained students/alumni who can give fledgling NGOs more intense, in-depth consulting, by drawing on their OB, OD, MBA, and MPA competencies. To my mind, a number of these young people are becoming “social entrepreneurs,” a relatively new term for societal change agents. I’m currently spending a lot of my time and energy on developing models and tools to help embed social entrepreneurial skills in a whole new generation of such individuals.
A final illustration of my role as a Sponsor has taken place within BYU itself. During the earlier Apprentice, Expert and Mentor phases, I focused on creating new courses, as well as advising students on Honors, OB, and Kennedy Center theses. During the present Sponsor stage, I’ve worked more intensely to remake the Marriott School into an incubator for social enterprise. Other faculty have gradually joined this effort, teaching, for instance, a microcredit module in their courses, or starting a research project with an NGO. For example, Dr. Kristie Seawright has begun taking students to Asia on business excursions for which they get academic credit. She has guided several individuals in doing field research while there, and then returning to write academic papers afterward. Dr. Gary Woller, who I enlisted into the microcredit movement in 1997, has developed a strong interest for doing research in this area. Since then he’s published dozens of papers on microcredit, was co-founder with me as editors of the new Journal of Microfinance, and has begun doing considerable consulting with microfinance institutions during the past two years.
Dr. Don Adolphson, Professor Woller and I created the Marriott School Committee to Alleviate Poverty. We organized the First Annual Microenterprise Conference at BYU in 1998, and over the years it has brought thousands of interested individuals to campus to learn about the movement, become involved, give financial support, read articles, network with others, and in some cases, become inspired to start their own family foundations or NGOs.
In late 1998 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed Central America, I launched the sponsorship of a new BYU-affiliated project now called HELP International. A new course was created and organized Winter Semester 1999. A massive response to aid Mitch’s victims in Honduras led to 79 students taking the course, 46 of whom went to Central America as BYU volunteers for 2-4 months throughout the summer. We raised $116,000, capitalized 97 village banks, shoveled mud out of schools so they could reopen, delivered babies in rural health clinics, and so forth. With my ongoing sponsorship, and the involvement of others since then, that little project has grown into a student-centered NGO that has provided humanitarian and economic development assistance to additional Latin American nations by sending over 300 trained volunteers to assist effective NGOs already in existence, as well as to start up innovative new projects. HELP International today is a thriving, off-campus NGO with its own staff, board, and finances. In some ways, HELP has become a kind of short-term Mormon Peace Corps experience, enhancing BYU’s reputation, changing students’ lives, and blessing the global poor, one family at a time.
Eventually, many of these BYU-affiliated projects and programs began to converge into a single new Marriott School entity. It is the culmination of a dream I’ve had for 12-15 years, that we could become a business school with a conscience. I had always felt that we should not only train future public and private sector leaders to be effective managers, but we should channel some of our skills and expertise to addressing global poverty. New courses, a willing and trained cadre of students, an annual conference, an innovative microfinance journal, growing faculty interests and research–all these could be leveraged by establishing a new entity at BYU.
Thus, over the past two years, the idea of a Center for Economic Self-Reliance (CESR) has been negotiated and approved by BYU administrators and the board of trustees. An extremely generous $3 million donation from my friends, Bob and Lynette Gay, has made this dream of mine become a reality. With faculty and outside advisory boards and the capable talents of the Center’s managing director, CESR now is a major institutional mechanism that is starting to fuel many of our earlier and somewhat disparate programs.
It is the embodiment of a long-term dream for me. I hope to be able to help bring in another $7 million over the next several years so that CESR is fully endowed for the long haul, regardless of Marriott School leadership changes or unpredictable university decisions in the future. Thus, my Sponsor work is evolving to be not just about course design and classroom teaching, nor only doing research and publishing the results. Also, it’s not only collaborating with and mentoring individual students or outside professionals. Indeed, the new center becomes an enduring institutional legacy for expanding our capacity to change the world. For me and my long-term career, it becomes the final steps of life’s journey as a professor of Organizational Behavior. It also shows that real change can be achieved by anyone regardless of official resistance and/or bureaucratic barriers.
“Fences are made for those who cannot fly.” – Elbert Hubbard, American Writer
Warner P. Woodworth: Summary
The paragraphs below sum up a brief overview of my academic labors. Further details can be accessed from my vita and/or other links on my website.
I received a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan where I was also a researcher at the Institute of Social Research (ISR). I have been a consultant with global consulting firms, such as Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Rensis Likert Associates. Visiting scholar experiences include work for the International Institute for Labor Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have also been a visiting professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, BYU-Hawaii, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Major corporate clients I have advised include Clark Equipment, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, PPG, Exxon, Signetics, and Westinghouse. I have also worked with a number of unions such as the UAW, steelworkers, rubberworkers, and UFCW. Public sector consulting includes several large hospitals, U.S. Forest Service, city and state governments in Iowa, Michigan, New York, Florida and Utah. Technical assistance has also been rendered to peasant groups in Latin America, the Navajo Tribal Council in the southwest, and native cooperatives in Hawaii. I have been involved in action research for years with the kibbutz communal system of Israel and the Mondragon worker-owned cooperatives of the Basque country in Northern Spain.
As a professor, I am on the faculty of the Department of Organizational Leadership and Strategy, Marriott School, Brigham Young University. I teach MBA level courses in ethics, organizational change, international economic development, social entrepreneurship, and civil society. I received the Corporate Teaching Award at BYU in 1984, was voted Outstanding Teacher by graduating students in 1986, received the Marriott School of Management’s Outstanding Faculty award in 1989, and was chosen for BYU’s Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995. In 2005 I was voted outstanding teacher by MBA track students. I also received the American Society for Quality Distinguished Lecture Award in 1998 and the university-wide Circle of Honor Award at BYU in 1999. I have written over 150 articles, a number of chapters in edited books, and have made presentations at numerous universities including Harvard, Yale, the University of Virginia, the London School of Economics, Berkeley, Oxford, Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as well as in three dozen other nations. My published articles are quite eclectic and include those such as the Journal of Management, Labor Law Journal, Human Relations, Organizational Dynamics, National Productivity Review, Social Policy, Labour and Society, Personnel Administrator, The Social Science Journal, Journal of Engineering Technology, Economic and Industrial Democracy, Policy Studies Review, Managerial Finance, and the Harvard International Review, among others.
As an expert on employee ownership, I have advised various groups on the transition to worker buyouts. Clients include family firms, high tech, and a number of industrial buyouts such as Jeanette Sheet Glass, Rath Packing, and several steel companies. I served on the board of directors at Hyatt Clark Industries, a $100 million company in New Jersey for five years. I was elected to the board of the National Center for Employee Ownership, Washington, D.C., and I have also served as director of the SBA’s Small Business Development Center. During the 1980s-90s, I assisted several organizations in the ex-USSR create more effective economic systems through privatization strategies, served on the International Advisory Board in Warsaw, Poland, and have extensive experience consulting with government officials, trade unions, companies and universities in Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.
In 1989 I became a founder and director of Enterprise Mentors International (EMI), a non-profit foundation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. We raised millions of dollars in private funds and began to work with a team of Filipinos in Manila to provide consulting and management training for the poor of the informal economy, helping to launch workers cooperatives and small business startups. EMI also offers microenterprise training, provides microcredit loans, creates jobs, and builds self-reliance. Since 1993 six other technical assistance centers in the Philippines have also been established and EMI now has similar projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and El Salvador (in 20 offices), resulting in the creation of thousands of new jobs annually within poverty-stricken communities.
In more recent years, I have been on the board of directors and board chairman of the Ouelessebougou Alliance, a non-governmental organization (NGO) doing village development in Mali, West Africa. Early efforts consisted of working with villagers in digging wells, planting gardens, constructing schools for children, creating a literacy program for adults, and establishing a paramedic process for village health care workers and a regional pharmacy. I put together a team from BYU, the University of Utah and Harvard to establish a village banking strategy that would enable the poor to access credit. The microlending program was implemented in 1996 and is now spreading to other villages in Mali, annually providing credit to thousands of impoverished peasant families.
I next founded, co-founded, and/or advised a number of new Third World development organizations including the Humanitarian Action Research Team (HART) in Ghana; the Salt Lake City Community Services Council; H.E.L.P. Honduras; Humanitarian Link; Accion Contra La Pobreza; International Development Network; Chasqui Humanitarian of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia; H.E.L.P. International in El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala and Venezuela; Liahona Economic Development Foundation in Nigeria; UNITUS, a strategy for accelerating microfinance in India, Kenya, and Mexico; SOAR-China (Service Outreach Alliance for Rural China) in Sichuan Province; Empowering Nations in Thailand, and Eagle Condor Foundation in northern Peru. Over the past two decades, I have labored to build economic justice and family self-reliance in the Third World. These efforts culminated in a $3 million grant to BYU in order to establish the new Center for Economic Self-Reliance (CESR). During 2003-2005, CESR began to facilitate more faculty and student research, fund conferences and symposia, and help to synergize our impacts in the fight against global poverty.
Working with others around the world, a major focus of my professional labors during the past decade has centered on a global Microcredit Summit strategy to empower a hundred million of the world’s poorest families through the creation of new village banking systems. These innovative grassroots programs channel tiny loans to the poorest of the poor, thus enabling them to improve their quality of life, and move them toward genuine self-reliance. For my global dedication to serve those in poverty, I received the first Lowell Bennion Humanitarian Award in Salt Lake City (1999) and Utah Valley State College’s Award for Humanitarian Service (2000). I also received BYU’s Humanitarian Award in 1997, and was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in 2000. I was recognized in 2001 with the Senator Reed Smoot Award as Entrepreneur of the Year in Utah Valley by the Chamber of Commerce. At the 4th Annual BYU Microenterprise Conference held in 2001 it was announced that the Marriott School and microcredit organizations around the world had joined together to create the Warner P. Woodworth Social Entrepreneurship Award to recognize outstanding leadership in the field of social enterprise. It is an annual award that includes a Third World craft product as recognition, as well as a several thousand dollar cash prize to be donated in the winner’s name to any NGO of his or her choice. In the spirit of becoming a global change agent, the Woodworth Prize designates individuals who have truly transformed the world by their personal sacrifice, radical strategies, and long-term vision.
I am author or co-author of ten books: Microfinance: Third Sector Tools for Strengthening Civil Society (2003); Economic Democracy (2002); United for Zion (2000); Small Really is Beautiful: Micro Approaches to Third World Development Microentrepreneurship, Microenterprise, and Microfinance (Third World Think Tank, 1997); Creating Labor-Management Partnerships (Addison-Wesley, 1995); Organizational Change (McGraw Hill, 1995); Managing by the Numbers (Addison-Wesley, 1988); Working Toward Zion (Aspen, 1996); Industrial Democracy (Sage, 1985); and Desteeling: Structural Disinvestment of U.S. Steel and its Implications for Regional Economics (Alexander, 1984).
Many of the projects I have worked on have been featured in extensive media coverage: The Today Show, CNN Business, and 60 Minutes on national television; newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; and virtually all major business magazines
Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, etc. Several commercially-produced videotapes have featured my work, as have films for public television. I have also participated on a number of TV/radio talk shows, testified at congressional hearings on the U.S. economy, and two cases on my work have been used at the Harvard Business School.
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson