My Philosophy of Education/Training
Warner advocating revolutionary education
“Good, the more communicated, the more abundant grows.”
— John Milton, English Writer
“Carpe Diem!” (Seize the Day!)
I love to teach university students! Early in my career, I received a number of job offers to become a full time external corporate consultant and/or company executive. Although financially lucrative, I felt these opportunities would clearly interfere with my calling in life: to engage in rich learning exchanges with thinking students who seek a better world. So I’ve been based here at BYU ever since, but also been able every few years to enjoy occasional visiting professorships in other parts of the world: Michigan, Hawaii, Switzerland and Brazil.
Courses I teach tend to emphasize both conceptual material (theory) and practical, hands-on application. We use a combination of classroom methods including cases, lectures, experimental exercises, video clips, and small group work. The use of this mixed methodology builds on the premise that learning comes not only from reading/writing, but also from interaction, debate and dialogue.
At the outset of each semester, I try to convey to students that I hope to enable them to see alternatives, to engage in divergent thinking, not convergent scholarship. As such, I will be pushing other views than the typical BYU conservative, Republican-dominated view. Instead, I hope to open up other perspectives. My personal values are not left-wing or on the right. Rather, I’m allied vertically with those at the bottom of the pyramid, against those at the top. My lot is cast with the have-nots, the disenfranchised, the poor, peasants, minorities, labor, women, blue collar workers, etc.; those who are marginalized in society. Thus, my role at times is to be a provocateur.
This may offend some students who see themselves as future candidates for the top of the pyramid. Typical BYU students are often exposed to 30-60 hours, or more, of university courses that emphasize top-down views, masquerading as “neutral,” objective theories. But, in fact, they are heavily biased. Many students begin to believe that the dominant opinion is the only valid idea. I prefer to enlarge students’ understanding by suggesting that other perspectives are also valid, in fact, critically needed in today’s world. University knowledge is to be critically analyzed, not canonized. A victim of the Nazi concentration camp makes the view from below clear:
“It is an experience of incomparable value to have learned to see the great events of the history of the world from beneath; from the viewpoint of the useless, the suspect, the powerless, the oppressed, the despised, in a word, from the viewpoint of those who suffer.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Every course I teach attempts to raise one’s consciousness about assumptions and values. I also emphasize service learning and the building of high-ethics organizations. My hope is that through greater awareness and the development of new conceptual frameworks, students will be better equipped to improve human society, whatever their chosen occupation may be. As we jointly create a genuine learning organization, the classroom becomes an incubator for trying new things, thinking differently and generating innovative paradigms.
(The sections that follow consist of various course syllabi, feedback from students, both anonymous and some that are identifiable, service-learning experiences, my articles on education and university service, as well as other links to education and learning.)
Re-Designing, Humanizing and Globalizing Higher Education: Disruptive Strategies for Business School Leadership from the Bottom Up. Journal of Educational and Psychological Research. (JEPR). (Various social innovations of WW’s through our BYU initiatives). July 2020. 9 pp. https://www.opastonline.com/storage/2020/08/re-designing-humanizing-and-globalizing-higher-ducation-disruptive-strategies-for-business-school-leadership-from-the-bottom-up-jepr-20.pdf.
Changing University Cultures to Accelerate Global Social Justice by Disrupting Leaders and Empowering Students Through Social Innovation
(Woodworth PPT at Cambridge University, UK)
“What More Can We All Do?” LDS International Society Presentation to Worldwide Professionals, 2014.
“The Praxis Of Action Learning With Business Students In The Trenches Among The Poor,” New York University, Manhattan, New York, 2010.
Some of My Favorite Academic Affiliations
- Academy of Management
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Psychological Association
- American Sociological Association
- Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
- American Association of University Professors
- Industrial Relations Research Association
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Society for the Study of Social Problems
- Association for Workplace Democracy
- International Industrial Relations Association
- The Inter-American Society of Psychology
- Industrial Cooperative Association
- Delaware Valley Federation for Economic Democracy
- International Association for the Economics of Self-Management
- International Sociological Association
- Latin American Council on Self-Management
- International Communal Studies Association
- Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
- International Association of Business and Society
- Microcredit Summit
- Credit with Learning Exchange
Editorial Service (Manuscript reviewer for the following journals)
- Journal of Management Education
- Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
- Utopian Studies
- Journal of International and Area Studies
- Cornell University Press
- Prentice Hall Publishing Co.
- Addison Wesley Co.
- Pearson Press
- Co-editor, Journal of Microfinance
- SAM Advanced Management Journal, Board of Editors
- Co-editor of a special issue of Policy Studies Journal
University Teaching and Courses
- Graduate-level courses—Organizational Development and Change, International Business, Spirituality in the Workplace, Power and Politics in Organizations, Diversity and Management, Leadership Philosophy and Style, MBA Organizational Behavior, Third World Development, Consulting Processes, MBA Ethics, Business and Society, Industrial Democracy, Social Entrepreneurship, Civil Society, Womens Studies.
- Undergraduate level courses—Introductory Organizational Behavior, International Management, Public Management and Ethics, Democratic Management, Honors, Leadership and Global Change Agentry, TQM and Manufacturing Productivity, Religious Values and Economics, Small Business Start-up Skills.
- To build a sustainable student movement for alleviating global poverty through a type of Mormon Peace Corps.
- To aid students in the quest for leadership and change skills in organizational life.
- To help students achieve congruence between good organizational theory and gospel principles and values.
- To inspire students with a greater vision of how they can not only “canonize” what is known, but learn to analyze it and to explore what is not known, thereby solving some of humanity’s most serious problems.
- To empower students so that collectively we can change the world.
“All good things take time to develop.”
—Lewis Mumford, Social Philosopher
- Helped design and launch the Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE), training program to empower returned native missionaries in Cebu, the Philippines, with business skills and microcredit loans to help them create a better future.
- Launched a new NGO, H.E.L.P. International, to assist victims of Hurricane Mitch, helping to raise $116,000 and creating 47 new village banks for some 800 poor women benefiting 4,000 people. It has now been restructured as H.E.L.P. International and has sponsored programs not only in Honduras, but in El Salvador, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Brazil (raising over $600,000).
- Assisted with board development, banquet/auctions of the Ouelessebougou-Utah Alliance in Salt Lake City and Provo, raising some $300,000 annually for development projects in Mali, West Africa.
- Founded and organized the International Development Network (IDN) leading to our first Symposium held at BYU, April 1, 1999 (with some 25 charity groups) and others since.
- Helped LDS leaders in Zimbabwe design a charitable program to prevent and/or alleviate the devastating African tragedy of HIV-AIDS, providing consulting, student interns, and evaluation of this organization, known as “Raising the Generation.”
- Assisted a group of LDS executives create the Native American Mentoring Enterprise, (NAME), arranging for a group of my graduate students to help the founders prepare an organizational structure and training materials to teach young Navajos leadership and life skills.
- Supervised an in-depth assessment of an LDS-related NGO, Liahona Economic Development Foundation (LEDF) in Nigeria carried out by a team of 3 students, after which we began to raise funds in Utah for microlending in West Africa.
- Mentored BYU students to do a project aiding the Goshute Tribe near the Nevada-Utah border, performing a feasibility study for setting up a microcredit program through the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund.
- Oversaw two dozen students in the Fiji Distance Learning Program, operated by graduate students and undergraduates serving in the South Pacific. This was done in cooperation with the Church’s CES administration, offering courses to young Fijian adults and returned missionaries so that with OB, management and computer skills, they will qualify for better careers and a positive future.
- Created a partnership between former Mexican mission presidents and my BYU students who traveled to Mexico to help create Cumorah University, consisting of several educational institutions to train returned native missionaries so they may enjoy a higher quality of life. This effort has now expanded to include the creation of the Hispanic University for Latinos in Utah.
- In contrast to the above long-term sustainable programs, I also sponsored numerous other short-term student service projects including assisting the First Hope Orphanage in Nepal, collecting eye-wear for rural Mexicans, Utah Valley March of Dimes, Starlight UK, the Utah Valley Food and Care Coalition, the Rose Foundation Schools in Guatemala, helping an orphanage in Cabo Verde, Mexico, aiding the Alma Success Academy in Guatemala, establishing a school in Northern Honduras, and so forth.
- Some two dozen BYU students, faculty and staff launched a microenterprise assessment, training and development program, SOAR China, in South and Western Regions of the Peoples Republic of China.
- My students and I have created five documentary videos on our projects in Latin America, as well as nine web sites, six newsletters, and several power point presentations on programs in Mali, Nigeria, Honduras, Peru, El Salvador, Venezuela, Cumorah University in Mexico, Thailand, China, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nicaragua, and Western Samoa.
- Three colleagues and I formed a new nonprofit foundation, Action Against Poverty, to facilitate the start-up and growth of dozens of NGOs doing Third World relief, education, healthcare, and economic development. We also assisted in building the Timpanogos Community Network and the Provo Economic Coalition with local activist groups working to foster community social change through companies, government agencies, banks, and service agencies.
“Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.”
—William Butler Yeats
Warner Woodworth’s Educational History
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