Mindfulness as a Tool for Organizational and Social Change

Most discussions of corporate social responsibility focus on actions and decisions at the corporate, organizational level, but it also involves individuals that are considering the costs and benefits of social responsibility factors. Pravir Malik, an organizational change consultant began a project to examine mindfulness in the workplace as a tool for individual, organizational, and societal change.

Malik introduced a fractal-based system of mindfulness into the Stanford University Medical Center’s Leadership Academy training, suggesting that addressing dysfunction at the micro level could create larger patterns that have positive effects at higher levels. Medical team members were given a software tool to track their feelings throughout the day, particularly in relation to team meetings.  Team members became more aware of triggers for both happiness or unhappiness, allowing team members to resolve some dysfunctions.

Seven teams underwent a Subarctic Survival Exercise, in which they first prioritized a list of 15 items required for survival after a simulated plane crash in the subarctic region. Malik found a correlation between the teams that performed best and their use of the Web-based team dynamics tool.

This suggests that purposefully recognizing and recording relational dynamics allowed teams to create positive dynamics and helped them perform better together. Malik connected this with corporate social responsibility by noting that greater consciousness at the individual level can make people more aware of the impact of their actions.

Integrating more holistic environmental, social, and governance considerations into a business strategy can lead to new opportunities and reduced externalities. Malik says, “It is perhaps of little surprise that fractal dynamics was intuitively grasped by such effective individuals as Gandhi and Einstein many decades ago.

Gandhi is known to have stated, ‘Become the change that you wish to see in the world.’ This statement is imbued with fractal reality: by changing the base-pattern [at the individual level] the subsequent levels of an organization, and its entire interaction and approach to the market, environment and society, are also fundamentally changed.”

Source: Forbes (02/01/11) Skibola, Nicole

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