Because love is rich in truth, man can understand it in the richness of its values, share it and communicate it. Truth is, in fact, lógos which creates a diá-logos and therefore a communication and a communion. By helping men to go beyond their opinions and their subjective sensations, the truth allows them to overcome cultural and historical determinisms and to meet in the recognition of the substance and the value of things” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate, 4).

Putting one’s talents at the service of all… This beginning of reflection, touched upon in the previous pages, leads us logically to the concepts of cooperation, meeting, collaboration, communication and communion.

The Great Rules of Saint Basil, Doctor of the Church at the origin of oriental monasticism, teach in chapter 7 that “God wants us to need one another” and that “the specific charisma of each becomes the common good of all”. Of all the things I have done, the most vital is to coordinate those who work with me and direct their efforts towards a certain goal.

This admission by Walt Disney (also authoritarian and tough on unions), one of the greatest visionaries of the 20th century, who revolutionized the world of entertainment, reflects in a certain way the vocation of charity developed in this book. Biz and love. Each employee puts their talent to the benefit of their colleagues and the company itself. Hence the absolute necessity of social relations and human cooperation within the company.

In English, the noun company comes from the Latin words cum (with) and panis (bread), which refer to the action of breaking bread together, to sharing. We therefore clearly see here, in the etymological construction of Company (Latin cum, “with”, and panis, “bread”) the company, this vision of a community of people who share the same goal.

The concept is rooted in the familiar action of breaking bread together, which will also give rise to the words companion and buddy.
The company allows us to highlight this need of others and leads us, without us necessarily realizing it, to offer our talent to as many people as possible and to achieve the social objective. To share the truth of love that man can understand in dialogue, as Benedict XVI says in Caritas in veritate. It is not only the company and its shareholders who need us, but also our colleagues, our suppliers, our customers, our partners. Which is ultimately a lot of people… We are our brothers’ keepers. Michael Porter’s shared value is based on this principle of cooperation between the different stakeholders.

And the social doctrine of the Church gives a name to this positive interdependence: the principle of solidarity. More broadly, the company is also an opportunity for meeting and collaboration. In the simplest sense of the word.

An opportunity to be open to others and welcome difference. For Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “the greatness of a profession is, perhaps, above all, to unite people: it is only a true luxury, and it is that of human relationships”. The company is an ecosystem where we cooperate with people we would never have had the opportunity to meet elsewhere. The company lets us discover the talent of others. It has a social vocation in the true sense of the term. Finally, it is a place to enhance human dignity. The employee who has been able to develop his creative talents via the principle of initiative seen previously is thus recognized as an actor in the world’s progress.

The success of a company comes first and foremost from the men and women who make it up. But be careful, the company must also teach us to accept the limits of others who “need” us, their weaknesses and their inabilities, without erasing them altogether under the sole pretext of performance… The company is a place where charity and free love are always difficult to implement.

In order to create a space that would facilitate dialogue and so that the employee community felt involved in the development of the company, Google historically initiated the principle of TGIF (Thank Google it’s Friday). Thus, every Friday, during the first years of its development, employees and managers took part in an open question/answer game where everything could be expressed about what the company’s managers had done or said during the week.

This practice of listening and participation surprised many when it was launched, when in reality it has existed for fifteen hundred years in the monastic chapter, as we will see later.

Above all, it had the consequence, among other innovative practices, of uniting a team of geeks by allowing everyone to understand why they were there, to follow the vision of the founders, to perceive their long-term vision and to be able, at their own discretion. humble level, contribute to it. Unfortunately, while his TGIF worked perfectly with fifty employees, Larry Page, co-founder of Google, was unable to maintain its efficiency when the company began to employ a thousand people spread across different continents.

When the company grows, you must continually invent new processes. We’ve done a pretty good job so far, but it’s an ongoing challenge.

Cooperate, meet, bring communities to life, this is the mission that Mark Zuckerberg has entrusted to Facebook. In a fascinating manifesto published in February 2017, which could be understood as a response to the American presidential elections, which surprised many people, he gets to the heart of the matter with conviction by reflecting deeply on the vocation of the company that he founded. The conclusion he reaches is that Facebook must focus on the importance of communities by seeing it as an “encounter” of the other:

In times like these, the most important thing we can do at Facebook is build the social infrastructure that gives people the power to build a global community that works for all of us. A few months later, he would formulate Facebook’s mission slightly differently:

Empowering people to build communities and bring the world together.

Many themes are addressed in the six thousand words that this text totals. The role of communities in social life, mutual aid, joy, welcoming different opinions. Some questions too: although Mark Zuckerberg defends himself rather skillfully, we clearly see that the question of editorial choices, of the influence that the network can exercise, is crucial.

In his long manifesto, he essentially tells us that Facebook must become the main place for the exercise of democracy. Our community life (church, school, family, friends…) passes through Facebook; alert messages (attacks, hurricanes) go through Facebook; the collection of information (and fake news) goes through Facebook; political participation (monitoring and dialogue with one’s deputy, organization of political events, even revolutions) occurs through Facebook; we even have an American president who governs by… Twitter!

Mark Zuckerberg therefore tells us that he considers Facebook to be a common good. In response to this document, Nathan Schneider (at the origin of the platform co-op movement which we have already spoken about) wrote an article entitled: “Democracy is not a Facebook group”. Had he participated in the debate, Pius XI could have advanced article 114 of his encyclical Quadragesimo anno, which states:

There are certain categories of goods for which we can rightly maintain that they must be reserved for the community, when they come to confer such power that it cannot, without danger for the public good in the hands of the private persons. We will discuss this immense power provided by the data generated by a network of such magnitude in Chapter IV.

For the moment, let’s recognize it, this manifesto is the sign of an exciting reflection. Because it is true that the various social networks, personal and professional, have contributed to creating communities. For better or for worse, of course, but they constitute meeting places. Suppliers were able to talk to customers; brands were able to talk to consumers and listen to their opinions; members of the same family, separated by the vagaries of life, were able to keep in touch. Of course, social networks spread rumors, fake news, insults and are also the magnifying mirror of a certain ugliness of the human soul. But as Benedict XVI reminds us from the beginning of Caritas in veritate:

Because love is rich in truth, man can understand it in the richness of its values, share it and communicate it. Another opportunity for cooperation and meetings has emerged in the digital age: the collaborative economy. The expression is a bit of a catch-all today, but will we remember the definition of the Ouishare community? :

The collaborative economy brings together all practices and economic models based on horizontal structures and communities, which transform the way we live, create and work. This economy is built on distributed models and trust within communities, thus blurring the boundaries between producer and consumer. These communities meet and interact on online networks but also…

This text is an extract from the book “GOD, THE COMPANY, GOOGLE AND ME” written by Thomas JAUFFRET.

We invite you to read the following article “Silicon Valley invented nothing, but illustrated everything“.

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