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Most scholars would agree that the goal of business is to create value. Yet, can there be anything more valuable than peace? This article tackles the following research question: How can, or do, businesses advance peace? It explains why peace through commerce is a topic worthy of study and sets out an empirical approach to operationalize it. The implementation of that approach remains in the future, but in this article, I seek to examine the contours of a possible approach. The proposed study will demonstrate how some businesses have already begun to move toward advancing peace and will give direction for how businesses could follow suit in the future. With both a content analysis and a panel data analysis, there would be data to help determine an index for peace through commerce, which would contribute a great deal to the existing body of literature. The proposed study will help scholars and practitioners alike understand the relationship between business and peace better. # 2016 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Peace is an outcome rarely associated with commerce or business (Oetzel et al., 2010). Businesses currently look to maximize value and do so without doing any harm (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). Fort encourages ‘maturity’–—pairing value maximization with a peace-building version of capitalism–—and suggests a paradigm shift toward this way of business that would maximize value to society in the 21st century (Fort, 2007). Although the reputation of business in the world and in media has been one of creating conflict (Fort, 2015; Oetzel et al., 2010), now is the time for business to change its reputation and move toward advancing peace. The proposed study will demonstrate how some businesses have already begun to do this and will give direction for how businesses could follow suit in the future.