The School of Business Administration at the American University in Dubai resumed its deeply rooted ritual of accrediting its faculty members’ research papers through the Faculty Research Presentations held regularly on campus.
John Katsos, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at AUD, recently presented his research paper entitled, “Business and Peace in Cyprus,” to his fellow colleagues. The presentation was based on a paper that he is lead author on, with John Forrer, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at George Washington University, as the co-author. The paper will be presented at the University of Sharjah’s forthcoming International Conference on Excellence in Business, and submitted for publication thereafter.
The presentation tackled how existing literature on business and peace lacks specific examples of business practices within conflict-sensitive regions, and examined whether business practices within a these regions, such as the island of Cyprus, fit within existing business and peace frameworks. It also inspected how business practices shift to address different types of conflict. As an identity-based conflict with almost no conflicts over interests or resources, the Cyprus Conflict presented a unique opportunity by itself to analyze how businesses can help resolve identity issues alone.
On the reason behind choosing such a contentious topic for his research, Prof. Katsos explains, “My research interests revolve around business practices and their potential to positively impact peace. Professor Forrer and I wrote the paper in order to bridge the existing gap in the literature between theory and practice. The goal is to conduct more case studies like this in conflict zones globally.”
Moreover, Prof. Katsos’ research was conducted by way of interviews with business, political, and labor leaders, on the island, and through reviews of existing peace research. The context of Cyprus as an identity conflict largely mitigated the impact of factors noted in the existing business and peace literature. The findings suggest that existing business activities in Cyprus are largely focused on alleviating the identity-based factors that currently contribute to conflict. Prof. Katsos further found that Cypriot business activities alleviated, at least in part, the psychological barriers to peace. He suggested that future research considers the context of the conflict in any given region, instead of presuming that business practices are applicable to all conflict-sensitive regions.
Prof. Katsos concludes, “Over time, this will help us develop the business and peace literature to understand what businesses are already doing that contributes to peace. Based on identifiable best practices, we can then help companies implement peace-enhancing practices in their operations globally.”