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Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Brooke Moran, Ph.D., professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education, graduate faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA, and director of the Geiman Fellows program at Western, recently published her first book, “Organizational Heartbeats.” The book inspires companies to engage their employees by inspiring them to advance social and environmental sustainability—in part by having a clear organizational purpose (or heart) and helping employees to align their senses of purpose with the company’s.

“The heart of the Purpose-Driven Employee Engagement Model is the purpose,” Moran said about why she chose “Organizational Heartbeats” as the title. “If your organization does not have a purpose, then there is not a greater meaning. Then, of course, you have the heartbeats of the actual employees. Not only them bringing their heart to work and their sense of purpose to work, but their actual heartbeats. They’re humans who are engaging in the process.”

The goal of this book was to be quick and easy to understand and read.

“I wanted someone to jump on a plane and be able to flip through it in three to five hours,” Moran said, “Depending on how deep they get into it. Get in, read it, take it in and not have weeks to get through it.”

Moran has spent the last 17 years at Western and has worked in many different departments. She began as a professor in Recreation & Outdoor Education. She then got involved in the Honors Program, taught in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) and the Master of Environment Management (MEM) program. Moran has also directed the Geiman Fellows for four years. Today, she is involved in the Outdoor Industry MBA too.

The inspiration for the book came from Moran’s time as the Sustainability Action Committee (SAC) Chair, a group of faculty and administration members who come together to improve environmental awareness on campus.

“I asked, ‘What are the drivers for introducing sustainability on campus?’ Part of that was how we need to prepare citizens who are ready to engage in a changing workforce,” Moran said. “And who realize we can’t just trample all over people and the environment. We need to care for those things if we want to be viable into the future.”

This inspired Moran to dig deeper into what employee engagement looks like in the work force. She researched what employees are engaging in and how that influences the company.

“Those who are really helping drive an environmental and or social strategy are even more engaged,” Moran said. “That means they retain better; they drive the strategy more robustly, so the organization advances more.”

In her book, Moran uses Vermont-based cleaning and personal health care company Seventh Generation as an example.

“They started the company on the premise that they need to operate in such a way that it honors the integrity and the health for people seven generations from now,” Moran explained.

The company is very aware of their waste and the material that go into their products. They invest their money in ways that will, in long term, benefit seven generations from now.

Moran said she hopes the book helps inspire companies and business owners.

“I created a model for employee engagement, based on my case study research. My goal is for readers to be inspired by the organizations and the engagement initiatives featured in the book,” Moran said. “However, the particulars of employee engagement are not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, as engagement initiatives should align with an organization’s purpose, values, location, employees’ passions, etc. That’s where the model comes in; readers can use the model as a guide to create their own employee engagement strategy and action plan in a way that is authentic to their company, that fits the culture, so on and so forth.”

Moran hopes that “Organizational Heartbeats” inspires organizations to discover and drive their purposes, while engaging employees’ hearts and talents and, in doing so, create positive social and ecological change, while turning a profit.

The book is available for purchase here.

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