EBEN or the European Business Ethics Network is the foremost business ethics organisation in Europe with 18 local chapters in 20 countries (one representing Scandinavia) and with individual members from over 40 countries:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden & Denmark), Spain, Switzerland, Turkey & the United Kingdom.
EBEN Ireland’s website includes:
- An outline of business ethics thought including how it affects the DECISIONS people in business and society have to take
- Updated LINKS to 100 business ethics websites
- PRESENTATIONS on a number of integrity related crises
- CALENDAR of events open to all: Conferences and events in Ireland and overseas
- COMMENTS on TOPICS such as:
All comments on integrity related issues including suggestions for local events are welcome via
LEADERSHIP: GIVERS OR TAKERS?
When leaders respect other people, treat them fairly and behave selflessly with integrity, showing a genuine interest in everyone else involved, sometimes referred to as “stakeholders”, the critical quality of trust is more likely to be developed, enhanced and remain healthy.
But when their focus is primarily and innately on themselves, there may well always be trouble around the corner, with trust and even reputation amongst the many casualties of their disrespect and resulting mis-management, erroneously described as their “leadership” of businesses, organisations and even nations.
In addition to their other leadership qualities, the personality of leaders can contribute significantly to the manner by which they lead, the example they set and in due course the culture of the entity or organisation they guide, with a concomitant effect or impact on the lives of those they have a responsibility to lead – and serve. Not all leaders though perceive that to be their role and job description…
Those givers, being “more interested in others than themselves”, who may be more warm-hearted, generous, kind, unselfish, just, forgiving, modest, enthusiastic, perhaps with a pleasant demeanour, maybe a sense of humour, capable at laughing at themselves, who praise and encourage others and consistently display integrity, who ultimately put themselves last and others first, may actually have the last laugh at the selfish, difficult, proud and contrary, as it may also transpire that is the enthusiastic, positive and unselfish not the self-centred, negative and destructive who may be the happiest in society and spread their cheerful bonhomie amongst those they lead and share their lives with!
In stark contrast, when leaders treat people unfairly and disrespect them, behave selfishly and without integrity, showing little real interest in any of the other people involved, relationships will be challenged and trust may be a victim. Unfortunately, like elsewhere in life, some leaders don’t seem capable of learning their lessons (perhaps because of their sense of infallibility, they don’t believe they make mistakes) so keep behaving in the manner which prioritises their own ego and personal interests while disrespecting and even demeaning others.
Those takers, being “more interested in themselves than others”, who are proud, selfish, difficult, mean-hearted and unjust, lack integrity, who criticise and discourage others yet cannot take criticism themselves, hold grudges, who promote themselves and their achievements and belittle those of others, who put themselves first and others last, perhaps cold and humour-less, may also transpire to be the most unhappy, having to damage the emotions of others to derive satisfaction from relationships.
At least if their attributes have resulted in their becoming wealthy, honestly or dishonestly, they may be miserable in comfort.
When they develop a sense of entitlement whereby they believe others owe them something just because they have achieved a level of position and influence, they fail to appreciate that respect is earned when behaviour and attitudes warrants it, not when respect is demanded and expected.
When they spread malicious and untrue rumours about others, sometimes called a distortion campaign or character assassination, they fail to appreciate that others can see through their lies and any respect they had will be diminished further, especially when they are found out and just change their story with no bother at all, nor any guilt or remorse for their words and deeds.
In time other people realise, especially when their recollection of situations and events differs from their own, that they can confuse fact and fiction in the manner that they want to recall matters or be perceived by others, even if this bears little or no resemblance to reality. When they seem to genuinely believe their own lies and misinterpretations, they cause great difficulty in group situations and cannot be trusted to supervise, manage or lead other people.
Those who have to deal with such difficult people, whether in an organisational or other context, who also have to deal with the consequences of the havoc which can arise from their extremely self-centred behaviour, may recognise that an alternative approach from their leaders can be more appropriate and successful – humility!
Of course even people of the finest possible character are capable of doing wrong, especially under pressure (including or especially from manipulative takers), but they are also well capable of recognising wrongdoing and taking appropriate steps to make rectification and reparation.
The ability to recognise the necessity to apologise and always do so, not only when required but also occasionally when not, as well as rectifying prior errors and striving not to repeat them, does not appear to be prevalent amongst those who prefer trouble to peace, competition to co-operation and themselves to others.
Would society, including business, not be far better off if somehow we realised that everyone else would be the winner if we no longer appointed those more naturally devious, ruthless and perhaps sadistic people who can derive great pleasure not from being kind but actually unkind and even cruel to others, to positions of influence and power, no matter their other talents and degree of charm?
The more difficult people in business and indeed society can be slow to learn from their mistakes, perhaps may even be incapable of learning their lessons from their prior experiences. Being so excessively and innately self-focussed, their shallow emotions may prevent them appreciating that their intimidation and maltreatment of others can be extremely counterproductive in a group situation.
One of the frequent lessons of history has been that those who abuse power, lose power. It is only a matter of time, sometimes brief and on occasions lengthy, especially when they make maintenance of power their priority rather than using it astutely to benefit those they lead.
Is leadership about conviction or conformity? An adherence to the status quo or the vision and courage required to challenge and break the mould? Sitting on the fence or daring to be different? Covering up or owning up? Moving backwards or forwards? Denying the undeniable or anticipating the future? Is it about seeking personal fame (or infamy) or dedication to the mission? Is it about conflict or harmony? Coercion or persuasion? Ordering or asking? Being rude and crude or tactful and diplomatic? Being disloyal or loyal? Breeding distrust or trust? Never praising and being openly critical or engaging in public praise and private criticism? Being competitive or cooperative? Having to win at all costs or seeking a fair compromise? Having a fixed mind or being open to learn and seek new experiences? Favouring the majority or protecting the minority? Practicing exclusion or inclusion? Being difficult and proud or modest and humble? Is it about taking credit or giving credit? Is it about me or we?
Astute leaders recognise that everyone is different and people need to be dealt with differently. Perhaps what is now known as “emotional intelligence” is needed to appreciate these differences and what is likely to work best with each of the wide variety of people and personalities which make up any team, as well as the wisdom of knowing how to deal with the dynamic of the team as a group in the variety of situations they may face.
The Dalai Lama sums up the empathy required to successfully manage people in any arena in just two words: “be kind”.
At the end of the day leaders with compassion for and an interest in others achieve far more because their people respond by showing an interest in their leaders and what they are striving to achieve for their organisation. They really do try to produce their best when they are sufficiently inspired to do so and feel that their contribution (including ideas on how to do things better – a secret in many organisations) is genuinely appreciated and indeed valued. Inclusion opens doors which exclusion closes.
But the leader or manager who is primarily focused on himself or herself may never appreciate such matters, whatever the arena, business, political, sporting or indeed any walk of life.
In the short video link below, former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan answers the key question whether leadership is all about the individual leaders themselves – as leadership is perceived by takers who he describes as “macho” – or the welfare of the people they are tasked with serving – as leadership is perceived by givers?
“Leadership is not about the individual. When you have macho leaders who believe they have to shine and it has to be all about them, forgetting that what is required is the welfare of society and the people they serve”.
Indeed the core qualities which leaders should preferably possess include those which Annan’s own family associate with Kofi as having been a warm and compassionate person, with an abundance of empathy, the ability to experience and respond to the emotions of others, which contributed to his undoubted passion for wanting to alleviate suffering in society.
Should we not prefer such selfless and considerate people who “radiate genuine kindness” as leaders of organisations and nations in society, qualities more associated with givers, rather than self-centred people, takers with little genuine interest in other people at all?
Would business, politics, government and indeed all other areas of society not only be better off but even safer if we somehow learned from the many mistakes of the past and more frequently chose givers – more interested in others than themselves as leaders?
Should we not be denying takers – more innately interested in themselves than others – the power they crave but are far more likely to misuse and abuse, benefitting themselves and their cliques rather than those they are tasked with serving as “leaders”?
Rather than alleviating suffering in organisations and society, such people in praising and promoting themselves and demeaning and belittling others, in effect people of no real concern to them, are far more likely to increase not only the misery of those who have to work with or for them but perhaps also suffering in society, although perhaps incapable of appreciating or experiencing this for themselves, even when explained to them, instantly dismissing all criticism and apportioning blame for their failings to others.
While they thrive on praise, they find it difficult to encourage others. Incapable of coping with criticism, they relish finding fault in others. They can be very opinionated, yet rarely seek opinions. Quick to offer advice, they cannot take it. They expect loyalty, but are incapable of returning it. Only capable of loyalty to themselves, they can be disloyal to even their most loyal supporters. They desire support, yet cannot be supportive. They demand respect, but deny it to others.
Their necessity to win means they dislike compromise and prefer win-lose to win-win. When challenged they become challenging.
Incapable of being patient or tactful, such qualities and many more may be most required in those unfortunate to work with or for them, perturbed by their apparently bizarre but in due course entirely predictable behaviour.
Power hungry and expert at control, deceit and masking their true inner coldness with surface level charm, their greatest deception can be the talent they display at concealing their actual inner traits and acting normal – most of the time.
Until someone crosses their path when the mask they habitually wear is dropped to reveal their true nature, more likely to seek revenge than compromise or peace.
The critical point to appreciate is that as they perceive things differently and behave differently, they must be recognised by others as being quite different and hence dealt with very differently. Business, politics, government, organisations and indeed society will be safer when they are denied the opportunity to misuse the power they are mistakenly trusted with.
As such people can often be hidden throughout society, given their ability as consummate actors to act normal much of the time and hide their actual inner coldness and perhaps darkness, do those with sufficient experience of their behaviour, who can identify them and understand their absolutely extraordinary and exceptionally self-centred motivations, totally inconsiderate of the interests and needs of others, indeed those who they have an insatiable need to control and if necessary defeat, have a responsibility to alert others and indeed warn society what traits to look for so that many more people too can learn how to unmask them? Preferably before they are appointed to positions of influence and power and before others live to regret doing so?
When will we collectively learn to only appoint fundamentally responsible people to positions of responsibility in society, people whose brilliance is real rather than a figment of their very vivid imagination? Not people who demand respect but whose behaviour does not warrant it? Not people whose insatiable requirement to win means they disrespect others and prefer competition to co-operation? Not people who prefer doing the opposite of what others want or advise? Not people who prefer being disruptive than constructive? Not people who prefer troublemaking to team-building?
Not people more interested in themselves than others? Not people who in essence are cold rather than warm, yet are well capable of masking their true inner coldness, most of the time, until challenged when their true self surfaces? Yet whose confidence, charm, arrogance and intimidation throughout history we seem to have mistakenly associated with strength of character and leadership ability… when in reality they possess neither?
Why do we trust such fundamentally disordered people who thrive on criticism rather than praise and intimidation rather than encouragement with responsibility for the lives and emotions of others… when they may be incapable of adequately managing their own?
Should those who prefer to discourage, manipulate and even be cruel to other people, whose general behaviour disturbs the natural calm of any grouping and causes other people emotional upset, or those who more naturally seek to encourage, cheer up, calm down and perhaps inspire other people to produce their best be chosen for leadership roles?
“Givers” in leadership positions could not be more completely and fundamentally different from their “taker” counterparts. While the positivity of givers spreads confidence, encourages collaboration, prioritises teamwork, results in harmony and inspires followers to perform nearer to their potential and look forward to coming in to work, the negativity of takers as leaders is more likely to spread fear, hostility, disharmony, conflict and blame and result in too many people acting primarily as individuals, protecting their own patch and seeking to compete with colleagues, being uninspired and underperforming nowhere near their true potential, who much prefer leaving than coming in to work – precisely the opposite outcome from that expected of leaders.
Yet society continues to choose such people for senior positions, despite their track record throughout history being abysmal. Just like one of their greatest inabilities, do we never seem to learn?
If we associate mis-management with poor management, should we associate mal-leadership with the behaviour inevitably displayed by fundamentally disordered people holding leadership roles, even if they manage to act normally and disguise their true traits – much of the time?
Until someone challenges them or poses an obstacle to their getting their own way when their lack of concern for either other people or their organisation will become readily apparent, displaying consistent irresponsibility and being well capable of acting against the common good and doing so with emotional impunity.
As far as leadership is concerned, all the intelligence in the world may be of little real value if none of it is emotional.
Developed through emotional attachment with other people, empathy is our ability to recognise, feel and respond to the needs and concerns of other people. Should that not be one of the primary prerequisites for leaders, especially of people?
EBEN Annual Conference 2019
12-14 June 2019
“The enterprise at the service of society in the 21st century”
Further details are at
Deadline: 1st February 2019
EBEN Research Conference 2019
26-28 September 2019
Further details are at
The most recent local event we were supportive of was appropriately:
BECOMING AN ETHICAL LEADER
Creating a culture of continuous improvement
Friday 28th September 2018
This standalone event was also Module 6 of a six-module Ethical Leadership programme held during 2017 and 2018 at Lismullin Conference Centre near Navan, County Meath, Ireland, 40 minutes from Dublin. The previous event on 1st June asked:
Can an organisation’s culture be changed?
Further details are below. The most recent EBEN international conference was:
EBEN Research Conference 2018
6-8 September 2018
“Beyond Corruption – Fraudulent Behavior in and of Corporations”
Theories on Corruption and Fraudulent Business Practices
Empirical Findings on Corporate Misbehavior
Case Studies on Corporate Scandals
Compliance and Corporate Misbehavior
Organiser: EBEN Austria in cooperation with Vienna Center for Corporate Governance & Business Ethics / University of Applied Science Vienna
Conference Venue: Palais Eschenbach, Eschenbachgasse 9/11, 1010 Vienna / Austria
CLIMATE JUSTICE – LEADERSHIP WITH INTEGRITY
On 11th August 2017 EBENI made a submission to Ireland’s “Citizens’ Assembly” on how to make Ireland a world leader in tackling climate change. This 2 page submission entitled “Climate Justice, Integrity and Leadership – There Is No Right Way To Do A Wrong Thing” availed of business ethics principles especially those associated with innovative leadership with integrity.
It can be downloaded from both the Citizens’ Assembly website and from here:
VALUES COCKPITS – CORPORATE VALUES
Friedrich Glauner, entrepreneur and academic, tackles the critically important area of corporate cultures and how individual and corporate values can be combined and guided to produce win-win-win situations as a matter of course as an organisation interacts with both its own people and society.
The depth of personal values and integrity of an organisation’s dominant individuals contributes significantly to the prevailing level of group values and integrity, with some cultures promoting and facilitating and others hindering and prohibiting the personal integrity of their people coming to the fore. Intolerance of low values by leaders of high personal integrity ensures wrongdoing is not condoned or repeated, while the acceptance of low values by lesser leaders ensures instances are permitted and hence more likely to be repeated by the culture prevalent within their organisation.
Many authors propose that an organisation change its culture. Many advocate a return to quite noble and worthy values. Many recommend that integrity be more prevalent amongst leaders of business, organisations and indeed society. All these authors should be applauded for doing so. Society needs such people to take a critical look at “the way things are done” and recommend that we all do better. But how many authors also provide highly practical guidance how this can be achieved?
Many leaders and managers know what they should be doing but don’t know how to do it. They read about values. They know they are important. They have their own values. But they may not know how these can be inculcated in the minds of everyone who works for their organisation. Who can they turn to for guidance?
One seldom sees practical advice on HOW strong values can be automatically practiced on a daily basis by all concerned. Implementing poses a far greater challenge than advocating more virtuous behaviour. That is what makes Friedrich Glauner’s approach to this remarkable book so refreshing. Too few people plying their trade in academic circles have already also done so in industry or in commercial organisations before they switched their attention to teaching and researching in lieu of managing and leading.
The tool of the Values Cockpit developed by Friedrich Glauner has the potential to become the tool of choice for solving this practical task of aligning corporate values towards a conduct of business which will excel not only in financial terms but also result in a dynamic state of organizational excellence whereby corporate policies and practices inspire the crew and other “stakeholders” to produce their best and inculcate a culture of doing the right thing, thereby securing what Glauner calls the basis of true corporate future viability.
The most recent local event we were supportive of was appropriately:
BECOMING AN ETHICAL LEADER
A six-module programme during 2017 and 2018
Lismullin Conference Centre near Navan, County Meath, Ireland
40 minutes from Dublin
Module 5 is on Friday 1 June 2018
Can an organisation’s culture be changed?
This stand alone event featuring Enrique Aznar and Connor Flanagan which is being held at Lismullin on Friday 1st June is also 5th of a 6 model programme, further details below.
Having heard Enrique, with a background in Values Transformation and Corporate Governance in large well-known firms, speaking and leading such events a number of times since his first involvement in 2013, this partly case study led event is highly recommended.
Details are at:
Nearly 50 such one day events have been held since their inception in 2006. Having been involved from the outset and attended most of these, often featuring professors from leading international business schools, these highly interactive one day events have been of a consistently high ‘MBA’ standard featuring ample opportunity for discussion not only during main and breakout sessions but also at lunch and dinner, organised by their catering school!
The setting is superb with 5 star overnight accommodation for those travelling some distance and their own grounds permitting both peaceful reflection and hearty discussions with business people from many positions and sectors.
No need to travel overseas for events of this quality! Booking at +3531 676 0731.
Anyone who can resist the homemade shortbread biscuits deserves to be applauded by Oscar Wilde who appropriately remarked for an integrity related event: “I can resist everything – except temptation”. Participants are requested NOT to use a weighing scales before or after the event!! Lismullin also features a Catering School so the quality of everything culinary matches that of the business discussion and debate!
The most recent EBEN international event was:
EBEN Annual Conference 2018
Tilburg, the Netherlands
27-29 June 2018
“Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commmerce“
Previous events we have been supportive of include:
BECOMING AN ETHICAL LEADER
A six-module programme during 2017 and 2018
Lismullin Conference Centre near Navan, County Meath, Ireland
40 minutes from Dublin
Module 4 was on Friday 9th March 2018
Character, Culture and Rules
This event featured Ricardo Calleja and Celine Maguire discussed leadership talents and the importance of character of leaders and their contribution to developing an admirable corporate culture.
Module 3 was on Friday 29 September 2017
Real leadership – Changing both hearts and minds
This event was led by Dr Richard Keegan, Manager of the Competitiveness Department at Enterprise Ireland, and an international specialist in Lean/World Class Business, Benchmarking and Sustainability, advising major companies across Europe. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Business School at Trinity College Dublin.
Module 2 was on Friday 26 May 2017:
Are there truly ethical companies with social goals? Yes, let’s investigate one of them!
Enrique Aznar is Group Chief Values & Culture Transformation Officer with VimpelCom at their headquarters in Amsterdam. It is the world’s 6th largest mobile network operator by subscribers (214 million) with over 60,000 employees and annual revenues of $23bn, and is listed as an ADS on the New York Stock Exchange.
Module 1 was on Friday 10 March 2017:
Developing leadership in the workplace and beyond: A whole-person approach
Dr Michelle Hammond teaches organisational behaviour and work psychology at the University of Limerick, and earned her PhD at Pennsylvania State University. She has co-authored an award-winning book on leader development, published widely in academic journals, and is a registered psychologist in Ireland.
Dr Rachel Clapp-Smith has coached managers enrolled in the EMBA at Purdue University Northwest and found that coaching can benefit managers at any stage of their career.
Case study: Conor the Inspired – Making Sense of Leadership Challenges
The 30th EBEN Annual Conference Finland 14-16 June 2017 was on “Searching for Sustainability in Future Working Life”
Place: Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Finland
The 2017 EBEN Annual Conference took place June 14-16, at the University of Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics, JSBE (Finland), and it was preceded by a one-day workshop for doctoral students on June 13.
- The first EBEN Ireland event of 2015/16 was LEADERSHIP & DECISION-MAKING and ENTREPRENEURSHIP & VALUES held on Friday 12th JUNE 2015 in association with the Lismullin Conference Centre near Navan in Co Meath (30 minutes from Dublin City centre) in conjunction with the Lismullin Leadership Forum.
- This was the first of a series on IMPROVING YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS, A SIX-MODULE COURSE SPREAD OVER TWO YEARS:
Module 1 — Friday 12th June: Ethical leadership (Enrique Aznar)
Module 2 — Friday 25th September: Social entrepreneurship for leaders (Antonino Vaccaro)
Module 3 — Friday 20th November: Developing leaders at all levels in an organisation (Dermot Duff)
Module 4 — Friday 4th March: Dealing with difficult people and transforming them (Enrique Aznar)
Module 5 — Friday 27th May: Creating a better working environment and work-family balance (Matt Kavanagh)
Module 6 — Friday 23rd September: A leader’s framework for decision-making (Antonino Vaccaro)
Enrique Aznar led a discussion on LEADERSHIP AND DECISION-MAKING by way of a case study focusing on a company selling sophisticated electronic measuring equipment which entered the defence industry. It adopted a policy of treating military personnel generously with expenses. Later, when the Defence Department was about to cut its budget, a senior officer offered a significant project, but only in return for a hefty “commission” How should the company deal with this?
Enrique Aznar is Group Chief Compliance Officer with VimpelCom, the world’s 6th largest mobile network operator by subscribers (214 million) with over 60,000 employees and annual revenues of $23bn. It is listed as an ADS on the New York Stock Exchange.
Before joining VimpelCom, Enrique was Chief Integrity Officer with Millicom International Cellular, a telecommunications group operating in Latin America and Africa. Earlier, he was Nokia Siemens Networks’ Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, based in Finland. From 2005 to 2009 he was Deputy General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, Europe, Middle East and Africa for Tyco International. Earlier, he worked with Dell Inc, Freshfields, PwC and Arthur Andersen. A qualified lawyer in Spain, England and Wales, he earned an MA in International & Comparative Business Law in London in 1993, and completed a Business Management Programme at IESE Business School in 2002.
Brian Keegan discussed ENTREPRENEURSHIP & VALUES. Brian founded 360 Group (http://360-group.com) in London in 1998 which grew to become an international outsourcing consultancy, providing payroll, employment, immigration and compliance services to global companies engaging contract workers worldwide, with offices in London, Dublin and Bangalore. Earlier he worked in London for GAN, a French insurance company, spent a year in New York, and also a short stint in the family business in Ireland. He is the founding President of Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) Ireland, a voluntary organisation run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with over 10,000 members globally.
Educated in Newbridge, County Kildare, he completed the Entrepreneurial Masters Programme (EMP) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is married to Kerry, who is also involved in 360 Group, and they have four children. In his spare time, he tries to keep up with his children on horseback.
- The previous EBEN Ireland event was on LEADERSHIP AND DECISION-MAKING and ETHICAL CHALLENGES IN ADVERTISING on Friday 17th April 2015 featuring Carlos Arbesú and Ed McDonald.
- Carlos Arbesú divides his time between Madrid, Santiago de Chile and Lima. He is best known as a family business specialist and has established Family Business Associations in Spain, Chile and Peru. Carlos led a Harvard Business School case study whereby a CEO grapples with leading and managing changes in strategy, governance, board composition and ownership issues as he takes a family business into the next generation.
- Ed McDonald in addition to a variety of roles in industry has been Chief Executive of both the Association of Advertisers in Ireland and the Marketing Institute of Ireland, as well as a Director of the Advertising Standards Authority. Ed led a discussion on Ethical Challenges Related to the Advertising Message and challenged whether Business Leaders should provide greater guidance?
- Prior to that TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP and ETHICAL LEADERSHIP opportunities in the area of Data Protection was on 21st November 2014. For the first time EBEN Ireland’s 2014 Conference was held at the Lismullin Conference Centre and consisted of two related events on the subject of TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP. The first on Friday 21st November was for business executives while the similar event on Saturday 22nd was for those at an earlier stage of their career or students, generally mid 20s to mid 30s.
Becoming a transformational leader Prof Dermot Duff, a specialist in Operations Management & Strategy from Trinity College Dublin Business School discussed how leaders can become ‘transformational’. People will follow a person who inspires them. By their actions and attitudes, transformational leaders show others how to behave. They motivate, enthuse, rally, listen and energise those who work with them to keep the right focus on the shared vision. Is this the kind of leader you strive to be?
Data Protection — ‘Mere’ compliance or an opportunity for ethical leadership?Hugh Jones, Cofounder and Managing Partner, Sytorus, will spend s the latter half of the afternoon session discussing how data protection offers an opportunity for ethical leadership. Data protection is about the fundamental right to privacy. Anyone can access and correct data about themselves. Those who keep data have to comply with recent legislation. Companies advertising for jobs often reject applications on the basis of a quick search of social networking sites. What should business leaders do?
Further details are provided under the Conferences section of this website.
- An international corporate integrity conference was held in Dublin – the 21st Vincentian Business Ethics Conference from 29 October – 1 November 1st 2014. The theme for ‘IVBEC 2014’ was ‘The Impact of Business Ethics on Public Life’
Normally rotated annually between three US universities – DePaul in Chicago, St Johns in New York and Niagara near Buffalo and Toronto – this was the first time this significant event was held outside the USA.
Further details are at:
It was held in the serene surroundings of All Hallows College Dublin which proved to be such a superb venue for ‘Corporate Conscience’ and ‘Church Ethics & Leadership’ which EBENI hosted in November 2013.
The question addressed then was CAN A CORPORATION HAVE A CONSCIENCE?
“It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience. But a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.”
HENRY DAVID THOREAU 1817-1862
‘CORPORATE CONSCIENCE’ was the title of EBEN Ireland’s 2013 Conference held in Dublin at All Hallows College, Drumcondra (near Tolka Park football ground and not far from the Croke Park stadium). It was a two-day event on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th November 2013.
EBEN Ireland also hosted an ACADEMICS ROUNDTABLE on the Wednesday evening after the main event which was open to ALL Academics throughout Ireland with an interest in ethics related matters and an opportunity to meet their senior US and European colleagues. Prof Gene Laczniak from Marquette University, Milwaukee, USA asked “What role do business schools play in shaping ethical & unethical behaviour?”
Prior to ‘CORPORATE CONSCIENCE’, on Monday 18th November EBENI and All Hallows also hosted a separate event – a ‘CHURCH ETHICS & LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP’. This featured some of the international experts from the subsequent two days as well as some key locals with a particular interest or specialism in Church Leadership with integrity to the forefront.
As well as some of our US visitors including Prof Ron Duska, immediate past President of the US Society of Business Ethics, local contributors included:
- Prof David Smith (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland),
- Dr John Murray (Mater Dei Institute of Education),
- Rev Michael Shortall (St Patrick’s College, Maynooth)
‘CORPORATE CONSCIENCE’ featured a wide variety of topics in the field of organisational and corporate integrity including whether a corporation can indeed have a conscience, the role of professionals as conscience keepers, and what Adam Smith, Aristotle and others have had to say on the matter. There were also discussions on Decision Making, Leadership, Legal Systems, fairplay in third world employment, ethical fashion, micr0-banking, poverty eradication and the role of corporations in areas such as these – real world Corporate Social Responsibility.
An exceptional range of speakers from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities addressed these and other topics including:
– Prof Niamh Brennan (Smurfit Business School / University College Dublin)
– Prof Mary Keating (Trinity College Dublin Business School)
– Prof Shane Kilcommins (University College Cork Faculty of Law)
– Dr John Considine (University College Cork Faculty of Economics & All Ireland Hurling winner!)
– John Waters (The Irish Times)
– Gabriel D’Arcy (CEO Bord na Mona / Ireland / formerly Kerry Foods & Irish Army)
– William Montgomery (CEO TEN Leadership Consultancy / UK / former Head of Strategic Change at Lloyds TSB)
– Kate Nolan & Rosie O’Reilly (Re-Dress & Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland) http://re-dress.ie/reasons-to-re-dress/
– Seán McDonagh – Climate Change
– Prof Patricia Werhane (De Paul / Chicago USA / Founder of ‘Business Ethics Quarterly’; Author of many books, most recently Obstacles to Ethical Decision-Making and Alleviating Poverty Through Profitable Partnerships which she discussed in Dublin including her “Big Questions” documentary series series for WNIT that examines sustainable poverty alleviation projects around the world notably Bangladesh, Haiti, Ghana and Tanzania.
– Prof Tobias Gossling (Tilburg School of Social & Behavioural Sciences/ Netherlands / Corporate Social Responsibility author / EBEN Board)
– Prof Bob Chandler (University of Central Florida / Orlando USA / Crisis Communications specialist)
– Graham Burke (Director EthicsPro / CPA / Ireland / Experience in Anonymous Reporting Systems)
– Prof Chris Cowton (Dean University of Huddersfield Business School / UK / Editor BEER: Business Ethics a European Review)
– Prof Björn Fasterling (EDHEC Business School / Law Professor / EBEN France)
– Prof Gene Laczniak (Marquette / Milwaukee USA / CoAuthor of ‘Marketing Ethics’)
– Prof Ron Duska (Philadelphia USA / President US Society of Business Ethics)
– Prof Scott Vitell (Mississippi USA / Marketing Specialist / CoAuthor of the ‘Hunt & Vitell’ Marketing Decisions Framework available under Decisions on this website!)
– Prof Ken Kury (St Josephs / Philadelphia USA / Family Business Professor)
For a flavour of some of the discussions, see this interesting article of the same title from Australia. Although written in the mid 1990s, what has changed since?
which opens with:
“Who keeps the conscience of a corporation? Is it the role of the Board, senior management, the whole company (or all of the above)? Can a corporation have a conscience? After all, its identity as a ‘person’ is just a legal fiction. Surely, it is only real people that might be said to have the capacity to respond to the still, quiet voice of conscience. And, even if a corporation could have a conscience, would this be a good thing? Perhaps it would be an unwarranted distraction from the prime task of creating wealth for shareholders?
These are but a few of the questions that arise, from time to time, in the field of business ethics. Others are of more immediate concern. For example, many in business ask:
- Can we afford the cost of making this product safe?
- Can we afford to admit negligence even though we know that we did the wrong thing?
- Can we afford to let the company’s accounts show the real value of our assets?
- Can we afford to refuse to carry out a client’s instructions even when, in all good conscience, we believe to follow them would harm the community?
- Can we afford to resist paying bribes in order to secure a contract in a difficult overseas market?
- Can we afford to resist taking advantage of an unintended loop-hole in the law or a contract?
Both types of question are common in the field of business ethics. Some people wish that they would go away. Their reasons vary. It may be that the questions are too difficult to answer. It may be that they trespass on areas that people try to reserve as ‘private’ or ‘personal’. Then again, explicit ethical questions may be troubling because they make the invisible foundations of a corporate culture all too visible. It’s sometime surprising to note how many people prefer uncritically to follow patterns laid down in the past. If you ask why something happens the way it does, then the answer comes back, “That’s just the way we do things around here”……..
This website will feature some of the content from Corporate Conscience in the near future.
Details of some of our prior events:
THE INAUGURAL NATIONAL GOVERNANCE, ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE FORUM was held on May 30th 2012 at Croke Park stadium, Dublin, with iQuest, ACOI, BCI, GPTW and TI.
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE was held on Wednesday May 30th 2012 at Croke Park stadium, Dublin, in a first ever collaboration between EBEN Ireland, iQuest, Association of Compliance Officers, Business in the Community, Great Place to Work and Transparency International.
Sessions included good governance, ethics and integrity, compliance, social responsibility, risk management, fraud and whistleblowing. Unlike DOES INTEGRITY MATTER? which featured speakers from over 30 countries, this inaugural ‘national’ forum mainly consisted of Irish speakers with a few guests from the UK and USA. It also included a variety of case studies featuring Irish based international organisations.
The previous year’s event DOES INTEGRITY MATTER? was held June 8-10 2011 at Chartered Accountants House, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. This was the annual EBEN Research Conference which was hosted by EBEN Ireland, Trinity College Dublin Business School and Chartered Accountants Ireland, who have been organising business ethics events since 2003 when they hosted BUILDING INTEGRITY IN BUSINESS at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse.
There were 80 speakers from over 30 countries and four continents. Further details including videos of some of the sessions are at ‘Conference 2011’.
Many of the sessions are also summarised in the Conference Report available for download.
23rd LISMULLIN LEADERSHIP FORUM: Friday 20th September 2013 Ireland
On Friday 20th September 2013 EBENI Chair Julian Clarke hosted a discussion on TRUST RESTORATION at the Lismullin Leadership Forum near Navan, half an hour from Dublin.
Moscow based Enrique Aznar hosted a case study led discussion on Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling, Bernie Madoff and other ‘Smartest Guys in the Room’ involved with serious fraud as well as three mini cases on dealing with difficult people entitled “how managers, teams and corporations can drive you crazy”.
Enrique Aznar is Group Chief Compliance Officer with VimpelCom, the world’s 6th largest mobile network operator by subscribers (214 million) with over 60,000 employees and annual revenues of $23bn. It is listed as an ADS on the New York Stock Exchange. Enrique’s previous positions included Millicom International Cellular, Nokia Siemens Networks’ Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer EMEA for Tyco International. Earlier, he worked with Dell Inc, Freshfields, PwC and Arthur Andersen.
We have attended most of these tri-annual events and they have been of a consistently high quality, opening up intriguing discussions between business people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Highly recommended and beats travelling to an overseas event to experience this calibre of discussion. For many of you this will be just down the road!
Anyone wishing to attend future Lismullin events can contact organiser Paul Harman on email@example.com or +35386 859 6052.
DOES INTEGRITY MATTER? presented an opportunity to both hear and engage with experts from all around the world and we plan to offer similar opportunities to discuss integrity related matters, across business and society. All comments, suggestions and ideas are welcome.
We can only achieve our goals if YOU participate. Ireland as a nation has suffered as a result of Leadership and Integrity failings associated with a small minority so this is a key area for discussion and improvement.
INTEGRITY can be brought to the fore both in Ireland and overseas with YOUR attendance at events, participation and ongoing support! ALL SUGGESTIONS WILL BE APPRECIATED including ideas for future events.
We are a membership based organisation and warmly welcome new members.
For those of you would like to join EBENI and support our efforts to promote integrity throughout Irish and international business and society, we would be delighted to hear from you or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org