EBEN or the European Business Ethics Network is the foremost business ethics organisation in Europe with local chapters in 18 countries (20 if you include all three Scandinavian countries!) and with individual members from over 40 countries:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scandinavia, 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 in Europe, USA, Australia & Africa
All comments on integrity related issues including suggestions for local events are welcome via
THE WHISTLEBLOWER’S DILEMMA
“Doing the right thing” can often be one of life’s greatest challenges, but what is the right thing to do when a person with a strong conscience becomes aware of instances when people chose to do the wrong thing, especially when this negatively impacts on others?
A dilemma has been described as “a predicament that seemingly defies a satisfactory solution”. Knowledge of a wrongdoing can put someone in a difficult position, especially if those responsible fail to rectify the situation.
The initial tendency of the culpable can often be to Cover Up rather than Own Up, resulting in a potentially catastrophic impact on interpersonal trust and organisational reputation should the wrongdoing subsequently come to light. When it does, those who chose to Cover Up may have preferred they had chosen the more courageous option of Owning Up. Considering the potential impact on Trust and Reputation before engaging in a dubious action can prevent such calamities arising.
Wim Vandekerckhove describes a whistleblower as “a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organisation that is either private or public”.
This 1999 article from Ireland’s Sunday Business Post newspaper discusses the challenges those who consider exposing wrongdoing may face. Potentially becoming vulnerable to retaliation, having their motives and loyalty challenged and private lives damaged when the Cover Up is exposed, particularly when the wrongdoers choose to diminish their prospects of reputational recovery by responding in the manner which Crisis Communication experts least recommend – “Attacking the Accuser”, can place good people in the situation of facing “the whistleblower’s dilemma”.
Sad But True.
Weighed up against these consequences, many people of integrity nevertheless often choose what they see as the greater good associated with “doing the right thing”.
But to whom does ultimate loyalty lie?
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.
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:
The next EBEN international event is:
EBEN Annual Conference
Tilburg, the Netherlands
27-29 June 2018
“Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commmerce“
The most recent EBEN international event was:
EBEN Research Conference
Athens 6-8 September 2017
“Ethics, the Economy and the Idea of Justice”
The most recent local events we were 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 3: Friday 29 September 2017, 09:30 to 19:00
Programme details and background: Lismullin Leadership Programme
Real leadership – Changing both hearts and minds
Dr Richard Keegan is 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 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
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.
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.
- This one day event was also the 28th in a series with which we have been involved since its inception in 2006, 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 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.
- PS 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 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