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 and events in Ireland and overseas
- COMMENTS (below) on topics such as sporting integrity, whistleblowing, public sector reform, changing corporate cultures and climate justice…
All comments on integrity related issues including suggestions for local events are welcome via
The next local event we are supportive of is appropriately:
BECOMING AN ETHICAL LEADER
Creating a culture of continuous improvement?
Friday 28th September 2018
This standalone event is 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 next EBEN international event is:
EBEN Annual Conference 2018
Tilburg, the Netherlands
27-29 June 2018
“Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commerce”
Further details are below.
The 2018 Champions League Final featured Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos elbowing his opponent’s goalkeeper, with US doctors specialising in head injury in American football subsequently believing the “blow to the head from Ramos” resulted in concussion or “visual spatial dysfunction”. Earlier in “the game” Ramos locked arms with Liverpool’s key forward Mo Salah in a move which is banned in judo. Salah’s fall to the ground and subsequent shoulder injury meant his missing not only the rest of the match but perhaps also the World Cup for his country, Egypt. It also changed the momentum of the game.
Head and shoulder injuries are more common in contact sports such as Rugby, Aussie Rules and American football than FOOT-ball, where “tackles” are supposed to be predominantly using legs and feet. Head and shoulder injuries are so rare in “soccer” that both transpiring in the one match and caused by the same player, who also readily falls over and holds parts of his body not hurt to have opponents yellow carded and sent off, is not the example that senior players in big games should be setting for the next generation of players and fans.
Yet the propensity of some players to engage in such antics were well known before the Champions League final, indeed are more prevalent in some nation’s leagues than others and detract from the enjoyment of watching. Isn’t it odd that “soccer” players can fall or dive from little or no contact yet those playing more physical sports do not? Maybe the penalty for such “soccer” players should be having to train with teams from more physical “football” sports for a week, where the incentive is to stay on your feet? How long would they last?
In other more direct contact sports, when key players are targeted by opponents, they usually receive the protection of the match officials. Those sports which have been slow to introduce live video refereeing and retrospective action against those who seek to target or injure opponents have much to learn from the likes of Aussie Rules football and Rugby football.
Oscar Wilde wrote “to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” What about losing key opponents during what is supposed to be a “sporting” encounter? A careless act “in the moment”? Or calculated and premeditated? What is called in some sports “getting your retaliation in first”?
Abraham Lincoln said “you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” This is most certainly the case with the number of cameras televising modern sport.
Yet this does not seem to deter some, who subsequently make excuses and fail to appreciate that when they try to “justify the unjustifiable” and “deny the undeniable” they compound the damage they have already done to their own reputation and that of their club by neither apologising nor showing remorse for their actions.
Another unfortunate parallel with business, or rather the worst of business, as such behaviour is thankfully not the norm. Just as many sporting matches are exactly that – sporting – most transactions undertaken in business are conducted fairly and amicably, with a view to maintaining rather than damaging relationships.
People are not just judged in many walks of life by their behaviour, but also by what it says about their character. Indeed Salah perhaps displayed his true character by being more conciliatory than Ramos. One player’s reputation has been enhanced, the other’s not.
Do the ends justify the means? This was a question we asked 12 months earlier when penning some thoughts on integrity in sport and parallels with other areas of life, including business. How important is “trust” in sport and are “role models” more important in sport than elsewhere?
While some know where to draw the line and prefer to let their players do the talking, remaining low key and modest no matter how significant their achievements, other people can believe that any advantage, no matter how minor, justifies behaviour which others would find inappropriate or objectionable. In their mind, the end justifies the means.
When such people are responsible for sporting teams, their penchant for self-promotion, controversy, being critical of their players in public and playing mind-games with opponents, referees and officials, rather than confining their comments to the performance of their own team, they can not only damage the reputation of their club, diminish team-spirit, demotivate some players and “bring the game into disrepute” but also inspire the opposition they have criticised to better perform. None of which deter some from repeating their actions, time and time again. Why might this be?
“Winning at all costs” can be as inappropriate in sport as elsewhere in society. The ends do not always justify the means, even if less scrupulous and more adversarial sportspeople believe it does. The methods they deploy can diminish their achievements.
Of course sports fans prefer their players and teams to win rather than lose, with the unpredictability one of the many factors which makes sport so engaging, but preferably with respect enhanced and not at the loss of reputation.
Socrates likened reputation to a fire – much easier to keep kindled but sometimes impossible to relight when extinguished.
Is it possible to win – yet lose?
Some comments from June 2017 on sporting integrity and parallels with other areas of life, including business, are available as a PDF for download:
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 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”.
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?
What follows below are a few (actually more than a few!!!) ideas and suggestions on Public Sector Reform, perhaps appropriate outside Ireland too. Well capable of application and implementation, when the mindset is right and the people who do the work are involved in redesigning the way it is delivered, perhaps having seen how modern organisations elsewhere in society provide their services.
Governing involves leading – not hiding.
“The status quo is not an option” rather than “endemic cover-up” needs to prevail if Ireland is to become a modern, fair, efficient and democratic State, led by people of uncompromising integrity. Our many wonderful, dedicated public servants should never be scared to speak up, rather deserve to be encouraged to suggest reform and inspired to produce their best.
A document with suggestions for Public Sector Reform, capable of application beyond Ireland’s borders too, is available for reading or downloading as a PDF:
All comments and critique on these and other matters of integrity in Irish and international business and society are welcomed to Linkedin:
QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES ?
LIVING THE 1916 DREAM IN THE 21st CENTURY
The ideals so admirably described by some of Ireland’s “founding fathers” in the 1916 Proclamation have alas not been lived up to, especially in “the way we do business” as a State. But it is not and never will be too late to revisit these, notably:
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.”
This century old document in many respects, notably equality of opportunity, was well before its time, even though the same could not now be said about the apparatus of the State it established. Not everyone is treated equally, including some who believe themselves to be above reproach.
Many public sector organisations (at home and abroad) could become far more dynamic workplaces and provide much higher service levels, satisfying both customers and employees alike – if only they were permitted to.
Where are the courageous and selfless visionaries like TK Whitaker when most required?
I have a dream that TK Whitaker would invite Martin Luther King to speak to an assembly of Irish citizens, gathered not around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, but in Dublin, around the similar waters of the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square.
I have a dream that “transparency, accountability and responsibility” will be accepted as the norm rather than the exception; that wrongdoing will no longer be accepted nor acceptable; those responsible will be held to account – not protected – and those who abuse power, lose power.
I have a dream that any culture of silence be replaced by a culture of openness and that honesty and transparency will become commonplace, with silos and secrecy being consigned to history.
I have a dream that those who cover-up and sweep wrongdoing “under the carpet” have their lack of integrity exposed and be denied any further opportunity to do so again; I have a dream that no longer will the tone at the top be epitomised by the “rot setting in from the head to the tail” and that leaders will set such a shining example of integrity that everyone else will be inspired to follow.
I have a dream that integrity will be associated with “doing the right thing when no-one is looking” and that “doing the wrong thing when everyone is looking” will no longer be accepted and in effect rewarded, rather will be penalised.
I have a dream that the antithesis of “the way we have always done things” will be found to contribute to a much better, more inspirational, entirely customer responsive and ultimately far healthier work environment for everyone involved.
I have a dream that politicians will not have to “deny the undeniable” and cover up for poor performance or the unethical or illegal behaviour of “permanent officials” who will no longer remain nameless, blameless and unaccountable; wrongdoing is wrongdoing and even more egregious when undertaken by employees of the State, who should not be able to hide behind “official secrecy” nor be afforded or indeed warrant “permanency”; indeed they deserve quite the opposite.
I have a dream that no-one will ever have to “defend the indefensible” because it will become acceptable to own up to errors and rectify them rather than cover them up; that those who point fingers and blame others will be incentivised to accept responsibility for their errors and suggest how they may best be avoided in future; that everyone involved will learn from the experience and “the way we do things” be capable of continually improving, evolving, adapting and responding as a result.
I have a dream that women and men, each half the population, be treated equally in every respect and that they and others will no longer be viewed as “minorities”, with all such differences ignored as matters such as pay, conditions and opportunity for promotion to the most senior positions be decided purely on terms of merit.
I have a dream that those who provide leadership will wake up from their collective slumber and smug satisfaction with a clearly unsatisfactory way of providing public services in the 21st century, based on a 19th century culture of aloof unaccountability and privileged impunity evident nowhere else in Ireland.
- I have a dream that those who engage in half truths and partial disclosures will appreciate like Robert Louis Stevenson in 1879 that “telling the truth, rightly understood, involves not just stating the true facts, but conveying a true impression”. I have a dream that leaders will communicate so clearly and openly that they will “ensure misinterpretation is impossible”.
I have a dream that those who have become used to driving on cruise control down the single-lane and low-gear bohereens of “status quo”, “no-one responsible” and “not my job” culminating in the cul-de-sac of “inconclusive enquiries”, will choose instead to travel down newly built, multi-lane, high speed, top gear motorways of “accountability”, “transparency”, “customers-first” and “first-class” service as a result of “best-practice modernity” epitomised by “reinvented workplaces” and “reinvigorated people”.
I have a dream that no employer will be scared of introducing flexibility and variety which has been prevalent elsewhere for many decades, amongst firms acknowledged to be great places to work, providing prompt, high quality service, resulting in satisfied people encouraged and inspired to produce their best; where good performers are rewarded and shirkers no longer tolerated; featuring minimal absenteeism and non-existent disputes because communication will be open and two-way with everyone inspired and “empowered” to fully cooperate in totally transforming their places of work, without any barriers to making exciting progress and with the mantra “the status quo is not an option”.
I have a dream that the nightmare of poor service, disenchanted and uninspired staff, lack of accountability no matter how many “scandals” arise for similar reasons across different organisations with a similar culture, the wrong people promoted, the best people leaving, cover-ups exposed resulting in enquiries and tribunals, et al, will be deemed to be “disgraceful” and no longer tolerated.
I have a dream that those with the vision to see the opportunity how to do things better, those who care sufficiently to want to “make a difference”, those with the courage to make a stand for progress and those who criticise antiquated or inappropriate practices, will no longer be attacked, vilified, sidelined and branded as “disgraceful”, rather be appreciated, applauded, recognised, respected, rewarded and be encouraged to make their fullest contribution by way of being included in the improvement process without the discouragement of any barriers being placed in their path.
I have a dream that “Reports” be written for the purpose of inspiring action and change for the better and that OECD, EU, Auditor and Comptroller General and similar reports will no longer be allowed gather dust on shelves and that doing so will also be accepted to be “disgraceful”, rather will be prioritised and actioned, with penalties being applied when not.
I have a dream that strong and selfless performers will be rewarded and incentivised to progress up the levels and no longer be permitted to become disenchanted and contribute a fraction of their potential.
I have a dream that those with genuine ability and people management skills, being “givers” more interested in others than themselves, be promoted in lieu of the self-centred and become the new breed of managers in all organisations.
I have a dream that those who bully and intimidate colleagues be held to account and the self-centred and excessively proud, being “takers” more interested in themselves than others, will be seen for what they are and denied promotional opportunities and what they most crave – power.
I have a dream that HR or Human Resource Departments will be supportive of managers who refuse to promote non-performers – not castigate them and force them to retire; that pay and reward structures be greatly simplified and antiquated practices no longer in operation elsewhere in society be replaced by more modern and streamlined processes, centred around maximising the provision of customer service.
I have a dream that public servants be deemed to work for a single, unified organisation – the “public service” – and thus be given the opportunity to seamlessly work in different areas with no barriers to movement, for shorter or longer periods as required; I have a dream that the solution to work pressures not solely be considered to be taking on more people to work in antiquated environments and instead the primary solution, like in many other organisations, to some areas being particularly busy become assistance from elsewhere in “the service”, by having people transferred from quieter areas for as long as necessary, even a few days, not necessarily from the same entity; I have a dream that modern work practices will be so prevalent across “the service” that staff can easily move from one area to another and fit in easily because the practices and culture will be so similar, for the right reasons; that staff gaining experience in a variety of areas will become the norm rather than the exception.
I have a dream that “joined up thinking” may be the order of the day within “the service” with the left hand aware of what the right hand is doing, instead of instances arising such as a multitude of vacant and half-completed properties being sold at a substantial cost and loss to the State to overseas funds and investors, when there was a severe shortage of social housing and too many of our own people homeless; I have a dream that different parts of the same “public service” may act as if that is what they are, unified by the vision to try something innovative when this is what is most needed.
I have a dream that those who cite excuses such as “legal problems” may, ultimately being the law-makers themselves, change laws which pose barriers to progress and modernisation.
I have a dream that those who contribute little will be inspired to contribute a great deal more by way of both greater inclusion in “what is going on” and introduction of far more modern work practices, or be assisted, encouraged and guided if they cannot; with the option of being moved to an alternative role within “the service” which may better suit their talents, otherwise face the consequences including being demoted to a more appropriate level or allowed leave, like in almost every other organisation in society.
I have a dream that those who find their careers stalled will no longer be those who “want to make a difference” and seek “better ways to do things”, or those who make a mistake once they learn from the experience, rather those who block reform or contribute little and hope their intransigence or non-contribution will not be noticed.
I have a dream that performance reviews be genuine and indicative of particularly good or notably disappointing work; that they adequately reflect what everyone else knows about who does and doesn’t make a decent contribution; that poor performers receiving good reviews be seen to make a farce of the review system and both parties be held to account; that those who give false reviews appreciate that what they are doing is incentivising the poorer performers and disincentivising the better performers; that those aware of false reviews unreflective of good or bad performance have a forum for alerting other management to this, hence improving the “integrity” of “the system”.
I have a dream that inadequate performance no longer be accepted or covered up nor poorer performers continue to be protected from the consequences of their own inactivity; that those who do not perform or inspire will never be promoted and may instead be capable of being demoted to their level of competence or be allowed seek employment elsewhere, as in most other sectors, doubly incentivising those who do make a significant effort, perform well and contribute positively to the group.
I have a dream that the employer being the State means that standards and expectations will be higher than any other organisations and there be no valid or acceptable reason for them being lower.
I have a dream that “sick leave” will become a thing of the past and as unnecessary as it is elsewhere in business and society, especially as working environments become happier and healthier; that those who lack integrity and cheat their employer by availing of sick leave inappropriately suffer the consequences of their actions by being allowed seek employment elsewhere.
I have a dream that “suggestion boxes” will be overflowing with visionary ideas outlining how much better the work could be performed; that everyone will be encouraged to contribute to the reform process, in the full knowledge that their ideas and suggestions will be promptly evaluated, actioned and no longer ignored; that those who object to suggestions not be permitted to do so without devising better ones themselves and engaging with those with the original ideas; that not having tried something before not be a valid reason or excuse for trying something new or different.
I have a dream that barriers to progress will be eradicated not erected and the “purpose” of each work practice be evaluated; if not positive, constructive and contributing to better service any matters which some may see to be barriers will be eradicated as no longer being appropriate in the 21st Century, to be replaced by simpler measures with a demonstratively positive, constructive and ultimately customer service-oriented purpose.
I have a dream that instead of tinkering at the edges and giving the impression of making progress, “the way we currently and have always done things” will be ignored as far more appropriate and modern “ways of doing things” will be designed “from the ground up”, especially by those who actually perform the work, whose ideas are too often either not sought or ignored in both public and private sector organisations.
I have a dream that “frontline” staff will be allowed design the work practices they believe will result in customers being rapidly and appropriately responded to – so matters such as delays, denials and long waiting lists will become a thing of the past – including 24 hour utilisation of valuable equipment allowing far more timely service, proving that customers, clients or patients are genuinely the number one priority, being the reason the organisation exists.
I have a dream that CAN DO not CAN’T DO or WON’T DO will be the primary customer service mantra and IT’S NOT MY JOB will be replaced by WE’LL SEE WHAT WE CAN DO, when appropriate; that work practices will primarily favour customers and “how do we better serve the customer?” will replace “what’s in it for me?” with the only “sense of entitlement” being that of the significant service expectations of customers – not rewards for staff whether they make a significant contribution or not.
I have a dream that instead of or as well as reinventing the wheel, best practice be sought from any organisations and sectors elsewhere in society and these be tailored and applied by those most appropriate and capable of implementing them, including by “frontline staff” in the manner which best allows them to serve their customers, without exception or barriers.
I have a dream that staff will no longer be limited to narrow and limited roles and may be incentivised to learn how to perform a variety of different tasks, both related and unrelated, so as many people as required will be capable of performing whatever the priority of the day may be; that those in positions of authority may appreciate that staff skilled in a variety of tasks will not just make a wider contribution but also derive more job satisfaction from not having to do the same thing all the time.
I have a dream that work currently required to be performed by a number of people following each other, with delays inherently built into the process, be instead performed on a more timely basis by one person trained to perform all the tasks without any unnecessary delays; that variety, timeliness, job satisfaction and customer service all be improved by taking a “business process” perspective including eradicating all unnecessary steps, assisted by availing of modern technology.
I have a dream that management information systems support operational staff and supply them with the information they need to make the most astute and appropriate decisions.
I have a dream that “level” may refer to a level playing field of opportunity and service not the multitude of levels of hierarchy which stymie decision making, responsibility and progress; I have a dream that people only progress to a higher level because their performance warrants it, not because of length of service; I have a dream that the level of contribution become better appreciated, including level of volunteering for new responsibilities; that those seeking better ways of doing things and volunteering their involvement be more appreciated and those doing neither, not be and hence not progress beyond their current level or move in the opposite direction; that everyone be given the opportunity and inspired to produce their best and those that do make a significant contribution will be rewarded by progressing up the ranks.
I have a dream that “sitting on the fence” will be a thing of the past; that instead of committees being formed to delay or avoid making decisions, managers will be empowered to take courageous decisions and everyone allowed to learn from the experience if some do not work out as well as expected.
I have a dream that it is not just frontline staff and customers who see their job satisfaction boosted but management also be proud of their achievements as they introduce far better ways of doing things; I have a dream that senior managers share all these “dreams” and particularly that they act as if they are “the Troika” looking in dispassionately from the outside and asking “how many of our processes would competitors want to replicate?”, if any.
I have a dream that managers will be assessed not on size of budget or numbers employed rather how well they have modernised; that judgement be based on how much of the old has been replaced and how measurable service has been improved; how budgets have been under rather than over spent; how imagination and streamlining allows far more to be done with similar resources; on their ability to be constructive and co-operative with how and where the staff are most gainfully deployed within “the service” and visibly making the most significant contribution to satisfying the needs of the moment, wherever they may be.
I have a dream that “underspending the budget” be incentivised and applauded; that overspending and last minute year-end spending be instead treated as the crime, not underspending; that each spending measure be fully evaluated and justified from scratch rather than just taking the previous budget plus a percentage increase; that recessionary times should set the example and become the mindset for more efficient utilisation of valuable resources during better times too; that a flexible approach to budgets often prepared some time ago allow newer matters which arise to be prioritised ahead of less important matters; with “that can’t be done because it isn’t be in the budget” being replaced by a more imaginative approach to maximise utilisation of available resources without any complacency.
I have a dream that workplace cultures will facilitate and promote not prohibit and hinder the personal integrity of employees coming to the fore and that intolerance of low integrity by leaders of high personal integrity will by setting an admirable “tone at the top” ensure unethical instances are no longer condoned or repeated; I have a dream that lower calibre people including leaders who engage in or cover up wrongdoing and by permitting unethical behaviour go unpunished in effect accept, tolerate and incentivise this to be repeated by the pernicious culture prevalent within their organisation, be held to account for their own lack of integrity and leadership.
I have a dream that anyone who chooses to cover up rather than own up and rectify any situation be permitted to seek employment elsewhere.
I have a dream that those who engage in any forms of error and wrongdoing in organisations be held accountable and that instead of some people in society being held to a different level of account than others, or not at all, that everyone be equally accountable no matter the position or role.
I have a dream that any silent and unspoken mantra that because people may be employees of the State they may be above reproach be replaced by a new level of openness and accountability.
I have a dream that society will elect more leaders like the late and great Liverpool FC football/soccer manager Bill Shankly and will set the right “tone at the top” for leaders across society typified when he said: “Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say ‘We’re Liverpool’” because when leaders show a greater interest in those they are chosen to lead than themselves, greater unity and teamwork often follows.
I have a dream that instead of a future senior public servant having to refer to “an endemic cover-up culture throughout the entire public sector” the reference be to “an endemic accountability culture”.
I have a dream that the higher up someone is in society and the greater the amount of responsibility, the greater will be the level of accountability and hence trust.
I have a dream that governance in the public sector not only match but exceed the highest standards of any such body internationally and that the Irish State will be seen to be a role model of accountability by every other area of society.
I have a dream that the more self-centred culture built around “what’s in it for me?” which can prevent rather than seek progress and does not appear to produce a particularly healthy working environment will be replaced by a culture based on co-operation, team-performance and “what’s in it for the customer?”
I have a dream that in every sector of society, “excessively combative” workplaces, whether arising from particularly competitive and money-driven private sector leaders or heavily rules based structures in the public sector, with antagonism built in to management-staff relations,will be seen to serve NOBODY well.
I have a dream that any manager who accepts a workplace culture which fails its employees be instead be inspired to accept the responsibility to transform it; that more leaders will have the vision to realise that an organisation needs to be constantly learning and that accountability will always play a critical role in making trustworthy progress.
I have a dream that situations prioritising and displaying integrity be headline making news.
I have a dream that those who believe that the public neither notice nor care when people appear to “get away with it” will realise that they do; that “getting away with it” no longer be applauded by society and that protecting people be seen to be “the wrong thing” rather than “the right thing”.
I have a dream that more leaders will accept responsibility for decisions and actions which don’t achieve entirely satisfactory outcomes.
I have a dream that employees will not be “remembered as that person who took that bad decision” with promotional opportunities diminished and denied, rather that people and groups will appreciate that not all outcomes are predictable and people will instead be encouraged to learn from mistakes and still consider evaluating and taking, rather than avoiding, adventurous and courageous decisions which could substantially improve or benefit the organisation.
I have a dream that committees will be formed to accept rather than avoid accountability and decision making responsibility by way of becoming more associated with changing than adhering to a status quo.
I have a dream that ‘upsetting the apple cart’ become the norm rather than frowned upon.
I have a dream that those who engage in “public criticism and little or no praise” will instead appreciate the benefits arising from more visibly practicing “public praise and private criticism”.
I have a dream that those who spread fear rather than respect will appreciate how counterproductive this can be.
I have a dream that those who “lay down the law” for others will have the integrity to obey these themselves and only devise rules with a constructive purpose that they will be capable of follow themselves.
I have a dream that those who insist on the status quo will have their eyes opened to the benefits of and necessity to change.
I have a dream that those who give their respect to those who need or demand it, will instead be more appreciative of and respectful to those who do not seek it for themselves, rather their colleagues and common purpose of their group.
I have a dream that leaders who contribute to a ‘blame culture’ appreciate it not only produces negativity but also mistrust and disrespect.
I have a dream that more leaders will develop trust by thriving on both being held accountable themselves and holding colleagues to account, recognising that shirking responsibility or blaming others damages trust.
I have a dream when problems arise leaders will appreciate it is they set the tone which others follow and when this is predominantly constructive and positive this can be far more effective for morale building.
I have a dream that leaders will appreciate that the benefits arising from communicating openly and being fully accountable may not just satisfy their stakeholders but can also ease the conscience of the communicator too, quite the opposite result from the “own goal” associated with covering up.
I have a dream that society will elect more leaders who greatly respect others and command it amongst their peers by way of their astute words, actions, behaviour and decisions, and not those who demand respect but deny it to others.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders who speak well of others rather than of themselves, more capable of being loyal rather than disloyal, not those only capable of being loyal to themselves.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders who will accept responsibility for personal or group failings, will never “deny the undeniable” and hence damage trust, as opposed to those who can deny matters which others know to be true and yet seem to genuinely believe their own perception.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders who will appreciate the importance of compromise, rather than those for whom the importance of “getting their own way” is such that they find it almost impossible to compromise or enter into measures which may result in mutual resolution and satisfaction; I have a dream that society will elect leaders who much prefer outcomes which are win-win rather than win-lose.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders more positive by nature rather than those capable of only seeing see the downside in many situations, even if predominantly positive.
I have a dream that if Emotional Intelligence is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others” and astute leaders make “intelligent use of their emotions in managing themselves and working with others to be effective at work”, that those who are only capable of seeing things from their own-self centred perspective and who have proven to be incapable of managing their own emotions let alone those of others will NEVER be deemed to be capable of leading other people.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders who thrive on praising and encouraging others; not those who so seek admiration for themselves that when others are not praising them, they will praise themselves, especially in public, not being able to resist bragging conceitedly to anyone about their exceptional talents; the kind of people who society believe will make great leaders – until they appoint them.
I have a dream that society will elect leaders who thrive on showing gratitude to others for their efforts and achievements, boosting their confidence and performance and that of their colleagues, rather than those who need to receive gratitude in abundance, rarely praise others, nor express gratitude, and when praise of others may be most warranted, may even say nothing at all or find reason to criticise them instead; the kind of people who society believe will make great leaders – until they appoint them.
I have a dream that society will not elect those who dislike praising others yet can flatter people with false praise, notably when this suits them getting what they want by way of using the other person; that when they do offer false or insincere praise other people will be suspicious and consider what they may actually want, perhaps performing some act for them or seeking praise in return; the kind of people who society believe will make great leaders – until they appoint them.
I have a dream that society will evaluate whether a “successfully-led” organisation could possibly be one where people dislike coming to work and can’t wait to get home in the evening, where they experience unnecessary competition and conflict, feel discouraged, disrespected and perhaps intimidated? Or is a “successfully-led” organisation one where they look forward to working when not there and go home invigorated, having spent a productive and collaborative day and felt their contribution was both encouraged and respected? Led by people with high Emotional Intelligence?
I have a dream that society will appreciate and elect more leaders with Emotional Intelligence who naturally display many competencies including trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, innovation, commitment, initiative, optimism, empathy, self-awareness, emotional awareness, self-confidence, self-control, a service orientation, political awareness, social skills, influence, communication, conflict management, being open to change, a capacity to build relationships, collaborate and cooperate and not only work in but also build teams.
I have a dream that society will elect more leaders who are at the opposite end of a spectrum from the most self-centred, being more naturally selfless, pleasant, kind, generous, modest, humble and agreeable people, memorable for many positive and life-affirming reasons, whose generally positive behaviour and attitude to life contributes to an environment or culture whereby their colleagues look forward to coming in to work and feel inspired to produce their best.
I have a dream that leaders who give credit where due, who encourage, praise and regularly use the six key words of management and four magic phrases (please, thank you, well done and sorry), who show a genuine interest in other people, who recognise and reward those of their people at all levels who have performed well, and who keep their promises (especially when more opportune not to do so) will gain the respect of their colleagues and inspire them not only by their words but also the example they set for them to follow.
I have a dream that leaders will ask their colleagues to evaluate the impact of what they perceive to be the values of the organisation on their personal values by way of questions such as these: “What are the values of this organisation? Have your values improved or disimproved because of your involvement with this organisation? Do your personal values get an opportunity for full expression in this organisation? Do the corporate values take priority? Do the values of this organisation ‘distort your own’? Do you believe you have any choice in the matter? Or are corporate and personal values in alignment?”
I have a dream that organisations will elect leaders such as those researched by Jim Collins in “Good to Great” who “build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will’ ,who also ‘channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company, who do possess ego and self-interest and are incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves… who are resolved to do whatever it takes to make the company great, no matter how big or hard the decisions… who attribute success to factors other than themselves, yet when things go poorly, blame themselves and take full responsibility… who display a compelling modesty, are self-effacing and understated.”
I have a dream that organisations will NOT elect leaders “with gargantuan personal egos that contribute to the demise or continued mediocrity of the company”; the kind of people who instead of setting up “their successors for success in the next generation”, could potentially prefer to “set up their successors for failure”, hence being seen to have been even more extraordinary leaders after they had left their role, at least in their own mind, no matter what havoc they had left behind.
I have a dream that more organisations throughout society will appreciate that those more likely to “channel their ego needs away from others and into themselves” rather than “away from themselves and into others”, are less likely to share in the larger goal of building a great organisation so should NEVER be chosen to be managers or leaders, no matter how apt or appealing their other qualities may initially appear to be.
I have a dream that society will appreciate that when a group is intimidated into only doing what the dominant leader wants, it is unlikely to evolve, especially when “getting their own way” is very important to the leader; that when people are too scared to “speak up” and too uninspired to suggest a variety of alternative ideas or courses of action, that progress let alone visionary progress will be highly unlikely and society should instead elect managers and leaders capable of seeking the best ideas from everyone involved and hence produce more progressive outcomes.
I have a dream that the only “barriers” to progress which will be permitted will be those preventing a return to “the way we used do things” – which will become a distant memory.
I have a dream that with Irish people being well known internationally for their creativity, imagination and innovation, as well as being industrious and friendly, that such talents may be afforded full expression in all sectors of society, public and private; that with the Irish not generally known internationally for being conservative and unimaginative, this no longer be the perception from inside and outside our Public Sector which will in due course be seen to reflect the fullest creativity of the Irish people by fully embracing continuous improvement and becoming a world-class role model for modern work practices and a positive, inclusive culture.
I have a dream that politicians will be incentivised to consistently co-operate to prioritise the “long-term national interest” over that of “local” matters”, “interest groups” and “short-term electoral popularity; I have a dream that just like investors in corporations expect to have its performance explained to them, that governments will appreciate the importance of openly and honestly explaining their decisions to the people who elect them to run their country, not their constituency, including explaining the state of the national finances, preferably availing of analogies and graphs, so the people will better understand what they are doing and why; I have a dream that the electorate will consequently vote for those who prioritise “doing the right thing” by the nation or region, especially if unpopular, rather than “what’s in it for me?.
I have a dream that the one area of society most akin to a kindergarten will no longer be parliaments; that for this to be achieved political parties will be more respectful of each other and cognisant of the constructive opinions of individual parliamentarians with particular experience of or interest in a matter; that parliamentarians will be capable of agreeing more often and only disagreeing with each other when they genuinely disagree; that politicians in government will be more constructively supportive of opposition input and more capable of including suggestions with which they agree; that politicians not in government will be more capable of being constructively supportive of government policies with which they generally agree and which they could have introduced themselves, rather than just opposing for the sake of opposing (anyone can do that) which contributes to a lack of respect; I have a dream that more parliamentarians will appreciate that many citizens want all of them to use their position of influence in society in a constructive and selfless not destructive and self-centred manner, and that they expect them to behave, deliberate, co-operate and disagree in a constructive, adult manner only capable of building trust in the political and parliamentary process.
I have a dream that when mistakes are made by public or private bodies with serious implications such as the medical health of infants or adults, it will become acceptable for people aware or responsible to apologise, accept responsibility and a process exist to make amends; that denying responsibility and forcing the innocent to revert to the justice system for a delayed remedy will be seen as unnecessarily extending, continuing and compounding their misery and not a methodology associated with best practice and integrity.
I have a dream that those who do not currently contribute to society but could be capable of doing so are no longer incentivised by an unemployment system to opt out; I have a dream that instead people be inspired to use their talents to make a fair contribution and boost their own self-esteem in the process; that like antiquated work practices which built up over time, the social welfare system which cost the Irish State around €20bn pa even during the height of the “Celtic Tiger” will be reevaluated as if it were being established from scratch, with the “purpose” of each measure being fully assessed rather than “tacked on” to old measures on a haphazard and piecemeal basis; I have a dream that “full employment” actually means full employment and everyone in the State will receive sufficient education and training to better prepared them for the workplace; that they be incentivised to complete secondary education and be better equipped for the rest of their careers.
I have a dream that Tribunals and Enquiries will be expeditious, be given authority to apportion guilt and apply penalties including to those who chose to “cover-up”, with their findings fully admissible in a Court of Law; that in due course Enquiries be no longer necessary because before people act and take bad decisions they will assume the matter will become public, as it often does, and will first evaluate every situation by always considering the simple ten word advice of Blanchard & Peale: “THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO A WRONG THING”.
I have a dream that people will be made leaders because they have a vision for a new, improved, innovative and revitalised public sector, the courage to make it happen and the leadership skills to ensure that everyone else is sufficiently inspired to share these goals and strongly contribute to actually making it happen, not for adhering to the long established, antiquated and discredited status quo, which lost its relevance elsewhere in society a half century ago and ultimately benefits nobody.
I have a dream that everyone in every organisation of the State and elsewhere cannot wait to get to work because the environment will be so fair, inclusive, empowering and pro-active that they genuinely feel so enthused and inspired to produce their best that their lives and those of their customers will be enriched and fulfilled.
I have a dream that society will elect more leaders who are “GIVERS” more interested in others than themselves rather than the more typical “TAKERS” more interested in themselves than others, capable of pretending to be interested in both other people and the organisation, but secretly and covertly only actually interested in themselves, with their greatest talent being acting and hiding these and related traits from others, with “GIVERS” far more likely to be capable of inspiring colleagues to produce their best and “TAKERS” showing such a great de-motivational prowess that others are more likely to perform nearer their worst and even consider treating people as badly as their leader does.
I have a dream that everyone in every organisation will be fully accountable for their actions because they will always remember “there is no right way to do a wrong thing” and will avoid all decisions and actions which may risk damaging those critically important factors – trust and reputation.
I have a dream that the quality of leadership with integrity which so many people in Ireland from a diversity of backgrounds quietly display on a daily basis in their own organisations, inspire those in more exalted positions to follow the example they so admirably set, without seeking acclaim.
I have a dream that group welfare prevails over personal gain, service prevails over pursuit of power, humility prevails over pretentiousness and pride, kindness prevails over aggression and over-assertiveness, calmness prevails over anger, consideration for others prevails over egotism and self-importance, guidance prevails over manipulation, activity prevails over pontification, kindness prevails over greed, vision prevails over narrow-mindedness, listening over talking, openness over secrecy, sensitivity over insensitivity and apathy, considerate words over cruel, an open mind over a closed one, owning up over covering up, admission over bluffing, honesty over deceit, rectitude over dishonesty, candidness over collusion, openness over connivance and complicity, veracity over falsehood, credibility over improbability, reliability over implausibility, fact over fiction, politeness over rudeness, modesty over arrogance, tact over indiscretion, praise over criticism, giving credit over taking it, apology over blame, ideas over silence, respect over disrespect, dedication over disinterest, loyalty over disloyalty, fidelity over treachery, maintaining confidences over rumor-mongering, courageous decision making over popularity, action over words, quality over excessive speed yet decisiveness over indecision and delay, macro over micro, allegiance over enmity, legality over illegality, integrity over legality, confidence over fear, harmony over disquiet, stability over uncertainty, reassurance over insecurity, forgiveness over retribution, like over dislike, progress over the status quo, discipline over indiscipline, planning over shortcuts, endeavor over laziness, encouragement over discouragement, inclusion over exclusion, support over back-stabbing, organisation over fiefdoms, the team over the individual, consistency over unreliability, collaboration over being unco-operative, co-operation over conflict, agreement over dissent, allegiance over sedition, optimism over pessimism, motivation over disinterest, adventure over unnecessary caution, reflection over excessive haste, personal values over corporate, people over wealth, patience over impulsiveness, understanding over suspicion, proactivity over inactivity, long term success over short term opportunism, reputation over risk and trust over mistrust, with the aim that more people are motivated by giving than taking, that those who derive greater satisfaction from contributing to the group and encouraging others to do so will be favoured and promoted over those whose expectations are centered around what they can extract for themselves rather than offer, that breakdowns in trust will be less frequent occurrences because all involved will more regularly consider one simple question before they act: “would you do business with someone you don’t trust?”
All comments and critique on these and other matters of integrity in Irish and international business and society are welcomed to Linkedin:
The next local event we are supportive of is 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!
Map: http://www.lismullin.ie/contact-us/lismullin-conference-centre (Driving: M3 Exit 7 for Skryne / Johnstown; left at roundabout then left a few hundred metres later)
The next EBEN international events are:
EBEN Annual Conference 2018
Tilburg, the Netherlands
27-29 June 2018
“Reinventing Capitalism – Business Ethics and its contribution to the “Doux Commmerce“
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
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