The Ethical Advantage: Positioning Ethics at the Heart of Organisational Decision-making

Ethical Fitness Masterclass.

"To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers and the communities in which they operate." Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock's (with $6.3tn in assets under management)

Fraud, corruption, compromised institutional integrity, poverty, inequality, discrimination, social polarisation, low trust levels, populist political agendas – all these issues beset different parts of the world. In South Africa, they are especially urgent, dramatic and intense. Failure to address them threatens the success of business and the country. For corporations to address these risks, they must focus on ethics.  

But it's not only about mitigating risk; it's also about seizing opportunity – to establish an extended window of competitive advantage through building a high performance culture and "outbehaving the competition".

At Harvard Business School (HBS), they talk about a "new performance standard" for world-class companies, distinguished by both financial and ethical excellence. The purpose of this masterclass is to help executives and managers achieve ethical excellence through creative ideas and insights which can translated into pragmatic plans of action. It draws on diverse disciplines and cutting-edge thinking. It is also informed by the findings of the GIBS Ethics Barometer, a ground-breaking initiative which measures the ethical fitness of leading South African companies.    

Underpinning the masterclass are three interrelated themes:

  1. The corporation is not an amoral entity whose sole purpose is to maximise shareholder wealth within the parameters of the law. Increasingly in  the world and especially in the current South African context, business is expected to assume the role of a moral protagonist, an agent with a wider set of responsibilities. Increasingly, corporations are required to demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices, based on values such as integrity, responsibility, fairness, respect and care.
  2. Ethical behaviour builds trust, and when there is trust, business and society flourish. Conversely, a lack of trust between business and its various stakeholders is profoundly dangerous.
  3. Ethics should not be seen as abstract, predictable and boring and merely an “add-on” to core commercial activities. Ethics is practical, dynamic and innovative and belongs at the centre of organisational decision making.

Themes and Objectives:

  • How business faces a new set of expectations and challenges, and how leaders can develop more innovative approaches to ethics management.
  • How to build reputation and trust through ethics.
  • How to merge social and financial imperatives to achieve superior performance.
  • How to make ethics an integral part of business models, and how to turn them into a source of risk management and competitive differentiation.
  • What defines and drives our ethical choices, how to build a more "ethically fit" culture in organisations and how to effect behavioural change.
  • How to define and clarify ethical dilemmas, and how to practically resolve or reconcile them.
  • Local and international best practices.
  • Understanding ethical tools and paradigms.

Facilitator:

Rabbi Gideon Pogrund conceptualised and founded the Gordon Institute of Business Science's Ethics and Governance Think Tank. Working with senior business, government and civil society leaders, the Think Tank's purpose is to explore and influence how South African business can follow a more ethical approach and thereby help secure a more successful, sustainable future for the business community and the country. In 2018 the Think Tank was selected by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a network of over 800 business schools from across the globe, as one of its Innovations That Inspire. Pogrund is the director of the Think Tank and a GIBS faculty member.

He collaborates with Harvard Business School academics; using their research tool, he established the Ethics Barometer for South African business. He has been invited to speak at international business schools and to take part in leadership forums, including the World Economic Forum's Partnering Against Corruption Initiative. He consults to major organisatons, helping them improve their ethics management. He has contributed articles and been interviewed in various media outlets, including Business Day, the Financial Mail, Finweek, Carte Blanche, CNBC Africa and Thomson Reuters.

Pogrund has as an MA from Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Details:

Breakfast and Registration: 08:00-08:30

Starts: 08:30

Ends: 16:00


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