At the very time business leaders need to step up to meet the big societal, economic, and ecological challenges the world now faces, they have suffered a calamitous collapse in public trust, due partly to regular news headlines of corporate misdemeanours – such as rate fixing, falsified emissions data, and tax avoidance – and also to a failure to explain the value and share the rewards of globalization.
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), a top-ranked business school aiming to be a force for positive change, believes that this is not because there’s a toxic generation of unethical business leaders, but because many leaders are not prepared adequately to deal with increasingly complicated, fast-changing and disrupted global issues and the new ways of doing business.
Achieving collective goals
Business professionals can learn how to lead teams and organisations ethically in the new two-day Ethical Leadership in Business program in October 2017, launched by RSM Executive Education.
“In this complex world, good leadership can make the difference between success and failure,” says Professor Marius van Dijke, who teaches in the RSM program. “But leadership is not simply a matter of mechanically applying the right kind of techniques to get the right outcomes. It’s not enough to just run a business successfully. Instead, good leadership is about achieving collective goals in a morally responsible manner.”
In a world characterised by instant communication, a growing awareness of social responsibility and greater transparency in reporting, business success is dependent on brand and corporate reputation. Ethical leadership is key to maintaining corporate reputation and in turn promoting business success. Besides which, business success should be assessed not only in terms of its financial profitability but also its impact on society and the environment.
The Ethical Leadership in Business program offers expert guidance and practical tools to help leaders become more aware of potential moral pitfalls and how to avoid them. The program equips them to be able to encourage morally responsible behaviour in other people and to develop and maintain an ethical culture in their organizations.
Overcoming biases and moral dilemmas
“Ethics is an art as much as a science,” says co-lecturer Dr Gijs van Houwelingen. “It’s the art of morally responsible decision-making under uncertain and unclear circumstances.” He added that modern day science is not yet able to improve that art. “Often, it is our unconscious biases or incidental emotions that cloud our judgment and impair our ability to decide and behave in morally responsible ways. Such slip ups may have very real consequences.”
During the program, participants will discover how to recognise these biases, and learn ways to overcome them, working interactively on real-life moral dilemmas and experience first-hand how our mind can sometimes play tricks on us to cloud our moral judgment. They will learn how to use the subtle, unconscious influences that steer human behaviour as a force for good, how to motivate colleagues and suppliers to behave ethically, and consequently how to be a force for positive change.
Ethical Leadership in Business is taught in English. The first session will take place on RSM’s campus in Rotterdam on 5-6 October 2017.