An International Conference 10th, 11th March 2017, UWE, Bristol, UK.
The focus on ethical values in leadership has been sharpened through a string of recent world events, and it seems that the need for truly ethical leadership has never been greater. Yet in what do genuine ethical values really lie? Is ethical leadership something that individuals can cultivate? And can ethical values be instilled into organisational culture in such a way that it is both evolving and sustainable? This conference sets out to encourage inquiry and stimulate debate on these questions.
We will engage with the theme from a range of perspectives and we will specifically consider the importance of working creatively with unknowing. Here, the idea is that ethical inspiration and ethical action can arise as much out of states of openness and emptiness as it can out of solution-focused effort. The poet John Keats called this ’negative capability’ and we will be examining what this means and what its relevance for ethical leadership practice might be.
The conference offers contributions from scholars in the field and practicing leaders in a blend of key-note presentations and interactive workshops. The conference is for leaders, managers, academics, students, philosophers and anyone else interested in the practice of ethical leadership today.
Please note: The conference is free, but there is a £20 charge to cover costs of food and refreshements. This includes two light meals (Friday dinner and Saturday lunch) and teas and coffees.
Early booking is essential as spaces are limited.
This conference is a collaboration between Bristol Leadership and Change Centre (University of the West of England, UK), the Institute of Philosophy and Aesthetics (Alanus University, Germany), and Crossfields Institute (UK).
Please note, there are some missing details in the following programme outline. Please check this page nearer the conference date for a more detailed and final version of the programme.
Marcelo da Veiga (Alanus University, Germany). Philosophical thinking and leadership: an unnecessary marriage?
Leadership has to do with practical life and action whereas philosophy seems to be above all about reflection and theoretical thinking. The two fields might therefore seem to have little in common, and leaders might justifiably think that philosophy has little of practical value to offer them. However, in this talk I will take a different view: I will argue that philosophical concerns play a central and perhaps intrinsic role in leadership, and that ethical leadership is not possible without at least some philosophy.
Warwick Fox (UCLan). Leading ethical theories and ethical leadership
It can be all too easy to think of “leadership” in a more or less wholly positive way. But as we all know, world history and contemporary organizational structures are littered with examples of leaders whose approaches have led to great hardship and suffering for many. Thus, any proper consideration of leadership must necessarily be linked to ethical considerations. Whatever else it is, leadership that is truly worthy of the name must also be ethically-informed leadership. As Warren Bennis, one of the pioneers in establishing leadership studies as an area of inquiry in its own right, has pithily noted: “Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right”. This much is easily said. But what is the right thing to do? What general tools or approaches exist that can help us in addressing these matters? In this talk I will offer a quick introduction to ethics – as ethicists understand that term! – in the hope that some of the tools/approaches/ideas I introduce will be of use in framing some of the foundational issues that underpin a conference of this kind.
Robert French (UWE) & Peter Simpson (UWE). Giving attention to what we lack
In this presentation, we will offer a definition of Negative Capability as a ‘letting-go’ of all aspects that are typically understood as essential for effective leadership. In particular, we will consider the implications of letting go of what we know in order to give attention to what we lack. Taking time to experience ‘being without’ gives the leader the opportunity to consider the unthinkable, those aspects of their role that generally seem too difficult and out of reach: not merely productivity but beauty, not just effectiveness but truth, not efficiency alone but also goodness. In this sense, we suggest that Negative Capability is essential for an ethical awakening.
Eve Poole (Ashridge Business School). How do we develop ethical leaders?
One problem with the deafening supremacy of the capitalist narrative is that it smuggles in an uncontested ethic of utilitarianism. Consequently, ethics in business schools is largely taught through the case method, with a focus on optimising outcomes. This generates a cadre of leaders who are primed to develop their risk assessment skills, to the detriment of a focus on their character. This session uses original neuro-biological research on how leaders really learn to revisit the notion of virtue ethics for leaders, and how best to develop their character for the future.
Peter Case (UWE). Living ethics: The contribution of Buddhist philosophy and practice.
Mainstream academic business and leadership ethics typically draws from one or more forms of deontological, utilitarian/consequentialist or virtue ethics (taken singularly or in combination). An inevitable corollary of this historical legacy and philosophical orientation is that non-Western approaches have – with the possible exception of ‘mindfulness’ (Satipaṭṭhāna) - been relatively neglected within the discourse of business ethics as conventionally construed. This presentation seeks to introduce Buddhist philosophy and practice of ethics into extant conversations concerning business and leadership ethics. Perhaps more importantly, it also considers what Buddhism has to say about living an ethical life and, more particularly, what implications its ethical disciplines might have for the enactment of roles and interaction within contemporary workplaces. In short, the talk sets out to enquire how Buddhist ethics may or may not articulate with contemporary business and organizational practices in the West.
Simon Bazalgette (The Jockey Club). Knowing and not knowing: a case study of a CEO’s lived experience
Simon Bazalgette, uses his experiences of a range of senior leadership roles, including as CEO and chairman, to bring to life the lived experience of dealing with uncertainty in organisations, and the ethical issues that can arise. He will set out specific case studies from his experience, and show how they were dealt with, in difficult, complex and challenging contexts – and in some cases how progress was not made! Key themes will be drawn out from these case studies, and Simon will outline some of the tools that help examine the inter-actions from a systemic point of view, taking account of the purpose of an organisation, its context, its people and the roles they take.
Brad Jackson (Victoria University of Wellington). Place, purpose and identity in ethical leadership research and practice
In this session I will argue that Place and Purpose are and have always been critical dimensions in the creation and the destruction of effective leadership but have, for a variety of reasons, not been a central preoccupation for leadership researchers. Drawing on some personal research and practice encounters, I will sketch out how we might better understand the inter-related processes through which place and purpose serve to engender and shape shared leadership identities. Indeed, I will argue that these processes are central to ethical leadership practice.
Stephen Fear (Fear Group). Leadership in moments of isolation and crisis
How can a leader deal with situations where danger looms and isolation is obvious? Dr Stephen Fear talks about two personal experiences when he was put in dangerous situations with risk of physical assault or even death. Both situations required an ability to take firm control without panic. Taking control of dangerous and difficult situations, be they financial, political, or physical, often requires the leader to assess and then address his or her position quickly and act accordingly before escalation takes place. A position which many leaders find themselves in. Take perhaps an army general who must make life and death decisions on behalf of his troops or the Prime Minister making decisions that impact a whole nation. For any leader, isolation and moments of crisis are inevitable, and Stephen will look at how the response to those situations determines the outcome. Can the ability to take control in an ethical and balanced way, and in a way that results in the best outcome for everyone, be taught?
Charlotte von Bülow (Crossfields Instutute). (Title and abstract tbc)
Carol Jarvis (UWE). Learning entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning: working with unknowing. (abstract pending)
John Bazalgette (Grubb Institute/Crossfields Institute) & Sarah Nowak (Alanus University). Prospecting for gold: testing an experiential approach to ethical leadership
This workshop will explore the way effective leadership stems from a leader’s capacity to sift through their current experience to quickly enable sense-making and learning and use this to make decisions which make a difference in the world. Though there is undoubtedly a taxonomy of what can be called ‘ethical leadership’, the majority of a leader’s decisions often need to be made within a few moments of reflection, not through extensive contemplation and thoughtful digestion of thinking by moral philosophers. Effective ethical leadership requires the capacity to tap into one’s deepest being, below the level of addressing the obvious. It requires both a capacity to access one’s ‘inner knowing’ as well as the ability to call upon it in the moment. Tikun Olam, the ancient Hebrew principle of seeking to advance the healing, repair and transformation of the world, offers an ethical basis for decision making. Like an old-time Californian gold prospector, a leader powered with the principle of Tikun Olam, has an effective tool which intuitively sifts through his experience and separates the gold nuggets from the ‘sand’ and ‘rubble’ in his experiential ‘pan’. This Workshop will introduce and test one way of becoming an effective prospector for ethical leadership.
Ivor Twydell. The blind spot of leadership
As leaders we live in a society where we are primarily valued and rewarded for our ability to use the powerful processor in our head to problem solve and find solutions. And we are then lauded for our determination and appetite to work all the hours under the sun to drive change and achieve results. However, in a world that feels increasingly volatile, complex and uncertain and where ethical leadership appears to be in short supply, is that working for us? What pushes us to be so busy doing our jobs as leaders that we make so little space for anything new to emerge? Why is it we are so focused on performing we have no time to pay attention to other potential sources of information and inspiration? We can observe what leaders do and how they do it but we know very little about the quality of the source from which they operate in the here and now. Is this because it is in the blind spot of our everyday experience and outside our normal observation, attention and awareness? In this experiential workshop, using ‘Theory U’ as a framework, we’ll explore how we can create space to allow us to connect with the inner place from which we lead. By tapping into the deeper source of who we are as leaders we may allow new and as yet unknown possibilities to emerge.
Thomas Schmaus (Alanus University). Doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. Why successful Leadership needs situational skill.
TAKING THE PULSE: Collaborative and artful inquiry as an ethical and reflexive practice in conference proceedings/documentation
In these sessions, conference participants will be able to digest the conference presentations and reflect on the conference theme. Facilitated by Flora Gathorne-Hardy and Miche Fabre Lewin.
For over 50 years John has explored the kind of organisational leadership which enrols the passions of men, women and children to serve the best purposes of the organisations that bring them together. He has learned from children, parents, teachers, employers, senior executives, clergy, probation officers, prison governors, public servants and others. They have taught him that engaging people's untapped resources is, at the one and the same time, both simple and exceeding difficult. His work has taken him to many different cultures and countries. He has lectured, written and broadcast about what he has learned. He has led the Grubb Institute's development of its higher education programmes in Leadership and Organisational Analysis over the last 10 years. His abiding interest is in how values, beliefs, faith (or no faith) can be drawn upon as potent resources for learning to work to purpose, wherever one is in a working organisation.
Simon is currently Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, which is the largest commercial group in British horseracing, and the largest racecourse group in the UK. During that time he has been a key contributor in the resurgence of horseracing in the UK, and in the creation and cementing of a new governance structure for the sport. Prior to The Jockey Club, whose history goes back to 1750 and before, he led a number of successful start-up businesses in media and sport as CEO or Executive Chairman. He started his career with KPMG as a chartered accountant and management consultant. Between 2003 and 2015 he was a trustee of the Grubb Institute (the last five years as Chairman). The Institute was a pioneer in the field of leadership, group dynamics and organisational analysis, and its work is now carried out through the Grubb School of Organisational Analysis, part of the Crossfields Institute.
Richard Bolden (bio pending)
Charlotte von Bülow (bio pending)
Dr. Stephen Fear is an English entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist and author with over 40 years international business experience. Today Stephen has an established property empire and interests in a number of industries, including green technology, hotels, residential care and manufacturing. Often referred to as ‘The Phonebox Millionaire’, Stephen is also notable for having been Entrepreneur in Residence and Ambassador at the British Library from 2012 to 2016, a position formerly held by the late Dame Anita Roddick. In July 2013, Stephen was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of the West of England for his continued service to Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship. Recently, Stephen received a lifetime achievement award presented by The Bristol Post and was a member of the Bristol Education and Skills Commission. Stephen combines a successful business career with his philanthropic interests. He is a Patron of Lucy Air Ambulance for Children. They are a registered charity that is dedicated to delivering elective air transfers between local hospitals and specialist care units for seriously ill babies and children in the UK. Stephen regularly writes and is featured in the press, blogging on behalf of the Huffington Post and writing a monthly column in the Bristol Post’s Business section. He is regularly approached for comment on Business, Political and Ethical matters and featured in a full-page interview published on the Money page of the Financial Times (14th March 2015) in the hugely popular “My First Million” series.
Miche Fabre Lewin (bio pending)
Flora Gathorne-Hardy (bio pending)
Carol Jarvis (bio pending)
Dr. Eve Poole teaches leadership for Ashridge Business School, following earlier careers at the Church Commissioners and at Deloitte Consulting. She is an Associate Research Fellow of the William Temple Foundation and the St Paul's Institute, she is on the management board at Theos, and she Chairs Faith in Business at Ridley Hall in Cambridge. She also Chairs Gordonstoun school in Scotland. Eve has a theology degree from Durham, an MBA from Edinburgh, and a PhD in capitalism and theology from Cambridge. Eve has published widely, both about leadership and ethics, and about business and economics. Her most recent book was Capitalism's Toxic Assumptions, published by Bloomsbury in 2015. Her next book, Leadersmithing, comes out in March 2017. She keeps both a business and a theology blog at http://evepoole.com/ and tweets as @evepoole
Prof. Dr. Brad Jackson is Professor of Public and Community Leadership at Victoria University of Wellington where he was the former Head of School of Government and Head of School of Management. At the University of Auckland Business School, he was Co-Director of the New Zealand Leadership Institute. Brad has published five books—Management Gurus and Management Fashions, The Hero Manager, Organisational Behaviour in New Zealand, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Leadership and Demystifying Business Celebrity and co-edited the Sage Handbook of Leadership and Major Works in Leadership. He is a former co-editor of the journal, Leadership, and the former Vice-Chair of the International Leadership Association,
After completing a degree in art pedagogy and business administration as well as a Master in art history at Ludwigs-Maximilians-University in Munich and Florence, Sarah worked for Hugo Boss and Accenture in Stuttgart. In 2016 she joined the Alanus University as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Philosophy and Aesthetics. She is currently writing her PhD with a focus on leadership development with arts-based methods
Thomas Schmaus (bio pending)
Dr. Peter Simpson is Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at Bristol Business School. Throughout his career he has held a range of leadership roles and consulted to senior managers on strategic change. He studies leadership through the theoretical lenses of spirituality, philosophy, complexity and psychodynamics and has published widely in this field. His latest book is ‘Attention, Cooperation, Purpose. An Approach to Working in Groups Using Insights from Wilfred Bion’ (Karnac, 2014, with Robert French). He is currently part of the organising team for the ESRC Seminar Series ‘Ethical Leadership: the contribution of philosophy and spirituality’.
Ivor is a leadership coach, facilitator and mindfulness teacher who works with individuals, teams and organisations. He specialises in helping them develop a higher level of awareness and alignment of head, heart and gut so they can lead with wisdom, compassion and intuition. He also helps teams manage and resolve conflicts through developing more conscious and deliberate ways to communicate and behave effectively. With a background of over 20 years in senior and executive roles in the UK police service Ivor has extensive operational and strategic experience in crisis management, developing leaders, facilitating organisational change and leading people in challenging environments. A graduate of the Police Strategic Command Programme and a former FBI trained hostage negotiator Ivor established his coaching and leadership development practice in 2012 and merged his comprehensive coaching repertoire with a person-centered and pragmatic approach to leadership. A Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation he is based in Somerset in the UK and works with a diverse international client base.
Marcelo da Veiga
Prof. Dr. Marcelo is the director of the Institute of Philosophy and Aesthetics at Alanus University and is also the academic head (Rector) of Alanus. Over the past twelve years, he has taken a central role in the leadership and development of Alanus, which is a unique arts and social sciences university located near Bonn in Germany (www.alanus.edu). Marcelo's academic focus is currently on philosophy in relationship to education and social entrepreneurship.