An International Conference 10th, 11th March 2017, UWE, Bristol, UK.
An International Conference 10th, 11th March 2017, UWE, Bristol, UK.

An International Conference 10th, 11th March 2017, UWE, Bristol, UK.

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Bristol Business School

University of the West of England


BS16 1QY

United Kingdom

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Event description


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).


For those needing accommodation, the closest options are Holiday Inn Filton (next door) and Holiday Inn Express Bristol North (about 10mins walk). Further options in the area can be found at

Please note, there will be a doctoral symposium Mobilising Change in Difficult Times immediately before the conference. At the symposium, selected doctoral students will address themes closely related to that of the conference, and delegates may wish to come early and attend the symposium also. The symposium will run from 12.00 until 15.30 on Friday March 10th. For more information on this and to book a free place, please go to the link above.

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (The full programme with timings will be published here shortly.)

Keynote abstracts

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 Institute and UWE). Leadership “in the balance”: the art and craft of a practice between knowing and unknowing.

Recent world events have contributed to a potential redemption of all leaders from a fantasy that has been widely yet semiconsciously perpetuated for centuries, namely, that they must know it all. We can now openly speak about working consciously with unknowing and engage in the dialogue about ‘negative capability’. But what does this mean for everyday practice? How do we find and hold the balance of a practice between knowing and unknowing whilst getting things done. Is there an art to it, and a craft that we can learn, teach and research together? In this talk I will draw from my own experience of leading organisations as well as from my current PhD research.


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.

In addition to the keynotes and workshops there will also be two session hosted by Miche Fabre Lewin & Flora Gathorne-Hardy:

TAKING THE PULSE: Collaborative and artful inquiry as an ethical and reflexive practice.

As artist researchers we are dedicated to creating collaborative spaces for imaginative thinking, receptive unknowing and expansive dialogues. For this conference we will be documenting its cycles of engagement through a visual and sculptural installation that emerges from participants’ reflections and writings as well from our photographs and drawings – a form of ‘artful knowing’ which respects, complements and amplifies the presentations, workshops and themes in discussion. In this way, our contribution will provide be a collective inquiry into the power of the arts to cultivate embodied research methods for holistic learning and leadership.

Biographies (in aphabetical order)

John Bazalgette

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 Bazalgette

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

Richard joined UWE, Bristol in 2013 where he now heads up the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre. His teaching and research explores the interface between individual and collective approaches to leadership and leadership development, with a particular focus on issues of identity, culture and collaboration. His books include Leadership Paradoxes: Rethinking leadership for an uncertain world (Routledge, 2016) and Exploring Leadership: Individual, organizational and societal perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2011). He regularly consults and engages with external organisations and previously worked at the Universities of Exeter and Sheffield and for an IT company in France. Twitter: @bolden_richard, @UWEleadership

Charlotte von Bülow

Charlotte von Bülow is the founder and Chief Executive of Crossfields Institute. Over the last ten years, she has designed and facilitated the development of Crossfields Institute as a Higher Education and Research Institute and an Ofqual approved Awarding Organisation dedicated to the development of integrative and holistic education. Together with a team of colleagues and committed partner organisations internationally, Crossfields Institute has launched a range of new further education qualifications and higher education programmes in the sectors of Health, the Environment, Education, Leadership and Social Innovation. Charlotte is currently doing a Doctorate within the Faculty of Business and Law at University of the West of England, supervised by Dr. Peter Simpson and Professor Peter Case. Her study concerns the practice of attention in workplace experience from the perspective of senior executives and change makers.

Stephen Fear

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 & Flora Gathorne-Hardy

Together we are co-founders of Touchstone collaborations, an ecological and transdisciplinary practice dedicated to integrating the arts as essential to cultural and ecological restoration. Our approach is to nurture an ethics and aesthetic of collaboration that recognizes the power of thinking with each other and with nature, and celebrates imagination and a trust in the unknown. As part of our practice, we are engaged with on-going research partnerships that engage with and reflect upon different forms of knowledge exchange and agroecological training: we are Artist Residency at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, where Miche is undertaking a PhD that explores contemporary thanksgiving rituals as thinking, sensing and feeling forums reconnecting culture and nature; and our transformative pedagogical work includes teaching on the agroecology Masters with Crossfields Institute and working in partnership with the Sustainability Institute and Spier Farm in South Africa.

Carol Jarvis

Carol is Associate Professor in Knowledge Exchange at Bristol Business School (BBS), where she plays an active role in the design and delivery of leadership development and executive education programmes. She led on the development of UWE’s suite of “team entrepreneurship” programmes, based on a highly innovative approach to “learning by doing” and team coaching. These include the BA Business (Team Entrepreneurship); an MSc Innovation and Applied Entrepreneurship; a ‘Greenpreneurs’ short course which has received EU Erasmus+ funding to pilot; and a BA Sports Business and Entrepreneurship, co-created with and delivered by Bristol City Community Trust (from September 2017). Carol is an experienced coach and facilitator, and has coached in both individual and group settings. Her current research interests include the leadership of innovation in the UK health sector; learning entrepreneurship; and coaching for transition. Carol’s research and teaching has a strong practitioner focus and is also informed by 20 years of experience of running her own consultancy practice. Particular areas of expertise include: organisational change and mobilization; organisational effectiveness; organisational and marketing research; and marketing strategy and planning. Her consultancy assignments combine a practical, hands-on approach to making things happen with academic rigour. Carol has a strong commitment to building and delivering sustainable business improvements, achieved through collaboration and individual, team and organisational learning and development.

Eve Poole

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 and tweets as @evepoole

Brad Jackson

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,

Sarah Nowak

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

Thomas Schmaus. Thomas was born in 1978. He studied philosophy and catholic theology in Munich and Vienna. In 2010 he completed his PhD dissertation on the German philosopher Heinrich Rombach (‘A Philosophy of Flow Experience’). After five years working as a Research Assistant he has held an Assistant Professorship for Philosophical Anthropology at Alanus University (since 2013). His main topics are philosophical anthropology, phenomenology, cultural and religious philosophy as well as aesthetics.

Peter Simpson

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 Twydell

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 ( Marcelo's academic focus is currently on philosophy in relationship to education and social entrepreneurship.

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Bristol Business School

University of the West of England


BS16 1QY

United Kingdom

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