Curated Content for Alumni

Articles, podcasts and thought pieces relevant to Cranlana alumni and Fellows.

virtue ethics

Virtue Ethics: A Moral System You’ve Never Heard of — But Probably Use

Virtue ethics is a system that allows us to ask not only “What should I do?”, but also “How should I be?” with each action. It is less concerned with how we act from time to time and more worried about what kind of person we are all of the time.

via Big Think, 13 December 2016

corporate evil

What Was Volkswagon Thinking?

Patterns appear and reappear in corporate-misconduct cases, beginning with fantastic commitments made from on high. All of which place personnel in a position of extreme strain. Even without strain, people tend to underestimate the probability of future bad events. Put them under emotional stress, some research suggests, and this tendency gets amplified. People will favour decisions that preempt short-term social discomfort even at the cost of heightened long-term risk. This reaction isn’t excusable. But it is predictable.

via The Atlantic, January/February 2016

character development

Character Development and Business Ethics

The problem of focusing on tangible behavioural results is that behaviour is vulnerable to subtle disruption, writes Joseph Spino.

via The London School of Economics, 13 August 2020

ethics of voting

When Is It Ethical To Vote For The Lesser Of Two Evils?

We’re often confronted with a choice between acting in a way that expresses our deep-seated values and ideals, and acting in a way that promotes a better outcome in the here and now. A familiar context in which this problem presents itself is at the ballot box. So what should you do?

via Psyche, 28 October 2020

traditional leaders

Traditional Leaders’ Wisdom

While the leaders interviewed in this BBC video have been asked for advice for Trump and Biden, their insights into leadership, gathered during their time as leaders of their communities, are broadly and universally applicable.

The three elders – Stephen Oruma Ole Nkaru from Kenya, Ven. Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche from Tibet and John Rice, Zahgausgai Mukwa from Wasauksing First Nation in Canada – know what it takes to become a leader. From deep in the Maasai lands of Kenya to high in the mountains of Tibet, these traditional leaders share wisdom that has relevance for every leader.

via BBC, 3 November 2020

ethical Australia

An Ethical Australia?

This episode of the ABC’s Q+A looks at accountability, ethics and leadership. With public trust in our politicians and institutions like the banks at an all-time low, how do we achieve a more ethical Australia? Could we embed ethics into all levels of society? What are the principles you try to live by, and do you see them reflected in national institutions?

via Q+A, ABC, 26 October 2020

integrity

Integrity on the Front Lines

In this podcast Richard Bistrong, CEO of Front-Line Anti-Bribery, talks about how leaders and organisations need to navigate the tension between the pressure to succeed and the pressure to comply. How we can make the values on the wall operational in the business. Why we should encourage conversations about real-world ethical dilemmas. Why middle managers have a crucial role in whether the message and culture of ethics will be amplified, distorted, discarded, or discounted on the front-lines.

via Leading Transformational Change, October 2020

ethics purpose

Why Good Ethics Are Now Big Business—And How To Embrace Them

Is 2020 the year purpose went mainstream? Taking an ethical stand isn’t as easy as it seems. Where the lines are drawn, how seemingly impossible ethical dilemmas are solved, and how to reconcile commerce and altruism are among the issues that arise for companies who decide to pursue “purpose” as part of their business.

via Forbes, 14 October 2020

leadership culture

A Culture Of Leadership Is Needed Now More Than Ever

Lee Eisenstaedt says in times of crisis, when the whole world has been turned upside down by a number of extraordinary events, we need something to believe in that consistently makes sense. It’s an island of security in an insecure climate. And, in many ways, the organisations we belong to can provide just such a feeling when they have a culture of leadership.

via Forbes, 4 August 2020

euphemisms

The Ethical Life of Euphemisms

Chi Luu looks at the impacts of euphemisms and indirect or coded language on perceptions of blame and responsibility, and their role in making unethical acts more acceptable.

via Jstor Daily, 30 September 2020

impact

Does Moral Philosophy Lead to More Moral Decisions?

How do you know whether the study of moral philosophy actually leads to changed, better behaviour? It would seem reasonable to expect that it would. You’d certainly hope it did. But can you measure it?

Three philosophers – Eric Schwitzgebel, Bradford Cokelet, and Peter Singer – conducted a large-scale randomised evaluation of moral philosophy instruction to determine whether it can alter student’s moral decision-making.

Described as “the first controlled experiment testing the real-world behavioural consequences of university-level philosophy instruction”, they looked at a very concrete outcome and asked ‘Do students eat less meat after learning about philosophical arguments against factory farming?’

via Vox, 11 August 2020

moral reasoning

The Power of Moral Reasoning

In the past two decades, social science has painted a pretty dour picture of the power of moral reasoning. To explain why people disagree so profoundly about ethical and political questions, pundits and scientists have claimed that humans systematically disregard evidence from experts, and that we rely on gut feelings instead of reason.

According to this pessimistic view, most of our moral judgments spring from automatic, unconscious and affective reactions. When we feel disgust toward someone, our disgust is what leads us to condemn their actions. Conversely, according to this theory, moral reasoning rarely shapes our moral judgments, but rather serves to justify our emotion-based judgments after the fact.

But is this pessimistic perspective the right one?

Psyche, 16 September 2020

Amelie Rorty

Vale Amelie Rorty

Amelie Rorty, the Belgian-born American philosopher known for her work in the philosophy of mind, history of philosophy, and moral philosophy, passed away 18 September 2020.

September 2020

horizontal leadership

Effecting Systemic Change

Traditionally, enacting systemic change has been slow and painful. Proponents of change aren’t just up against the obvious and well-defended interests of power and tradition, they’re also battling system justification, the non-conscious tendency to defend, bolster and justify aspects of the societal status quo.

In response to these seemingly insurmountable problems, and in an effort to effect change at a rate faster than the current glacial pace, many grass-roots movements have emerged, from Occupy Wallstreet in 2011 to the Black Lives Matter movement and Extinction Rebellion. These movements offer a way for individuals without the power to effect change on their own to come together as a powerful force to challenge the entrenched status quo. Unlike protest movements of the past, these have embraced a non-hierarchical approach to organisation and leadership. Sometimes described as leaderless movements, it would perhaps be more accurate to describe them as having coordinated decentralised leadership, or horizontal leadership.

September 2020

supply chain

Weak Links

Powerful as it is, the supply chain metaphor draws our attention away from the larger forces that shape the problems we should be tackling. These include the sustainability of current consumption patterns; the absence of economic alternatives; weak regulatory oversight; scant protection for whistleblowers and journalists; the ease with which corporate ownership can be hidden and disguised; and the commercial pressures and incentives that likely drive those profiting from abuses or taking shortcuts. Our efforts to build stronger and more resilient supply chains will get us only so far. The thing we’re trying to perfect is only an image, and a partial one at that. Alternative visions can help us return these broader issues to the debate, while reminding us, for example, of the importance of engaging everyone affected by global supply chains in the discussion of how they should be organised.

via Aeon Media, 11 September 2020

diversity women in leadership

The Profits of Diversity

Leadership groups with people from mixed backgrounds, ethnicity and gender do better because “they challenge more, and they have more discussion and debate and that leads to better decision-making,” says Vanda Murray OBE.

New research has revealed that London-listed companies where women make up more than one in three executive roles have a profit margin more than 10 times greater than those without.

via BBC, 27 July 2020

cancel culture

Is Cancel Culture Silencing Open Debate?

There are risks to shutting down opinions we disagree with.

Hugh Breakey, President, Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics, says “Seeing mistaken views as intolerable speech carries genuine ethical costs.”

In the wake of an open letter signed by 150 high-profile authors, commentators and scholars claiming that “open debate and toleration of differences” are under attack, Breakey considers the ethical concerns around derailing of debates and silencing of opinions.

via The Conversation, 10 July 2020

diversity and inclusion

How To Modernise Leadership For Racial Inclusion

It goes without saying that inclusive leadership will support more inclusive organisations, but are leaders prepared to make the hard decisions necessary to adapt to the realities of inclusion?

Modernising leadership, in the face of a new age of racial equality, will inevitably require changes to the composition of leadership teams.

Organisational activity to dismantle racism will necessarily involve work at leadership level to address how it approaches diversity, and inclusion, within its own ranks.

via Forbes, 4 August 2020

leadership development

How To Ensure Your Leadership Development Programs Give You The Results You Need

In today’s changing world, organisations are looking to transform themselves in order to stay competitive and be future-ready. One of the key drivers of an organisation’s ability to transform is its ability to develop leaders who are strategic, agile and resilient. The more the learning and development of senior management is leveraged as a strategic tool the better equipped companies are to transform.

In this article Rose Cartolari talks about how to ensure leadership development programs give you the results you need.

via Forbes, 8 September 2020

open mind

How to foster ‘shoshin’

The Japanese Zen term shoshin translates as ‘beginner’s mind’ and refers to a paradox: the more you know about a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning. As the Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki put it in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (1970): ‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.’

Approaching issues with a beginner’s mind or a healthy dose of intellectual humility can help to counter the disadvantages of intellectual hubris. People who are more intellectually humble actually know more, presumably because they are more receptive to new information. Similarly, being intellectually humble is associated with open-mindedness and a greater willingness to be receptive to other people’s perspectives – arguably just the tonic that our politically febrile world needs today.

via Psyche, 27 August 2020