Ethics: Leadership and Accountability

Plenary Speakers and Chairs included:

Change, leadership and values

The conference sponsors were Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers. It might be presumed that this reflects merely their perception that, over the longer term, advisory and consulting services in Business Ethics will be purchased by their clients. However, the fundamental importance to such firms that they themselves ‘walk the talk’ was emphasised by Eric Hagman, an AA managing director. He gave a frank description of the challenges his own firm had faced in seeking to internalise some distinct values. These were based on research of what AA’s own staff and external parties expect of professional service providers. The eventual programme for implementation had also been informed by research which showed where AA was perceived as deficient. The key, if salutary, message for any leadership is that corporate values can only ever be as effective as the will to implement them.

In a complementary presentation, Dr Chong Ju Choi of the Judge Institute of Management Studies emphasised the importance of the human element amid the rapid technological advances which have brought paradigm change in valuation expectations for ‘Internet capitalism’, as he has termed this new development. The importance of human characteristics was further illustrated by the contrasting styles of two guest speakers on the subject of women in leadership. Ms Peninah Thomson, of the Change Partnership, gave a measured and insightful reflection from a background of establishment achievement and careful research into the situation and expectations of women at main-board level in major UK companies. A zestful Ms Lucy Marcus, from her own consulting firm, exuded a vibrant sense of optimism and thence confidence for the fundamental feminine contribution to future business networks.


13 September 2000


European Business Ethics Network


13th Annual Conference of the European Business Ethics Network


Cambridge, UK

Speaking Archive