The University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication is one of the leading Austrian business schools and the Center for Corporate Governance and Business Ethics is the leading national institution for these topics.
One purpose of our Center is the advancement of interdisciplinary discourse regarding economic and corporate ethics. Since 2012, we have been organizing the CGBE Lecture series on a regular basis. In this series, internationally renowned experts from the scientific and business communities present their perspectives on a variety of topics related to business ethics, corporate governance, CSR and sustainability.
The lectures are attended by our students and faculty as well as external guests from the private sector, policy-making bodies and the CSR community. In the past the speakers have included i.a. Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner (University of St. Gallen), Prof. Dr. Andreas Georg Scherer (University of Zurich), Prof. Craig Smith (INSEAD) and Prof. Guido Palazzo (University of Lausanne) as well as numerous prominent practitioners.
The next CGBE Lectures take place to the following dates at the University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication, Währinger Gürtel 97, 1180 Vienna, Austria, 8pm to 9:45pm
Thursday, 4. October 2018
Prof. Dr. Lisa Herzog
Professor for Political Philosophy and Theory
Hochschule für Politik München (HfP)
Political epistemology and its implications for business ethics
Fake news, trolls on the internet, highly partisan media, anti-science skepticism – it seems that democratic societies have run into trouble concerning the ways they deal with knowledge and information. In philosophy, epistemology, the sub-discipline that dealt with knowledge, has long focussed on the single individual. For a few decades, however, epistemologists have started to explore the social conditions of knowledge, e.g. the role of testimony for acquiring knowledge. Miranda Fricker’s path-breaking work on epistemic justice has built the bridge to political philosophy. But there are also many other questions about the political preconditions of knowledge, and the implications of knowledge on politics.
In this talk, I discuss some of the current developments in political epistemology, focusing in particular on the way in which the internet has changed the social organization of knowledge. I present some arguments about the relation between knowledge and markets, challenging the wide-spread metaphor of the „marketplace of ideas.“ Finally, I draw some implications for business ethics: what duties do companies have with regard to the use of knowledge in society? In particular, I argue that certain strategies that companies have used to promote their interests – especially the so-called „Tobacco strategy“ described by Eric Conway and Naomi Oreskes – are incompatible with a commitment to democracy.
Thursday, 11. October 2018
Vice President and General Manager
GlaxoSmithKline Pharma GmbH
Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Industry
I have worked in the commercial function of GlaxoSmithKline for the last 20 years across different countries in Europe. Although the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to many of the biggest breakthroughs in science, the reputation of the industry is one of the lowest across industry sectors. This has been because of several unfortunate and inexcusable industry scandals but also, I believe due to an innate societal suspicion of an industry that makes profit from illness.
Despite this, I am extremely proud of the industry I work in and believe we have an opportunity to address our poor reputation and focus on the cutting-edge science that is still leading to medical breakthroughs for many of the illnesses that affect our friends and family every day. However, we will never achieve this if we continue to work as an industry in the same way. I believe the key to affecting real change in trust and reputation is to be totally transparent about the relationship we have with prescribers of our medicines. GSK has been taking many steps towards uncompromised transparency for many years, e.g. fully disclosing clinical studies, the cooperation with patient groups and all interactions with HCPs on individual basis.
Across Europe the industry has taken significant steps forward in recent years in several countries and across the European Industry body, EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), with standards agreed and implemented in some localities. However, these are not routinely applied particularly on issues such as compulsory declaration of conflict of interests between Health Care Professionals and the Industry. My presentation aims to explore my belief that there is still considerable progress to be made if we want to address transparency and the reputation of the Pharma sector.
Thursday, 18. October 2018
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Minnameier
Chair of Economics
The Economics of Morality and the Fabric of Social Sciences
While many think that ethics and economics are something like natural antipodes, the contrary seems to be true. In particular, it will be shown that morality can be internalized into economics, which is good news for all those who want or have to live up to both economic and moral standards. Moreover, it will be fleshed out what remains as the proper realm of ethics and how this relates to economics. In this respect, ethics will not be internalized into economics, but both disciplines supplement each other in a broader view in which they are not only compatible, but are just something like the other side of the same coin.
The first part of the presentation seeks to internalize morality into economics, both from a decision-theoretic and from a game-theoretic point of view. The second part discusses moral principles as institutions and explains why and how moral principles turn so-called mixed-motive games into coordination games. This reveals the immense importance of morality not only in real life, but also with respect to theoretical and empirical work in economics. The third part addresses the overall fabric of social sciences, where the structural differences and the systematic relations within and between economic subdisciplines and ethics are revealed. Many important ramifications follow from these (new) viewpoints and may be discussed
Thursday, 25. October 2018
Dr. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly
NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
Unintended Consequences: Human Rights Challenges in the Apparel and Technology Sectors
Companies are increasingly aware that they need to manage the effects their actions have on human rights. To do so, many companies engage in so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. These initiatives have evolved over the years, but their effectiveness remains questionable. Corporate respect for international labor standards in global supply chains remains weak; social media platforms threaten to undermine the values of our democracies by disseminating politically motivated disinformation.
Despite companies’ best intentions, current CSR approaches fail to look deeply at the business models that lead to systemic human rights harms. In the talk, examples from our research in the apparel and tech sectors will illustrate how current business model undermine companies’ efforts to establish respect for human rights. I will offer initial recommendations for what companies can do to align core business mechanisms with their commitment to human rights.