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, 7. March 2019
Dr. Ellen Quigley
Senior Programme Manager, Investment Leaders Group
University of Cambridge, Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Cranks and Levers in the Financial Sector
The financial system currently drives global emissions and resource usage that far exceed planetary boundaries. This must change dramatically within a decade, with trillions of Euros per year to be redirected towards net zero emissions energy production and away from high-intensity exploration, extraction, and use of fossil fuels.
This talk examines the cranks and levers within the financial system that could be used to effect a rapid decarbonisation of the global economy. These include everything from IPOs and bond issuances to business school rankings and collaborative shareholder engagement, with a particular focus on the strategic intervention of institutional investors like pension funds.
Thursday, 14. March 2019
Prof. Dr. Judith Schrempf-Stirling
Associate Professor of Responsible Management
Université de Genève
Business and History: From an Inconvenient Past to an Organizational Asset
There is a growing awareness of the critical but understudied role of time and history in the challenges we face in the present and the future. Businesses, universities, governments, and organizations in myriad industries and of all sizes are increasingly held to account for the actions of prior generations of leaders. The lingering effects of Monsanto’s Agent Orange, Yale University’s decision to change the name of Calhoun College, and controversies around the world concerning commemorations of leaders with complicated pasts (e.g., indigenous peoples, slavery) barely scratch the surface of this global phenomenon. While the past can present a threat to current business operations, it can likewise function as an asset. Danish beverage company Carlsberg successfully revived the corporate motto Semper Ardens (always burning) in the 1990s when it named one of its handcrafted beer lines after it. Naming the new style of beer after the founder’s motto helped the company to legitimize the handcrafted beer line.
In this talk, I discuss the importance of history for business. First, I present how past events influence current business operations. I discuss cases in which businesses have been confronted with their inconvenient past and elaborate on how competing narratives on the role of business in past events evolve and converge. Finally, I explore how history can be an organizational resource and used as an asset to boost reputation, gain legitimacy, and obtain competitive advantage.
Thursday, 21. March 2019
Prof. Dr. Philipp Schreck
Friede-Springer Endowed Chair of Business Ethics and Management Accounting
Cooperation and Collective Self-Commitment for the Greater Good
Companies regularly engage in collective initiatives to further the social good, or to reduce detrimental effects of their market activities. For example, companies of the textiles or the toys industries have supported multi-stakeholder initiatives with the aim of securing certain social and environmental standards in the supply chain. Recently, technology companies have offered their support for more regulation to avoid the abuse of facial recognition. Some of these initiatives display two interesting characteristics. First, they cannot be established by only one market participant alone; that is, they require a collective commitment. Second, they are designed to further the social good, but not necessarily the private profits of the participants. We call such initiatives collective self-commitments for the greater good.
We investigate experimentally whether market participants are willing and able to engage in collective self-commitments for the greater good. In my talk, I would like to report and discuss the results of these experiments. We designed a social dilemma game in which two decision-makers can cooperate in the interest of an affected but inactive third party. More specifically, we analyze three kinds of behavior: Cooperation for the greater good; peer-to-peer punishment of non-cooperative behavior; and the willingness to join an institution which allows for punishment. We find that although the majority of participants would like to sacrifice some private income for the sake of the third party, they fail to cooperate under competition (social dilemma). The possibility to punish others for non-cooperation increases cooperation. If given the opportunity to choose, however, only a third of all groups choose the punishment institution.
Thursday, 28. March 2019
Prof. Dr. Christopher Wickert
Associate Professor of Ethics & Sustainability
VU University Amsterdam
Reflections on the infamous Business Case for CSR: An ethical and a managerial problem
The business case for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where corporate social performance positively contributes to financial performance and the bottom line has often been hailed as the “holy grail” in CSR research and practice. Researchers are occupied with finding a clear causal link between ethics and EBIT, while managers are busy “doing well by doing good” and emphasizing concepts such as the Triple Bottom Line or how their operations contribute to People, Planet and Profit.
However, such an instrumental perspective or “enlightened value maximization” does not come without problems. On the one hand, the scientific evidence for a clear business case for CSR where greater social or environmental responsibility would boundlessly contribute to profitability remains fairly thin, if not contradictory. It simply cannot be stated that greater responsibility always yields higher profits. On the other hand, serious ethical concerns arise when approaching responsibility with a sine qua non of increased profits.
In this talk, I will challenge the business case for CSR and share my point of view about what I will unfold as an “ethical problem with the business case for CSR” as well as a “managerial problem with the business case for CSR.” I would like to invite participants to question conventional views of how many companies approach their societal responsibility and invite sketching alternative views.