Ethics and Values – Responsible leadership and the importance of Women on Boards
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Ethics and Values – Responsible leadership and the importance of Women on Boards WIBF – Women on Boards Forum 20 April 2011. Professor Roger Steare Corporate Philosopher, Cass Business School. Kathryn Riley MD, Durance Ltd. Flow of the Evening.

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Ethics and Values – Responsible leadership and the importance of Women on BoardsWIBF – Women on Boards Forum20 April 2011

Professor Roger Steare

Corporate Philosopher, Cass Business School

Kathryn Riley

MD, Durance Ltd

Flow of the Evening

  • Doing the women’s thing – context for an ethical dilemma

  • Sharing my experience

  • Budge Over – business case for women

  • What's the business case for ethics?

  • Moral DNA profile

  • Responsible leadership and building a culture of integrity

  • Q and A’s

“Deeds Not Words”

What has happened to HOPE?

  • 1908 – WSPU

  • 1970’s – EPOC

    • 2007, “Mind the Gap”, London pay gender gap = 23%, top 10% of earners =23%

    • Equal Pay not likely to be achieved until 2067!

  • 1980 – founding of WIB

  • 1991 – Opportunity 2000

  • Recent…..Tyson and Higgs Review 2003, FTSE Cross Mentoring Programme, 2003 - 30% Chairmen's Club, Lord Davies Report recommendation on targets for Women on Boards……..

    HOPE is somewhat sceptical

Budge Over

  • Talent Sustainability

  • 3 women on the Board boosts performance by more than 40%

  • Best ideas come from work teams that mix men and women

  • Equal gender split – more likely to experiment, share knowledge and fulfil tasks

  • Even mix – psychologically safe communications climate and self-confidence among members – leads to fertile ground for innovation

  • You go to an ATM and it gives you £200 instead of the £100 you keyed in. What do most people do in this situation?

  • If this is an integrity test which answer(s) are preferred by men and which by women?

  • a. Keep the money because it’s the bank’s fault

  • b. Return the money because it’s theft if I keep it

  • c. Return the money because it belongs to other people

  • d. Return the money because I believe in honesty


  • Ethic of Ego- what’s right is what’s best for me, me, me...- internal driver of behaviour


  • Ethic of Obedience- what’s right is following orders- consequences are reward or punishment- external driver of behaviour


  • Ethic of Care

  • what’s right is what’s best for all of us

  • moral values of humility, love and fairness

  • interactivedriver of behaviour (relationships)

  • builds community integrity


d. Ethic of Reason-what’s right is what I/we judge is right- moral values of wisdom, self-discipline- character and judgement- personal integrity- internal driver of behaviour





HSBC Case Study


The DNA of Morality

  • Humanity is an empathic, social species

  • We are born, survive and achieve well being through love, fairness and wisdom

  • Functional human communities must first be based on an ethic of care, like family and friendship.

  • Women carry the DNA and neurology for greater empathy (oxytocin, vasopressin, more receptors)


The DNA of Sustainable Business

  • A sustainable economic purpose AND a human community of belonging (PWC - Trust the behavioural challenge)

  • Most businesses are small family businesses and endure for generations (92% in the EU)

  • The modern corporation is a dysfunctional and failing economic construct based on a series of ideological beliefs rather than objective scientific evidence (dot-com bubble, banking crisis, big oil)

  • Time for a Spring Uprising?



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