Research institutes

Culture, Ethics and Leadership

What do we mean when we talk about the culture of an organisation? Simply put, it’s “the way things work around here”: influenced by a firm's 'tone at the top', it is the values, beliefs and reward systems that influence employees’ day-to-day behaviour, ethical or otherwise.

In the wake of the 2008 crash in which banks were frontline culprits, the high-profile failures at Enron and Volkswagen, and the criticism levelled at sectors such as the audit profession for 'contagious' errors, and as companies strive to balance social responsibility with financial targets, the interrelated topics of culture, ethics and leadership are high on the agendas of business, regulators and standard-setters. They are also of key importance to a new generation keen to work for firms whose commitment to social value goes beyond high-minded mission statements and codes of conduct. Now more than ever, there is a need for research that analyses organisational culture and its relationship to work behaviour that takes ethics into account.

Working in a multidisciplinary setting, the Culture, Ethics and Leadership research theme brings together academics from fields including accounting, educational research and development, finance, and organisation and strategy, as well as collaborating with other research themes and building bridges to other faculties. Via a core membership of some 15 senior scholars whose research interests range from financial reporting and corporate governance to learning culture and conflict management, the team will explore subjects such as the measurement and management of ethical culture in different organisations; the influence of leadership on organisational culture and its outcomes; the impact of ethical culture and leadership style on employees’ motivation, knowledge sharing and innovation and the way teams function; and the part played by ethical culture and leadership in attracting and retaining top talent and fostering professional commitment. 

As ethical organisational business culture becomes more important than ever, the Culture, Ethics and Leadership team intends to play a key role in analysing the emerging paradoxes in modern business and helping to build a mindset change among leaders and employees alike.

Developing an ethical organisational business culture is more important than ever. Our research helps in analysing the emerging paradoxes in modern business and to build a mindset change among leaders and employees alike 

Ann Vanstraelen & Wim Gijselaers, leaders of the Culture, Ethics and Leadership research theme 

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