Marie Kerr – Introducing Mary Gentile’s ‘Giving Voice to Values’ approach to Business Ethics Education and its connection to moral philosophy

ethics 2On the 20 November 2015 I had the privilege of attending the inaugural breakfast seminar at the Centre for Governance, Leadership & Global Responsibility. Marie Kerr presented the theoretical ground for her doctoral work in progress, on the broad topic of the future of ethics education in the business school. In this session she presented Gentile’s work on giving voice to values. This is a heavily pragmatic approach which uses a series of case studies to encourage practitioners and students to unpack, interrogate and most of all to “rehearse” ethical behaviour on a number of dimensions. Marie’s current interest is in locating the theoretical underpinnings of this approach, in order to enable a wider debate around the breadth and appropriateness of our pedagogical toolbox. You can see a twitter “story” of my reactions to this session here.

As a deeply pragmatic individual, I must confess to having enjoyed the consideration of the 12 explicit assumptions of the “giving voice to values” project rather more than the consideration of Habermasian discourse ethics and Aristotle. I was most taken with explicit assumption number 5: “I am more likely to voice my values if I have practised how to respond to frequently encountered conflicts”. It struck me that it is vital to practise what to do in an emergency – whether it’s a practical or ethical emergency. You could think of this as a kind of moral fire drill. Much ethical emphasis seems to me to be on individual actions, but this made me consider the larger responsibility of organisational fields, institutions, and centres such as ours, to encourage their stakeholders to check firstly, that they know the location of the ethical “fire exits” and secondly, to have well-practised strategies for coping with emergent challenges. On that note, I am a member of our faculty’s equality and diversity forum, where we often lament the lack of diversity in the kinds of speakers we ask to give public lectures. If YOU know of anyone who could and would come speak on topics relevant to leadership, governance and global responsibility, and who could contribute to the diversity of our speakers, please contact Professor Simon Robinson.

Dr Paula Singleton

Paula is a Senior Lecturer within the School Of Strategy, Marketing And Communication at Leeds Beckett University. She has worked within the National Health Service, the General Medical Council, and as Executive Officer for the Society for the Study of Addiction. She has qualifications in psychology, sociology, counselling and health promotion. Her doctoral research was a phenomenological account of men’’s experience of gynecomastia (“man-boobs” in common parlance) and of surgery to remove it, which highlights the little-studied experience of masculine embodied vulnerabilities and the strategies that men use to combat these.

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