Delve: Is Business Ethics an Oxymoron? with Jo-Ellen Pozner and Saku Mantere

Published: 31 May 2023

Craft business, such as microbreweries and ethical chocolate companies, has seen a rise in the past several years, with many claiming to put values over excessive profit. Meanwhile, larger, more economically driven businesses have imploded in the wake of questionable decision making. Are craft businesses somehow more ethical or moral than others? Or is business ethics an oxymoron? The answer depends on values.

On the Delve podcast, Jo-Ellen Pozner, a professor of management at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, joins Desautels Professor and Delve Editor-in-Chief Saku Mantere in an inspired conversation that asks how ethics affects the ways that businesses fundamentally function, from everyday operations to how leadership and boards make strategic decisions. 

“There are good and bad ways of conducting yourself in any domain, there are multiple ways of enacting any goal,” says Pozner. “As a society for the past 200 years, we have been pushing people to maximize profit at all their costs, and then to enact their values privately, through philanthropy or other means. There’s received wisdom, or at least assumed wisdom, that that's the correct way to do things, and that there's no possible way of acting otherwise. But in fact, there are many possible ways of acting otherwise.”

Delve would like to thank the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics, which invited professor Jo-Ellen Pozner to speak about her research at McGill in March 2023.

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Founded in 2019, Delve is the official thought leadership publication of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management. Under the direction of Professor Saku Mantere, inaugural Editor-in-Chief, Delve features the latest in management thinking that stretches perspectives, sparks new ideas, and brings clarity to decision-makers at all levels and across sectors.

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