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School of Business and Management

The Role and Responsibilities of Business in Relation to Society: Getting Back to Basics

28 April 2017

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: Graduate Centre GC101, Queen Mary University of London

Abstract: Three “basics” comprise the following account on the role and responsibilities of business in relation to society. The first is that basic principles of ordinary morality – principally, a duty not to harm – provide an adequate basis for specifying and grounding the responsibilities of managers in relation to society. The second “basic” involves framing the role of business in society by looking to the values realized by the basic building blocks of contemporary economic activity – namely, markets and firms. The “Back to Basics” account focuses on values in addition to efficiency, including the values of autonomy and diversity. The third “basic” of the account refers to what has been termed, “the basic structure” – roughly, the main social and political institutions of society. In doing so, the “Back to Basics” emphasizes that there are limits to what business enterprises are permitted or required to do in order to respect the authority and legitimacy of legal and political institutions. One area is with respect to the responsibilities of business for human rights given that human rights obligations are understood as the obligations of state governments."

About Nien-hê Hsieh, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Nien-hê Hsieh is an associate professor of business administration in the General Management Unit of the Harvard Business School. His research concerns ethical issues in business and the responsibilities of global business leaders. Professor Hsieh teaches Leadership and Corporate Accountability to first-year MBA students and to Executive Education participants in the Program for Leadership Development. He joined the Harvard Business School faculty from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an associate professor of legal studies and business ethics and served as co-director of the Wharton Ethics Program. Professor Hsieh holds a B.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College, an M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Wharton in 2001, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Business School, and he has held visiting fellowships at Harvard University, Oxford University, and the Research School for Social Sciences at the Australian National University. 


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