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Future Managers: How You Can Prepare For a New Era of Socially Responsible Business

Future Managers: How You Can Prepare For a New Era of Socially Responsible Business main image

Sponsored by Newcastle University Business School

It pays for businesses to be more socially and ethically responsible. It boosts their brand and image while simultaneously boosting workplace morale which leads to greater productivity. It’s a win-win for everyone.

If you’ve got your sights set on pursuing a career in management, or want your own startup, how can you make sure you and your business are well-prepared for the fast-changing expectations of responsible and ethical business practices?

According to Dr Cristina Neesham, Director of Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, and Dr Peter Edward, lecturer in International Business Management at Newcastle University Business School, there is a lot that you can do. We spoke to them both and International Economics and Finance graduate Hitesh Anand, who founded his own socially responsible business, to find out more.

Be agile, adaptable and resilient

Dr Neesham and Dr Edward talk in great detail about the fast-changing expectations that are driven by global developments and challenges – from climate change to environmental degradation, mass extinctions to global pandemics. 

Globalization is also a matter which shouldn’t be considered as something that is “objective and inevitable” according to Dr Neesham.

“Humans can think critically and reflexively. This means we can improve the possible ways in which we can ‘do’ globalization, so to speak,” she said.

The ‘business as usual’ system is flawed in this instance. What businesses require now is a fundamental revision of how this system should work instead, which leads to several critical considerations:

  • Being agile and adaptable
  • Having higher levels of resilience
  • Having a global perspective

“Without these sophisticated cognitive and behavioral abilities, our future managers won’t stand a chance in even beginning to understand what their social responsibilities are, and what it means to be ethical in this world full of new systemic challenges,” said Dr Neesham.

“In a global society, we are all interconnected – and all playing our vital part,” she said.

In order to do all of this effectively, you need to have the confidence to ask the right questions, which leads us to the next point.

Ask the right questions

Research has shown that all too often businesses which attempt to fix modern business problems with ‘old school’ solutions will fall short and fail. This doesn’t mean these problems are unfixable though. Instead, it’s about “learning how to recognize and ask different questions,” said Dr Edward. “Questions that may often run counter to established ways of seeing the world but that are key if we are to move to different, more sustainable ways of organizing and being in the world,” he added.

“This is why the real purpose of teaching ethics and responsibility at Newcastle University Business School is to develop the critical-thinking skills that enable students to see past rhetoric and today’s dominant business logics,” said Dr Edward.

Enhance your understanding of ethics on a global scale

In recent years there has been an influx of new business ventures and startups – all of which share one simple mission – to do good for the planet and bring about positive change. By building a brand that consumers trust and keep returning to, it makes the consumer also feel like they’re doing their part.

This is something which Newcastle University Business School graduate, Hitesh Anand was very much aware of when he established his own business, Green Organic Clothing Pvt Ltd back home in India.

Fast forward 10 years, and even in the midst of a global pandemic Hitesh recognizes the importance of putting business ethics before profit.

“It’s no longer just about making profit. Consumers just won’t let it work like that,” he said.

“The massive awareness of people has changed everything. If your business isn’t directly taking social, ethical, environmental or humanitarian measures, it’s more likely to fail.” 

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Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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