Ethics, sustainability and management

News of serious moral transgressions in the world of business and management, which have far-reaching economic, social and political repercussions, appears in the media with alarming regularity.  The same intensity and urgency is also reflected in questions about the relationship between business, management and the natural environment. Environmental sustainability poses one of the most significant challenges in current attempts to rethink and re-imagine the role and practice of management. 

The Department has a vibrant research environment and internationally recognised research portfolio focussed on ethics and sustainability. Examples of current areas of interest include:

  • How people in organisations experience and make sense of ethical dilemmas. Sarah Gregory has conducted research into the ethical dilemmas that middle managers face in their everyday working lives in the public and private sectors and in Small and Medium sized Enterprises and James Faulconbridge has examined the antecedents of wrongdoing in professional service firms.
  • How ethics permeate situated organisational practices. Lucas Introna has explored how ethical subjectivity becomes enacted to render possible (or not) ethically informed organisational practices. Bernadette Loacker has explored how individuals in the ‘creative industries’ critically reflect upon and respond to the moral codes and demands in this employment field. David Knights has critically examined questions of ethical leadership.
  • How technologically mediated organisational practices raises questions of ethics. Niall Hayes and Lucas Introna have examined issues of privacy, surveillance, and the ethical implications of the use of algorithmic technologies such as plagiarism detection systems, facial recognition systems, and search engines.  
  • The role of Waste in the circular economy. Issues such as organisation and managerial responses, the negotiations surrounding values attributed to waste (Alison Stowell), and e-Waste (discarded information and communication technologies) as a particular type of work have been explored empirically in the UK (Alison Stowell and Martin Brigham) and through comparisons with Japan (Alison Stowell).
  • How companies, civil society, and local communities make sense of ecological change. The work of Gail Whiteman examines how resilience is built across scales by such actors given environmental pressures and social inequities.

Members of the department play an active role in the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business which brings our research into dialogue with sustainability scholarship in Lancaster’s other faculties and departments. The Centre’s mission is that of connecting the best minds in science with the best brains in business to co-design research for a more sustainable world. 

Members: Martin Brigham; James Faulconbridge; Sarah Gregory; Niall Hayes; Alison Stowell; Lucas Introna; Bernadette Loacker; Gail Whiteman