John Hoffmire: Fellowship in honor of BYU-Idaho President Kim Clark established at Oxford

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24 2013 12:10 a.m. MDT

He described his own experience of inspiring his faculty to adopt responsible leadership, encouraging them to invest in each other and work together, even sacrificing their own self interests to create a stronger more powerful organisation which in time, would better serve their own interests. “At Harvard Business School, we chose to educate for responsibility’ he said, concluding that "Responsibility is about the heart and the mind.”

In closing the discussion Professor Tufano reflected on advancing responsible leadership from the perspective of the Dean at Oxford’s business school. He commented that while most discussions of responsible leadership focus on individual leaders, we must also think about creating organisations and systems that foster responsibility.

Business schools can help organisations to give due attention to the other levers at their disposal in encouraging responsible behaviour such as who is promoted and praised, how we reward people for “doing the right things” and how—and whether—we discipline those who do the wrong things. At a system level, he noted the important role of institutions like Oxford in influencing the “rules of the game”—the written and unwritten rules that order society. Our institutions’ responsibility is to celebrate responsibility and to help policymakers and regulators encourage better behaviour, which in part includes not preferencing one set of stakeholders above all others.

President Clark closed the session reinforcing these comments and adding that “responsibility is not easy to do. It is not only about the heart (who are you, what you stand for) but also about the mind. And it takes a great deal of thought to identify what it takes within a company to address these issues.” He cited William James, the famous nineteenth century philosopher and psychologist, who saw the virtues of being tough minded but not hard hearted.

John Hoffmire teaches at SaÏd Business School at the University of Oxford.

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