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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

The Challenges of Leading Responsibly in Business


Mario Fernando, PhD

Mario Fernando, Ph.D.

Business leaders are, more than ever, expected to make complex and time-critical decisions, often affecting the lives of many. For instance, a clothing manufacturer finds its Asian textile mills are polluting local streams and forcing underage seamstresses to work 14-hour days.

“It’s easy to preach about doing the right thing, but it is a whole new ball game when those must be put into action,” says Mario Fernando, professor of management at the University of Wollongong, Australia, who will speak at The College of Saint Rose at 6 p.m. August 16.  (A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m.)

Digitization and globalization continue to shrink distances and blur boundaries among us and make the decisions that must be made by business leaders increasingly more complex. Fernando, who has researched business ethics for more than 15 years, will look at examples of difficult decision-making situations that business leaders face and how they can work toward responsible outcomes. Some topics to be discussed include the definition of responsible business leadership, the traits of responsible business leaders, and the stakeholders to whom leaders are responsible.

“I have had the privilege to partner with Dr. Fernando on research focused on responsible leadership, and the role of leaders in moving organizations forward,” says Saint Rose President Carolyn J. Stefanco. “He is a widely respected global scholar in this incredibly important field, and I am so pleased to have him come to Saint Rose to share his considerable expertise on leadership with the College and Capital Region communities.”

During his talk, Fernando will describe approaches for decision making that can help business leaders in their daily duties – from chief executives of corporations to store managers dealing with problematic customers.

“I believe there is a range, or a continuum, of options available to responsible leaders,” says Fernando.

One simple way to think about responsible business leadership is from a personal-value perspective.

“If we are asked to do something that makes us uncomfortable, or raises doubt, we need to recognize that there are several options available. We can choose not to carry out that action, or we can check with significant others and with our stakeholders before carrying out that action.”

Business leaders are expected to carefully steward the power entrusted to them.

“Whether it is a CEO or a finance manager, they are in a fiduciary role, and are managing resources that have been entrusted to them,” says Fernando. “Business leaders can’t take resources and the privileged role they occupy for granted. We can use several ‘frames’ to filter our decisions to achieve responsible outcomes.”

What: Mario Fernando, leadership expert and researcher to discuss “Leading responsibly during challenging times: perspectives from business”

When:  6 p.m. Thursday, August 16. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Carondelet Symposium, Thelma P. Lally School of Education, The College of Saint Rose, 1009 Madison Avenue, Albany

Notes: Free and open to the public

Register at Eventbrite

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