May 24 – 26, 2023
Bologna University – Rimini Campus-ITALY
May 24- Doctoral workshop
In May 24-26 2023, the 34th Annual Conference of European Business Ethics Network-EBEN will be hosted by the Department of Management of University of Bologna, in the Rimini Campus.
EBEN conference aims to reflect on the relationships among poverty, profit and ethics in theory and practice, by involving theoretical and empirical contributions of a broad spectrum and inter-disciplinary perspectives.
In fact, considering the ongoing state of art of global situation, in which conflicts (and particularly the Ukrainian war), Pandemic and climate disasters create environmental, social and economic troubles, the debate on poverty, profit and business ethics is becoming more and more prominent.
Suffered poverty (Sharath, 2020), for example, is one of the most challenging issues to face as some statistics show with specific reference to hunger: data show an increase by 1.8 per cent of undernourishment from 2019 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and an estimation that in 2030 the 8% of the global population will still be facing hunger (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2022)
Among others, worrying indicators derive also from the state of the global learning poverty, that increased during Pandemic and the estimation is that 7 out of 10 children of less than ten-years-old in low- and middle-income countries could still suffer from learning poverty (The State of Global Learning Poverty: 2022 Update - report).
Furthermore, some other types of poverties are arising, such as the lack of spirituality, ethics, relational goods, happiness and the arising of certain forms of addiction as compulsive gamblers (Leung and Snell, 2017, Reith, 2007) and “modern slavery” (Crane et al, 2021).
In business literature, some research analyzed the contribution of CSR to ease poverty (Muñoz & Muñoz, 2020) and underlined that CSR and How the pre-existing status of CEO can influence more generosity (Xu & Ma, 2021). Some scholars connect the issues of CSR to poverty and rights (Osuji and Obibuaku, 2016) considering not only the human rights (Sen, 2004) but also the socio-economic ones, that are part of them. Another interesting debate is about the incomplete effectiveness in solving the problem of poverty just with philanthropic interventions (Calton et al. 2013; Choi et al.2010, Hahn 2009).
However, in the context of CSR, poverty alleviation has never become a mainstream topic (Medina-Munoz and Medina-Munoz, 2021) perhaps because the business case approach (if not always dominant, often privileged in CSR studies) badly fits as approach to the theme. So, for profit organizations have great relevance in the process of reducing poverty (Prahalad and Hammond, 2002) and the urgent need of new business models are emerging (Lartego & Mathiassen 2021, Chliova and Ringov 2017, Kristruck et al. 2011). Moreover, profit could be considered as a mean and not as a final aim of the firm also in case of for profit organizations (Zamagni, 2016).
Furthermore, previous research considered Government intervention as necessary to alleviate poverty, while some scholars such as Shulist, P., & Kistruck, G. M. (2021) underlined the need to consider new approaches to “market orchestration”, with the aim of re-vitalize local markets and achieve more sustainable and financial benefit for poor people and communities (Prahalad, 2005).
The discussion about finance and poverty and especially microfinance is very promising (Barboza & Trejos, 2009) too. In this field, different views emerge but they share the idea that to solve poverty problems an integrated intervention is required, especially to increase skills of poor people, to help
them to develop social and human capital and to increase the individual and social/economic system levels (Tavanti, 2013; Perry and World Bank 2006). Finally, it is worth to mention the case of “chosen poverty”, when a sober lifestyle is a choice (Crivelli, 2020).
In this very complex scenario, some research questions arise, like: what is the contribution of companies on fighting poverty(ies)? How does poverty affect the level of profit? How can the mechanisms, that allow the interaction between poverty and profit, be explained? Which is the role of business ethics, in an interdisciplinary approach, to provide a contribution and facilitate the reduction of poverty? How can business ethics be able to modify the distorting mechanisms in the relationship between poverty and profit and to start a more virtuous process in which profit is considered a mean and not an end? What is the role that the different research areas, such as economics, accounting, politics, philosophy, finance, management, law, etc., assume to contribute to this debate?
The conference welcomes both theoretical and empirical contributions aimed at analyzing the different perspectives and the different faces of poverty and profit. It is addressed to both academic and operational worlds, to "design" together some traits of new paradigms of sustainable organizations and firms, that may be able to combine poverty, profit and ethics and to respond better to sustainable development, quality of life respecting cultural diversity, inclusion and equity in the distribution of wealth.
Suggested topics will include (but not limited) the following tracks:
EDHEC Business School
24 Av. Gustave Delory,