The Value of Ethics as a Driver of Business Transformation

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The ethical considerations that arise from deep business transformation often go unnoticed by transformational leaders, not to say by the ICT industry. However, ethical behavior in business transformation (and in complex decision-making environments) plays an increasingly important role, since it can provide new perspectives to understand both the transformation processes themselves and the new organizational and social impacts that are emerging.

The importance of ethics will become more apparent as business transformation becomes more and more data-driven, extends to an ever-increasing number of actors, and becomes deeper and irreversible for most organizations. How are fundamental values such as privacy, security, equality, transparency, and autonomy going to be affected in a smarter world dominated by Big Data? Should some data be a public good? Will consumers be bound to disclose personal data to some extent to make society safer and more efficient? Whatever the answers may be, transformational leaders will need to decide how ethical practices (e.g., ethical Big Data, ethical analytics, ethical AI) are implemented within the organization, and how they are to be communicated inside and outside the organization.

Consequently, ethics should be seen as a complementary approach that helps transformational leaders to envision multifaceted perspectives of the transformation processes themselves, even more so when these have been little studied, and their impact is very high. This does not mean that ethics should be used as a safeguard against the way business transformation is taking place, but rather as an additional dimension that can help organizations strike a better balance between the elements that drive change and sustain performance over time.

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Note: this article was originally published by the author in FrontiersInBusinessTransformation

Francisco J. Navarro-Meneses
Francisco J. Navarro-Meneses
Professor of Business Transformation and Economics

My current research focuses on the study of frontier issues in business transformation and the modeling of value creation in service industries as complex systems

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