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June 2020, Letter from the Executive Director

From the Executive Director

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What a few months it has been since the last SBE Newsletter! No adjective seems to do them justice. To all who are reading this message who have experienced personal or professional hardship since January, I send my warmest regards. To all who are reading this message, I thank you for your continuing involvement in the life of the Society for Business Ethics.

I am grateful for the work of the Society to “keep people talking about business ethics,” which is perhaps even more urgent in times of simultaneous global crises. And I am especially grateful for the resilience of our many members, volunteers, and service providers in preparing our conference program in the midst of the disruptions of March, April, and May, and in adapting to the shift to a virtual conference this August.

  • Thank you to all who sent or reviewed submissions.
  • Thank you to all who are adapting your presentations to the online environment.
  • Thank you to Joé T. Martineau and Florian Krause for organizing the Emerging Scholars Program, and adapting it to the online environment . . . and to all of the presenters and mentors.
  • Thank you to Brad Agle for organizing the Teaching Workshop, and adapting it to the online environment . . . and to all of the presenters.
  • Thank you to everyone who chaired or served on our awards committees.
  • Thank you to the Board of Directors who put careful research and deliberation into the decision to shift online.
  • Thank you to Rebecca O’Rourke, Jamie Davidson, and John Lewis at Cambridge University Press for managing conference registration (twice), and refunds, as well as member communications, and for your guidance as we evaluated options.
  • Thank you to Karen Pimpo and Gwen Bultema at the Bultema Group for your help with prompt communications to members and friends.
  • Thank you to Tim Mazur, SBE’s Treasurer, who together with Doralen McClinton at Conference Direct, managed arrangements with our hotel in Vancouver.
  • Thank you to Kirsten Martin and Tim Mazur (again) for your work on researching and planning the online medium and many program details.
  • Thank you to Danielle Warren and Kirsten Martin (again) for finding an exciting and timely Keynote Speaker.
  • Thank you (and apologies) to anyone whom I have neglected to thank.
  • Thank you, especially, to Program Chair Danielle Warren, who researched and selected our new digital medium (i.e., Zoom), redesigned the program to fit that new medium and serve participants across time zones, and coordinated acceptance and change communications, along with all of the usual Herculean task of preparing our annual program.

All that said . . . due to the efforts of everyone named above, and others, SBE is delivering an exciting and complete program online in a few weeks! I have read every line of it, and am impressed with its timeliness and timelessness . . . with the methodological and international breadth of presentations and presenters . . . and with the vital insights that our field and our Society offer.

Moreover, the Board opted to drastically reduce registration fees for this year’s conference as a service to the field. I hope that our special registration rates ($25 for all Students, Emeriti, and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, regardless of SBE Membership . . . $40 for SBE Members who are Tenure-Track Faculty . . . and $75 for Non-Members who are Tenure-Track Faculty) are manageable even on tight institutional or even personal budgets. I also hope that our virtual format will allow more people than usual to attend our presentations, join our discussions, catch up with old friends, and get to know new ones.

Finally, recent events in America have caused many people, including myself, to reconsider how we and the institutions in which we participate contribute to the structural injustices that have been so disturbingly on display. I like to believe that the work of SBE, and the positive impact of our members’ teaching and research, are part of the solution to those injustices! But, the fact that our Society and our field is demographically dissimilar to the population of the world who we serve with our scholarship and teaching, indicates to me and many of our members and friends that we have some work to do on our own inclusiveness.

The SBE Board of Directors has been deliberating robustly about that challenge, and is already evaluating steps that SBE can take as an organization to become more inclusive. I look forward to sharing one or more such steps with you during the Business Meeting at this year’s conference. And of course the Board and I are always interested in your thoughts on matters that pertain to the life of the Society. The Board will be holding a Listening Session as part of our 2020 Virtual Conference, on Tuesday August 4, at 1:45 PM EDT / 5:45 PM GMT; we welcome your input both then, and at any time via email. You can reach me at Jason.stansbury@calvin.edu.

I look forward to seeing you online in August! – Jason

Dr. Jason M. Stansbury
Executive Director, Society for Business Ethics
James and Judith Chambery Chair for the Study of Ethics in Business
Associate Professor of Business
Calvin University