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R:ETRO Seminar Series

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Reputation: Ethics, Trust, and Relationships at Oxford

R:ETRO Seminar Series
Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
Saïd Business School

Please join us online on Wednesday, 26th January, at 4pm GMT, for this term’s first R:ETRO seminar, hosted by the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation.

Mollie Painter (Nottingham Business School) will be giving a paper entitled “Being Relational: What identity-work can and cannot do for us in diversity and inclusion programmes.”


Why is it that so many organisations across the world struggle to run successful diversity and inclusion programmes? In this talk, I argue that the notion of ‘identity’ that underpins the organisation of such programmes, may be exacerbating the problem. I hope to illustrate how the notion of ‘identity’ functions as a double-edged sword. Though an essentialist view of ‘identity’ often lies at the heart of institutional injustice and paralyses, it also allows us to name injustice, and to connect with an intensity that mobilizes. Both being mislabelled, and the experience of belonging to a threatened group, let the blood flow (and boil!). But herein lies the problem, identifying the ‘other’, and experiencing ourselves as ‘othered’, often leaves us marooned.

The alternative may lie in studying the process of identifying relationally across time and space. But this also has its price. In this talk, we will be exploring the unsettling fluidity of identity that many experience, and which may complicate the ‘management’ of diversity and inclusion. Two distinct examples will be used to argue the case: Firstly, the way in which the leadership literature employ gender stereotypes in arguing for diversity and inclusion, while paradoxically undermining it in the process. Secondly, by sharing my experience running a large research project on Gender-based Violence (GBV) in South Africa, I explore what concepts like ‘intersectionality’ can and cannot do for us. My conclusion, drawing on both examples, is that identity-constructs aim to locate and manage problems, disabling the cooperation, innovation and sustainability that participating intensely in life’s experiments may allow. I end the talk by exploring some alternative avenues in thinking about relational identification as correspondence (also drawing on the work of Tim Ingold).

Click here to register.


Additional upcoming seminars include:

Wednesday, 9 February (16.00 – 17.00 GMT)
Why the Market Failures Approach needs Virtue
Caleb Bernacchio, Assistant Professor, School of Business, California State University Monterey Bay
Read the abstract and register to attend.

Wednesday, 23 February (16.00 – 17.00 GMT)
The Utility of Trust: Interpersonal, Institutional, and Technological
Tobey Scharding, Assistant Professor of Management & Global Business, Rutgers Business School
Read the abstract and register to attend.

Wednesday, 9 March (16.00 – 17.00 GMT)
A Structural Injustice Approach to Business Ethics
Harry Van Buren III, Koch Endowed Chair of Business Ethics, Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas
Read the abstract and register to attend.