Employers increasingly seeking responsible leadership skills

Posted 2018-11-06

As appeared in The Globe and Mail

The triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—has become the norm in today’s business world, and aspiring leaders need to be prepared to deliver against each of them. With the launch of its new strategic plan, the UBC Sauder School of Business aims to provide graduates with the training to grow into these roles. By incorporating responsible leadership into the fabric of the school, it allows the students to be immersed in the teachings throughout their daily lives on campus.

According to Katherine White, academic director of The Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at UBC Sauder, it’s about acknowledging that questions around social responsibility are not limited to a specific course or the classroom in general.

“We do have some classes that focus specifically on business ethics, but we’ve also incorporated topics, like ethics and social responsibility, into all of the classes,” says Prof. White.

“Getting students to think about social purpose, social impact, environmental impact, it’s not only good from a moral standpoint, it makes them more strategic in their decision-making, and it makes them more desirable to employers,” explains Prof. White.

Tamar Milne, Chair, Sustainability & Ethics Group at UBC Sauder, agrees. She sees that social responsibility and ethics are elements that grab an employer’s attention.

“The environmental and social challenges that our graduates will grapple with are larger, more acute, and more complex than ever before,” she says. “So, sustainability, ethics, and responsible leadership are not ‘niche’ topics – they’re core to long-term success. And we see this reflected in the career opportunities for our students.”