Guest Lecture: Major General Skeates on Developing Leaders in the British Army: Giving our leaders the edge for the battles of the future
Guest Lecture: Nicola Rimmer on 'Can culture be audited?'
Guest Lecture: Laurence Cockcroft on Corruption: The economic and ethical challenge, 19th November 2015
Guest lecture: Henry Ogiri on Voluntary CSR disclosure practices in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Closing the expectation gap, 6th March 2015
It was a pleasure to welcome Dr Henry Ogiri, a former student of Leeds Beckett University. Dr. Ogiri is the finance director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, which is focused on addressing the key problems associated with the Niger Delta. Dr Ogiri took us through the complex thirty year history of the Niger Delta and the oil industry, analysing the key stakeholder problems that emerged. He argued for a focus on CSR work in this area as based in legitimacy theory. This stressed the need greater work on the development of shared creative responsibility, and greater transparency, building a culture of shaming major players who avoid a more positive role in addressing the issues. The questions focused on the difficulty of distinguishing different roles in the case, not least when different players were characterised in aggressive terms. This led to consideration of the use of conflict resolution theory and practice in stakeholder management.
Guest lecture: Sir Alan Langlands on Governance and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, 10th February 2015
The Centre for Governance welcomed Sir Alan Langlands, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds. His lecture demonstrated three things. First, it confirmed his own practical wisdom, in a career which has seen him providing leadership to NHS England, HEFCE, and the Universities of Dundee and Leeds. Second, it anchored governance across all sectors in both key principles and in essential dynamics. The first of these were focused in the Nolan principles of public life. The essential dynamic is trust. Drawing on Onora O’Neill’s classic work on trust and the professions, he concluded that systems are not enough for good governance. That has to be focused in good relationships. Third, Sir Alan began a dialogue which ranged across business, education and health. There were many shared issues but also critical differences emerging.
Centre associate Nicola Hart, Strategic Head of Higher Education at Pinsent Masons responded by questioning whether the governance of Higher Education was in practice focused in critical dialogue and diversity. Was reference to values and principles enough? How can they be critically engaged? And do we need to move away from trustees as volunteers to a more professional model?
Like all good events, the lecture and response left us with a lot to chew on, not least the identity, purpose and nature of Higher Education in a complex social and physical environment, and just how responsibility to and for the many different stakeholders could be held together.
Guest Lecture: Professor Dean Fathers on Leadership, Strategy and Governance, 3rd February 2015
Dean Fathers is a man who bridges the gap between academia and practice- holding the post of visiting professor to Cass Business School, but also the chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, and membership of several boards. His lecture amply demonstrated this grasp of integrative and holistic thinking. First, he carefully spelled out the relationships between the three elements of the title. The connections may be obvious in one sense but ways of thinking both in academia and in the professions can assume large walls between them. Second, he spelled out just how theory and practice relate. In effect, theory can take on a position of presumed intellectual power; theory first, and then apply - so theoreticians seem to be important. In practice we do not ‘apply theories’ but rather make judgements about complex and uncertain actions and relationships, and such judgements demand greater appreciation of underlying values; moral, social, and pre-moral (about our perception of worth). Third, this raised questions about how we ‘manage’ those values. Is it sufficient for boards to run such values up the mast or do they need to consider more carefully how such values relate to decision making. There is quite a big gap between values and the decision made, often filled by ‘judgement’ or even ‘wisdom’. Professor Fathers lecture ultimately asked us to begin to inhabit these ideas.