15 June 2016

shady looking blokesInnovative, structured, with appropriate codes of conduct - it’s a business model that reaps rewards within the corporate sector and one that also extends to the world of organised crime, particularly the American Mafia.

Examining the ethical parallels and differences between families and organisations through themes of love, commitment and honour, using the America Mafia as a key example, will be the focus of a talk that adjunct research fellow Dr Janine Pierce will be presenting, as part of the 23rd Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) conference taking place this week.

The three-day conference, which the University of South Australia’s Business School is hosting, is focused on the theme of responsible leadership and ethical decision-making, with conference presentations including papers on corporate social responsibility, culture, academic integrity, health, education, military ethics, leadership, sustainability and philosophy.

Keynote speakers will include South Australia’s first Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander, QC, Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at The George Washington University School of Business Dr Jennifer Griffin, and Professor of Management, Nicola Pless, who holds the Chair of Positive Business at UniSA.

Dr Pierce’s presentation relates to a research paper that she wrote with Ben Pierce, that is being published later this year, which explores the differences and similarities between the Mafia and conventional business organisations, examining codes of behaviour, the meaning of love, and moneymaking.

“There is on ongoing fascination with the Mafia, especially in popular culture,” Dr Pierce says.

“Hierarchy, leadership, honour, obligation and codes of ethics; these are constructs that exist both within corporate business and the American Mafia, and how these organisations both mirror and differ from each other is what is fascinating, and makes us reflect on why we do, what we do.

“The Mafia has a code of commandments, a business model, an objective of making money, yet the Mafia is devoid of social responsibility other than maintaining its own entity under a cloak of secrecy.

“Their code of honour is, in the final analysis, a code of dishonour, and there is a difference between the espoused values of this organisation and its real values.

“There is also a strong sense of loyalty to this organisation but when members break away, many experience guilt and a sense of shame that they’ve done bad things.

“So, within groups we follow rules and may not question moral codes but withdrawal can cause us to reassess our own values and this is why the subject of responsible leadership and ethical decision making is so important.”

The 23rd AAPAE conference is taking place between 15-17 June at UniSA’s City West campus. For further enquiries please contact aapae2016@unisa.edu.au

Media contact: Will Venn office +61 883020096 mob 0401 366054 email will.venn@unisa.edu.au

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