On February 9, 2015, Pilar García Lombardía, an IESE researcher and expert on professional skills, gave a talk at the Faculty of Economics on the invitation of the IECO-UNESCO International Chair in Management, Governance, Trust and Otherness. She addressed an “urgent matter”; the reassessment of the social responsibility of every professional. Her speech sparked a lively discussion with the audience.

García Lombardía said that “as companies are becoming more aware of their responsibility to provide value to society that goes beyond their bottom line, equally each person, each professional also has to think about their role in society” and particularly “about their contribution to improving their local environment by leveraging their professional training.” She went on to put forward the “work as a vocation” paradigm as opposed to the widespread view of employment as a profession: “following Aristotle, we might say that where your gifts and the world’s needs come together, there is each person’s vocation.”

The Associate Dean of Strategy, Planning and Quality, María Iborra, chaired the seminar and in her opening remarks she underlined the importance of training in ethical and social responsibility issues for people who attend our university. She also said that the Faculty of Economics is looking to sponsor this kind of events, fostering discussion and dialogue within the university community.

Manuel Guillén, Tenured Professor of Management and Director of the IECO-UNESCO International Chair, also spoke at the event. When introducing the speaker, he pointed out that ethics and social responsibility start at the personal level and are not necessarily profitable. That is because the logic of ethics, of doing things that are morally right, may run counter to economic logic, and it is this latter logic which should be subject to ethics and not the other way round. If ethics is only observed when it is profitable, then we are not being ethical.

This event is one of the series of conferences run by the IECO-UNESCO Chair. The Chair seeks to make the content of the research work of IECO members available to the university community and a wider audience through postgraduate courses and seminars for professionals. This Chair is part of the VLC Campus of Excellence project in which the University of Valencia is involved.

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