UJ’s Prof Lyal White on Ethical Leadership in Industry 4.0

True aspiring leaders are willing to step out of their comfort zones to challenge their existing paradigms and lead with a strong sense of self-awareness., writes Professor Lyal White.

Prof White, who is the Senior Director of the Johannesburg Business School at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), recently penned an opinion piece published by the African Independent

Ethical leadership in Industry 4.0 – Professor Lyal White

In order to be globally competitive and build smart, sustainable businesses, ethical leadership must be at the core of business.

We are experiencing a crisis of ethics and governance in the South African government and private sectors. Over the past year alone, some of the biggest names in politics and the corporate world have been embroiled in scandals that have brought trusted household brands to their knees and the ruling party into disrepute.

Trust and confidence in the South African government have been compromised. With the 2019 elections only a few months away, both voters and political parties must reflect deeply on the kind of government needed to take the country forward.

In the integrated context and environment in which we live, where society, government, sustainable development and business are part of the same story, transparency is key and the old dictum of ‘business as usual’ no longer applies.

From a private sector perspective, business needs to move beyond traditional measures of success toward sustainable business that is socially responsible and ethical. This requires a focus on principles, rather than rules – shifting the culture from one of compliance to one of values with value-based leadership committed to ‘doing the right thing’.

Many would agree, based on emerging literature and new thinking around business, that this is increasingly based on the notion of shared value and citizenry. This implies that societal issues are at the core of business and its desired outcome.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution era requires businesses to adopt socially responsible, transparent, value-led practices with all of their stakeholders, from employees and customers to investors and regulators. In order to be globally competitive and build smart, sustainable businesses, ethical leadership must be at the core of business. In this new era, those who prioritise ethical practices and true engagement will succeed in the long run.

Ethics is one of the vital components that allows democracy to thrive in any country. Therefore, ethical behaviour by elected government officials is critical to enable the rebuilding of trust in government and its institutions.

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS), established in 2017, forms part of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg.

JBS offers innovative programmes that are expertly designed to develop effective, ethical and enterprising African leaders. These leaders are contextually intelligent, equipped to successfully navigate and overcome the complexities of today’s world, while advancing the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of organisations and society.

The school provides an interface for a business academia ecosystem, which stimulates and informs purpose-driven business practices with a collective impact.

All programmes designed and delivered by JBS are grounded in the African context, with a strong global connection. They are geared for disruptors and entrepreneurs beyond the corporate climbers targeted by traditional programmes. Development with a direct impact in the community, increasingly part of day-to-day business in Africa, underpins what JBS represents and does.

Access to business education, especially in light of the management void across the continent, will be crucial. Online and distance learning will be essential in reaching previously excluded Africans, and necessary for the desired impact on the continent. Our focus is on developing and delivering bespoke options, with a focus on depth and creativity.

Like most strategies and operations in Africa, an alternative approach to the norm is not exempt from international standards. Africa needs a world-class business education with a local flavour to develop management competencies and build excellence, and this is the model and approach JBS has taken.

True aspiring leaders are willing to step out of their comfort zones to challenge their existing paradigms and lead with a strong sense of self-awareness. This can only be achieved through immersive experiences that allow leaders to introspect and evolve. At JBS, we pride ourselves on providing delegates with a conducive educational experience through facilitated discussions across a multi-disciplinary network of leaders. It is a space where mistakes are allowed, lessons are learned and progression takes place.

The JBS aims to support all leaders on their journeys.

The views expressed in this article are that of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect that of the University of Johannesburg.

Lyal White 1
Prof. Lyal White
Lyal White

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