Newcastle Business School and ICAEW invite you to a timely and lively discussion with students, academics and practitioners on 5 February. The seminar will explore a different way to think about ethics and professionalism - by emphasizing the normative role of professional institutions and by rethinking the conditions that could foster professional capabilities.
Against the moral disintegration of 19th century industrial society, France’s first professor of sociology and the key architect of the modern ‘social sciences’ – Emile Durkheim – proposed professions and organised ‘occupations’ as a remedy and the best way to “reawaken our moral sensibility” and strengthen the moral character of society.
Similarly, the 21st century began with scandals, scrutiny and criticism of the profession and auditing practice, and corporate behaviour more broadly. We are hosting a seminar to offer academics and practitioners a fresh perspective to think about ethics, professionalism and contemporary society.
While Durkheim was writing as a response to the social and moral impact of the division of labour in the industrial age, modern society faces similarly profound changes and moral challenges. A range of social challenges – declining trust in institutions, disenfranchisement of young people, rise of populism, geopolitical tensions – could all be linked to the thinning of the moral fabric of societies. Furthemore, technological innovations, such as artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the economic and business landscape in which chartered accountants are working. Greater value is placed on efficiency gains and performance improvements of work, rather than on the social purpose and ethical considerations of practice.
Such rapid social and technological changes, challenge the notion of professional expertise by reducing it to objectively-technical and morally-ambivalent practice. The purpose of audit as professional practice has been equated to the business institutions in which it is housed and the link between professions and society remains unclear.
The seminar will therefore propose a different way to think about ethics by emphasizing:
City Campus East
Business and Law Building, Room 403
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2SU
Date: 5 February 2019
(Refreshments from 4:30 pm)
Martin Martinoff (ICAEW) and Plamena Pehlivanova (UCL Institute of Education) will discuss their thought-partnership work as part of ICAEW’s AuditFutures programme, which aims to create the normative space and resources to advance the notion of ethical framework within the profession.
Over the past three years, Martin’s AuditFutures project has initiated a number of educational interventions within business schools and professional service firms in order to engage multiple stakeholders in a more proactive dialogue about the changing role of the profession in society, and to plan strategically what the professional body would need to do to improve the capacities and ethos of its members.
Plamena’s work draws on the philosophical thesis of Alasdair MacIntyre, which offers a way to look at accountancy as social practice. She uses this theoretical framework to make visible the normative nature of professions – as the hosts of social practices, defined around the ‘incommensurable goods’ that they provide to society. She offers a different way to look at ethics – as a socio-historic process.