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Do ethical values boost profits?

28th February 2018

Northumbria University, Newcastle, is calling on North East companies to take part in an international research project exploring links between business ethics and high performance.

The initiative is part of a collaboration between Newcastle Business School and Ritsumeikan University in Japan, but also involves academics from around the world. In particular, the research is examining the “Inamori Business Philosophy”. Created by Japanese entrepreneur and philanthropist Kazuo Inamori, the philosophy has demonstrated how businesses can improve performance by aligning ethical values with individual and collective behaviour of staff.

Newcastle Business School already collaborates with companies and organisations in a number of ways including via the Business Clinic, knowledge exchange partnerships, leadership training, staff and professional development programmes. This latest research builds on these relationships to see how successful North East businesses embed ethics and values within their organisations, and how it affects performance.

Doctor Nicholas Wong, Senior Research Assistant at Newcastle Business School, said: “The Inamori Philosophy is almost completely unknown in the UK, but we can see examples of businesses here in the North East using similar principles to leverage significant improvements in their performance. Through the research we are conducting with colleagues in Japan, we want to explore this further by working with local firms and making international comparisons.  

“There is clear evidence that local businesses are committed to their company values, but what we really want to know is how successful businesses implement these values across the workforce - from the Board Room to the shop floor. By looking into causality between values, behaviour and performance we can examine not only how firms create and implement their values but subsequently we will measure the success of these values and evaluate the impact on performance.”

The research will include a mix of recorded interviews with senior management and business leadership teams and questionnaires with frontline staff.

Professor John Wilson, principal investigator of the project and Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria University, added: “There is considerable evidence to show that businesses which create a culture of responsible behaviour throughout their organisation are successful and build sustainable futures. This research is therefore highly relevant and I would urge any North East business with a strategic focus in its values to participate.”

To find out more and to take part please contact Doctor Nicholas Wong on nicholas.d.wong@northumbria.ac.uk

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