It may be effective but is it ethical? The ethics of transformational change

Join the first in a series of professional development events from the IDEA Centre - designed for embedding ethical thinking into leadership.

The Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied (IDEA) Centre at the University of Leeds presents the first in a series of open events aimed at giving attendees the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to navigate the challenges of conducting responsible and ethical business in today’s increasingly complex and uncertain world, post-global pandemic.

We bring a unique blend of academic research and insight, business acumen and practical commercial knowledge and experience.  Robust insight and rigour on ethical leadership from the academic world is grounded and brought to life through the experiences of leaders who are grappling with real ethical challenges in their working lives.

The time for ethical leadership has never been greater.  The prominence of corporate integrity and standards of conduct and behaviour in business has never been so high.  Businesses are under pressure from all sides, eg:

  • Increased corporate governance and reporting requirements
  • Levels of regulatory scrutiny and disciplinary/enforcement action
  • High expectations from a wide range of stakeholders (including civil society) regarding the role and purpose of business as a force for good
  • The ongoing low levels of trust as reported in Edelman’s Annual Barometer and other research

All of these amount to a constant pressure on businesses to demonstrate that they are ‘doing the right thing’.

Purpose of the event

The half-day event is aimed at current and future leaders and those with an interest in the ethics of leadership and how to change corporate culture ethically and responsibly.

The purpose of the event is to provide a deep dive into the ethics of transformational change which leaders will need to understand if they are to lead change effectively and sustainably. All sessions will be practically grounded in the real-life experience of business leaders, which will be interrogated and elucidated by academic ethicists. Participants will thus be challenged to deeply and rigorously examine their own beliefs about transformational change in the light of insights from the academic and business worlds. They will go away with the confidence to make better decisions, more fully understanding the reasons which bear on their choices, and knowing how others are approaching similar choices, embracing the opportunities for building and renewing a sustainable, purpose-led organisational culture.

Who is it for?

It is aimed at current and future leaders who are:

  • passionate about achieving change with integrity, inspiring colleagues in pursuit of shared goals, and creating an aligned, purpose-led and resilient culture;
  • aware that there are ethical challenges involved in the change process, and keen to improve their understanding of the choices they face and the consequences of their actions and decisions;
  • willing to challenge their own assumptions and explore new ways of working;
  • keen to share their experiences and explore a blend of academic and practitioner approaches to leading ethical transformational change to enable renewal and regrowth post crisis.

Style of the event

The event, which will be delivered online, is designed to be highly interactive, including plenty of opportunities for interaction with speakers and other participants. Working with a dynamic cohort of peers, participants will actively contribute through small group discussions, polls, Q&As, etc.

High profile speakers with extensive experience of delivering transformational change will tell their stories, allowing participants to see ‘from the inside’ how they have faced and met ethical challenges now and what this means looking forward. Expert academic ethicists will dig below the surface of these stories, drawing out the wider ethical implications which participants can then apply in their own work. Participants will leave better equipped to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the future: for example ESG, responsible business, sustainability and responsible use of technology.

Outline timetable

13:00-13:15 Welcome and introductions. Setting out the aims of the day. Short presentation and some polls to gauge audience experience and priorities. Professor Chris Megone IDEA Director.

13:15-14:15 Session 1: Ethical challenges in transformational change: Achieving a culture which is equitable and diverse (Interview and Q&A) Tracey Groves (IDEA and Intelligent Ethics) and Dawn Jackson (Equality and Diversity consultant).

14:315-14:30 Break

14:30-15:30 Session 2: Ethical challenges in transformational change: Achieving a speaking up culture (interview and Q&A) Jo Kenrick and Dr Jim Baxter (IDEA).

15:30-16:00 Structured and facilitated networking session.

16:00-17:15 Session 3: transformational change across a sector or organisation (Presentations and Q&A) Professor Chris Megone (IDEA) Mikael Down (BSB) and Dominic Hall (BAE Systems).

17:15-17:30 Wrap-up Summary of main learning points from the day and pointers to further action. Professor Chris Megone and Dr Jim Baxter.


Tickets are available via the University of Leeds Store.

Speaker biographies

Dr Jim Baxter

Jim manages the IDEA Centre’s training, consultancy and applied research portfolio, providing ethical review and consultancy services, training and continuing professional development, and applied research. He has a book forthcoming with Cambridge University Press on the subject of moral responsibility and psychopathy and is the main researcher and author of the report Real Integrity: Practical solutions for organisations seeking to promote and encourage integrity.

Mikael Down

Mikael Down is Executive Director for Assessment and Insights at the Banking Standards Board, where he is responsible for the BSB’s Assessment, Policy, Behavioural Science and Data Science teams. He began his career at HM Treasury, where he started as an economist before being seconded to the UK Permanent Representation in Brussels. On return to the Treasury in 2009, Mikael led many of the prudential policy reforms that followed the global financial crisis, before being appointed Deputy Director for Sanctions and Illicit Finance and Head of Delegation to the Financial Action Task Force. In 2013 he joined the Financial Conduct Authority to lead a Policy Department responsible for a major overhaul of the accountability and remuneration frameworks for senior leaders in banks, before joining the BSB in 2015. Mikael is a Fellow at the Forward Institute, a Trustee of the Finance Innovation Lab, an Honorary Lecturer at Queen Mary University London, and a Researcher at the Alan Turing Institute. He has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University and is studying for a PhD in Ethics and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Leeds.

Dr Elizabeth Ellis

Liz is a Teaching Fellow and Consultant in Applied Ethics, and Deputy Director of the IDEA Centre. Her university teaching includes business ethics, professional ethics and corporate social responsibility.  She also teaches on the Centre's online MA in Applied and Professional Ethics, and other MA programmes in the business school. Before completing her PhD on the ethics of economic sanctions, she worked as an auditor at Deloitte for several years and she is a chartered accountant (ACA).

Tracey Groves

Tracey Groves is a trusted business adviser and consultant, an expert facilitator and executive educator, and an inspiring business speaker with deep consulting and business transformation experience, working with Boards and Business Leaders. A former PwC Partner, she is  Director of Intelligent Ethics, her own award-winning advisory business since 2017,  focusing on hardwiring critical elements of the ESG agenda into business.  Tracey is passionate about how Leaders define and embrace what ‘doing the right thing’ means to them, their business and wider stakeholders.

Dominic Hall

Group Head of Ethical Business Conduct, BAE Systems Plc. Dominic is responsible for BAE Systems' Business Ethics Programme across the UK and International businesses, and is the current Chair of the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct (IFBEC). He has deep experience in implementing and operating all aspects of ethics and compliance governance frameworks. Dominic previously held similar leadership roles in Ethics and Compliance at Coca-Cola Enterprises and at BG Group, an oil and gas major. He is also a qualified auditor, and held audit and consulting roles at KPMG for seven years. Dominic has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Philosophy from St. Andrews University.

Dawn Jackson

Director, CoachInclusion. Dawn Jackson is a credentialed ICF coach, consultant and thought leader in equity, inclusion and diversity. She is Director of her own company CoachInclusion which is dedicated to making coaching accessible for everyone irrespective of difference. Dawn also helps with organisations and leaders to develop the inclusive and coaching skills required to lead and engage diverse teams. Having previously led the Talent and Diversity  agenda across numerous Financial Services organisations she joined the Board of the (ICF) International Coaching Federation in 2020 where she focuses her passion for greater equity on advancing Inclusion and Belonging across the Coaching profession.

Jo Kenrick

Jo is an experienced Non-Executive Director who has worked across multiple sectors in her executive and non-executive careers. As an executive she sat on the board of the retailers Homebase and B&Q, and as well as having food, non-food and fashion retailing experience, she also held senior roles in sectors including house building, lottery, and fast moving consumer goods. As a Non-Executive Director she has had extensive board, audit and remuneration experience and is currently the Senior Independent Director and Remuneration committee chair for the Coventry Building Society, and chairs the Current Account Switch Service, the Cash ISA Switch Service, and the PayM mobile payments system for She sits on the board of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and chairs their Remuneration committee, and is also a Non Exec for the FTSE 250 business Safestore. She is also chair of trustees for the children’s charity Make Some Noise.

Professor Christopher Megone

Chris is the Director of the IDEA Centre.  He also teaches at undergraduate, taught Masters and PhD levels, in particular directing the MA in Healthcare Ethics and online MA in Applied and Professional Ethics. At undergraduate level he is mainly involved in teaching and material development with business ethics, medical ethics, and ethics in dentistry. Chris is a National Teaching Fellow, one of only three philosophers in the UK to hold this award.