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11th Trans-Atlantic Business Ethics Conference (TABEC)

May 3, 2022

The Institute for Business Ethics & Sustainable Strategy (IBES) at FHWien der WKW will host a high-level conference on “Revisiting the Political Responsibility of Business” in Vienna from May 5-7, 2022.

Riesenrad Wien
Photo by Anton on Unsplash

“The Political Responsibility of Business.”

In the context of TABEC – an exclusive, invitation-only conference – FHWien der WKW’s IBES, under the Chair of Prof. Dr. Markus Scholz, invites twenty of the world’s leading business ethicists from North America and Europe to Vienna to discuss relevant issues in the discipline. The goal of the transatlantic dialogue is to reflect political corporate social responsibility (PCSR) and related concepts (e.g., corporate political activism, CEO activism). In small and informal settings the benefits and shortcomings of current PCSR developments will be critically discussed in order to pave possible ways for the further development of the concept.

Corporate political engagement between necessity and crossing the line

In the wake of globalization, the influence of national governments on the private sector is waning, while at the same time the influence of multinational institutions such as the EU, the OECD and the UN is also diminishing. To make matters worse, these political phenomena are accompanied by significant global environmental problems, ongoing human rights abuses, and technological disruptions of the economy. As a result, business ethicists are challenging the old idea of a “division of labor” between business and state.

In practice, companies are increasingly becoming aware of their socio-political role as corporate citizens and develop a political stance, as can be observed, for example, in the context of the war in Ukraine. In recent speeches and commentaries, CEOs and investors emphasized that it is also the task of companies to contribute to a functioning society, especially in countries with weak institutions or where basic human values are under threat.

This viewpoint is – among others – held by Tim Cook (Apple), Kenneth Frazier (Merck), the former CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser and Larry Fink (BlackRock). In addition, during the war in Ukraine, Elon Musk drew attention to himself by actively supporting Ukraine. However, despite all the approval, questions also arise about the limits of PCSR and the legitimacy of companies to take on political tasks.

The political and social responsibility of companies in discourse

The current debate shows that concepts of corporate political and social responsibility need to be reconsidered and in some cases questioned. At the 11th Trans-Atlantic Business Ethics Conference (TABEC), renowned scholars from North America and Europe will discuss the benefits and potential shortcomings of PCSR in order to identify possible ways to further develop the concept.


TABEC is an exclusive conference that brings together some of the most distinguished business ethicists from North America and Europe (including from INSEAD, King’s College, University of St. Gallen, Wharton) to discuss (non-publicly) their concepts on current issues relevant to business ethics in our time. TABEC is held every two years – alternating between Europe and North America. Previously, the conference was hosted, in 2016, at the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE) at the University of St. Gallen and in 2018, at the Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL), at Rutgers Business School.

Traditionally, ten of the world’s leading scholars from each side of the Atlantic participate in the conference. This year, in order to bring fresh ideas and new perspectives, European early career scholars will also be invited.

This event is rated as an eco event by ÖkoEvent.