“Topics in Business Ethics: 21st Century Business Ethics Cornucopia” Q&A

November 21, 2022

One of the courses offered in 2023 will be "Topics in Business Ethics: 21st Century Business Ethics Cornucopia" offered by Professor Catherine Sibala of Hitotsubashi ICS. Professor Sibala is a graduate of Australian National University and Deakin University who served as a national public official in the Australian Federal Government for 15 years, during which time she represented the Australian government at numerous multilateral and bilateral meetings and negotiations. For three years she was the Political First Secretary in the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. After completing her diplomatic assignment she worked as a Senior Analyst at Okamoto Associates, Inc., a Tokyo-based international political, economics and security consultancy, where her responsibilities included monitoring and analysis of international developments. Since 2010 Professor Sibala has worked as an academic with a research focus on labor issues and currently teaches courses on leadership and business ethics.


We asked Professor Sibala about her course.

What made you decide to teach this particular course as a SNOC?
In this VUCA world, with myriad and seemingly continual disrupters, it’s more important than ever for business leaders to have a focus on running their organizations the right way. Through this course, I want students to gain greater understanding of some of the issues that impact how leaders make decisions. I also want students, as future leaders, to acquire tools to help them navigate through these kinds of issues.

What does the global virtual environment of a SNOC provide for students in terms of cross-cultural learning, and how can this also help you? 
Obviously, "global" brings a huge diversity of background and experience to SNOC students' learning. At Hitotsubashi ICS, we already have a high level of diversity in our class cohorts, but SNOC is a chance for “diversity on steroids.” The “virtual” aspect makes this diversity easier and more convenient. It is also a great equalizer; everyone has a chance to be heard and to contribute. The “cross-cultural” is a key theme of this course, which incorporates a range of opportunities to explore the influence of local culture on ethical challenges. The impact of culture at the individual, organizational and global level, together with how things like neuroscience, AI and ESG interact with corporate operations, are key items of the ‘cornucopia’ of business ethics issues that this course examines.

What do you hope students take away from your class that they can apply to their careers, regardless of the path they choose?  

I hope students will become more aware of ethical considerations, including how their brain processes information during decision-making.  I also hope students will come to appreciate that ethical considerations are not separate from business, but rather are a natural and essential part of smart - and profitable - business operations. This is particularly true with the rise of consumer focus on sustainability, authenticity and transparency/accountability. 

Catherine Sibala
19 November 2022