The Ethics and Poetry of Business

May 12th, 2011

On this week’s Business Matters, we’re examining at ways for business leaders to use the power of language to be a more effective. We’ll talk with a poet and a professor of ethics at Harvard, both of whom have explored how language and storytelling can be used in business.

Originally broadcast on March 13, 2009

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Joe Badaracco, Author, Question of Character,
Professor of Business Ethics, Harvard Business School |
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badaraccoJoseph L. Badaracco, Jr., is the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School. He is also Senior Associate Dean and Chair of the MBA Program. Badaracco has taught courses on business ethics, strategy, and management in the School’s MBA and executive programs. Badaracco is a graduate of St. Louis University, Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar, and Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA and a DBA. He has also been chairman of the Harvard University Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility and has served on the boards of two public companies. Badaracco has taught in executive programs in the United States, Japan, and many other countries and has spoken to a wide variety of organizations on issues of leadership, values, and ethics.

Badaracco’s research focuses on business ethics, particularly on leadership and individual decision making, and he has written four books on these topics. These are Business Ethics: Roles and Responsibilities, Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose between Right and Right, and Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing. His most recent book, Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership through Literature, was published in April, 2006. It presents the lessons for leaders suggested by works of serious literature.

David Whyte, Poet, Lecturer, Author, The Three Marriages;
Founder, Many Rivers Company |
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whytePoet David Whyte is the author of six books of poetry, and two best selling prose books, he holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes the Amazon and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops.

In addition to his six volumes of poetry, including his latest volume River Flow: New and Selected Poems, David Whyte is the author of The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, an audio lecture series and an album of poetry and music. His newest prose book The Three Marriages: Understanding the Essentials of Work, Self and Relationship.

An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American and international companies. In organizational settings, using poetry and thoughtful commentary, he illustrates how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement; qualities needed if we are to respond to today’s call for increased creativity and adaptability in the workplace.

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