From November 14-16, 2016, LBS co-hosted an international conference on Business Ethics and Competitiveness in SMEs on its premises. The event was organized conjointly with FH Wien University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication Vienna as part of their chairmanship in the European chapter of the Harvard Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Network.

Academics, practitioners and decision-makers from over 30 different countries gathered in Vienna to discuss interconnections between competitiveness and ethical corporate behavior. Prof. Dr. Laura Spence (Royal Holloway, London), Marc Pfitzer (FSG, Geneva) and Prof. Dr. Craig Smith (INSEAD, Fontainebleau) critically examined Michael E. Porter’s and Mark Kramer’s seminal work on Creating Shared Value (CSV). It was very stimulating to see the opposing views of the keynote speakers, such as when Laura Spence described “CSV as the iPhone of CSR”, Marc Pfitzer determinately emphasized the importance of The Ecosystem of Shared Value, and Craig Smith attempted to balance the discussion about CSV by introducing a further developed concept  CVS+.

Based on these high-level keynote speeches, nine panels subsequently addressed the applicability of CSV on SMEs and entrepreneurial clusters. LBS is particularly proud that its faculty members Prof. Pablo Collazzo, Dr. Christian Reiner and Dr. Robert Braun as well as LBS alumna Sandra Pauser (University of Vienna) and former Issues in Management visiting professor Adriana Zait (UAIC) contributed fresh research findings. The conference was further enriched by the presentation of an outstanding MOC student project on Vienna as a smart competitive city (co-authored by Ivana Cvetkovic, Miljana Radmilovic and Ronit Lang of IML 2014).

At the closing panel Prof. Markus Scholz (FH Wien) challenged leading business and policy decision-makers regarding their practical experiences with CSV. Werner Pamminger (Business Upper Austria), Bernardo Calzadilla (UNIDO) and Albin Hahn (Manner) concurred on the significance of ethical behavior for corporate and regional success, but also emphasized the necessity to adapt the CSV concept to the specific needs of SMEs.

The Business Ethics and Competitiveness in SMEs conference marked the highlight of LBS’ and FH Wien’s shared 2016 activities in the MOC European Chapter. The event promoted the encounter between renowned academics and practitioners, junior researchers and LBS students.

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