The Ethics of Disruption: New Technologies and New Governance Structures 

Disruptive technologies are ones that by definition alter the way we live and do business. As a result, we face distinctive and underexplored questions in ethics and business. For example: How can meaning in work be preserved as jobs, tasks, and roles increasingly become automated? What rights do individuals have with respect to data collected about themselves? How can organizations increase the willingness of users to trust disruptive technologies (e.g. the willingness of patients to trust a robotic surgical system that may be more effective than a human surgeon)? How can we assess the trustworthiness of organizations promoting new technologies? How can our current understanding of property rights make sense of user data? How can we make sense of privacy and consent in the era of big data? And so on.

The purpose of this conference is in part to examine how the Ignatian tradition and Catholic Social Teaching can enrich the teaching of business ethics in general, and topics related to the ethics of disruption in particular.  But submissions need not all be from a Jesuit perspective. We welcome contributions from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to business ethics, strategy, organizational behavior, marketing, finance, law, engineering, neuroscience, public policy, entrepreneurship, philosophy, religion, history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.

The conference is designed to be stimulating to both academics and practitioners interested in the ethics and business dimensions of disruptive technologies. Thus, the first day is devoted to afternoon visits by academics to two Silicon Valley businesses for discussions with executives.  The second day is devoted to a series of talks and panels featuring both leading Silicon Valley executives and academics. The third day is devoted to the presentation of academic papers on the concerns described in this call for papers.  The conference will end with a festive dinner on Saturday evening, July 13.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, the Colleagues in Business Education (CJBE - USA), and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.  The previous two Jesuit global conferences on the teaching of business ethics were sponsored by The Gov. Jose B. Fernandez Jr. Ethics Center at the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines (host 2017) and the Lassalle-Institute, Kanton Zug, Switzerland (host 2018).  While participation is sought from all parts of the world, we particularly encourage participation from North, Central, and South America.

Submission Topics

Please submit an abstract of 500 words or less (excluding citations), on any of the following (or closely related) topics:

  • The concerns of business ethics in the age of disruptive technology
  • The ethics (and potential benefits) of specific innovations: autonomous vehicles and weapons, drones, robots, smartphones, artificial intelligence decision systems, blockchain, etc.
  • Social media ethics and practices
  • Privacy, consent, and property rights: the ethics of big data
  • Labor market disruptions: the role and responsibilities of businesses, NGOs, and governments
  • Meaning and significance of work in the face of automation and artificial intelligence
  • The impact of new technologies on human spirituality, purpose, meaning
  • How ethical leadership can help manage disruptive technology
  • Law, crime and disruptive technology
  • What to do in the absence of law and of global standards
  • Rethinking management education in relation to disruptive technologies
  • Rethinking management education with insights from the Ignatian tradition or Catholic Social Teaching
  • How Ignatian tradition or Catholic Social Teaching can help manage disruptive technology
  • Other related topics

Submission Process and Deadlines

To have a paper considered for this conference, please submit an abstract of 500 words or less (excluding citations) by March 1, 2019.  Please include the title of your presentation, your name, professional title, and institution with your submission, as well as a short biographical statement of not more than 200 words. 

In addition to papers, the conference organizers will consider proposals for panels to discuss any of the related topics listed above.  Please list the participants in the panel with their titles and institutions and a short biographical statement, as well as an abstract of not more than 500 words describing the topic to be addressed by the panel. 

Most successful submissions will be scheduled for presentation on Saturday, July 13, during the “academic day” of the conference.  Parallel sessions will be organized.

Papers and panels accepted for the conference will be announced by April 15, 2019

Questions regarding conference papers may be addressed to: conferencepapers [at] scu.edu

Other Details

Presentation of the papers at the conference will be limited to 10 minutes each so that there can be questions from a respondent and other participants and substantial interaction among those presenting.  Presenters may use PowerPoint or video if desired. 

A conference academic committee will select the successful papers and panels and create the schedule for the conference.  The committee consists of Vikram Bhargava of the Leavey School of Business, Kirk Hanson of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Joan Lee of Fairfield University and Sarah Cabral of Boston College, both representing CJBE.  Ann Skeet of the Markkula Center will assist in the design of the “corporate day” of panels and speeches.

A modest conference fee will be charged to cover housing and food.  Please see the logistics page for more detail.  No travel grants are available to participants.