Jacek Sojka

His research, for many years, has been focused on applied ethics, esp. business ethics, management and business cultures around the world. This research interest is reflected in his teaching as well as in the articles he publishes. Among others, in 2013 he edited (with R. Kaminski) a volume “The economic and ethical aspects of the financial crisis” published by Polish Economic Society. He also lectures, as an adjunct professor, on the intercultural management and ethics at the European University Viadrina, Frankfort/Oder. Prof. Sojka also holds managerial positions at Adam Mickiewicz University: he is a Director of the Institute of Cultural Studies as well as a director of two university centres: the AMU Open Studies Centre and the Regional Observatory of Culture.

Intercultural management

The seminar will offer basic concepts of management, in particular intercultural management.  Managing across cultures is a natural consequence of the internationalization of today’s business. This intercultural dimension has become visible not only from a narrow perspective of a specific approach to human resource management  and business communication (traditional understanding of intercultural management) but also when all managerial functions are analysed.  Also the organizations – despite the fact that most of organizational theories present them as mono-cultural – posses and manifest that dimension. So the seminar would invite students to view intercultural management not only as a process of “managing across cultures” (which sounds today more like “colonizing the differences” and implies the existence of a centre and peripheries) but rather as the joint effort of many cultures in the global world. Taylorism which marks the ascent of modern Western understanding of management implied standardization of products and their parts as well as subordination of managers’ and workers’ minds. Today’s global business requires more humanistic approach which should bring to the fore the multitude of perspectives and the need of constant “dialogue”. In other words, entrepreneurs and managers – through market research and other analyses – should inquire into the wants and needs of potential customers and, like anthropologists, should be ready to interpret many different social and cultural phenomena.  They should also understand themselves better which is a challenge posed by the critical management studies.

Ethics in a global world

The seminar will be dedicated to the ethical challenges faced by managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and other people who operate across borders. Global business activities confront them with different cultural settings and different attitudes of their foreign partners. Should they follow the maxim “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? How should they reconcile the respect for other cultures with their own values and norms which may urge them to protest against perceived injustice? While doing business abroad managers more often than not witness an extreme poverty or breach of human rights and may ask themselves how to pursue business goals without being vulnerable to the accusations of indifference or even of profiting from, e.g., lower standards of worker’s protection or consumer safety. In most instances all these dilemmas can be expressed by a philosophical question “What do we owe to other human beings?” or by the biblical one from the Good Samaritan Parable: “who is my neighbour?”. In the business area this problem can be generalized by yet another question: “How to reconcile the logic of profit-making with moral indignation caused by poverty, famine, injustice or violence?”. Class discussions will be based on case studies (handouts and video materials) which deal with all these issues.