Ethics, internal communication and 21st century business with Roger Steare

Series 10, Bonus Episode of the Future of Internal Communication podcast

08 May 2024

As economic conditions continue to create complexity, it’s easy to look for quick fixes and short-cuts that ringfence and protect margin and profit. But at what cost?

Almost every week a new scandal breaks of an organisation breaching standards and causing harm either to humans or the environment. Ethics, it seems, are on the wane.

But what are they and why do they matter? In this episode, Jen, Dom and Cat ask Roger Steare – the corporate philosopher – to explain the cruciality of ethics in business, not least in the age of AI. More importantly, we discuss the role internal communication can play in upholding ethics in the workplace, in a way that serves both people and planet.


  • Ethics is the way we think about and debate how to lead a good life in every aspect of our lives.
  • Ethics in business is a force for good, but it requires leaders of good character and a shift in mindset towards a healthier society.
  • Effective dialogue and communication are essential for ethical decision-making and creating a well-functioning organisation.
  • There is a growing pressure and expectation for organisations to do good for society, but there is a gap between business and societal values that needs to be bridged.
  • The addiction to consumer capitalism and the focus on profit and growth hinder the pursuit of a good life and a sustainable civilisation.
  • Cultural transformation in organisations can happen rapidly when leaders prioritise ethical decision-making and create a culture of trust and dialogue. organisations should align their values with universal moral values and apply the 'gulag test' to ensure their values are morally sound.
  • Generative AI poses risks such as bias, misinformation, security breaches, and lack of accountability.
  • Internal communicators should engage in moral education and facilitate discussions at all levels of their profession.
  • Courage is required to take a stance and do the right thing in shaping the future of organisations and society.
  • It is important to focus on the good work and responsible leadership as an antidote to the pervasive disaster narratives in mainstream media.



S10 Bonus Episode Ethics, Internal Communication & 21st Century Business Transcript


About Roger Steare

Roger Steare is The Corporate Philosopher recognised worldwide as a leading expert on moral reasoning, values-based leadership and culture, and the responsible use of AI.

He has collaborated with CEOs and their teams across multiple industries to address billion-dollar ethical challenges and opportunities, focusing on reflection, learning, and a commitment to positive change. Notable partnerships include working with Joe Garner at HSBC in 2007, Openreach in 2012, and Nationwide Building Society in 2016, aiming to foster a culture of social purpose and ethics. In 2023, Joe wrote this testimonial of their work together. “Roger is brilliant in his field and thinks very differently from most.”

Following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, BP asked Roger to develop a global Ethical Leadership program for 4,000 leaders. The program was so impactful that it earned recognition from the US Department of Justice in 2016 as part of the US$20.8 billion Consent Agreement with BP.

In 2012, after RBS's massive restructuring, he was sought for a leadership and culture transformation program in collaboration with PwC, earning high praise from CEO Stephen Hester for the shared learning and growth experience.

In 2021, he was invited to help a national government to define those moral values that are essential for a fairer society. Drawing on insights from anthropology, psychology, and moral philosophy, he recommended Humanity, Justice, Wisdom, Courage, Temperance, and Resilience as the values that define a fair and prosperous society.


Find out more about Roger





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