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Organization and people

Ethical norms of fairness, impartiality, cooperation and reciprocity are necessary conditions for both sustainable development and the rational conduct of business. These norms arise from a web of collective choices and social conventions, and they develop jointly with a new understanding of concepts such as well-being and social justice.

Over thirty years of economic thought at the crossroads among political philosophy and ethics, social, cognitive and management sciences, law & economics have heightened this awareness.However, for a long time – at least in Italy – it has had scant effect on organizations, research institutions, and academic teaching .

At present, this awareness is matched by pressing demand for corporate social responsibility. Market globalization, signs of crisis in corporate governance mechanisms and in the self-regulation of financial markets, the demand for a different relationship between business and society, have engendered a view of corporatesocial responsibility as a new model of corporategovernance based on fair and cooperative relationships between firms and their stakeholders. Defining and implementing this model requires an understanding of the relationship between ethics and economics that goes beyond superficial features.

In order that research into these new ideas may achieve stable results, the energies ofa new generation of scholars must be harnessed, while at the same time establishing quality criteria for teaching, research and action so that ideas are transformed into management systems and tools for companies, organizations and institutions.

For this purpose, EconomEtica, the Interuniversity Centre for Economic Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, was established at the end of 2004 by an agreement signed by six universities:

Università Bicocca Milano,
Università Bocconi Milano,
Università di Trento,
Università di Siena,
Università di Bologna,
Università di Verona,

which shortly thereafter were joined by

Università di Bergamo,
Università Cattaneo - LIUC di Castellanza,
Università di Roma Tor Vergata,
Università di Parma,
Università Statale di Milano,
Scuola Superiore S. Anna di Pisa,
Università di Bari,
Università di Napoli Federico II°,
Università Avogadro del Piemonte orientale,
Universitàdi Genova,
Università Ca' Foscari Venezia,
Università Cattolica di Milano,
Università dell'Insubria,
Università di Firenze,
Università di Torino,
Università di Catania,
Università di Salerno,
Università IUAV Venezia,
Università di Padova

Cooperation between universities and their ‘external environment’ has been essential to the Centre since its beginnings. Indeed, the Centre was started under the sponsorship of the Italian Accenture Foundation (FIA), which contributed not only financial support but also a wealth of ideas and advice.

EconomEtica aims to become an arena in which universities plan and implement permanent changes in the study, research and teaching of ‘economic ethics and social responsibility’. EconomEtica will be a forum for open discussion among academics, companies, public institutions, stakeholder associations, and individual citizens, the purpose being to build on current interest in these issues and change the way in which the economy and civil institutions are organized.

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