Resilient organisations: Investing in organisational morality to maintain a social license to operate


Join BEST, the ARC Training Centre for Behavioural Insights for Technology Adoption (BITA), and the UQ School of Psychology for a fantastic and engaging seminar with Professor Naomi Ellemers, who will argue that social impact ambitions introduce a new dimension on which organisations are evaluated, which emphasises organisational moral choices. 


The conditions under which organisations have to perform are rapidly changing. Demonstrating efficiency and profitability that contribute to financial return on investments is no longer enough. External stakeholders such as consumers, investors, communities and regulators increasingly expect organisations to attend to broader social concerns such as environmental sustainability, human rights protection, business integrity, and general social value creation. In fact, European legal directives have made reporting on non-financial results mandatory for many businesses. These changing expectations in society raise basic questions about the added value and core purpose of organisations, and the continuation of their social ‘license to operate’.

In this seminar, Prof. Ellemers will present evidence from a program of research demonstrating that a focus on moral concerns and moral evaluations introduces hidden psychological costs. Paradoxically, this has unintended effects on organizational realities that limit the potential for positive impact. On the basis of  Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) Naomi will explain how organisational strategic choices and everyday practices can threaten the identity of individual members. Naomi will connect these insights to evidence from research in moral psychology, specifically focusing on self-serving and strategic responses to the possibility of moral failure, as specified in the Behavioral Regulation Model (Ellemers, 2017; Ellemers & De Gilder, 2021). This analysis elucidates the distinction between defensive responses that stand in the way of investing in organisational morality and more constructive efforts towards organisational adaptation to social impact goals – as a way towards more resilience.


About The Speaker:

Prof. Naomi Ellemers, Utrecht University / University of Queensland

Naomi Ellemers is a social and organizational psychologist, working as a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Her research connects psychophysiological indicators of group processes and intergroup relations to practical issues in work teams and organizations. She works with practitioners, policy makers and regulators to develop and test effective interventions, addressing a broad range of issues relating to work ethics and socially responsible behavior in organizations.

She is chair of the board of the SCOOP research consortium, initiated to develop a longstanding multi-site, multi-disciplinary research program on sustainable cooperation for a resilient society. She also chaired the committee that was invited by the Ministry of Education to advise about the national policy on Social Safety in Academia. The relevance and contribution of her work has been recognized with multiple substantial grants and honors. These include an Honorary Doctorate from UC Louvain in Belgium, as well as her election as a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the British Academy (FBA), the Academia Europaea (MAE), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).


Location: Room Z-808, Level 8, Z-Block, QUT Gardens Point Campus, 2 George Street, Brisbane City | Online: | Password: 687354 | Meeting ID: 861 9342 4120
Start Date: 02/11/2022 [add to calendar]
Start Time: 11am (AEST)
End Date: 02/11/2022
End Time: 12pm (AEST)
Cost: FREE
Organiser: BEST Centre, ARC BITA and UQ School of Psychology