Athol Williams is a business scholar, philosopher and poet.
His research and teaching focus on strategic risk management and corporate responsibility which incorporates ethics, organisational behaviour, leadership and strategy, and draws on his 20-year career in management consulting and corporate strategy. Based at Oxford University, he teaches Strategy & Ethics at St Catherine's College and is a Research Associate at the Porter Diplomacy Centre, Hertford College, where he leads the study of business in diplomacy and peace processes.
Williams explores two unique areas of philosophy, namely philosophy of business which studies the social nature of business and its moral obligations, and philosophy of being which investigates the nature of, and continuity between, human and non-human life. While the two areas of philosophy are distinct, both draw on normative principles of moral, social and political philosophy, while philosophy of business incorporates economic and organisational theory, and philosophy of being draws on transcendental psychology and mystical practice.
Williams received his business education at MIT Sloan School and London Business School, after an initial education in engineering at Wits. He trained as a philosopher at Harvard, LSE and Oxford. He holds six degrees from these institutions and is completing a seventh.
His philosophy of being is partially reflected in The Book of Eden and Pushing Boulders, as well as his six books of poetry. Early indications of his philosophy of business are evident in his academic work on corporate ethics and the role of business in future peace, as well as his recent book on corporate corruption, Deep Collusion.
Williams co-founded Read to Rise, a youth literacy NGO and the Institute of Social & Corporate Ethics. He is a whistleblower and ardent campaigner against corporate corruption, and for corporate ethics, in South Africa.
He is the author of 18 books including 6 books of poetry. He is a regular speaker at literary, public, corporate and academic events and a frequent contributor to the media. He is the recipient of numerous literary, academic and social development awards.