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Dr. Athol Williams holds the following positions at the University of Oxford, UK:

He teaches the following subjects:

  • Strategic management

  • Strategic management & ethics

  • Financial & management accounting

  • General management

  • Entrepreneurship & innovation

His research interests include:

  • Strategy formulation – focus on organisational and cognitive processes for strategy formulation, including the interplay between strategy and ethics, and the interplay between strategy, corporate finance and risk management. 

  • Self-leadership – research-based tools for personal excellence and leadership by example. This involves developing approaches to personal leadership and exploring the challenges of an ethical personal and professional life.  

  • Corporate moral responsibility – debates over corporate responsibility for justice and social development, dilemmas of pursuing ethical business practice, tools for ethical decision-making, tools for corporate amends after wrongdoing, and corporate governance required to oversee and ensure compliance with these responsibilities.

  • The possibility of poetry – exploring the possibility of poetry as prayer, as forms of social connection, particularly in fostering peace. Exploring poetry as philosophy.

Williams holds seven degrees in a range of subjects (political philosophy, ethics, public administration, finance, business and engineering) as follows:

  • PhD, University of Oxford, UK

  • MPhil, University of Oxford, UK

  • MSc (Political theory), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK

  • MPA, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA

  • MSc (Finance), London Business School, UK

  • MBA, MIT Sloan School of Management, USA

  • BSc (Engineering), University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

His previous academic roles include (all in South Africa):

  • Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town

  • Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Ethics, University of Stellenbosch

  • Adjunct Professor, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand

Williams serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Journal of Indentureship and its Legacies, and is a member of the Scholars & Practitioners Network of the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard University. He is the co-founder of Read to Rise, a youth literacy organisation, and founder of the Institute of Social & Corporate Ethics, a research-based advocacy organisation.

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Presentations / Guest Lectures

  1. “Management Consulting: The Good, the Bad and the Dangerous,” Hertford College, Oxford, 2022

  2. “Why Good Companies Do Bad Things,” Said Business School, Oxford, 2022

  3. “Why Good Companies Do Bad Things,” EM Normandie, France, 2022

  4. “Why Good Companies Do Bad Things,” Asia School of Business, Malaysia, 2022

  5. “Whistleblowing: Personal agenda, employee loyalty and public interest,” Head, Heart and Hertford, Hertford College, 2022 & 2023

  6. “After the Scandal: An Ethics-based Approach to Corporate Reparations,” Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, 2019.

  7. “Value creation in a responsible manner: Corporate Responsibility 2.0,” Good Governance Academy, South Africa, 2019

  8. “Building Ethically-Responsible Organisations,” The Ethics Institute, 2019

  9. “Getting it Right: A Corporate Responsibility Framework,” University of Cape Town, 2019

  10. “The Ethics of Social Enterprise: A Reflection,” Values-Based Entrepreneurship & Social Impact Conference, University of Cape Town, 2019

  11. “Social Cohesion and Philanthropy,” IPASA Conference, University of Stellenbosch, 2019

  12. “The Justice Batting Order: When Should the Corporation Act to Remedy Injustice?” Priority in Practice Conference, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, 2018

  13. “Applying Business Insights to Improve School Systems,” Harvard Education Series, Harvard University, 2012

  14. ‘After the Scandal: An Ethics-based Approach to Corporate Reparations’ UCT, 2019

  15. ‘Getting it Right: A Corporate Responsibility Framework’, UCT, 2019

  16. ‘Value creation in a responsible manner’ Good Governance Academy, 2019

  17. ‘Building Ethically-Responsible Organisations’ The Ethics Institute, 2019

Academic workshops / panels

  1. “Leadership & Poetry,” Said Business School, Oxford, 2023

  2. “Healing the Wounds of History from Lebanon to Europe, and South Africa to Northern Ireland,” John Porter Diplomacy Centre, Hertford College, Oxford 2023

  3. “Inside State Capture,” South Africa Discussion Group, St Antony’s, University of Oxford, 2022

  4. “Poverty in all its dimensions,” Human Welfare Conference, Green Templeton College, Oxford, 2018

  5. “Evidence in Action,” Human Welfare Conference, Green Templeton College, Oxford, 2018

  6. “An Account of Responsible Corporate Practice in the Presence of Enduring Social Injustice,” Journal of Business Ethics Workshop, Nottingham Business School, 2018

  7. “Corporations and Justice,” Africa Society Symposium, Linacre College, University of Oxford, 2017

  8. “SME Financing,” Africa Development Conference, Harvard University, 2013

Keynote Addresses

  1. “Inside State Capture,” Hertford Reunites, Hertford College, University of Oxford, 2022

  2. “Learning to See,” International Perspectives Conference, Principia College, St Louis, USA, 2021

  3. “Stopping Corruption and Other Corporate Crimes,” CFO Finance Conference, 2019.

  4. “A Life of Possibility: Me, You, Us,” Actuarial Society of South Africa, 2017

  5. “Oppressed to Inspired,“ Engineering Faculty Awards, University of Cape Town, 2017

  6. Graduation Speaker – Milpark Business School 2021

  7. Graduation Speaker - AFDA Durban, 2021

  8. Graduation Speaker, Salesians Institute Youth Projects, Cape Town, 2018

  9. Glitz and the Ritz, Salvation Army, Sarasota FL, USA, 2017

  10. Old Mutual Staff Volunteerism Awards, Cape Town, 2017

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