Dr. Robbin Derry

Lecture topic: What to hold onto when everything is in flux?

Dr. Robbin Derry
"I remember graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in French, excited that I would never write another academic paper. After doing a cooking apprenticeship in Paris, I worked as a cook/chef in various restaurants in NYC, but was frustrated about poor work conditions and the routine bribery of health code inspectors. I then started a small café in New Hampshire but realized I didn’t love the restaurant business, but rather the ethical questions that arise in organizations.

The field of Business Ethics was just emerging as I enrolled in business school. I found a niche where I could grapple with the questions about how people’s values influence the operations of organizations. A decade out of my PhD, I was offered a professorship in Ethics at a university in North Carolina, but lost that job after reporting an illegal workplace violation. I had mistakenly assumed the administration would be grateful to be informed about sexual harassment of students by a professor. I brought a grievance, fought for my job, and got it back, learning that I am an activist and that I would not stay quiet. It was startling to see who would and who would not be with me when I took a stand.

In the past 30 plus years of my academic career, I have taught at several institutions. I was a principal investigator on a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the tobacco industry. I was the president of a professional association; I have organized conferences and served on the editorial boards and as associate editor of business ethics journals. I have published research on marginalized stakeholders, contrasting approaches to ethical decision making, feminist ethical theories, and creativity in organizations. Since 2007, I have taught management and ethics courses on the Edmonton and Calgary uLethbridge campuses. Most recently I have developed a course on Gender, Race, and Leadership, because I don’t think we talk enough about gender and race in our courses."


Robbin Derry Last Lecture

What to hold onto when everything is in flux?