Winners of IBE Student Essay Competition in Business Ethics 2019

News provided by Institute of Business Ethics on Thursday 10th Oct 2019

Date: 10 October 2019 The two winning essays of this year’s IBE Student Essay Competition in Business Ethics, supported by the Gordon Cook Foundation, both focus on the ethical challenges of technology in the workplace, examining the use of microchip technology with employees and workplace automation.

The IBE Student Essay Competition in Business Ethics celebrates the best writing and thinking by undergraduates and postgraduates on business ethics. It aims to encourage student interest in business ethics and the integration of discussions on corporate responsibility into the core curricula of business schools.

Philippa Foster Back CBE, IBE’s Director said: “As the business community struggles with the complex ethical challenges of the digital era, it is exciting to see the challenging level of debate on these issues taking place in the UK’s Universities and Business Schools. The business leaders of the future are being given the opportunity to develop the ethical acumen to interrogate both existing challenges and issues which are yet to be arise. We congratulate all those who entered, as well as the tutors who encouraged them.”

The Postgraduate category was won by Ysabel Dela Rosa from the University of Bath for her essay ‘The introduction of ‘voluntary’ microchip technology in the workplace: An innovative solution or invasion of privacy?’

Ysabel said: "With technological innovation being a driving force in preserving one’s existing and future market competitiveness, the attention towards its human rights implications, particularly regarding issues of privacy and surveillance, has often been overlooked. In response to this, my essay provides a case-study analysis into the ethical implications of introducing microchip implantations to employees. I am grateful to the IBE for this award, and the University of Bath for their guidance and support."

The Undergraduate category was won by Joel Christoph from UCL for his essay “Ethics and Workplace Automation”.

Joel said: “As a UCL BSc Economics graduate, I am aware of the central importance of trade-offs, for instance between efficiency and equity, when evaluating economic decisions within the firm. In my essay, I examine the ethical dilemmas that firms face in adopting automation technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, as either a worker-complementing or worker-substituting process in the workplace. I am grateful to have been selected by the IBE; this award reaffirms my dedication to promote and practise business ethics in my life and career.”

The winners were each awarded £1,000, thanks to a donation from the Gordon Cook Foundation.


For further information, contact Chris Cowton, Associate Director (Research) 020 7798 6040


About the Institute of Business Ethics

The Institute of Business Ethics, whose purpose is to promote high standards of business behaviour based on ethical values, is an important partner to any business wanting to preserve its long-term reputation by doing business in the right way.

For over 30 years, the IBE has advised organisations on how to strengthen their ethical culture by sharing knowledge and good practice, resulting in relationships with employees and stakeholders that are based on trust.

The IBE is a registered charity funded by corporate and individual supporters. @IBEUK

About the winners

Postgraduate winner: Ysabel Dela Rosa

School of Management

University of Bath

‘The introduction of ‘voluntary’ microchip technology in the workplace: An innovative solution or invasion of privacy?’

Tutor: Professor Andy Crane

You can read Ysabel’s winning essay on the IBE website

Undergraduate winner: Joel Christoph


“Ethics and Workplace Automation”

Tutor: Frank Witte

You can read Joel’s winning essay on the IBE website

About the IBE Student Essay Competition Awards Ceremony

The winners will be announced at a special event at the Institute of Business Ethics on 10th October 2019 – Business Ethics in the Digital Age: Utopia or Dystopia?

The evening will begin with the announcement of the winners of the 2019 competition, with prizes awarded by Ivor Sutherland of the prize sponsors, the Gordon Cook Foundation, and the lead judge, Professor Chris Cowton, IBE’s Associate Director (Research). There will be short presentations based on the winning essays.

Professor Christoph Lütge, who is the Peter Löscher Endowed Chair of Business Ethics at the Technical University of Munich and Director of the new TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence, will give a short talk entitled ‘AI: Ethical Challenge or Opportunity?’, after which he will join a panel to answer questions from the audience.

Email to attend.

About the IBE Student Essay Competition

The competition is in two categories – Undergraduate and Postgraduate. Submissions must be current work from students who are based at Higher Education Institutions in the UK.

Submissions may be up to 3,000 words. These can be either a piece of work submitted as an assignment, or an original essay or case study. Group submissions can be made.

Essays are judged using the following criteria:

  • Topicality – the extent to which the topic of the essay is subject to contemporary debate and relevance to ethical business practice
  • Clarity of expression – the extent to which the essay is fluently written in accessible language, is coherently structured and uses a high standard of referencing
  • Analysis - the extent to which the essay presents clear, well organised and well reasoned argument, judgment and opinion or conclusion, with relevant evidence, analysis, illustration, interpretation, evaluation, or application
  • Use of theory and research – the extent to which the essay draws on appropriate academic literature and other data and relates it to the topic; and sets out and correctly employs relevant concepts
  • Application to practice – the extent to which the essay addresses real-world challenges in business ethics and makes a contribution to the development of thinking and practice

The Lead Academic co-ordinates the judging process, with first stage and final stage judges made up of academics, IBE staff, business leaders and any competition sponsors.

More information from

About the Gordon Cook Foundation

Financial support for the competition is thanks to a donation from the Gordon Cook Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1974 to promote and develop values education in the British education systems.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Institute of Business Ethics, on Thursday 10 October, 2019. For more information subscribe and follow

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