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Chris MacDonald - Ted Rogers School of Management. Toronto, ON, CA

Chris MacDonald Chris MacDonald

Chair of the Department of Law & Business | Ted Rogers School of Management

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Professor MacDonald focuses on business ethics, conflicts of interest, corporate social responsibility, and professional ethics





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Ryerson MBA Program Ranked Tenth in Canada Greed: How must is too much? with Chris MacDonald President's Lecture Series - Dr. Chris MacDonald Rob Ford is a poor leader: business ethics blogger Chris MacDonald The ethics of Canada's 'underground economy'



Chris MacDonald is an associate professor, writer, speaker and consultant on ethics. MacDonald has been at the Ted Rogers School of Management since August 2012. His expertise in the field of ethics has led to him receiving a number of awards over the years, including being named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics,” by Ethisphere magazine. MacDonald has also been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behaviour” by Trust Across America in 2011 and 2012. A philosopher by training, MacDonald is also the creator and co-editor of the Business Ethics Journal Review and the author of the highly-regarded Business Ethics Blog. MacDonald has a strong commitment to leadership studies, as demonstrated by his continued development of programs that enable students to become leaders, including an “Ethical Reasoning” module that is now taught to all LAW 122 students. MacDonald’s drive to succeed inspires staff, faculty and students throughout the Ted Rogers School of Management every day.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Professional Ethics Business Ethics Corporate Social Responsbility

Selected Media Appearances (5)

Can Sears Canada justify those ugly retention bonuses?



The optics of retention bonuses during times of financial distress will always be terrible. “Though it’s not the intention, they tend to send a signal to everyone who’s been laid off that somehow they’re not worthy,” says Chris MacDonald, interim director, MBA programs at Ryerson University. “It adds insult to injury.” The optics in the case of Sears Canada are so bad there’s a strong case to be made the company should have reconsidered the bonuses: the company is not paying severance, and employee pensions are in jeopardy. The company also initially asked the court for permission to immediately halt pension and health benefit payments—though it later agreed to continue payments until the end of September (a photo of chief financial officer Billy Wong shielding his face at the courthouse doesn’t exactly help the company’s image, either)...

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How public officials got into the weed game



Some say there might not be a conflict. “Simply holding the shares while being the civil servant isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” says Chris MacDonald, a professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University and a consultant on business ethics. “It all depends on the kinds of decisions he’s faced with.” The Ontario government as a whole does face decisions affecting licensed producers: while a federal task force has given recommendations on how to distribute marijuana, the province must figure out which stores or pharmacies will sell the weed and from where they will source it. Ontario is home to the highest number of licensed producers in Canada, 24 out of 42, including Mettrum’s warehouse in Bowmanville. It is unclear what role Health Quality Ontario will play in these decisions, but Tepper says, “there’s nothing at all in our mandate that would touch on this space.”...

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Shopify caught in political crossfire over refusal to drop Breitbart webstore

The Globe and Mail  


Some business experts questioned Shopify's free-speech defence. "Censorship in its truest form is something that is imposed by government," said Chris MacDonald, a business-ethics professor at Ryerson University. "It would be hard to make the case that Breitbart is being stifled or having its rights trampled on by having one online platform say, 'Look, we'd rather do business another way.'"...

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Trudeau Liberals continue to soar high, poll shows

Toronto Star  


In 2014, Ezrin and colleague Chris MacDonald at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management oversaw a study on the ethics of political leadership. The low regard in which politicians were held was stark, he said.

So achieving popularity doesn’t demand perfection. Voters “like the idea that he’s kept his election promises, more or less; they like the idea that he has been more or less open and accessible.

“Mr. Trudeau has been successful so far because he’s exceeding people’s expectations and the expectation may be somewhat low for politicians in general.”...

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Canadians rank politicians among least trusted professionals: poll

Toronto Star  


“These results suggest Canadians are facing a crisis of confidence in the integrity of their politicians at all levels of government,” said Chris MacDonald, a Ryerson professor and co-author of the study.

“This is bad for democracy in Canada.”...

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Selected Articles (3)

Rescuing the baby from the triple-bottom-line bathwater: a reply to Pava Business Ethics Quarterly

Chris MacDonald, Wayne Norman


We respond to Moses Pava's defense of the “Triple Bottom Line” (3BL) concept against our earlier criticisms. We argue that, pace Pava, the multiplicity of measures (and units of measure) that go into evaluating ethical performance cannot reasonably be compared to the handful of standard methods for evaluating financial performance. We also question Pava's claim that usage of the term “3BL” is somehow intended to be ironical or subversive...

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Getting to the bottom of “triple bottom line” Business Ethics Quarterly

Wayne Norman, Chris MacDonald


In this paper, we examine critically the notion of “Triple Bottom Line” accounting. We begin by asking just what it is that supporters of the Triple Bottom Line idea advocate, and attempt to distil specific, assessable claims from the vague, diverse, and sometimes contradictory uses of the Triple Bottom Line rhetoric. We then use these claims as a basis upon which to argue (a) that what is sound about the idea of a Triple Bottom Line is not novel, and (b) that what is novel about the idea is not sound...

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Conflict of interest policies at Canadian universities: Clarity and content Journal of Academic Ethics

Bryn Williams-Jones, Chris MacDonald


Discussions of conflict of interest (COI) in the university have tended to focus on financial interests in the context of medical research; much less attention has been given to COI in general or to the policies that seek to manage COI. Are university COI policies accessible and understandable? To whom are these policies addressed (faculty, staff, students)? Is COI clearly defined in these policies and are procedures laid out for avoiding or remedying such situations?...

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