A group of SCU seniors, all Hackworth Business Ethics Fellows at the Center, are creating a set of business ethics cases based on the experiences of Santa Clara Alumni. As they explain in a letter to alumns, " We are seeking these cases in order to help SCU students, alums, and others working in business here in Silicon Valley and beyond to be the most ethical business persons they can be and to build a culture of ethics one good decision at a time wherever they work."
The cases will be featured on a new, dynamic website. "With this website," the students write, "we want to create a moral community of persons readier to do the right thing and to encourage their colleagues to do the right thing, too."
Cases will all be altered to protect the identities of the people involved. The students are happy to interview alums at their convenience in order to prepare the cases. Such an interview would take from a half-hour to 45 minutes and cover three questions: What was the ethical dilemma at the root of the case? Could you describe both sides of the dilemma -- that is, the different values pulling at you as you dealt with the case? And how did you resolve the case?
If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact the fellows at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Materials from a Character Education Workshop provide practical tools for meeting the challenges of successful parenting and offer strategies for fostering the moral development of children. The presentation, by Character Education Director Steve Johnson, offered tiips for communicating values as well as how to teach the coping and cooperation skills required for ethical behavior. A focus of the talk was how to raise ethical children in a technological age.
Photo by Epsos.de used under a Creative Commons License
Maintaining independence and avoiding conflicts of interest at the board level is a significant challenge, says Daniel Cooperman, Of Counsel with the Bingham McCutchen law firm. Cooperman served as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Apple Inc. and senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Oracle Corp. He is the immediate past President of the Association of General Counsels, served on the board of several software trade associations, is a director of emerging technology companies, and teaches at Stanford Law School.
In this four-part video conversation with Kirk Hanson, executive director at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Cooperman details the duties and responsibilities of corporate board members to establish and protect their independence, and the importance of avoiding actual and perceived conflicts of interest. The two explore both the legal and ethical requirements of public board members in a complex and inter-related world.
Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery Sam Glasscock III spoke to the Center's Business and Organizational Ethics Partnership (BOEP) yesterday about the history and meaning of a chancery court and the kind of issues the court is currently hearing.
Other speakers at the BOEP's quarterly meeting included Joe Grundfest, former SEC commissioner and professor at Stanford Law School on "The Nexus of the Law and Ethics," and Bob Vanourek, former CEO of Sensormatic, on "Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations."
Hank Shea, a former Department of Justice Attorney who brings white collar felons to universities across the country, gave a presentation with David Logan, a former CEO and public official whom Shea prosecuted for bank fraud.
The BOEP meets quarterly to address emerging issues in business ethics. Contact Jim Balassone for more information.
Julia, a college student, is concerned to learn that her boyfriend Ricky regularly checks out pornographic websites on his computer. That's the premise in the newest case study from the Center's Big Q project, an online dialog for undergrads about the ethical issues in their everyday lives. To Julia, it feels like Ricky is cheating on her. Ricky says it means nothing.
You can join the conversation online. The best response from a student receives a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
Santa Clara University does not presently have an honor code although last year, Associated Student Government studied the issue, approved a draft code, and found that a majority of SCU undergraduates favored adopting an honor code.
SCU senior and Center Hackworth Fellow Aven Satre-Meloy is building on what was accomplished last year. Please come to this meeting to review the draft text of the code, hear results of a survey of students undertaken this fall, and more.
In all the debate about the middle class and the rich in the recent election, very little attention was paid to those at the bottom of the income ladder in the United States. John Ifcher, assistant professor of economics at SCU, talked with the Ethics Center's Emerging Issues Group this week about how low income Americans are faring.
First, Ifcher reviewed the Clinton-era welfare reform, known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. That piece of legislation made work a requirement for receiving assistance and sanctioned recipients who did not meet the requirement. It also put a five-year lifetime limit on access to government assistance.
Ifcher summarized the results: "These reforms came out of a period of growing caseloads, and they indisputably cut caseloads by about half. The percentage of single mothers working went from the high 60s to the low 80s. The best evidence is that the reforms didn't really have positive or negative effect on the income or consumption of people who went from welfare to work, but there is some evidence that they did increase the subjective well-being of former recipients. Economists generally model work as a negative thing, but happiness research says the opposite, that people get a lot of meaning and value from their work, so that may be why subjective well-being improved."
Have these improvements lasted through the Great Recession? Ifcher said it's still too early to make firm conclusions. "Anecdotal evidence suggests it's harder for people to get on welfare than it used to be. The rolls have not grown substantially, as they did in previous periods of recession, but the number of food stamp recipients has gone up. We know that the poverty rate has gone up from about 12.5 to about 15 percent. During this recession, as in other recessions, all the vulnerable populations were most likely to lose their jobs—young people, people of color."
Ifcher has started a research project to look at the subjective well-being of single mothers during the recession, a complement to his 2008 research on " “The Happiness of Single Mothers After Welfare Reform.”
"We're at a really challenging time," he said. "I'm definitely worried about the safety net."
Our civic responsibility extends beyond the election, and we need to start at the local level.
Voters need to study the ballot, and consult with nonpartisan organizations like the League of Women Voters that research the issues, making recommendations without political bias. Over time, we can pick better local candidates, because term limits means council members often end up as senators and members of Congress.
We can press them to back up their statements, explain how they can accomplish what they have promised, and speak of their own record rather than tearing down an opponent's.
A $500 prize will be awarded to the SCU student or team of students that creates the most creative, well-designed, accessible app allowing users to work through an ethical decision using the tools provided by the Ethics Center. The deadline for submissions is April 5, 2013.
Santa Clara University joins the world of open online education with the premiere of a business ethics course exploring the common and difficult decisions that confront professionals. This course will explore such daily dilemmas as pressure from management to falsify reports, resume white lies, and bullying rivals to get ahead.
Partnering with the new Instructure open online platform Canvas Network, Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at SCU, will teach “Business Ethics for the Real World.” The network is another outlet for the growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. The idea is anyone with Internet access can enroll in courses taught by some of the brightest minds in the world.
“We look forward to pioneering the MOOC concept both for Santa Clara and for the topic of business ethics,” says Hanson. “We can give the public a feel for the quality of education Santa Clara University students receive every day. We’re also thrilled the ethical framework we developed at the Markkula Center will be highlighted.”
While MOOCs have primarily focused on math and science, “Business Ethics for the Real World” will explore the role of ethics in business and offer practical advice on making decisions in the work place.
“This course is more than a standard lesson in business. It is driven by what we have learned from tackling real ethical issues with Silicon Valley companies. Anyone from San Jose to Shanghai can participate in the ethical dialogue taking place in Silicon Valley,” says Hanson.
While the course includes some ethical theory, it is designed to be approachable by anyone from the seasoned manager to someone just beginning their career. The course is the first of several being planned at Santa Clara. Future MOOC’s will address areas of SCU’s special expertise, including social entrepreneurship.
Enrollment will be limited to 500 people for the pilot course running Feb. 25 to March 25. The University and Instructure are hoping to launch classes with unlimited enrollment after the pilot. Ten other schools, including Brown University, are participating in the initial course offering. Enrollment is open now on Canvas.net.