Santa Clara University


Global Moral Leadership

Markkula Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson has written extensively on the topic of global moral leadership. He distinguishes between ethical leadership and moral leadership. “Ethical leadership is about leading an organization or people to accomplish its core purposes using ethical means. Moral leadership is about leading an organization or people to accomplish an explicitly moral purpose.”

Kirk O. Hanson, “Perspectives on Global Moral Leadership.”

This article describes four key characteristics of such leadership:

  1. a personal commitment to a set of values that transcend a single nation or culture;
  2. the world’s (or a region’s) need for a key moral value that is not currently widely held or acted upon, and the leader’s insight that this value can be enacted;
  3. the courage to articulate and promote that value, often at significant risk to oneself; and
  4. the communication and other skills to promote that value effectively.

The article then discusses each of these characteristics. Finally, the article treats religious (papal, Dalai Lama) and secular (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights) sources for global moral standards. This is followed by a short discussion of the initiative of Hans Küng for a Declaration of Human Responsibilities. Finally, there is mention of various voluntary global codes offered by non-governmental organizations, for example:

The United Nations Global Compact

The CAUX Principles, and

The ISO 26000

In December 2005, Kirk and Mark Epstein edited four volumes entitled The Accountable Corporation (Praeger Publishers).

Volume 1: Corporate Governance

Volume 2: Business Ethics

Volume 3: Corporate Social Responsibility

Volume 4: Business-Government Relations

Click here for a detailed description of the work.

Click here for a current list of presentations and articles by Kirk O. Hanson.

See especially:

“Implementing Codes of Ethics in the Asian Context,” Beijing, October 20, 2006. This talk to Chinese business leaders discusses the nature of company codes of conduct, the manner of implementation, and reported problems inside the company, outside the home country, and specifically in Asia.

“Business Ethics in a Global Economy”

“Culture Suggests Cheaters Do Prosper” (San Jose Mercury News op-ed)

“Global Labor Rights and the End of the Multifiber Arangement”

“Human Rights and Human Responsibilities” (InterAction Council panel)

“Pharmaceutical Decisions in Response to Epidemics: A Case Study”

“What Really Went Wrong With Enron? A Culture of Evil?”

“Plight of Children” (to InterAction Council)

“Religion in Global Ethical Leadership” (to InterAction Council)

November 9, 2009.