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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Business Ethics

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics explores ethical issues in global business, leadership, executive compensation, ESG (environment, social, governance) and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and other areas of business ethics.

What Is Business Ethics?

by Ann Skeet, senior director, leadership ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Business ethics is the application of moral reasoning to matters that arise in corporate life.  Ethics is about the conditions that support human flourishing; business ethics considers how humans flourish both in business settings and as a result of actions that organizations take.

In the study of ethics, context matters.  Ethical business behavior is considered in the context in which companies operate, both within their industries, their countries, and globally.

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Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture

The mission of the Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture (ITEC) is to “convene a collaborative and creative space for interfaith, cross-cultural, and cross-functional thought leaders to harness good will, to improve our world and to allow the human spirit to flourish through digital and smart technologies.”

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Business Ethics Resources
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Navigate here to Business Ethics Articles

Articles on corporate governance, organizational ethics, creating an ethical culture, leadership, and global business ethics.

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Navigate here to Business Ethics Cases

Ethics case studies on bribery, sourcing, intellectual property, downsizing, and other topics in business ethics, corporate governance, and ethical leadership.

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Navigate here to Business Ethics Resources

Resources on business ethics including material on corporate governance, global business ethics, and leadership.

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Navigate here to Business Ethics Videos

Webinar recordings and interviews with Silicon Valley executives covering topics from corporate governance to why good people do bad things.

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Business Ethics Internships

Santa Clara University students are placed in Ethics and Compliance or ESG positions at major companies in Silicon Valley such as Intel, Adobe, Cadence, KLA, and Marvell.

Learn About the Business Ethics Internship

Resources for Managing Corporate Culture

A collection of resources sharing research and practical approaches to addressing the ethical challenges inherent in creating healthy, anti-racist, inclusive organizations.  We help managers understand what they need to do to create the kind of culture built on values, void of toxicity, and viable for the diversity represented in today's workforce.

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Teaching Note: Interview of Theranos Whistleblower, Tyler Shultz

This teaching module for business ethics, leadership, and management courses includes two videos, homework assignments, and class discussion, all designed to spark conversation about ethical issues associated with whistleblowers and corporate governance.

Download the Theranos Teaching Note

Benison: The Practice of Ethical Leadership
Leaders in business, civil sector, government, and academia at the AI Roundtable with Congressman Ro Khanna held March 18, 2024 at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Leadership takes many forms, and often the most important thing leaders can do is listen. Leaders from industry, civil society, and academia met with Congressman Khanna to inform his thinking about AI regulation.

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University leaders should have a plan and be prepared to manage conflict and controversy that lands on campus.

AI ethics and legal concepts artificial intelligence law and online technology of legal regulations Controlling artificial intelligence technology is a high risk. By Sansert_AdobeStock

It is not unreasonable for people to want the advantages of a new technology delivered within a certain set of easily identifiable standards. For executives and board members, ethics are no longer a laughing matter.

Open AI and Microsoft logos

The defeat of the Open AI Board shows that in the battle between AI profits and ethics, it’s no contest.

Trends in Business Ethics

Ethics and compliance are different things, says Ann Skeet, senior director, leadership ethics. Analyzing trends in business ethics, Skeet points to a new interest in human rights concerns, a growth in representation of diverse stakeholders, and new metrics, such as ESG, which measures a business' environment, sustainability, and governance practices.

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Workplace Diversity Dialogues

Diversity and inclusion problems in Silicon Valley organizations are solvable if the issues are considered as ethical dilemmas. Find resources, articles, videos, and blog posts about diversity and inclusion here.

Explore Diversity and Inclusion Resources

Leadership and Business Ethics Council

As ethical issues in business and leadership are increasingly relevant to today’s climate this team of professionals from public, private, and nonprofit sectors collaborates with the Ethics Center to identify and prioritize complex issues.

Meet the Leadership and Business Ethics Council

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An Industry Leader in Ethics Consultation

For more than 35 years, the Ethics Center has helped individuals and organizations make better decisions and includes offering fee-for-service options for organizations that want a customized approach to building training programs, case studies, and other materials.

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