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Kirk Hanson, Executive Director, SCU Markkula Center for Applied Ethics | Professor of Social Ethics, John Courtney Murray S.J. University

Kirk Hanson

Kirk Hanson is Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and John Courtney Murray S.J. University Professor of Social Ethics, positions he has held since 2001.

In 2001, he took early retirement from Stanford University where he taught in the Graduate School of Business for 23 years and is now an emeritus faculty member.

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is one of the most active ethics centers in the United States, working in the fields of business, government, and internet ethics, bioethics as well as in K-12 character education. Hanson coordinates the work of over 20 staff members who work directly for the center and 50 faculty who are affiliated with it. Its faculty scholars work on all aspects of applied and professional ethics.

At Stanford from 1978 through 2001, Hanson was Senior Lecturer in Business Administration and a pioneer in the study of business ethics and business responsibility. He was also Faculty Director of the Stanford Sloan Program, Stanford’s masters program for mid-career executives. He taught in Stanford’s MBA and Executive Programs throughout his Stanford career.

Hanson writes on managing the ethical and public behavior of corporations. He co-edited a four-volume series released in 2006 entitled The Accountable Corporation. His current research interests include the design of corporate ethics programs and the responsibilities of boards for the ethical culture of the organization.

He was the founding president of The Business Enterprise Trust, a national organization created by leaders in business, labor, media, and academia to promote exemplary behavior in business organizations; the first Chairman of the Santa Clara County Political Ethics Commission; and has written a weekly column on workplace ethics for the San Jose Mercury News. He has served on the boards of the Social Venture Network and Students for Responsible Business, national organizations; and of American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley. He served on the Advisory Board of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics from 1995 until his appointment to head the center. He has twice chaired Stanford’s Committee on Investment Responsibility which advises the Stanford Board of Trustees on social investment issues.

Hanson currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Skoll Community Fund and the advisory board of the Entrepreneurs’ Foundation of Silicon Valley. In October 2005 he was appointed the Honorary Chair of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing, China’s first center for the study of business ethics.

Mr. Hanson is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has held graduate fellowships and research appointments at the Yale Divinity School and the Harvard Business School.


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How Can Global Companies Operate Ethically?

By Kirk Hanson
In today's world, we live in close proximity to people from different cultures, and any sizable business operates in dozens of countries. Each...
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Has Technology Killed Academic Integrity?

By Kirk Hanson
About seven years ago, when the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics first started our Big Q project to engage college students in conversation...
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Can Ethics and Profit be Reconciled?

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As a business ethicist, I have spent my life addressing the task of putting ethical principles to work in business. Many have written about the...
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When Should We Forgive Public Figures?

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The unending stories this year about prominent athletes who have misbehaved raise important ethics questions. Who can we forgive and who...
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Ethics: What's Your Role?

By Kirk Hanson
In my 40 years of teaching business ethics, I've come to believe that understanding the roles we play in life is the key to ethical living. If we...
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The Search for Worthwhile Work

By Kirk Hanson
I recently spoke to Bentley University students about ethical dilemmas they were likely to encounter when they started working. The first...
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