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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Leadership Ethics

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics explores ethical issues in organizational leadership such as corporate governance, role-based ethics and tone at the top. We also address questions of personal ethical leadership.

Resources for Leaders Managing Corporate Culture

A collection of articles sharing research and practical approaches to addressing the ethical challenges inherent in creating diverse, 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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Evaluating Culture for Ethics

Culture Self-Assessment Practice recommends approaches to evaluating culture for ethics within companies and other types of organizations. The materials are primarily for members of an organization’s leadership team, including human resources and legal, but designed to engage a cross-section of leaders from various disciplines.

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Leadership Ethics Resources

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Leadership Ethics articles on corporate governance, ethical reasoning, diversity, mission and values, and culture.

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Case Studies

Case studies on leadership ethics issues faced by organizations such as Apple, Starbucks, and Wells Fargo.

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Customize Your Mission

A mission statement serves as a standard for ethical decision-making to guide individuals and organizations.

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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.

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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.

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Benison: The Practice of Ethical Leadership
Two hands reaching across a table in a handshake. The reflection of their hands can be seen in the glass tabletop.

The risk that unethical employees pose to a corporation justify the inclusion of a few good questions related to ethics in the interview process.

A computer screen with stock trading information.

ESG investing is impacting how businesses operate, however, critics argue that ESG funds financially underperform and do not seem to deliver better ESG performance.

Federal Trade Commission Building

The FTC cited Drizly CEO James (Cory) Rellas for data breaches affecting his company’s customers.

U.S. President, Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet in the Oval Office at the White House in August, 2021. Associated Press, Evan Vucci

In this time of war in the Ukraine, leaders are making nuanced and critical ethical decisions.

Media Commentary
Skyscraper building overlayed with environmental symbols and green trees.

Ann Skeet, senior director, leadership ethics, quoted by TechTarget.

Looking at What’s Behind Unethical Behavior

Sarah Cabral, senior scholar, business ethics, quoted by Communication Intelligence

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Don Heider, executive director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, quoted by Inside Higher Ed


Irina Raicu, director, internet ethics quoted by NBC Bay Area.

A Model for Leadership Ethics

Leadership ethics explores the relationships between leaders and followers and provides tools for those in leadership roles to bring ethics forward in organizations. Ann Skeet, senior director of leadership ethics, has developed a leadership model that encourages users to think of their leadership as a practice. It shows how leadership happens on a continuum from the personal to the formal, building from a leader’s character and including actions the leader takes, with elements combining to render the impact the leader has.

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What Is Leadership Ethics?

Leadership ethics looks at the issues people face when they're in formal leadership roles. It can also be about personal leadership—people’s character and values and how they “show up” in life, which is central to the way they are able to have an impact as leaders.

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Resources for Leaders During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A collection of articles addressing the compelling ethical issues that businesses and leaders are facing today.

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