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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The following postings have been filtered by tag business ethics. clear filter
  •  Global Dialog for Business Students on Ethics

    Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 5:02 PM

     Students from Jesuit business schools at Santa Clara University, Ateneo de Manila, and Loyola Institute of Business Administration in Chennai embark today on an online dialog about issues in business ethics.  The Global Dialog on Business Ethics blog kicks off with a discussion of who is responsible for the Dhaka factory fire in Bangladesh.  

    Created by Hackworth Business Ethics Fellows and SCU seniors Alexis Babb, Amanda Nelson, Saayeli Mukherji, and Noah Rickling, the blog will explore business ethics dilemmas that cross national boundaries.  The first post asks whether multinational companies are responsible for the safety conditions in factories that are part of their supply chain.

  •  Business Ethics for the Real World

    Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 9:02 AM

     There are still some spots left in the Massive Open Online Course being offered beginning Feb. 25 by Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson, Business Ethics for the Real World.  Three hundred and forty four people have already registered, and the course is limited to 500.

    The first four-week module defines ethics and explains a 10-step process for making ethical decisions.  Hanson outlines the concept of "unavoidable ethical dilemmas," that is, ethical problems that can be predicted based on the obligations people incur from their roles in the company, be they managers, executives, marketers, accountants, and so forth.

    The course is offered on the Canvas platform.

  •  The Legitimate Role of Whistleblowers in an Organization

    Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 4:31 PM

    With the advent of bounty awards for whistleblowers offered under the The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, some employees are now motivated to go outside their companies to blow the whistle on corporate wrong-doing.

    Henry "Hank" Shea, professor of law at St. Thomas University and former federal prosecutor, argues that this provision can serve as a wake-up call for companies in this video conversation with Ethics Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson.  Shea recommends that managers ask, "Are we doing everything possible to have our people come to us first?" Organizations, Shea says, should welcome the type of person who asks, "Why are we doing it this way? Is this the fairest way to serve our customers?"

  •  Business Ethics Dilemmas

    Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 4:13 PM

    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

  •  Board Independence

    Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 4:05 PM

    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.

  •  BOEP Hosts Sam Glasscock III

    Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 2:58 PM

    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. 

  •  Center to Offer MOOC on Business Ethics

    Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 9:45 AM

    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

  •  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Seminar

    Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 3:09 PM

    Experts from the SEC, the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, and the Ethics Center discuss cutting edge issues in global anti-corruption and compliance at a seminar Oct. 10, noon-2 p.m., at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel. 

    Our panel will discuss the legal, ethical, and business challenges faced by Silicon Valley companies with global operations and provide practical advice for conducting a global risk assessment and implementing effective anti-corruption programs. The discussion will include a case study highlighting the issues surrounding the detection, investigation, penalties and reputational damage from an FCPA violation.

    The seminar is free but registration is mandatory.

  •  Resources on Business Ethics in China

    Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012 12:55 PM

    A series of seven introductory videos on business ethics in China created by Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing (CIBE), and Kirk O. Hanson, director of the Markkula Ethics Center, highlight a collection of resources on Business Ethics now available from the Ethics Center. 

    Liu and Hanson discuss intellectual property protections, cultural attitudes toward gifts and bribes, labor and environmental standards, and fair trade. 

    Video resources also include a series of interviews with Stephan Rothlin, general secretary of the CIBE, as well as businesspeople with experience in the Chinese context.

    Articles and podcasts are also available.


  •  Red Flags for Corporate Boards

    Thursday, May. 31, 2012 2:02 PM

    Corporate directors can take action to prevent or abate major ethical meltdowns at their companies by being alert to red flags that show an organization is in trouble.  In a joint program this month with the National Association of Corporate Directors, Silicon Valley, the Ethics Center offered a panel discussion on eight signs that a company may be headed for ethical meltdown. 

    Panelists included Katie Martin, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Vince Vannelli, founder of KPG Ventures, Skip Battle, chairman of Fair Isaac and Co., and Jim Balassone, executive-in-residence at the Ethics Center.  Their presentation was informed by the work of Marianne Jennings.