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Institute For Enterprise Ethics | Elevate Ethics 2015

Quarterly Ethics Review

Quarterly Ethics Review is a roundup of the previous quarter's newsworthy stories about corporate and business ethics. It is moderated by the Institute's Director, Dan Sweeney, and features a panel of three Daniels College of Business faculty. This lively discussion offers unique insights on the issues facing businesses and business people through a lens of ethics and fair play.

Click here to view the most recent episode.


“Tycoons to the Barricades?"

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Billioanaires to the Barricades

Why Should Billionaires be concerned about the disparities in wealth and income in the developed world?  Well, some of them are. “It is unfair and it is not sustainable” said billionaire merchandising mogul Johann Rupert in front of the crowd at the “luxury summit” in Monaco.

Private equity investor Paul Tudor said in a recent TED talk the divide between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent “cannot and will nor persist." Alan Feuer had more to say about these new wealthy champions of egalitarianism in the New York Times on Sunday, July 5.

Click here to read a complete article in the New York Times.

Individual vs. Institutional Ethics

Enterprise Ethics | Group Ethics

The typical perception of power and unethical behavior is the powerful person forcing his or her wishes on the powerless minions against their will. Recent research by Professor Jessica Kennedy of Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate school of Management and reported in Strategy+Business suggests that it may in fact be just the opposite.

Her research and the research of others have found that high ranking individuals tend to identify more strongly with the group and are therefore more likely to go along with the group’s recommendation even if that recommendation suggest actions that are unethical. It may not be “tone at the top” but “tone at the middle” that actually carries the day.


What's New

Trends in Corporate Governance

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Governance
On Thursday, May 14, the Institute for Enterprise Ethics hosted an executive breakfast for 20+ executives and independent directors on the most important recent developments in corporate governance. The discussion was led by Professor John Holcomb of the Daniels College of Business and produced a lively and robust conversation on issues including corporate political activities, shareholder activism and cybersecurity.

To view Professor Holcomb’s slide presentation on these topics, please click here.

A Really Good Idea: The Chief Culture Officer

Who in your organization is you “chief culture officer”? In most organizations no one is seen as the “chief culture officer” much less have that title. Many will say it’s the company’s CEO, managing the culture rarely shows up on the CEO’s job description, much less in her compensation plan.

In some organizations it seems like the Director of Communications is the “chief culture officer” since he is the sources of all of the verbiage, posters, placards and 3x5 cards touting the company’s culture. So, who should be your Chief Culture Officer? Bob and Greg Vanourek, coauthors of Triple Crown Leadership make a strong case that it should be the Chief Human resources Officer. Click here and see what you think.

Directors Behaving Badly

Directors Behaving Badly

Recently, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported two different stories of senior directors taking advantage of their positions to engage in substantial transactions that may have benefited them personally, possibly at the expense of their corporations. Dish Network’s founder and CEO purchased $1 Billion of distressed debt in a company possessing assets of substantial value to Dish and a year later bid $2 Billion through a private LLC while not informing the board. In July, 2013, Dish bid $2.2B for the target company.  

In a similar case, the vice chairman and lead independent director at Mylan NV was also the main developer of an office park where Mylan was planning to build a new headquarters without disclosing he was on both sides of the transaction.

Had these guys never heard the terms “conflict of interest” or “duty of loyalty”?

These People Have No Manners – At All!

Institute for Enterprise Ethics | Uber Screens
What is with these new-age high-tech operations, playing at business with absolutely no professional dignity, much less decorum? Within the past week, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported on two example of high-tech companies being accused of pilfering key employees and all of their intellectual capital from competitors and presumed business partners.

Click here and see what you think.
Can Bankers (Be Made to) Behave?
Business Ethics | Can Bankers Behave?

William D. Cohan, author of House Cards and Money and Power and contributor to many major periodicals on topics of finance and Wall Street wrote a powerful piece in the May 2015 edition of The Atlantic magazine addressing just this question – “Can bankers Behave?” His answer appears to be yes, but it’s not likely. Cohan asks if “Wall Street’s deepest flaws (might) be cultural, promulgated over generations by leaders who have chosen to reward those who cut corners, stab colleagues in the back and engage in otherwise unethical behavior?”.

To read more click here.

Strategic Partners

NetImpact's mission is tNetImpact | University of Denvero cultivate a community of Daniel's College of Business students and professionals dedicated to using business as a platform for creating positive social, environmental, and financial impact.

Strategic Partners

National Association of Corporate Directors | Colorado Chapter

The vision of the National Association of Corporate Directors is to develop the best educated directors with a focus on skills, ethics and leadership.  Their mission is to provide real learning and quality networking for directors and board engaged “C” suite officers and to be the voice for the director.


About the Institute

The Institute for Enterprise Ethics was established at the Daniel's College of Business as the vehicle to extend the College’s expertise and resources in business ethics to the practitioner community of executives, officers and directors of commercial and social enterprises in the region.

To learn more about the Institute, click here.

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