The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Ethical Challenges in Business
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics is the umbrella for all activities and research on leadership, ethics and governance at Columbia Business School. The mission of the Bernstein Center is to be a global forum for the development of innovative research on leadership, ethics and governance and for the promotion of ethics and related pedagogical content in the curricula of business schools.
Engaging students, faculty members, Columbia University colleagues and the external community in collaborative efforts, the Bernstein Center orchestrates endowed speaker series and seeks to integrate ethics into the core classes taught to all MBA and Executive MBA students at Columbia. Through funding research and developing new teaching materials, the Bernstein Center provides faculty members and students with frameworks and tools to think critically about ethical and governance conflicts so that they will be better prepared for their future careers.
â€œ The mission of this center is a critical one and a timeless one. By instilling the right principles in students early on, we can make a measurable difference.â€? L EWIS SANDERS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AllianceBernstein
Critical Issues Facing Business and Society
“ The thinking on ethics in business schools has evolved rapidly in the past decade. No longer just focusing on the lessons of ‘not to do bad,’ ethics has migrated to the role of leadership and governance for the promotion of ‘doing good,’ be it environmentalism, fairness in governance or social responsibility. Rapid advances in research show that people are not isolated but are hardwired to be engaged, and that shared social values create economic value. In a time of challenges to the viability of the public firm, competitive sustainability is renewed through a modern and ethical conception of corporate behavior.” BRUCE KOGUT Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Professor of Leadership and Ethics Director, The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
The Bernstein Center supports faculty-research projects and case development on such topics as socially responsible investing, the role of private equity and sovereign wealth funds, corruption and bribery in developed and developing countries, governance of and by financial institutions, and the global evolution of boardrooms to encompass more women and diversity.
In the Classroom
The Individual, Business and Society (IBS) curriculum emphasizes dilemmas of choice and the connections between decision makers and the consequences of their choices. Leadership and ethical issues are an integral aspect of preparing the next generation of global business leaders. The Bernstein Center oversees the IBS curriculum, which addresses challenges of values for the individual, business and society. IBS sessions are included in new-student orientation and in each core course. These sessions focus on three broad themes: Corporate Governance examines issues of power and fairness, including the workings of boards of directors and the distribution of rights and responsibilities among auditors, boards, executives, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders in specific national and industrial contexts. Topics include the following: • The role of boards in public corporations • The growing participation of women and minorities in governance • The challenges of governance in partnerships and venture capital contracts in varied national contexts • The legal responsibilities of board members • The impact of ethics and corruption on social welfare and economic development • The creation of economic value through socially responsible investments
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) relates to how companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business strategies, operations and interactions with stakeholders. Topics include the following: • Business conducted in emerging markets • Corruption • Society’s expectations of business and business leaders • The relationship between stakeholders and shareholder value Above all, the study of CSR has shifted from the question of whether a firm should pursue socially responsible strategies to the pragmatic challenges of how these strategies can be designed to be most effective. Values-Based Leadership explores the relationship between the individual’s values and those of the firm. Topics include the following: • Engaging individuals in actively promoting and protecting integrity in the workplace • Assessing and acting on the ethical pressures faced within organizational life • Understanding corporate crime and the difficulty of blowing the whistle • Recognizing the critical moment of ethical choice • Avoiding the “slippery slope” These themes are interrelated. Responsible corporate governance and corporate conduct ultimately result from the integrity of managers and boards. Creating an organization that promotes and protects individual integrity is a corporate responsibility.
Students Engaging with Business Leaders
Each year, MBA and Executive MBA students are selected to join the Student Leadership and Ethics Board. The Student Board works with the Bernstein Center to foster a culture and tradition of principled leadership throughout the School community by developing programs and activities that cultivate leadership, build character and promote ethical decision making. Speaker Series and Events The Bernstein Center and the Student Board host distinguished speakers, panelists and professors who contribute their expertise and ideas, enriching the MBA and Executive MBA experience. The Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics and Ethical Practice in the Professions recognizes outstanding leaders who exhibit the highest standard of ethical conduct in business. The
recipient inaugurates each school year with a keynote speech to students. The Paul M. Montrone Seminar Series on Ethics provides a venue for small groups of students to have roundtable discussions with business leaders about real-life ethical issues and the consequences of decisions. The intimate setting encourages students to freely discuss dilemmas of choice, and allows business leaders to advise students on how these issues can affect entire companies, shareholders and the public. The KPMG Peat Marwick/Stanley R. Klion Forum is an annual session that explores challenging issues and ethical dilemmas faced by todayâ€™s leading corporations. Topics have focused on a wide range of issues and industries, from cloning to mergers and acquisitions.
Laura Liswood, senior advisor with Goldman Sachs and cofounder of the Council of Women World Leaders, was a featured speaker during the Schoolâ€™s second annual Leadership and Ethics Week.
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics Columbia Business School Uris Hall 3022 Broadway, Room 203 New York, NY 10027 T. 212 854 1060 F. 212 854 0016 www.gsb.columbia.edu/leadership
Cert no. SW-COC-002481