Andrea Learned

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On Making Ethical Business Decisions: My Guardian Post


If we knew what kept people from making values-based decisions in business situations in the first place, we could surely create the conditions that support increasing corporate social responsibility. So, what’s stopping us?

A recent NPR story about UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business research conducted by Professor Laura Kray (studying behavior of MBA students) showed that men make less ethical business decisions than women. Needless to say, this made me wonder.

As I wrote in my May 15, 2014, piece in The Guardian (Do women have stronger ethical business principles than men?):

If the “it’s just business” mindset is the norm for men who make unethical choices, how do we shift that – both to counter men’s lack of ethics and to support women’s tendency to hold to their principles?

In business schools and corporate culture, we need to better define the purpose of business and likely much better reward the decision-making processes that align with it. I interviewed both Kray and Jill Bamburg of sustainable business school Pinchot BGI for the piece, in order to uncover a few ideas for doing just that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, and learn how your company may be supporting ethical decision-making  (by everyone) in its own ranks.


Special thanks to Franck Vervial for use of the image.