Acting Like Ethics Matters

Introducing a New Forum

Written by Jeffery Smith, Director, Center for Business Ethics
February 8, 2018

Welcome to Ethics Matters: Perspectives on Responsible Business, the Center for Business Ethics’ online forum for the exploration of ethics in business and business education. The Center is not alone in hosting such a forum. But we are unique in offering Seattle University’s practical, human-centered exploration of the values that support responsible business.

Faculty within SU's Albers School of Business and Economics have long embraced the importance of examining the intersection of ethics and business. Accounting professors in the School appreciate that ethics lies at the heart of effective corporate governance. The economists, statisticians and information systems specialists who sit down the hall from my office have been careful to require our students to think about how the uses of “big data” impact the rights of employees and consumers. And my colleagues in management have worked for years on how ethical values in business shape the ways we become more fully human at work.

Just as important are the commitments of those who support the work of faculty and students. Administrators, countless mentors, corporate partners and members of advisory boards frequently note that our devotion to the study of ethics fuels their interest in what we do as a school. And donors, including former Boeing CEO Frank Shrontz and MBA alumnus and CEO of Kestra Medical Technologies, Brian Webster, have made it extremely clear that our mission is worth a substantial investment. It is one thing to be a part of educating future business professionals; it is another to believe that such education can help support our collective interest in critical, thoughtful and socially-minded leaders. Doug Moore, President of McKinstry and Advisory Board member of the Center for Business Ethics puts this point even more directly:

The role of business is to engage with the community to do good. Communities have ongoing needs and businesses must retain consistent partners, even in years when profits are down. By linking ethics education to core values, Albers equips future business leaders with a moral compass that directs their decisions toward the common good.

So while this forum springs from work that has occurred at the Albers School and Seattle University for many years, the Center for Business Ethics aspires here to make what we do even more relevant. An essential part of this process is to showcase the stories that animate the University's ethics-centered mission. We will talk here about the pressing issues of the day. Students will discuss their experiences in the classroom. Faculty will present their research findings. Alumni and board members will discuss how ethics shapes their work in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Guests and partners from other universities will lend their insights to the larger Seattle business community.

Join us and visit Ethics Matters often. And, if you are struck by what you read, let me know what is on your mind and what the Center for Business Ethics can do to strengthen service to you.