In 2010 the Journal of Business Ethics ranked DePaul among the top 10 universities in the world for its research in business ethics. Contributing to this status was the fact that DePaul had 22 distinct business ethics research authors publishing over the past 10 years.
"The first reason we’re recognized in this area is that DePaul encourages scholars to do high quality research that matters in the world,” says Laura Hartman, professor, Department of Management, and Vincent de Paul Professor of Business Ethics. “Our faculty’s work doesn’t sit on a shelf; it makes a difference in the world.”
The second reason, according to Hartman, is the university’s commitment to cultural diversity: “DePaul encourages us to examine questions about the origins of people’s belief structures and about how one resolves conflicts of value peacefully. Our diversity encourages collaboration, even across disciplinary lines — a collaboration that brings richness and depth to our scholarship.”
Here are just of few examples of recent collaborative research done by DePaul faculty.
"Alleviating Poverty through Profitable Partnerships” by Patricia H. Werhane (Management and Philosophy), Scott P. Kelley (Religious Studies and the Office of Mission and Values), Laura P. Hartman (Management), and Dennis J. Moberg (Philosophy, Santa Clara University)
“Philanthropy has failed,” says Werhane. “The best way to alleviate poverty is through public-private partnerships in which companies help people become self-sustaining through micro-lending programs or cottage industries. This model works on a small scale with non-government organizations or on a large scale with for-profit companies. Coincidently, the corporations behind such partnerships also benefit, strategically and practically, as they gain access to developing markets important in the global economy.”
In his review, Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University, writes “in this gem of a book, [Werhane and her colleagues] portray poverty for what it represents for business — an opportunity to dramatically improve peoples' lives.”
The book documents the success of public-private partnerships through successful case studies which, as Kelley explains, “convey the concept of moral imagination or the ability to discover and evaluate possibilities within a situation with the intent of making decisions that are better — economically and morally. When I started teaching ethics, I took a traditional approach, covering classical and modern theory — but I only ended up reinforcing previously held assumptions. In this book, we wanted to show ethics as an on-going process. Ethical behavior is not a burden; it’s a strategy for making business sustainable.”
Robert Weisberg, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Congo and Global Ethics Officer for Nokia Siemens Networks, says that “the authors lay out a compelling case of how the private sector represents a powerful force against global poverty. They develop a model that inextricably links corporate social responsibility with competitive advantage."
“Do Ethical Leaders Get Ahead? Exploring Ethical Leadership and Promotability” Business Ethics Quarterly (2010), presented at the Academy of Management Meeting (2008) by Robert S. Rubin (Management), Erich C. Dierdorff (Management), and Michael E. Brown
In this research, the authors examine the consequences of ethical leadership on “promotability” among a sample of 96 managers from two independent organizations.
“We found that leaders who engage in high levels of ethical leader behavior are more likely (than those engaging in low levels) to be seen by senior management as high performers,” says Rubin. “Also, while they are no more likely than others to be promoted in the near term, they are more likely to rated by their superior as showing the potential to reach senior leadership positions eventually.”
The study also exposed the importance of culture and context in ethical leadership.
“When an organization has a strong ethical culture, an ethical leader will be more likely seen as having potential,” says Rubin. “In a related study, we found that employees of ethical leaders were more willing to report ethical problems in the workplace, less likely to break rules, and more committed to the organization overall. Our current project is examining the degree to which ethical leaders are more likely to reward ethical behavior, thereby creating, maintaining, and reinforcing a positive ethical culture.”
“Religious Perspectives on Business Ethics: An Anthology” and The Journal of Religion and Business Ethics by Thomas O'Brien (Religious Studies) and Scott Paeth (Religious Studies)
In this book — the first anthology of its kind — O’Brien and Paeth have filled a gap in the academic and professional literature. “We found in our own teaching a lack of texts that would bring together religion and ethics,” says O’Brien. “By putting in one book a number of excellent articles that incorporate religious perspectives in their discussion of business ethics, we’ve simplified the process of trying to find additional resources to complement strictly secular textbooks.”
About the book, Dennis Moberg, past president of the Society for Business Ethics, writes: "Finally, a well-annotated anthology that addresses the spiritual dimension of business ethics. This is for students who elect business not merely as a career but as a vocation.”
Working on the anthology, the authors were prompted to launch The Journal of Religion and Business Ethics as a way to find, filter, focus, and disseminate information to a wider audience. When the Via Sapientiae Press came on line with DePaul’s library, the pair saw a perfect, open-access delivery model.
“We’re holding the journal to the highest standards of academic rigor,” says Paeth. “This is a DePaul project, housed at DePaul and rooted in our ethos of Vincentian personalism, social responsibility, and engagement with the world. The journal is our attempt to make a real impact on how business is done in an ethical manner.”
“Not many universities are doing the kind of practical ethical research we are,” concludes Hartman. “We can be rightly proud of following in the footsteps of St. Vincent de Paul. And we encourage our students to do the same in their personal and professional lives.”