50905 Principled Leadership: Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility


This course examines the ethical and social dimensions of business, organized as follows:

  • Personal ethical performance: What do we owe morally to one another in business?
  • Leading ethical performance: What is required to incline a group of people to play by the rules and act with integrity? 
  • Leading social performance: What do organizations owe to the people and places they impact?

Realistic outcomes include the following:

  • The ability to evaluate the ethical performance of an organization and the effectiveness of its leaders. That may not seem like much but it forms the foundation for actually leading ethical performance, a demanding competency with wide applications.
  • Ideas you can employ now, in anticipation of the time when your leadership ability becomes just as important as your technical skills.   
  • A finely tuned “BS” detector, calibrated for use in areas that have a lot of it. Bear down on this course and you will become a discriminating consumer of ideas on leadership, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility.       

The subject matter of this course requires a nonstandard approach. Some of the most impactful knowledge cannot be taught, it has to be discovered. That calls for a classroom environment in which exploratory learning is possible. I will do my utmost to create it by minimizing lectures, facilitating structured discussions, and otherwise engaging you in the materials.  

Preparation will be limited to the essentials, primarily cases and surveys with an occasional reading. Supporting materials will be available on Drive as Optional Reading. Deliverables will be similarly limited in number and focused strictly on major outcomes. There is no “busy work.” 

Current events will play a part in the content of this course. For instance, reports of price guouging for personal protective equipment warrant attention. Likewise for the actions of the Trump adminstration against 3M. Student interests will also guide in the development of this course. To that end, a survey will be administered in advance to gague student interests in particular issues, firms, and leaders.


Prof. Ed Soule
Associate Professor of Managerial Ethics, Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility
McDonough School of Business,
Georgetown University, Washington D.C.


Duration: 13 until 23 July 2020
Online course via Zoom

Monday 13 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Tuesday 14 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Wednesday 15 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Thursday 16 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00

Monday 20 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Tuesday 21 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Wednesday 22 July 2020: 15.30 - 18.00
Thursday 23 July 202: 15.30 - 18.00

Recommended Prerequisites

Introduction to Economics (Einführung in die Volkswirtschaftslehre, 10130)

Course Information

Course directory
Syllabus: see ADAM workspace
Reading material see ADAM workspace. A course pack of HBS cases is being developed. The cost should be between $25 and $50.