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Creating an Ethical Corporate Culture is a Course

Creating an Ethical Corporate Culture

Ended Dec 13, 2015

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Full course description

Starts August 10, 2015

This course is designed to provide executives, managers, and supervisors the knowledge and tools to create and sustain an ethical culture in their company, department, or work group. Management theorists and ethics experts have increasingly concluded that this responsibility, to create and sustain the ethical organizational culture, is a fundamental task of every level of management. Course participants will learn that managers select from four basic strategies to create an ethical organization and culture, and make use of ten basic tools to shape that culture and keep it strong. The course also addresses unavoidable challenges to an ethical culture. This course can be taken separately, but in part builds on "Business Ethics for the Real World" another Santa Clara University course offered on Canvas Network. No specific background or preparation is necessary.

See also “Business Ethics for the Real World" available on the Canvas Network.

Topics covered include:

  • Module One: What is Corporate Culture? What is and Ethical Culture?
  • Module Two: Strategies for Managing Ethics in the Organization
  • Module Three: Tools for Managing the Ethical Corporate Culture
  • Module Four: The Special Role of CEOs and Boards of Directors


There are no essential prerequisite skills required in this course.

Textbook and Material

There is no textbook required in this course. You are not required to pay for course materials.

Course Expectations

This course is self-paced. To be successful, you should plan about two hours per module to interact with the course content, which includes introducing yourself, watching the video vignettes, posting to case discussions, completing and posting to exercises, taking end-of-module quizzes, submitting an 400 word ethical analysis, and completing peer reviews of three other student ethics analyses. Further instruction is provided with in each module and in the Student Overview Module that lists the course requirements.


Instructor will not grade any quizzes or discussions. Quizzes are graded automatically by the software. The concluding “Ethics Analysis” is graded by peers in the course.

Are you on Twitter? MOOC participants have the unique opportunity to join the Ethics Center’s SMAP (Social Media Ambassadors) Program. We are offering a chance to win $100 Amazon gift cards for MOOC participants who tweet along the way as they are taking the course. Here’s how it works.

Kirk O. Hanson

Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University

Kirk O. Hanson is one of the founders of the field of business ethics. The executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, Hanson taught business ethics for 23 years in the MBA and Executive Programs of the Stanford Business School, where he is Senior Lecturer Emeritus. He continues to teach MBA and EMBA courses on business ethics at Santa Clara, where he heads one of the most active ethics centers in the world, with extensive programs in business ethics, government ethics, bioethics, Internet ethics, and character education.

Hanson speaks widely, writes on managing the ethical and public behavior of corporations and is frequently quoted in the press on business ethics issues. He co-edited a four-volume series released in 2006 entitled “The Accountable Corporation.” His current research interests include the design of corporate ethics programs and incentives for employees to act ethically, and the responsibility of boards for the ethical culture of the organization.

Hanson serves as honorary chair of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing, China’s first center on business ethics, and on the board of the Skoll Community Fund, one of two entities that comprise the Skoll Foundation, which pioneered the concept of social entrepreneurship. In 1995 he received the John Gardner Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley and in 2007 the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education for contributions to business and society.

Hanson is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He held research fellowships and appointments at the Yale Divinity School and the Harvard Business School prior to beginning his academic career.