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Leadership is the ability for individuals or groups to guide others ethically and effectively in order to bring about positive change within organizations and society.


Leadership takes many forms, and is often defined in just as many ways. Everyone should develop the necessary skills to be an effective, ethical leader regardless of their role within an organization.

These videos and case studies offer insight into the particular biases that leaders face, and the pressures and biases that affect group dynamics. Best practices for leaders are also addressed as well as the challenges specific to hierarchical leadership structures.

Research shows that both good and bad behavior is infectious. Similarly, research shows that the moral example set by leaders has a significant influence on the behavior of followers. Thus, it is critical that leaders set good examples in both their professional and personal lives.

Three video resources of particular interest to leadership are: 1) the two-part video on Ethical Leadership, which includes the biases to which leaders are especially prone and best practices for ethical leadership; 2) the four-part video series on Being Your Best Self, which details the four components of ethical action described by James Rest and colleagues; 3) the eight-video series, Giving Voice to Values, which describes the seven principles of values-driven leadership developed by Mary Gentile and explained in her book Giving Voice to Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right.

Start Here: Videos

Intro to GVV

Intro to GVV

Giving Voice to Values is learning about how to act on your values effectively – not about wondering whether you could.


Start Here: Cases

Dennis Kozlowski: Living Large

Dennis Kozlowski: Living Large

Dennis Kozlowski was an effective leader for Tyco in his first few years as CEO, but eventually faced criminal charges over his use of company assets.


Krogh & the Watergate Scandal

Krogh & the Watergate Scandal

Egil Krogh was a young lawyer working for the Nixon Administration whose ethics faded from view when asked to play a part in the Watergate break-in.


Teaching Notes

Begin by viewing the “Start Here” videos. They introduce key topics such as the behavioral ethics biases that trip-up leaders, developing moral awareness, and how to rise to moral challenges. General leadership topics, such as best practices and the factors that impact decision-making (and can lead to poor choices), are addressed in the “Additional Videos.” Read through these videos’ teaching notes for details and related ethics concepts. Watch the “Related Videos” and/or read the related Case Study. “Additional Resources” offer further reading, a bibliography, and (sometimes) assignment suggestions.

Show a video in class, assign a video to watch outside of class, or embed a video in an online learning module such as Canvas. Then, prompt conversation in class to encourage peer-to-peer learning. Ask students to answer the video’s “Discussion Questions,” and to reflect on the ideas and issues raised by the students in the video. How do their experiences align? How do they differ? The videos also make good writing prompts. Ask students to watch a video and apply the ethics concept to course content.

The case studies in this section describe different leadership styles, and include examples of both ethical and unethical leadership in business, finance, politics, and history. Cases are an effective way to introduce ethics topics, and for students to learn how to spot ethical issues. To dig deeper answer the case study discussion questions and sketch the ethical decision-making process outlined in each case. The case studies can start your class discussion on ethics.Select a case study from the Cases Series or ask students to read a video’s “Case Study” and answer the case study “Discussion Questions.” Then, ask students to reason through the ethical dimensions presented, and to sketch the ethical decision-making process outlined by the case. Then, challenge students to develop strategies to avoid these ethical pitfalls. Suggest students watch the case study’s “Related Videos” and “Related Terms” to further their understanding.

Ethics Unwrapped blogs are also useful prompts to engage students. Learning about ethics in the context of real-world (often current) events can enliven classroom discussion and make ethics relevant and concrete for students. Share a blog in class or post one to the class’s online learning module. To spur discussion, ask students to identify the ethical issues at hand and to name the ethics concepts related to the blog (or current event in the news). Dig more deeply into the topic using the Additional Resources listed at the end of the blog post.

Remember to review video, case study, and blogs’ relevant glossary terms. In this way, you will become familiar with all the ethics concepts contained in these material. Share this vocabulary with your students, and use it to expand and enrich ethics and leadership conversations in your classroom. To dive deeper in the glossary, watch “Related” glossary videos.

Many behavioral ethics concepts operate in tandem with each other. As you watch more videos, you will become more fluent in behavioral ethics and see the interrelatedness of these concepts more readily. You also will be able to spot behavioral ethical issues more easily – at least, that is the hope! As your students watch more videos, it will be easier for them to recognize and understand the influence of behavioral ethics on leadership style and decision-making, as well as express their ideas about what is and isn’t ethical and why. Hopefully, with assistance, they will also develop strategies for mitigating these influences and pressures on those in leadership positions. And, equally important, they will gain insight into the relationship between ethics and leadership, and the essential role knowledge of behavioral ethics plays in developing solid leadership skills.

Additional Videos

Additional Cases