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Business Ethics Prof. Jeffery Smith Coming to DePauw as Schaenen Visiting Scholar

June 18, 2013

Jeffery Smith, associate professor of business ethics and founding director of the Banta Center for Business, Ethics and Society at the University of Redlands in Southern California, will serve as DePauw University's Nancy Schaenen Visiting Scholar at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics during the 2013-14 academic year.

Dr. Smith is taking a leave from his position at University of Redlands, where he teaches courses in business ethics, ethical theory and political philosophy. He has published on topics ranging from ethical decision making in business, corporate human rights obligations, ethics in employment and corporate social responsibility, which have appeared in journals such as Business Ethics Quarterly, Business Ethics: A European Review, the Journal of Business Ethics and Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

In addition to offering lectures at institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, the Rotterdam School of Management and the Economic University of Bratislava, Smith served as Visiting Professor of Ethics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where he completed the edited book Normative Theory and Business Ethics (Rowman and Littlefield), and is an adjunct professor of bioindustry ethics at the Keck Graduate Institute. Professor Smith has also led seminars and spoken to corporate practitioners at organizations such the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association and the Boeing Company.

Professor Smith’s ongoing research while in residence at the Prindle Institute begins with the premise that it has become too common to view corporate social responsibility as a profit-motivated endeavor where ethicists have been conspicuously absent from conversations about why corporate social responsibilities are properly thought of as responsibilities. He maintains that a more thorough moral justification of a corporation’s social responsibilities arises from the fact that corporations have been delegated tasks in modern societies via the market. The administration of these tasks (e.g., to improve national defense, promote public health, develop technologies to manage environmental quality, educate and inform citizens, and finance public works) should be done in a legitimate fashion, which presumes that we view corporate managers as stewards of the public good who, while having private, role-based responsibilities to shareholders, nonetheless have specific obligations tied to the underlying purpose of the corporate form and the social goods that their particular firms aim to promote.

ectower duskSmith earned his B.A. (summa cum laude), M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Nancy Shelly Schaenen graduated from DePauw in 1951 and served as a member of the Board of Visitors from 1993-95 and as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1995-2003. She and her husband, Nelson Schaenen Jr., provided a generous endowment to fund this visiting scholar position.

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