Ethical Leadership - The experience of JCU's 3rd IBD cohort

David V. Day - Famous Scholar

What role has ethics played in your career?

Given that a major part of my job as a professor involves working with students (graduate and undergraduate) you always need to pay careful attention to boundaries. In addition, how you behave says a lot more about your character than what you say. So there is a need to understand that your behaviors set the model for what students think of you and what they might emulate (especially the PhD students). Ethics in research is another important area. From dealing with Institutional Review Boards and informed consent, to determining manuscript authorship, and reporting accurate results -- all of this involves ethics.

What do you find most challenging in teaching the subject of ethics?

Getting business students interested in the topic is most challenging. It is probably the last thing they want to study but it is probably one of the most important. Everything a leader does has ethical implications so it is really important to have a solid grasp of ethical principles and a firm understanding of one's core values.

What is an ethical challenge you faced during your career? How did you respond?

There have been a number, from colleagues taking short cuts in their research to the pressures to publish that tempt you to take short cuts in your own research. In science as much as anywhere, one's reputation is vitally important for career success. And reputations that take a lifetime to build can be destroyed in a heartbeat by an unethical act. So I try to keep a long-term perspective on things and always consider whether my behavior would be something that I would be comfortable with being written up in a reputable newspaper or other periodical.

What ethical advice do you have for students as they prepare for their careers?

Reflect, reflect, reflect. Clarify your values and be prepared to recognize when they clash. That is source of the ethical dilemmas we face in our personal and professional lives.