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


MB551 – Ethical Decision Making -  Fall 2010
Tuesday – 6:30-9:15 p.m. Room: Dolan E138

Instructor: Scott J. Allen, Ph.D.

Cell: 216.224.7072

Course Description
  • This course provides a comprehensive assessment of the student’s ethical leadership and decision-making skills, and builds upon knowledge gained in courses MB 550 and MB 552 through various activities organized and executed by the MB 551 students.  Through interactions with relevant parties, textbook study and testing, and research of contemporary topics, the course will aid in applying previous course materials into the students’ professions; the students will have the ability to relate leadership topics to ethical decisions and effectively relate such knowledge to others.

Course Objectives

  • Define roles and objectives for the student body to complete individually and as a “business unit.”
  • Assess your current knowledge of ethics.
  • Develop an awareness of ethical challenges in your everyday lives.
·         Apply concepts from MB 550 (Analytical Modeling) and MB 552 (Leadership Experience).

·         Develop an awareness of ethical leadership/decision-making through research, interviews, observations in the real world, reading the text, and planning a symposium as a team.

·         Work as a team to successfully complete tasks and capitalize on our differences in preparation for our second semester courses in the IBD program as a cohort.



·   Johnson, Craig E. (2009). Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow, (3rd Edition).  SAGE Publications, Inc. – ISBN-10: 412964814

o        This text will be used for an individual assignment AND as a basis for class requirements.


Course Requirements and Grading


Students must complete all required tasks as listed in the information packet given on Tuesday, November 9.  These tasks may be rearranged, grouped, or adjusted to assist group members in completing assignments and making connections between textbook and contemporary issues.  These tasks are not set in stone and may be adjusted week-by-week based upon progress made by the student body. All tasks, once completed, MUST be approved by the professor.


Please Note: It is HIGHLY recommended that terms and everyday examples (i.e. daily observations) from MB552 are used throughout the course.


Grading Policy

The entire class will receive the same grade with disregard to individual effort.  The individual grade is the class grade.

·   A = 90-100

·   B = 80-89.99

·   C = 70-79.99

·   D = 65-69.99

·   F = 64.99 or Below


Additional FAQs/Thoughts


  • A few “pause” buttons are available to be used as decided by the class.  This button converts the professor into Scott J. Allen, Ph.D., to provide guidance and suggestions for the class.  Note that there are limited uses of the “pause” button.
  • Although there is an enumerated list of required tasks, they need not be performed in any certain order or manner.  That is, tasks can be done in any manner as long as knowledge of the tasks is demonstrated.  Also, the professor must approve our completion of tasks; the students must explain what changes were made yet how each task is represented.

Academic Dishonesty


  • The minimum penalty for academic dishonesty (cheating) in this class will be an F (zero points) for the related test or assignment.  However, depending on the circumstances, more severe penalties may be imposed.  The John Carroll University (2001-2002) Community Standards Manual reads:

All work submitted for evaluation in a course, including tests, term papers, and computer programs, must represent only the work of the student unless indicated otherwise.  Material taken from the work of others must be acknowledged properly. (p. 14)


It is recommended that you read the additional information regarding academic dishonesty and penalties in the manual. Using sections from papers previously written is unacceptable.


Special Accommodations


  • John Carroll University recognizes its responsibility for creating an institutional climate in which students with disabilities can succeed. In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability, you may be eligible to request accommodations from the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations and should have equal access to learning. Please contact the SSD coordinator at (216) 397-4967 or visit the office located in room 7A, in the Garden Level of the Administration Building. After your eligibility for accommodations is determined, you will be given a letter which, when presented to instructors, will help us know best how to assist you. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive so it is best to register at your earliest convenience.

 Schedule (Notes in italicized blue are assignment for the following class period or earlier if agreed)


Tuesday, November 16                      MB 551 Class Time

·         Determine class objectives and include in syllabus with consideration to #'s 12 and 31

·         Finalize Class syllabus and get Scott's approval

·         Collaborate on and determine the questions to be used in interviews (#'s 1, 6, 7, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22)

·         Brainstorm ideas on ways to develop an innovative way to examine the topic of ethical leadership (#'s 26, 27, and 28)

·         Finalize how assignments will be divided among classmates (Interviews, children's workshop, innovative ways, group research paper, write final, symposium coordination group)

·         Discuss assignments for next time (individual assignment and observations)

·         Observations (#15) - Each day starting Wednesday Nov 17 through Nov 24 post an observation on ethics content to the class Discussion Board (#24).  Respond to 3 classmates observations and include reference to resources, organizations or on-line opportunities that relate to the situation.


Tuesday, November 23                      MB 551 Class Time

·         Due Today: Individual Assignment - Write a 2-3 page paper on the topic of ethical leadership.  Include an ethics analysis of your organization (#23), conduct interviews with parents (#36), friends and colleagues on what ethical encounters they have had and determine the impact of ethics violations on families (#10)

·         Determine how the Group Research paper will be completed (Due Dec 7)


Tuesday, November 30                      MB 551 Class Time

·         Presentation Skills Seminar with Larry Morrow (#33)



Tuesday, December 7                        MB 551 Class Time

·         Final Exam (incorporate #'s 8 and 9)

·         Finalize agenda for the symposium

·         Due Today: Group Research Paper - Utilize the observations on the class discussion board and the Individual Assignments to write a 15-20 page (double-spaced, APA) literature review on ethical leadership (#11).  Include the following: research on the topic of ethics (#2); an inventory of the ethical challenges of people at our level (#30); the perspectives of the cross-cultural MBA (#35); an analysis of MB 551 through the lens of MB 552 (#37); include 3 case studies similar to those in the book (#18); compile a list of resources, organizations and on-line opportunities (#3)


Tuesday, December 14                      Ethics Symposium

·         Symposium

·         Incorporate #'s 4, 5, 14, 25, 29, 32, 34

·         Class Presentations:

o        1. Summary on the design and results of the children's ethical workshop (#17);

o        2. Summary and multi-media presentation on results of interviews;

o        3. Summary on design and results of the innovative ways to examine ethical leadership




Assignments and topics for subsequent dates will be added on a class-by-class basis.  The symposium will be held Tuesday, December 14 6:30-8:30pm.  All work must be approved and made ready by that date.

MB551 Assignment Directions/Descriptions


Assignment List


The following web address connects to a Google spreadsheet that shows each assignment (whether in its original form or combined with another assignment), the person(s) responsible for the assignment, and any additional notes added by the group or responsible individual.


The assignments WILL CHANGE throughout the course, so please check periodically for assignment clarification and helpful information.


Assignment Description


The five buckets

·         Items already accounted for: We’ve already discussed team outlines for the book and we know everything will be based in text content

·         Items that we need to talk more about: These are not hyper time sensitive. We will discuss them Tuesday.

·         Individual items: These are all interviews we need to start on immediately. Many people have stepped forward to volunteer to do interview they feel they can secure. We will use a spreadsheet to organize who will be responsible for which interviews. Work on getting these interviews set up, we will discus interview content Tuesday.

·         Team Items: These are items we need to start on soon. In regards to team sign up, everyone pick one of the three teams to sign up for. Team sizes will be uneven (there will be more for the symposium), but we fill figure out how to adjust.

·         Everybody Items: These are not hyper time sensitive. We will discuss them Tuesday.


Items already accounted for

·         (8) Read the textbook: Done through our outlines

·         (16) All aspects of this list must have a foundation in the text content: We will keep this in mind with all items as we move forward


Items that we need to talk more about

·         (9) Test your knowledge on the book

·         (11) Write a literature review on the topic – 15-20 pages, double spaced, APA

·         (12, 18, 37) Apply what you learned in analytical modeling to this topic / Develop 3 case studies similar to those in the book / Develop an analysis of MB551 through the lens of MB552:

·         (26, 27, 28) Develop an innovative way to examine the topic in no way related to something on this list

·         (31) Engage your professor and get him excited about your work


Individual items

·         (1) Get an Interview with the author of your text - gain some wisdom not in the book

·         (6, 10) Interview someone convicted of ethics violations / Research the impact on ethics violations on families (through personal interviews)

·         (7) Interview 5 Fortune 1000 CEOs on the topic of Ethics (2 must be Fortune 500)

·         (13, 20) Interview Father Neihoff / See what the Jesuits think about ethics

·         (19, 21, 29) Involve an individual from U.S. House or Senate in some way (maybe via Skype) / Interview a current “national level” politician on the topic of ethics / Use Skype some how

·         (22) Speak with a famous scholar about the topic (Ivy League or Cambridge)

·         (25) Ethics and the media – correspond with someone we see on TV about the topic

·         (35) Provide cross-cultural perspectives on the topic – 10 different countries – these should be other MBAs from around the world


Team Items

·         (4, 5, 14, 32, 34) Make the “Bad Leadership” chapter live at the symposium / Make the symposium a special event and wonderful experience / Develop a high quality video on a topic from the text / Secure participants for your symposium (other than the faculty – invite them too though) / Get some form of media to your Ethics Symposium

·         (17) Educate Children on the topic of ethics – design and deliver a workshop:

·         (33) Hold a presentation skills seminar with Larry Morrow (at least three hours)


Everybody Items

·         (2, 3) Conduct research on the topic of ethics / compile list of resources, organizations, online opportunities, etc.

·         (15, 24) Blog as a group / Conduct observations on Ethics content

·         (23, 30) Do an ethics analysis of each organization represented in this classroom / Create an inventory of ethical challenges people at your level face, take inventory and report your results

·         (36) What have your parents witnessed in their careers? Conduct an analysis and report results




Suggestions for Success in MB551


Make an effort to follow these suggestions!!  It may be the only way to make the professor participate!!


Writing about the assessments, be sure to use the term that it is trying to identify:

·         MBTI – Type is reserved for only the 4 letter combination, preference is reserved for introversion, extroversion, sensing, intuition, thinking, feeling, judging, perceiving. And Facet is used to describe the 5 subset categories of each preference

·         EIL – 21 capacities

·         Strengthsfinder – Signature Themes (not strengths). Themes point to strengths which are identified by the things you do that make you feel strong. 

·         Managerial Style– 6 Styles that are used to influence others. 


Words to Avoid

  • very, a lot, huge,
  • you – keep reflections in the first person (I, me, my)
  • something, thing, it, their, they – these words often need clarification

Phrases to Avoid

  • Deals with, Dealt with
  • Came up with
  • I think that, I think
  • in order to, in order for, in order that
  • been able to, being able to, be able to, am able to

Other Suggestions


  • Avoid slang or jargon – if used, place in quotes
    • Incorrect – I think Dave Matthews is the man.
    • Correct – I think Dave Matthews is “the man.”

  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used.
    • Incorrect –I attend JCU
    • Correct – I attend John Carroll University (JCU)

  • Absolutism
    • Incorrect – I get along with everyone (words to avoid – always, never, everything, anything, every)
    • Correct – I get along with most everyone

  • Professionalism
    • Incorrect – I like going to the bars and hanging out.
    • Correct – I enjoy spending time with friends.

  • Switching topics without transition for the reader
    • Incorrect – I enjoy playing basketball with friends. Sometimes I read during the summer.
    • Correct – I enjoy playing basketball with friends. In addition to sports, I read during the summer.

  • Clarity
    • Incorrect – There are a lot of things I like to spend time on.
    • Correct – I enjoy a number of hobbies.

·         Writing about your results

o        Incorrect – The MBTI says that; talks about; discusses; showed that

o        Correct – The MBTI suggests; describes; highlights; asserts; provides; exemplifies; shares, etc.


Additional Rules to Remember


  • Place assessment specific terms in italics – e.g., expressed, extrovert, achiever, woo, perceiving, wanted
  • Titles are not capitalized – chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), etc.
  • Commas and periods are always inside of the quotations; for instance – “they said no.” 
  • Book titles, magazines, TV shows or movie titles are in italics