School of Business

Students Gain Valuable Insight on Ethical Leadership at Third Annual Speakers’ Series

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pictured are the speakers and crowed at the Third Annual Ethical Leadership Speakers Series. | Photo by Laurie Smith

Panelists from Westinghouse Electric Company, Management Science Associates, Inc. and Point Park led the discussion at the Third Annual “Meeting the Challenges of Ethical Leadership” event held at the University this fall.

Sponsored by the Department of Academic and Student Affairs and James Haley, Ph.D., Point Park’s H.J. Heinz Endowed Chair in Management and professor in the Department of Global Management and Organization, the event garnered more than 130 students, alumni and business professionals.

Panelists included James Buddie, J.D., assistant general counsel and corporate ethics officer for Westinghouse Electric Company, Timothy McGuire, Ph.D., Point Park University trustee and senior executive vice president, chief analytics officer and vice chairman for Management Science Associates, Inc. and Helen Sobehart, Ph.D., executive director of graduate education at Point Park.

When M.B.A. student Sara Cammarata was asked what she thought was the most important message of the Speakers’ Series she replied: “An ethical organization will outlast an unethical corporation every time. Values are very important to be a leader in a company.”

Buddie’s comments at the event emphasize Cammarata’s point. “Eventually, unethical companies will crumble. Look at the greatest unethical businesses in the past years — Enron, Tyco and WorldCom. What did they have in common? They all had rulebooks, codes of ethics that were not followed,” he said.

M.B.A. student Marcia Elliston enjoyed learning about the importance of middle managers. “Middle management sets the tone for the company,” said Elliston.

McGuire talked about corporate governance best practices that for-profit organizations should follow and the behaviors that contribute to sustainability in nonprofit organizations.

“A motivated, engaged work force contributes to productivity and profitability in many ways. Many companies have discovered that being good citizens of the community yields positive benefits,” remarked McGuire.

Sobehart encouraged women at the event to become active in and even strive for leadership roles in professional, social or religious organizations important to their field or life in some way.

"This will help you establish yourself as a credible leader in these venues so that you will gain respect and attention when you lead causes that are with, for and about women,” she explained.

“It was refreshing and inspiring to see a prominent woman speaking at this event alongside men,” commented M.B.A. student Ricci Spadacene.

As the main organizer of the event, Haley hopes the Ethical Leadership Speakers’ Series will continue to grow and feature panelists from various national companies.

“Everyone is a student of ethical leadership. We want to continue to inspire America’s future business leaders to understand the value and role of ethical leadership in making an organization sustainable,” said Haley. "This is all a part of our innovative approach to teaching ethics in business at Point Park."

The Speakers' Series is based on the “Ethical Leadership and Sustainable Organizations" course offered in the M.B.A. program at Point Park. The course examines how ethical leadership can create sustainable learning organizations by helping students discover which values make a leader ethical and effective and what unites organizations to become sustainable in a complex and dynamic global environment.

"This M.B.A. course was introduced in 2010 and has been evolving ever since based on input from students, faculty and select individuals from the business community. We open the Speakers' Series to the public so our neighbors in the Pittsburgh business community can benefit as well," remarked Dawn Parasolick, assistant to the chair for the Department of Global Management and Organization.

"Our desire is for students to learn to view ethical dilemmas as a whole, weighing the potential benefits, risks and harm to all the stakeholders involved," added Parasolick.

For more information, visit the YouTube channel and Facebook page for the Ethical Leadership and Sustainable Organizations course at Point Park.

Article and photos by Laurie A. Smith, M.A. journalism and mass communication graduate student

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