- Center Director
- Faculty and Staff
- Student Leadership and Ethics Board
- Join The Student Leadership & Ethics Board
- Student Leadership and Ethics Board Corner
- Ethical Implications of For Profit Impact Measurement Organizations
- Welcome Message from the Chairs
- Crafting a Career in Financial Freedom - A Montrone Seminar Series with Antonia Stroeh ’04
- SLEB Business Ethics Case Competition
- Sam Longair '18, Chair of SLEB, Reflects on his Inspiration for the Board
- Business Leaders' Focus on CSR is Misguided
- Conscious Corporate Citizenship at Work
- Defining Your Moral Purpose
- Leadership and Ethics Week
- Contact Us
- Curricular Initiatives
- The Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics
- The KPMG Peat Marwick / Stanley R. Klion Forum
- The Paul M. Montrone Seminar Series on Ethics
- Military Initiative Programming
- Diversity and Inclusion for All
- Leadership Conference
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Academic Conference
- Restoring Trust: New Realities and New Possibilities for Business Leadership
- Conscious Capitalism: How Ethical Executives Move the Needle Forward, One Business Decision at a Time
- Lucy Quist: A Global Role Model for Business Leadership
- Two Industry Pioneers Lead the Change for Clean Energy
- The Great Debate on the Ethics of Pricing in the Drug Industry
- Leading With Courage: Top Industry Trailblazers Discuss Pathways to Restoring Trust in Business
- Innovation and the Value of Privacy
- Events Calendar
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The Business of Leadership and Ethics
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, founded in May 2003, is the umbrella for activities on leadership and ethics at Columbia Business School.
The Center was made possible by a generous gift from the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Foundation. The foundation's parent, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., was established in 1967 by the late Sanford Bernstein, a paragon of the highest standards in his profession.
An investment manager, Bernstein opened the first securities firm dedicated to providing families and individuals with professional money-management services. As the mission grew to include investment research and institutional asset management, the firm flourished while emphasizing the highest ethical and professional standards.
This exemplary standard of quality and ethics has endured, and today Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. is part of AllianceBernstein L.P., one of the most respected firms on Wall Street. Both names symbolize excellence, trustworthiness, discipline, independence and objectivity.
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics is a globally recognized vanguard for the promotion of ethical leadership in the curriculum of business schools and the development of innovative research and programming on values-based leadership, governance, and corporate social responsibility. Engaging students, faculty members, alumni, and the greater Columbia community, the Bernstein Center aims to equip current and next-generation leaders with the tools and frameworks necessary to think critically about conflicts in order to develop ethical business practices.
The Center's activities, including the Individual, Business, and Society curriculum, focus on three broad focus areas:
Governance: Governance is ultimately about fairness and the processes and systems by which a corporation is directed to achieve this outcome. The study and teaching of governance include the workings and organizational dynamics of boards of directors and the distribution of rights and responsibilities among auditors, boards, executives, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders in specific national and industrial contexts. Topics include the role of boards in public corporations, the challenges of governance in partnerships and venture capital contracts and in varied national contexts, the responsibilities of senior executive decision-making processes, transparency and reporting, executive compensation and strategic risk management and the impact of ethics and corruption on social welfare and economic development.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): CSR is the integration by companies of their social and environmental concerns in their business strategies and operations, and in their interaction with stakeholders. Topics include the social and environmental impact of business operations, business conducted in emerging markets, corruption, society's expectations of business and business leaders and the relationship between stakeholders and shareholder value. Above all, the study of CSR has shifted from the question of whether a firm should do this to how can socially responsible strategies be designed to be most effective; and
Values-Based Leadership: Values-Based Leadership is the relationship between a leader’s values and beliefs, and the way in which they act, speak, and espouse their values to their team in line with the goals of the organizations. Topics include the engagement of individuals in actively promoting and protecting integrity in the workplace, and the importance of recognizing the moment of ethical choice and avoiding the "slippery slope."
These themes are interrelated. Responsible corporate governance and corporate conduct ultimately rely on the integrity of managers and boards. Creating an organization that promotes and protects individual integrity is a corporate responsibility. Balancing the sometimes competing interests of shareholders and other stakeholders raises questions of corporate governance.