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User Comments

"Giving Voice to Values is exciting and highly promising in its emphasis on the development of effective strategies and persuasive scripts for voicing and implementing our values in the workplace. It inevitably will increase our understanding of the reasons and rationalizations that diminish our willingness to act and that of others. Its focus on "how can I do the right thing most effectively" in work settings with which I can identify provides sufficient practice for the requisite skills to be learned and the necessary courage and commitment to be gained. It is also likely that the students will come to understand their own blind-spots, biases, beliefs, and hopes - an understanding that seems fundamental to effective, ethical leadership.

"Giving Voice to Values certainly can be an important part of a broader ethics program that includes discussion of ethical reasoning, the ethical challenges a manager is likely to encounter, corporate responsibility, and the integration of economics, law, and ethics. However, its effectiveness does not depend on the inclusion of these complementary approaches; and, if choices must be made due to crowded courses and curricula, I would place Giving Voice high on the list by virtue of its importance to ethical leadership, its grounding in research, and its effective materials and pedagogy."

Thomas R. Piper
Finance & Accounting
Baker Foundation Professor
Lauren E. Fouraker
Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus
Harvard Business School

"Giving Voice to Values is exactly what we need to help our students take action. Most ethics courses focus on hypothetical decision–making and determining what is the right thing to do. We know that "knowing" does not lead to "doing." This initiative empowers students to speak through their actions."

Carolyn Woo
Martin J. Gillen Dean
Ray and Milann Siegfried Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies
Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

"The Giving Voice to Values initiative is one of the most exciting programs I have been exposed to in the twelve years I have been teaching graduate courses in business ethics. So many of my students over the years have struggled with the fundamental question posed in the GVV initiative: How can I act on what I know is right? It wasn't until the GVV initiative, however, that I felt that I had a way to introduce this topic in my classes through the rich curriculum Mary Gentile and her colleagues have developed. The exercises, cases, and other materials are extremely well thought out and they allow students to draw on their experience and the experience of others to understand what might foster, as well as hinder their ability to voice their values. I especially value the way in which the GVV begins from the premise that each one of us has the capacity to effectively voice our values – once we understand how we can better employ our skills, scripts, and other tools. And while the program has a strong philosophical and social science foundation, it is its pragmatic qualities that resonate so strongly with me and the MBA students who have worked with these materials. As a faculty member, I also appreciate the attention that has gone into writing superb teaching notes to help faculty work more effectively with the GVV curriculum. I plan to make the GVV initiative an increasingly integral component of my business ethics classes. I value the way it affirms our intent to act on our values, and I see tremendous potential for how GVV can enhance student skills and confidence in moving from ethical intent to ethical action."

Jerry Goodstein
Department of Management and Operations
Washington State University-Vancouver

"I have been struck about how frequently the idea of Giving Voice to Values keeps cropping up in our discussions. Yesterday I met with a CEO who raised exactly this issue. He was talking about the differential ability of CEOs to stand up to analyst. Some seem to give voice to their values and stand up to analyst while many simply accept there is nothing that can be done and fall into the earnings management trap."

Joseph A. Cote
Professor of Marketing
Washington State University-Vancouver

"The GVV Curriculum promises to be a major step forward in enabling people to deal effectively with the inevitable challenges to their integrity and ethical values – challenges they will face in both their working and personal lives. I am excited by GVV's emphasis on shifting the focus from discussions and debates about what is the "right" answer to a challenge to one's integrity or one's ethical values to a focus on "how to act" on one's values in a particular situation. This approach promises major breakthroughs in giving people effective choice in acting on those values. It does so by providing the opportunity to practice handling the discomfort, threats, isolation and embarrassment each person faces in dealing with such situations. I expect this approach to have major impact on individuals' willingness and ability to act effectively in such difficult situations."

Michael C. Jensen
Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Emeritus
Harvard Business School

"We are using Giving Voice to Values in our core course, 'Organizational Analysis and Skills.' It is a gateway course required of the approximately 300 Management students who start our program each year. In the course, we have emphasized strategic, political, and cultural analyses of organizational change initiatives. I piloted GVV in Spring 2007 to find a way to get students talking about their own strategic and politically astute actions in organizations, to remedy situations they knew were wrong. In 2007-2008, we plan to use these materials across 10 sections of our course. We realized we had given students analytical tools at a macro structural level and managerial skills at a team level, but not enough tangible leadership skills at the individual level. GVV lets us ground the discussion in their own experiences and in the vivid case examples, making this session memorable and practical for students. We are a mission-driven urban university and urge our students to connect their career advancement with social impacts that matter."

Maureen Scully
Assistant Professor in Management
College of Management
University of Massachusetts Boston

"I wanted to bring you up to date on our experimentation with the Giving Voice to Values curriculum. We have integrated it into a series of freestanding workshops and in the curriculum of our first year MBA Program. I did the "Tale of Two Stories" exercise with them during orientation, and it worked very well. I have posted the Personal/Professional profile on a Zoomerang survey, and we will be doing a group workshop with the data on Friday. More is then coming as I work with faculty in accounting, OB, Economics, Finance, Operations, Marketing and Strategy in the Winter and Spring courses to tie this in to their coursework."

Roy Lewicki
Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professor
Professor of Management and Human Resources
Fisher College of Business
Ohio State University

"Giving Voice to Values is the most positive, productive approach to teaching business ethics that I‘ve found. I‘ve used it with both traditional and executive MBA students as well as with undergraduate students in Advertising and Liberal Arts. Without exception, it has been wonderfully effective in reframing issues in powerful and compelling ways. It inspires students to act on their values and provides them with practical skills related to effective decision making, advocacy, and action. Every student should experience Giving Voice to Values."

Minette Drumwright
Associate Professor in Advertising
College of Communications
University of Texas-Austin

"Just for the record, Mary, let me repeat... The caselettes are excellent and, in my opinion, far better than the run of the mill cases I have seen….Of course yours are tailored to what we want to teach, instead of being just lengthy stories. And you have managed to direct the facts and questions to the points we seek to get across in each situation. And the way the students tackled them was real life in a sense...There was no certain answer to the cases, and that was demonstrated when each team came with a reasoned position, different than the others. Yet each focused on the issue. You should be pleased. We are."

Ira Millstein
Senior Associate Dean for Corporate Governance
Eugene F. Williams, Jr. Visiting Professor in Competitive Enterprise and Strategy
Yale School of Management

"Values are the golden thread running through all human activity – and business is no different. Business leaders have to find a way to integrate their legal duties, with the financial imperatives of the market in ways that society values. This puts new demands on boards, and executives, particularly when they're facing dilemmas not covered by law or best practices. For that reason education, training and cases need to explore decision making with these demands in mind. Giving Voice to Values makes these connections, and we‘ve found the approach practical and of great benefit to the new class 'Governing the Corporation' being taught at the Yale School of Management this semester.

Ira Millstein
Senior Associate Dean for Corporate Governance
Eugene F. Williams, Jr. Visiting Professor in Competitive Enterprise and Strategy
Yale School of Management
Anne Simpson
Executive Director
International Corporate Governance Network

"I seek teaching tools which encourage students to be openly critical of their commitments and contingency plans, especially when it comes to their potentially finding themselves in deep ethical quandaries; GVV promises to be such a tool. I look forward to testing it out in my new 'Leadership and Values' class."

Daylian Cain
Assistant Professor
Yale School of Management

"The Giving Voice to Values approach has given us some ideas about how to structure our "Speaking Truth to Power" unit. In particular, there are was useful insight into how to set up some short and simple case studies and how to structure discussion. We think this unit will be one of the cornerstones of our Values-Based Leadership class."

Timothy Feddersen
Wendell Hobbs Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

"Many students will confront work situations that present challenges to their own principles. We support the project Giving Voice to Values because we recognize the importance to help students prepare to manage the complex situations in ways aligned with their values."

Bruce Kogut
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Columbia Business School

"I love this approach. It is closer to the challenges of professing values - other people have their values and how do we connect with them. This is Habermas' discourse ethics and Aristotle's Rhetoric as a sub-function of ethics rolled into one."

Stephen B. Young
Global Executive Director
The Caux Round Table

"The Giving Voice to Values (GVV) curriculum is refreshing and effective—a powerful change from the usual way we teach business ethics to undergraduates.

The usual approach— "What is Right"—limits conversation, confines debate, and actually restricts active engagement. For example, our undergraduate students "know" that something like cheating is ethically wrong, but they can‘t help understanding those who fall into it. The discussion then becomes one of excuses versus punishments. In that type of classroom, ethics becomes an intellectual exercise, not a fundamental and vital life choice—not something one does, but something one thinks about.

But GVV allows students to understand that living their values is a learnable skill, and like any other, gets easier with practice.

The classroom then becomes a fertile place of engaging the How can I live the value in this circumstance: What are my options? What are the barriers and how might I overcome them? What am I able to do? How might I do what I am able to do with deftness—so that perhaps a greater good can come of it?

Another wonderful addition to the program is the self-evaluation that it requires—as our undergraduates try to understand, and build, their sense purpose, which is something much larger than their academic majors or future job choices.

Although originally developed for MBAs, I think the GVV curriculum has a strong place in undergraduate programs. While undergrads do not yet have the professional experience of graduate students, our young business majors can enter their first job with essential tools to empower them and their colleagues."

Jessica Renaud
Director, Judith R. Frank Business Communications Center
Tippie College of Business
University of Iowa
Course Director, Foundations of Business course (required course with ethical component taken by 1000 undergraduates per year)

"It's great to hear about this program in your article in BizEd- the program is exactly right. It seems to me that the chief problem in teaching ethics has been the failure to put it in an everyday decision context (to enhance relevance and understanding). Ultimately a decision is a trade-off of values and I think your program gets at the heart of that."

Joe Urbany
Professor, Mendoza College of Business
Fellow, Institute for Educational Initiatives
Co-editor, Marketing Letters
University of Notre Dame

"I just read your Bized article on GVV, and I have to tell you I am an immediate enthusiastic supporter. Giving people the behavioral repertoire to show moral courage is a forehead-slapping idea -- Why didn't I think of that?" 

Milton R. Blood, Ph.D.
Center for International Studies
University of Missouri - St. Louis

"GVV is not easy, in fact, using one‘s conscious values intentionally is difficult, but the need is tremendous in our society and I believe that the fertile ground is GVV combined with timing—individuals and their organizations are parched at a deep level, thirsty for values-driven decision making and leadership. To this call, GVV provides an irrigation system based on thoughtful questions, your stories, and "what if" scenarios. These methods can be accessed and used anytime by anyone to take control and create more meaningful action and sustainable productivity.”

Cliff Hakim
Rethinking Work
Executive Coaching & Career Consulting

"The traditional approach towards teaching business ethics typically revolves around the "why" of ethicality, leaving the "how" unaddressed. Hence the effectiveness of such an approach becomes frequently dependent on the topical circumstances - the laws, social conditions and economic compulsions. More importantly, the role played by the individual's thinking and decision-making style, in managerial transactions, is usually ignored. This is where the GVV steps in and fulfills a hitherto unaddressed need. Not only does it arm the diligent young MBA with a clear road-map on assessing external decision determinants, it empowers him [sic] to understand how his mind usually works - a critical factor for "doing the right thing, the right way". So for an aspiring manager who thinks, "I want to do the right thing, but don't know how", the GVV is an invaluable help."

Piya Mukherjee
Visiting Faculty for "Ethics in Business,"Corporate Trainer
VES Institute of Management Studies and Research and Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai

"I‘ve now used Giving Voice to Values in MBA leadership and ethics seminars in the P.R.C. and the U.S., and supervised its use during MIT Sloan‘s first-year orientation in 2008. In these rather different cultural settings, in numbers ranging from 60 to 360+, students welcomed the opportunity to share their experience of ethical challenges in the workplace. The small-group discussions are both intense and revealing, and the students come out of their class sessions with a common set of viable, often sophisticated actions that they can take, from the very beginning of their business careers, to set and abide by ethical standards."

Leigh Hafrey
Senior Lecturer, Behavioral and Policy Sciences
MIT Sloan School of Management

"The student feedback was exceedingly positive. All expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to explore real-world issues and a relevant and practical application of ethical considerations. The course is a perfect complement to the required conceptual foundations course, and allows the students to explore and practice the post-decision making process of "voicing values." Their written assignments reflected their interest in and dedication to the material and experience. Our class sessions were lively and the students were very much engaged by the material. It was a delight! Our work at Mendoza has been strengthened by your expertise."

Jessica McManus Warnell
Assistant Professional Specialist/Teaching Professor
Department of Management, Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame

"The education of our MBA students is premised on the development of "principled leaders for global enterprise". The Giving Voice to Values curriculum's explicit focus on acting on one's values and convictions is precisely the approach that we believe is consistent with that mission. It's an important addition to our leadership development programming, with material designed to quickly engage students in sharing stories and discussing strategies for taking specific action. We fully expect to build off the early success of the GVV approach to explore opportunities for further integration into our curriculum." 

Mark Dillard
Director, Leadership Development Program
Emory University

"The Giving Voice to Values program has become a vital part of our annual Global Business Ethics Faculty Development Teaching Workshop. Through Mary Gentile‘s collaboration and support, we have been able to assist scholars from around the world in meeting the challenge of helping their students operationalize the principles discussed in the workshop. Building on our attempts to increase ethical awareness and improve ethical reasoning, GVV helps students develop the concrete skills and capabilities needed to act on that awareness and reasoning. It is already an important component in our required ―Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Responsibilities‖ course in our MBA program. It has been so successful and student response so positive, we are currently working on a large-scale project to weave it into our undergraduate business core."

Anthony F. Buono
Professor of Management & Sociology
Coordinator, Bentley Alliance for Ethics & Social Responsibility
Bentley University

"I teach an accounting ethics seminar in the Master of Science in Accountancy Program at Wake Forest University, and I am interested in using some of the Giving Voice to Values materials in this course. Before explaining this interest, however, I want to congratulate you and your colleagues on developing the GVV materials. I believe your approach will revolutionize the teaching of business and accounting ethics, and I applaud you for the quality of the materials. I have taught the accounting ethics seminar for three years, and quite frankly, have found it a very frustrating course to teach. I usually end the semester questioning whether the students are prepared to recognize and analyze ethical dilemmas, make the right choices, and actually take a stance when the stakes are high. While I have seen student improvement in recognizing and analyzing ethical dilemmas and generally making good choices, I have not been convinced that they are prepared to take a stance--voice their values--in the workplace. As the GVV approach emphasizes, this is really where the "rubber meets the road," and I believe the GVV materials could make a huge difference in the students‘ progress in this area. The idea of having them develop a script and practice this script is intuitively appealing to me... Thanks again for your work in this area. I look forward to shifting my focus in the course to fully utilize the GVV materials as soon as possible."

Lee G. Knight, Ph.D.
Delmer P. Hylton Professor of Accountancy
Schools of Business
Wake Forest University

"I personally believe that you have found the answer to "Can Ethics be Taught?" Giving Voice to Values is a program that needs to be widely promoted throughout China and I would very much like to be part of that effort."

Dr. Morley Su is the President of a leading Green House Gas Reduction Company in China, and he has a Ph. D degree in Business Moral Education

Giving Voice to Values? Certainly a breakthrough in the teaching of business ethics, possibly a landmark in educating to responsibility and certainly a powerful (and attractive) learning vehicle at a time when leading business schools are, at last, rethinking their curriculum. We all know how challenging is the teaching of ethics, particularly in business schools (and in China possibly more than anywhere!). Mary C. Gentile's work proposes an original way to illustrate that beyond our teaching of the value of values we need to find ways to engage into the critical step to make them explicit. Then, we, organizations and the world might be on the path to become better."

Henri-Claude de BETTIGNIES
Distinguished Professor of Globally Responsible Leadership
China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
The Aviva Chair Emeritus Professor of Leadership & Responsibility, INSEAD

For more information, contact Mary Gentile, Giving Voice to Values Director.

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Contact Mary Gentile, Director, Giving Voice to Values for more information.