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Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility, and Community

Explore theoretical and practical elements of ethical leadership with emphasis on leaders’ personal narratives within social and historical contexts.
This course is archived
Future dates to be announced
Estimated 12 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course
Ethical leadership is the critical appropriation and embodiment of traditions that have shaped the character and shared meanings of a people. Ethical leaders, therefore, are leaders whose characters have been shaped by the wisdom, habits and practices of particular traditions, often more than one, yet they tend be identified with a particular cultural ethos and narrative. Finally, ethical leadership asks the question of values in reference to ultimate concern. --Walter Earl Fluker

This course provides theoretical and practical approaches to the development of character, civility and community for leaders and emerging leaders in education, business, nonprofit, academic, religious, and other professions. The course examines the personal, public and spiritual dimensions of leadership within the context that Fluker calls “the intersection of lifeworlds and systems”; and outlines principles and practices of ethical leadership from a diverse field of leadership theories. Fluker’s work grounds leadership in story, the appropriation of one’s personal narrative within social and historical contexts, as a basis for individual and social transformation.

Theorists and Leadership Video Interviewees include:
  • Congressman John Lewis
  • Ambassador Andrew Young
  • Dr. Jochen Fried (Salzburg Global Seminar)
  • Dr. Walter E. Massey (former President, School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
  • Chandra Taylor-Smith (Vice President, Community Conservation and Education, National Audubon Society)
  • Nicole Robinson (Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Chicago Food Depository)
  • Caren Yanis (former President, Crown Family Philanthropies)
  • Biographer Evan Thomas (Being Nixon: A Man Divided)
  • Harvard University Business, Kennedy and Education School Professors Max Bazerman, Howard Gardner, Bill George, David Gergen, Ronald Heifetz and Barbara Kellerman.
BU Leadership Video Interviewees include:  
  • President Robert A. Brown
  • Provost Jean Morrison
  • Deans Coleman (SED), Moore (STH), Cudd (CAS), Elmore (Dean of Students), Freeman (Questrom School of Business), Galea (SPH) and Najam (Pardee School of Global Studies).
Course participants will develop an Ethical Leadership Toolkit through video exercises led by Professor Fluker, discussion, journaling and assessments, as well as a 5-7 page final project that addresses his or her area of concern (e.g. economic disparity, racism, LBGTQ concerns, homelessness, hunger, violence, environmental issues, global citizenship).

At a glance

  • Institution: BUx
  • Subject: Ethics
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Ethical leadership principles and practices utilizing the Ethical Leadership Model™.
  • Narrative and dramaturgical methods in the development of character, civility and community as ethical leadership practices.
  • A conceptual model for negotiating ethical decision-making at the intersection of life-worlds and system worlds.
  • Various theories and methods of ethical analysis in leadership practices.
  • Personal core values that present themselves in “defining moments that ask leaders to choose between competing values and ideals in which we intensely believe."
  • An Ethical Toolkit for Leaders that can be applied in each student’s leadership context as a life-long practice.

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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