The Wolverine Caucus Presents: John Chamberlin

Date & time

Jun 9, 2010, 11:30 am-1:00 pm EDT


Christman/MML Building, First Floor 208 North Capitol Avenue Lansing, Michigan 48933

John R. Chamberlin is Director of the Center for Ethics in Public Life at the University of Michigan; Professor of Public Policy, U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Professor of Political Science, U-M College of LSA. His research interests include ethics and public policy, nonprofit management, and methods of election and representation. He is also Director of the Ford School's BA in Public Policy program and U-M's Center for Ethics in Public Life. He is active with Common Cause in Michigan.

Professor Chamberlin will discuss the MBA Oath, begun last year by students at the Harvard Business School, who hope that it might someday play the same role in business that the Hippocratic Oath plays in medicine. He will explore with us why it is more difficult to 'professionalize' politics and business, and offer some thoughts on how optimistic we ought to be about ongoing efforts to promote ethical behavior by policy makers and business executives.

Hardly a day goes by without a front page story about unethical behavior in public life. Recent stories have focused on corruption in city government, foot-dragging and cover-ups by auto manufacturers and religious leaders, and unethical behavior of investors. The list seems endless. Most socially important are cases in which the unethical actions are those of an organization or, more accurately, actions taken by individuals or groups of individuals with their 'organizational hats' on. In recent years social scientists have been paying increased attention to 'behavioral ethics' - how organizational roles and organizational context influence individual actions in ways that can result in 'good' people being responsible for 'bad' organizational decisions? This is a puzzle that managers, professions, and ultimately the public must be concerned with if we are to address these problems.

Lunch is provided. RSVP at

Co-sponsored by the Wolverine Caucus, U-M Office of Government Relations, and U-M Alumni Association.

About the Wolverine Caucus: University of Michigan alumni and friends are welcome to participate in the Wolverine Caucus. The mission of the Wolverine Caucus is to provide diverse forums at which U-M friends can meet one another, enjoy fellowship, exchange views, and learn from the world-class talents of the University of Michigan. To receive announcements of upcoming programs, email [email protected] and ask her to add your name or the names of associates.