Research Summary

Business Ethics

by Joshua D. Margolis


Joshua Margolis is interested in how individuals can exercise leadership in the face of competing ethical and economic responsibilities, and how organizations can enable them to do that. In particular, how can managers and companies simultaneously advance outstanding instrumental performance and a range of values people hold dear. He focuses on the distinctive ethical challenges that individuals must address within organizations, especially in perform-or-else settings. His research has examined corporate social performance, global business standards, and professionals who must perform "necessary evils," tasks that entail doing harm in order to advance a perceived greater good. He has recently co-authored a meta-analysis examining 35 years of research on the link between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance, and he is working with colleagues on a systematic survey of 6,000 managers to understand global business standards, investigating the extent to which they are accepted and adhered to in practice.