University of Texas at Austin

Business, Government & Society

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Departments | BGS
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    Beyond Business Ethics

    Why do good people do bad things?

  • Martin Luther King Statue

    Managing relationships

    with governments, NGOs, and other external stakeholders

  • Professor Prentice teaching


    business ethics is as much about
    emotional intelligence as technical proficiency.
    Professor Robert Prentice

  • Supreme Court Building


    law and regulation into business decisions

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    the social and ethical dimensions of business problems

  • Students in class

Business, Government & Society

Business, Government & Society Launches "Ethics Unwrapped"

“Ethics Unwrapped,” a series of free ethics teaching videos, was launched in Fall 2012 by the McCombs School of Business. The videos are available at the Ethics Unwrapped website.

McCombs' Newest Department

The Business, Government, & Society department focuses research and teaching on the regulatory, political, legal and ethical environment of business. Today’s global marketplace is more competitive, more transparent, more culturally and politically diverse, and more fluid than ever before. Future business leaders will need to be able to navigate the legal, ethical and cultural demands of government and society. The BGS department helps students cultivate the skills needed to successfully manage the dynamic business environment of the future.

Department News

Partners in Business Ethics Conference

On November 7 and 8, Robert Prentice attended the Partners in Business Ethics Conference at Penn State.  He is on the steering committee for the PBE Conference and BGS will host the conference in 2019.

BGS Hosts SMS Conference Extension

On October 27, BGS hosted an extension to the annual Strategic Management Society Conference entitled "The Future of Non-Market Strategy Research" with scholars from all over the world.  The Bates Family Foundation's support is  gratefully acknowledged.

Texas Enterprise Speaker Series features Professor Irwin

On Oct. 25, Julie Irwin was the featured speaker in the Texas Enterprise Speaker series, presenting a talk entitled "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Why What You Buy May Not Reflect Your Moral Values.

BGS hosted Ray Fisman for a Research Presentation

On October 23, BGS hosted Ray Fisman for a research presentation.  Fisman is the Slater Family Professor in Behavioral Economics at Boston University.  He reported his research on tax-exempt lobbying, examines favor-seeking by US companies via donations to politically relevant non-profits.

Professor Irwin quoted in the New York Times

Julie Irwin was quoted extensively in the New York Times on Oct. 20 in Richard Coniff's op-ed "Why We Don't Vote With Our Wallets" about the limitations of consumer boycotts.

Professor Prentice's Book Chapter Published

Robert Prentice wrote a chapter entitled "Moral Norms, Behavioral Ethics, and Bribery Activity" in the just-published Cambridge University Press book Thinking About Bribery (edited by two Wharton Business School professors).

Professor Gawande spoke on a panel in the Global Order Colloquim

Kishore Gawande was invited to Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania's new international affairs institute to participate in their annual Fall conference (9/25-26). The conference, entitled “The Future of the Global Order in an Era of Populism, Nationalism and Retrenchment”, attracted participants from leading academic and policy institutions around the country, including U. Penn. professors from Political Science, Law School and Wharton. Prof. Gawande spoke on a panel addressing the implications of populism, nationalism, and retrenchment for international trade and economics.  Speakers on his panel - Judith Goldstein (Stanford), Diana Mutz (Penn) – addressed changing preferences among American citizens in the past decade, and a desire for less globalism and integration, and how policy under the Trump administration was moving in this direction – Chad Bown (Peterson Institute).  Prof. Gawande viewed these changing preferences and policies as evidence of a China trade shock that started in 2000 with China’s accession to the WTO, continuing through 2010 when China’s manufacturing dominated the world economy and hollowed out US manufacturing employment.  Prof. Gawande put forward the idea that an electoral competition model with lobbying by exporting firms could explain the kinds of trade policy platforms we have seen Democrat and Republican candidates adopt during U.S. election cycles during the past decade, especially the anti-trade platforms adopted in the most recent elections.  The presentations were followed by a lively discussion moderated by Jen Harris (Council of Foreign Relations).

Professor Prentice's Behavioral Ethics Presentation in San Antonio

 On July 19, 2017, Robert Prentice made a presentation on behavioral ethics to the city government’s leadership team in San Antonio.

Professor Prentice's Op-Ed in the Austin American Statesman and the Waco Tribune-Herald

On July 14, 2017, Robert Prentice published an op-ed in the Austin American Statesman and the Waco Tribune-Herald entitled “Ethics is Not a Word Under the Trump Administration.”

Professor Spence quoted in Austin Monitor article

On July 18, 2017, David Spence was quoted in an article titled "City of Austin welcomes Texas AG opinion on local tree rules" on the Austin Monitor website. Read the full article here.