How can business leaders shape their organisation’s environment and internal work practices to prevent misbehaviour? And do all managers really have a grip of their own potential moral mistakes? Professionals and managers can learn how to think like an ethical leader and motivate others to behave ethically in the new two-day Ethical Leadership in Business programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

The executive education programme is for professionals and managers with at least five years of professional experience, who aspire to help build and maintain profoundly ethical organisations.

“In this complex world, good leadership can make the difference between success and failure,” says Marius van Dijke, Endowed Professor in Behavioural Ethics at RSM, who teaches in the two-day programme. “But leadership is not simply a matter of mechanically applying the right kind of techniques to get the right outcomes. Instead, good leadership is about achieving collective goals in a morally responsible manner.”

So, it is not enough to just run a business efficiently.

Steering human behaviour as a force for good

Research shows that leaders tend to be predominantly judged and evaluated on their integrity and personal ethics. “People who can’t lead ethically are no leaders at all,” says Prof. Van Dijke. In the Ethical Leadership in Business programme, the professor will offer several practical tools and tips to become more aware of potential moral pitfalls and how to avoid those, as well as how to encourage morally responsible behaviour in other people.

Participants will learn how to build and maintain the ethical culture in their organisation, explore how employees’ unethical behaviour can be prevented, reflect on their own moral values, use the subtle influences that steer human behaviour as a force for good, and motivate others to behave ethically.

The art of morally responsible decision-making

“Ethics is an art as much as a science,” says co-lecturer Dr Gijs van Houwelingen. “It’s the art of morally responsible decision-making under uncertain and unclear circumstances.” He added that modern day science is yet able to improve that art. “Often, it is our unconscious biases or incidental emotions that cloud our judgment and impair our ability to decide and behave in morally responsible ways. Such slip ups may have very real consequences.”

Dr Van Houwelingen said that during this course participants will discover how to recognise these biases, and learn ways to overcome them. Programme participants will work interactively on real-life moral dilemmas and experience first-hand how our mind can sometimes play tricks on us to cloud our moral judgment.

Ethical Leadership in Business is a two-day, English-taught programme by RSM Executive Education. The course will take place on RSM’s campus in Rotterdam: 17-18 May 2018 as well as on 1-2 November 2018.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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