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Departments | BGS
  • Ethics Unwrapped Marketing Banner Image

    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

  • Students in class
  • UT Tower


    the social and ethical dimensions of business problems

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

Professor Spence talk on state-local conflict over hydraulic fracturing

In early March 2015, Professor David Spence spoke on state-local conflict over hydraulic fracturing in Boulder, CO and Calgary, Canada.  Press coverage of the Boulder speech can be found here.


Professor Werner presents at University of Minnesota

On February 20, BGS Professor Timothy Werner presented his paper “Blacklisted Benefactors: The Political Contestation of Non-Market Strategy” (co-authored with Mary-Hunter McDonnell of Georgetown University) to the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management’s Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship Department’s seminar series.

You can download the paper here.

Talk on Business Ethics by former Enron CEO, Andy Fastow

On February 12, Robert Prentice moderated a talk on business ethics by former Enron CEO Andy Fastow.  Fastow, who was brought to campus by the University Finance Association, said that Enron had been a promising company that was mismanaged by leaders, including himself, who paid more attention to temporarily improved the balance sheet than to creating long-term value for the company.

Paper: "Structural Adjustment and Regional Labor Markets"

On January 24, Dr. Jerry Nickelsburg of the Anderson School of Business at UCLA presented a paper entitled “Structural Adjustment and Regional Labor Markets: Lessons from Post Cold-War Base Closures.”  The BGS Department thanks the Bates Family Foundation for making this presentation possible.

Professor Werner Published in Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization

A paper examining the potential policy consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC written by BGS Professor Timothy Werner (along with co-author John J. Coleman of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) was just published in the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization. Werner and Coleman’s study demonstrates that in those states in which corporations could make independent expenditures directly from their treasuries, corporate governance laws systematically favored management over shareholders. These findings suggest that when managers engage in political activity it may serve their own ends and not those of their firms.

 You can download the paper here.

Forum in Palm Beach, FL

On January 16-17, Robert Prentice participated in the 15th Annual James A. and Linda R. Mitchell/The American College Forum on Ethical Leadership in Financial Services in Palm Beach, FL.

Ethics & CSR Speaker Series

On November 14, Prof. Julie Irwin hosted a panel discussion on environmentally-friendly entrepreneurship featuring Paul Delong of Car2Go! and Elliott McFadden of Austin B Cycle. The presentation was sponsored by the BGS Department and the McCombs Ethics & CSR Speaker Series.

Panel Discussion in Washington DC

On November 20 in Washington DC, Robert Prentice participated in a panel discussion entitled “Auditor Incentives and Behavior-Related Considerations Regarding Fraud Detection” in a meeting of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Fall 2014 Faculty Honor Roll

BGS faculty members Dean Bredeson, Christopher Meakin, Fran Pedersen, and Timothy Werner were named to the Fall 2014 Undergraduate Faculty Honor Roll in a ceremony on November 10.

Professor Spence Quoted on Fracking

Cities in Texas, California and Ohio had initiatives on the ballot this fall to ban or restrict hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a controversial production technique for extracting oil and gas from shale.  Professor David Spence of the BGS department has studied these local ordinances (of which there are more than 400 in existence nationwide), and was quoted in coverage of the issue by the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, and Bloomberg News this election season.  Prof. Spence's article analyzing the legal issues triggered by local fracking bans will be published in the Texas Law Review later this year.