College of Business > About > Centers & Institutes > Institute for Business & Professional Ethics > About


Founded in 1985, the Institute for Business & Professional Ethics (IBPE) was established as a joint effort of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and College of Commerce at DePaul University. The purpose of the IBPE is to encourage ethical deliberation in decision-makers by stirring their moral conscience, encouraging moral imagination, and stimulating research into business innovation and practices. We serve as a forum for exploring and fostering ethical practices in Chicago-area business organizations at DePaul with programs for our students, faculty and the business community.


The mission of the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics is to facilitate ethical deliberation by stirring the moral conscience and by developing models for ethical decision-making in business and the professions particularly aimed at:

  • Students: Teaching students ethical practices and inspiring them to engage in social justice initiatives.
  • Faculty: Providing resources for encouraging and supporting the teaching of ethics in the curriculum, academic programs, research and scholarship.
  • Business: Advancing ethical practices in business organizations in the Chicago area.
  • Community: Catalyzing the for-profit sector to address poverty through active engagement, both locally and globally.
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Business ethics is the study of what companies and managers morally ought to do — not necessarily what they always do. A decision-making model to guide these choices can be drawn from, and formed by, any number of political, religious, professional and social codes.

Business ethics seeks a reflective consideration of all elements of business conduct and decisions made within an organization.

In a climate of near-total globalization, each decision a business makes may create consequences not only beyond its community, but beyond its continent. New issues in trust, sustainability, rights, social justice and fairness arise every day. It is only through careful consideration of choices and practices that we, as a global society, can move forward without harming others. At every juncture, there is more to be gained and more to be lost than ever before.

IBPE is an educational center focused on furthering the message that ethics are important, with an emphasis on business and professional ethics. The Institute strives to facilitate ethical deliberation and stir the moral conscience of three main constituents: students, business professionals and the Chicago community. Teaching students ethical practices and inspiring them to become courageous leaders through teaching, guest lectures and other student-focused activities is fundamental to our mission at DePaul University. We serve as a resource to Chicago-area business organizations and leaders, by not only publishing materials on ethical decision-making in business, but also providing opportunities to meet and exchange ideas. Finally, and this is somewhat unique to our Institute, we work to catalyze the for-profit sector to incorporate Vincentian values through active engagement in the community, both locally and globally. This may take shape in the form of case studies, community presentations, articles and texts, and various other forms of communication; and hands-on involvement — the opportunities are endless.

The Institute boasts world-renowned faculty experts in the field of business ethics, who offer a high-level, yet pragmatic, approach to effective decision-making for business leaders. Ethics training is integrated at the undergraduate and graduate levels in a methodical, consistent manner, emphasized in IBPE's popular Ethics Across the Curriculum Program for DePaul faculty and staff.

In 1981, under the leadership of Br. Leo Ryan, then Dean of the College of Commerce and in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, IBPE was founded as a university-focused organization. Today,  the Institute has an expanded outreach to the professional compliance and ethics community, businesses and business professionals in Chicago, and national and international organizations. IBPE's work continues to be supported by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Driehaus College of Business. Led by several of the nation's leading business ethics scholars, the Institute strives to bring the broad knowledge base of academic research to life, helping business leaders resolve a growing number of real-world ethical and compliance challenges.