Ethics, Culture, and Leadership
Ethical Leadership • Decision Making • Cultural Awareness

Seminar Instructor: John Traphagan, PhD
Upcoming Course Dates: October 6, 2020 Online

This course focuses on how awareness of culture can contribute to ethical leadership and good decision-making in organizations. Participants will develop skills to apply ethical theories in ways that are sensitive to variations in cultural values.

Course Description

This course focuses on how awareness of culture can contribute to ethical leadership and good decision-making in organizations.

Participants will use case studies to think about ethical issues in organizations related to topics such as compliance, technology use, health and illness, and sustainability.

These topics are considered from a global perspective emphasizing how cultural values inform ethical decision-making and how different ethical and cultural systems address and define moral issues that arise in organizations.

Participants will explore ethical theories that have been used in the West to and compare these with approaches in non-Western cultures, such as Japan. The course will emphasize developing skills to apply ethical theories in ways sensitive to variations in cultural values.

Participants will learn five strategies:

  • Recognizing Cultural Differences: Cultural differences in the workplace can be overt or subtle. How can we use awareness of cultural differences to enhance ethical leadership?
  • Ethics and Culture: How do cultural differences influence ways that we react to moral dilemmas?
  • Navigating Difference: How to think from the perspectives of others, even when their ideas seem morally wrong.
  • Observational Mindset: Understanding other cultures and ethical systems by learning about and engaging the perspective of others.
  • Self-Awareness Through Observation: Building techniques for ethical self-awareness by learning from the ways others think about right and wrong.
Details & Registration

Location: Online
Upcoming Course(s): October 6, 2020
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 0.6 CEUs will be awarded upon completion of this program (six hours of instruction)
Registration Deadline: September 28, 2020

HDO uses Zoom to conduct online courses. Please test your connection prior to registering.

Seminar Pricing

If you have questions prior to registering, please see our Professional Training FAQ or contact Miles Husid, HDO’s Marketing Coordinator, at

Course Leader(s)

John Traphagan is Professor of Anthropology, Human Dimensions of Organizations, and Religious Studies, and a faculty affiliate of the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Social Anthropology, holds an MAR degree from Yale University in Ethics, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. His postdoctoral research was conducted as a National Institute on Aging Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center of the University of Michigan and he has received a variety of grants to support his research, including funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Social Science Research Council, the Association for Asian Studies, and the American Philosophical Society. He was also a Fulbright scholar to Japan.

Who Should Participate?

The majority of participants in our Seminars and Certificate Programs are mid- and upper-level professionals working in the business, nonprofit, government, or military sectors; however, professionals at all levels of experience are welcome to participate. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in an HDO Professional Seminar.

While all HDO Seminars are developed with wide-ranging applicability in mind, the following individuals and groups will likely find Ethics, Culture, and Leadership most directly relevant to their work:

  • Senior/Executive Leadership
  • Managers and Directors
  • Team Leaders & Supervisors
  • Human Resources/Recruiting Directors & Managers
  • International Recruiters & Human Resources Managers
  • Anyone tasked with solving team cohesion and/or leadership problems


The exploration of all the different ways of thinking about culture made this a very impactful day. I was able to rethink my approach to corporate culture and trying to define that culture. Dr. Traphagan was engaging, transparent, and knowledgeable about the subject.

– Jennifer Andrews, Manager, Member Services, Texas Municipal Retirement System


Through interactive exercises with participants and faculty, I learned some new ways of applying context to my position as a leader. Context matters, and it’s all about process. This was a wonderful opportunity to hear diverse perspectives.

– Jyothi Gupta, PhD, Occupational Therapy Department Chair and Director of Residential Programs, A.T. Still University


The professor was spot-on in his delivery and subject matter expertise: He handled controversial topics with ease and respect. This will in turn help me navigate potential hot-topic issues in the work place.

– Jacob Stokes, Deputy Court Administrator at Travis County


The day was absolutely fabulous. I learned so much about ethical leadership and understanding myself as a leader.

– Anna Maria Conn, Academic Dean, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School


I love the structure of these courses – incredible instructors from various backgrounds, opening minds to consider different solutions to common organizational problems.

– Sarah Gerichten, Marketing Director, Square Root, Inc.


The program was well organized, balanced, and unbiased. The instructor was extremely knowledgeable and approachable.

– Nordeli Estronza, M.D., Physician, Austin Neurology and Sleep Associates