Peter Madsen

Distinguished Service Professor for Ethics and Social Responsibility

Hamburg Hall 2108A



Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests
Education Projects
Executive Education
Abstracts of Recent Work

Research Interests

Dr. Peter Madsen is an award-winning educator, trainer, writer and producer of educational media in the field of applied ethics. He is executive director emeritus of the Center for the Advancement of Applied Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He teaches courses in business, professional, environmental and computer ethics in the Department of Philosophy. Madsen also teaches management ethics courses at the Heinz School. He was the 1990 Emil Limbach Teaching Excellence Award winner at the Heinz School.

Dr. Madsen is co-editor of The Essentials of Business Ethics, The Essentials of Government Ethics and International Corporate Responsibility: Exploring the Issues. He is the author of various articles on ethics in both academic and trade journals and is an editorial board member of the Business Ethics Quarterly. Madsen is the producer, co-director and writer of the Telly award-winning "Ethical Issues in Professional Life," a 14-part, video-based, distance education program that has been used in whole or in part by over 500 institutions of higher education both in the US and internationally.

He has taught this course for CMU's Department of Philosphy and the Virtual University at Tec de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico as a “hybrid” course via video teleconferencing. It was likely the first distance education program in professional ethics. This course has been named in two prominent awards given to CMU: the 2003 American Council of Education/AT&T Award for “Technology as a Tool for Internationalization” and the 2003 “Andrew Heiskell Awards for Technology Enhanced Learning in International Education” from the Institute for International Education.

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After over 30 years as an applied ethics educator, my basic teaching philosophy remains the same: identifying and employing successful pedagogical techniques, especially technology-enhanced strategies, that promote the acquisition of critical thinking skills which students will find useful in resolving the ethical issues, problems and dilemmas that they will encounter as professionals and as members of society.

Such a task is particularly important at institutions of higher education like Carnegie Mellon University where most students are preparing themselves for technical careers and leadership roles in various kinds of organizations where moral mazes and ethical conduct issues have become central concerns of society especially since the spectacle of Enron and other prominent examples of individual and organizational malfeasance. In fact, accrediting agencies in such areas as engineering, architecture and business are now requiring that applied ethics education be included in these various curricula.

The following is a select list of the courses that Madsen has taught at CMU, the University of Pittsburgh and The American University of Paris:

80-241 Ethical Judgments in Professional Life (Classroom and Distance Education Course)

80-243 Business Ethics (also at the Katz School, University of Pittsburgh)

80-244 Management, Ethics and the Environment

80-340 Environmental Ethics and Decision Processes

80-341 Computers, Society and Ethics

91-828 Ethical Issues in Management

91-846 Advanced Topics in Ethics

90-712 Public Policy Issues: Information Ethics – Individual and Community (co-taught)

90-712 Public Policy Issues: Information Technology, Health Care and Ethics (co-taught)

Ethics and Public Administration – taught at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

International Business Ethics -- taught at the American University of Paris

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Education Projects

Educational Media in Applied Ethics

Dr. Madsen has designed, developed, directed, produced and/or written the following educational media products:

"Ethical Judgments in Professional Life," a hybrid course in which traditional classroom expereinces include video conferencing sessions with students from Monterrey and Mexico City who attend Tec de Monterrey, streaming video segments and online issues exploration and discussion. This course was named in two prominent awards to Carnegie Mellon University as an exemplar in international education.

“Business Ethics and Law,” a distance education course designed and developed for Jones International University, 2002. JIU is the only accredited distance education program in the nation.

“Guided Inquiries in Professional Ethics,” an interactive, web-based educational resources designed for a distance education program, 1999 and 2002, content expert, project director and writer.

"Diversity Dilemmas," a 7-part video series on workplace situations, Applied Ethics Project and Ambrose Publications, Inc., 1994, co-producer and writer.

"Ethical Issues in Professional Life," a 14-part video distance learning program with text and audiotape, used at over 500 colleges and universities nationally and internationally, Applied Ethics Project, 1992, project director, co-producer and writer.

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Executive Education

Dr. Madsen’s work with executives in ethics education has been nationally recognized. He has delivered numerous training programs, seminars, workshops and conference presentations to practitioners from many fields in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. He has designed and conducted ethics and diversity training programs both domestically and internationally for such organizations as PPG Industries, Inc., Alcoa, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Duquesne Light Company, the Innova Group, the Edison Electric Institute, Consolidated Natural Gas Company and Phillips Petroleum Company.

The following is a list of selected organizations that Dr. Madsen has worked with and some details about the kind of ethics training that he conducted for that organization:

1. PPG Industries, Inc.

Dr. Madsen has served as a consulting partner with PPG Industries, Inc. since 1986 before ethics training for executives was fashionable. He has assisted PPG in such areas as writing their Global Code of Conduct, formulating ethic-related policy and delivering ethics training in the United States and Europe. As one result of this collaboration, the Society of Financial Service Professionals/Pittsburgh recently named PPG winner of the 2003 American Business Ethics Award in the large companies category. Dr. Madsen also worked in PPG's Diversity Initiative for nearly 10 years as a course designer and facilitator of a training session titled “Managing and Valuing Diversity.”

For the “Mastering Leadership Strategies” (MLS) program of PPG Industries, Inc., Dr. Madsen designed and developed “Moral Mazes In Management,” an e-learning module. This self-directed learning module is being used by PPG managers from around the world in conjunction with a face-to-face training session that is facilitated in Pittsburgh by Dr. Madsen.

Madsen has delivered the MLS program in Pittsburgh and at several sites overseas for PPG European operations including: Annecy, France, 1991; Bratto, Italy, 1992 and 1998; Namure, Belgium, May 1993; Stratford-on-Avon, England, 1997; Dusseldorf, Germany, 1999; Brugges, Belgium, 2000; Lyon, France, 2001; Luxembourg, 2002. Madsen has also conducted in-house empirical studies of managers and the level of awareness that they have of ethics codes and policies at PPG. Two such studies were conducted dealing with US-base and European-based manager awareness. These studies became the bases for several PPG policy changes and for their Global Code of Conduct.

2. Executive Education Programs at CMU

Dr. Madsen conducts ethics education modules for CMU’s highly regarded executive education programs in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA) and the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. Each of the programs that he conducts deals with ethics and management issues and strategies to resolve the ethical dilemmas that arise in management. These general programs include “Managing in Technological Organizations” at GSIA and “Senior Executive Seminar” and for federal government officials at the Heinz School.

In addition, Madsen has delivered a full-day ethics training session titled “Moral Mazes in Management” in the “Executive Excellence” program which is a Heinz School managerial development series designed especially for military and civilian managers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. This session has been an ongoing feature of “Executive Excellence” since 1988.

3. Innova Group

Dr. Madsen has been associated with the Innova Group, Inc. of Raleigh, N.C, since 1985. The Innova Group is a consulting organization and training provider with emphasis in such managerial development areas as: change management, problem solving and decision-making, project management, developmental leader-manager and managerial assessment and feedback. Madsen has conducted a one-half day session on management ethics for the Innova Group in their “Developmental Leadership Program” that is conducted annually at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center on the campus of Duke University in North Carolina.

Previous to this program, Madsen conducted ethics training in an Innova Group program designed specifically for managers whose company belonged to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). These sessions were held biannually in Utah and Florida and focused upon typical management issues, including ethics.

4. Alcoa

In 1985, Dr. Madsen partnered with the Aluminum Company of America to design, develop and conduct “Business Conduct and Ethics.” This training program was required of all purchasing agents of Aloca and its was presented at all major Alcoa facilities in the United States and at Aloca’s International Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1987. This work on purchasing agent ethics was a pioneering program in1985.

5. Westinghouse Electric Company

Dr. Madsen partnered with Westinghouse Electric Company from 1989 to 1997. Ethics training sessions for new Westinghouse managers in Pittsburgh were conducted as well as a full-day ethics training sessions were delivered in a Westinghouse program called the “Manager’s Forum.”

6. Specialized Workshops

Over the years, Dr. Madsen has also conducted specialized workshops in applied ethics and in the area of valuing diversity in the workplace for numerous organizations and groups including such public sector organizations as the:

World Bank
National Security Agency
US Department of Agriculture
US Internal Revenue Service
General Services Administration
Edison Electric Institute
Texas Rehabilitation Commission
Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development
Easter Seals Society of Allegheny County
Allegheny General Hospital
Pittsburgh Personnel Association

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Abstracts of Recent Work

"Peter Singer on Global Ethics," is a critical review of Singer's recent book on practical ethics titled One World: The Ethics of Globalization. The argument is advanced that aspects of Singer's utilitarianism about the "new ethics" that he claims is demanded by the process of globalization fall short to demonstrate that individuals from affluent nations should be obliged donate at least 1% of their annual incomes to agencies who assist those who live in the poor countries of the world. After reviewing Singer's first statements that could be called his "business ethics," it is argued that instead of holding individuals responsible for solving the world's proverty, corporate entities that have exploited the world's resources should be obliged to assist the world's poor. This review is published in the Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2004.

Madsen is a co-editor of the International Corporate Responsibility series that is published by the Philosophy Documentation Center and Carnegie Mellon University Press. This is a four volume series including:

A Survey of International Corporate Responsibility

Controversies in International Corporate Responsibility

Perspective on International Corporate Responsibility

and International Corporate Responsibility: Exploring the Issues (Carnegie Mellon University Press)

"Ethics and Policies Regulating Multinational Enterprise" The anti-globalization movement is a protest against corporate power and a call for its moderation which may be brought about by policies regulating the behavior of multinational enterprises (MNEs) at the international level. But such reform policies face various hurdles before they might become a reality. Not the least of these has to do with a theoretical consideration of the ethical legitimization of these international regulatory policies. In addition, certain practical implementations of such policies will need to be championed. This paper explores two ways in which these theoretical and the practical matters have been addressed within a transatlantic context. It recommends the application of the Integrative Social Contracts Theory in order to ground and legitimize such MNE regulatory policies and it reviews a number of ìstakeholder groupî activities that have attempted to promote corporate responsibility.


"BBA 308 Business Ethics and Law"
This is an interactive, web-based, distance education program developed for Jones International University (JIU), the first fully online, accredited university in the nation. It is designed as an introduction to and a survey of some of the numerous ethical and legal issues, problems and dilemmas that confront business corporations, their managers and their employees. It emphasizes the development of moral reasoning skills and approaches to the dilemmas and moral mazes found in business conduct. A variety of ethical concepts, principles and theories are introduced as tools in a framework for ethical reasoning. In addition, the course details various laws that are pertinent to making ethical business decisions. Topics covered in the course include: corporate responsibility, business and the natural environment, international business and ethics, employee rights, diversity issues in the workplace, marketing ethics, product liability and e-commerce and ethics. To learn more about JIU, go to:


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