International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Leadership Ethics as an Ethics in the Sciences (2014-2016)

Project Leadership:
AOR Dr. Julia Dietrich
Phone: +49 7071 29-77987
E-Mail: julia.dietrichspam

Scientific Coordination:
Dr. Philipp Richter
Phone: +49 7071 29-77511
E-Mail: philipp.richterspam

Research Assistant:

Marie-Christine Fregin
Phone: +49 7071 29-77511
E-Mail: marie.freginspam

Student and Graduate Assistants:

Benedikt Rittweiler, B.A.


Lukas Kurz


Gabriela Röber


Leni Roller


Silvia Kopecny



Cooperation Partners:

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Institute of Political Science

Dr. Rolf Frankenberger

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Center for Quality Assurance and Development (ZQ)

Dr. Uwe Schmidt

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Chair for “Allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre/Organisation, Führung und Human Resource Management“

Prof. Dr. Peter Walgenbach


funded by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung

Project Duration:
since 15.04.2014

The project

The societal discussion on the behaviour of leadership personalities in economy and society raises the question which role the topic “leadership responsibility” plays in research and teaching at universities. The topic “leadership responsibility” is indeed discussed in current research but it is connected to different terms and disciplinary concepts – e.g. Leadership Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Leadership, Elite, Management – which have so far not been combined in an interdisciplinary way. With reference to the question of whether these discussions actually found their way into academic teaching, there are not yet any results tailored to the topic of “leadership responsibility” for the individual federal states.
In order to be able to formulate reliable assertions, an exploratory study is conducted in the three federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Thüringen. This study is characterized by its innovative approach: It falls into line with the conception of an ethics in the sciences and assumes that ethical questions and the competences for their reflection and processing should (also) be embedded in those disciplines and areas of practice in which they arise. Therefore, the study has a genuinely interdisciplinary scope and combines economic and business ethical perspectives with the state of research in the economic, social, legal and political sciences as well as the natural and engineering sciences. It covers the Bachelor and Master courses including the options in the field of “Key Qualifications” in the natural, engineering and economic sciences at the universities of the participating federal states. In order to be able to understand especially the transitions between research and teaching, it links quantitative and qualitative methods and combines the analysis of research literature and the module handbooks of the degree courses with structured expert interviews. A special focus of the study is on the question which moral-ethical competences specifically form the basis of responsible leadership and thus should be promoted in the training of future executives.
Through its interdisciplinary, multi-methodical and competence-oriented approach, the study is capable of providing a sound inventory of the current embedding and importance of the topic of “leadership responsibility” in the investigated universities in research and teaching and to formulate recommendations for promotive measures which are compatible with practice and thus do justice to the universities’ sociopolitical responsibility.