Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Conscience Code

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Conscience Code

Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
11 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You can flourish in your career without sacrificing your values and integrity.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging


Dishonest, immoral, unethical and illegal conduct plagues businesses. In this powerful call to moral action – derived from his graduate-level course at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School – professor G. Richard Shell offers 10 rules to help you stand up for your values. His examples show how breaches of integrity and accountability erode people’s moral foundations. Shell assesses the damage dishonesty does to institutions and individuals and the value honest, moral behavior brings to them.


Many American companies struggle with ethics and integrity. To do business the right way, follow 10 rules.

In a typical year, more than 40% of the United States’ workforce witnesses unethical or illegal behavior. Roughly one in four employees say their supervisors pressured them to engage in unethical or illegal behavior.

Robust corporate cultures and strong compliance programs help mitigate unethical conduct issues, yet in larger companies these initiatives can lose momentum over time.

Follow these 10 rules in your fight for what’s right:

1. “Face the conflict” – Finding solutions requires identifying the problems.

Many business leaders who insist they prioritize an ethical culture come up short, while employees who stand up for their beliefs demonstrate character and commitment, and inspire others. Daily ethical actions and behavior, such as refusing to ignore discrimination or harassment, help prevent corruption. 

To safeguard standards:

  • Identify the standard being violated – Never ignore sexist remarks, bullying or purposeful data manipulation. You are ethically bound...

About the Author

G. Richard Shell is chair of the Wharton School’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department.

Comment on this summary