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Dawn Elm

Professor
David and Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Leadership and Executive Director of the Center for Ethics in Practice

  • Education
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts 
    Ph.D., Strategic Management & Organization, University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management
  • Research Interests
  • Areas of business ethics, strategy, leadership, corporate governance, and the integration of the arts and ethics.

Dawn Elm, PhD, is the David A. and Barbara Koch (Graco) distinguished professor of business ethics and leadership at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. She received her PhD in strategic management and organization from the University of Minnesota in 1989 and has been a faculty member at St. Thomas since then.

Elm researches, teaches and consults in the areas of business ethics, strategy, leadership, corporate governance, and the integration of the arts and ethics. Prior to coming to St. Thomas, she worked in product development with the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, after receiving her BS in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is widely published in the field of business ethics and is the recipient of the 2017 Sumner Marcus Lifetime Achievement Award of the social issues division of the Academy of Management.

Her current work involves improving ethical decision making in business, the impact of social media on organizational boundary management and privacy and the integration of aesthetics and business ethics. She recently completed terms as president and CEO of the Center for Ethical Organizations at the Opus College of Business as well as the executive director of the Society for Business Ethics, a global association.

Elm has experience in strategy consulting, ethical decision-making training, product and process development, and corporate governance. She has served as an independent director in the banking and construction industries on public, private and family business boards. She has also served on non-profit boards in the Twin Cities area.


  • Weber, J., & Elm, D. R. (forthcoming). Exploring and comparing millennials cognitive moral reasoning. Business and Society Review,
  • Glac, K., Elm, D. R., & Martin, L. (2015). Areas of privacy in Facebook: Expectations and value. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, (33)(2/3), pp. 147-176
  • Elm, D. R. (2011). Twenty years to today. Journal of Business Ethics,
  • Elm, D. R., & Radin, T. J. (2011). Ethical decision-making: Special or no different?. Journal of Business Ethics,
  • Elm, D. R., & Taylor, S. (2010). Representing wholeness: Learning via theatrical productions. Journal of Management Inquiry, (19)(2), pp. 127-136
  • Hartman, L., Elm, D. R., Radin, T., & Richmond-Pope, K. (2009). Translating corporate culture around the world: A cross-cultural analysis of whistleblowing as an example of how to say and do the right thing. Politeia: Corporate and Stakeholder Responsibility Theory and Practice, (XXV)(93),
  • Kelley, P. C., & Elm, D. R. (2003). The effect of context on moral intensity of ethical issues: Revising Jones' issue- contingent model. Journal of Business Ethics, pp. (00) 1-16
Books and Chapters
  • Elm, D. R. (forthcoming). Business & Society. In James Weber & David Wasieleski (Ed.), Cognitive moral development in ethical decision-making. Emerald Publishers
  • Elm, D. R. (2014). Encyclopedia of Management, Business Ethics Volume, Vol. 3. In UST Ethics Faculty (Ed.), Obedience to law and authority.
  • Elm, D. R. (2014). Encyclopedia of Management, Business Ethics Volume, Vol. 3. In UST Ethics Faculty (Ed.), Aesthetics and ethics.
  • Elm, D. R. (2013). Aesthetics and Business Ethics. In D. Koehn and D. Elm (Ed.), The artist and the ethicist: Character and process Ch. 5 (pp. 53-66). Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
  • Elm, D. R. (2007). Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society. In Robert W. Kolb (Ed.), Truth-telling (pp. 2124-2126). Sage
  • Elm, D. R. (2003). Workplace spirituality and organizational performance. In Robert A. Giacalone and Carole L. Jurkiewicz (Ed.), Honesty, spirituality, and performance at work. New York: M.E. Sharpe

  • Faculty Service Award, Opus College of Business, 2015
  • Sumner Marcus Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Management, 2017

  • Academy of Management
  • International Association for Business & Society
  • National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)
  • Society for Business Ethics
  • CEBC - Center for Ethical Business Cultures - University of St. Thomas,
  • Journal of Business Ethics - Organizational Behavior and Business Ethics,
  • Journal of Business Ethics Education Book Review,
  • Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Reviewer
  • Journal of Ethics and Behavior,
  • National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)

  • David A. and Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul / Minneapolis (2015 - present)
  • Professor, University of St. Thomas - Opus College of Business, St. Paul / Minneapolis (2001 - present)
  • Interim President and CEO - Center for Ethical Business Cultures, University of St Thomas - Opus College of Business, (2016 - 2017)
  • Ethics and Business Law Department Chair, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul / Mpls (2011 - 2014)
  • Department Chair, Interim, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul / Mpls (2009 - 2011)
  • Associate Professor, University of St. Thomas - College of Business, St. Paul / Minneapolis (1994 - 2001)
  • Assistant Professor, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul (1989 - 1994)
  • Instructor/Research Assistant, University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis (1984 - 1989)
  • Product Development Manager, Domestic & International Beauty & Health Care Products, The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati (1980 - 1984)