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Kenneth Goodpaster

Professor Emeritus

  • Expertise
  • Normative business ethics, corporate responsibility, organizational self-assessment, business implications of catholic social teaching, reflections on business as an institution.

Kenneth Goodpaster earned his A.B. in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan. He taught philosophy at the University of Notre Dame during the 1970s before joining the Harvard Business School faculty in 1980.

In 1990, Goodpaster accepted the David and Barbara Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics at the University of St. Thomas. At St. Thomas, he introduced a Great Books Seminar for graduate students in business, law, education, and engineering.

His book Conscience and Corporate Culture (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007) received generous praise from reviewers, and he contributed to Vocation of the Business Leader, issued by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (2012), and Respect in Action: Applying Subsidiarity in Business (UST Center for Catholic Studies, 2015).

Goodpaster served for many years as an Associate Editor of Business Ethics Quarterly and was Executive Editor of Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which received the 2014 Academy of Management Best Book Award.

In 2014, he was named to Ethisphere Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics, and he was honored by the Society for Business Ethics for a “Career of Outstanding Scholarly Achievement in the Field of Business Ethics.” He is now Professor Emeritus in the St. Thomas Opus College of Business.

In April 2021, Catholic University Press published What We Hold in Trust: Rediscovering the Purpose of Catholic Higher Education by Don J. Briel (posthumously), Kenneth E. Goodpaster, and Michael J. Naughton. The book argues that we need leaders who are in touch with the history of universities and have a love for the Catholic tradition. Without this commitment, our universities may grow in size, but shrink in purpose. They may be richer, but not wiser.

Most recently, in August 2022, Goodpaster completed Times of Insight: Conscience, Corporations, and the Common Good, published open access by Springer Publishers as part of its Eminent Voices in Business Ethics book series. In this book, Goodpaster critically reviews the nearly 50 years of his teaching and research in the field of business and applied ethics, adding reflections on the future of the field. Early comments by top scholars in the field have been very generous. View the open access book here.

Goodpaster's wife, Harriet, is a nationally recognized equestrian and a (retired) software engineer. They have three children, four grandchildren, and a Morgan horse.

Pioneers in Business Ethics series YouTube Video