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Matthew T. Phillips

John Hendley Fellow and Associate Teaching Professor of Law & Ethics

School of Business
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

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James R. Otteson

Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics and Professor of Economics

School of Business
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

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Adam S. Hyde

former Research Assistant Professor, BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism

School of Business
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

 
 

Corporate Purpose & Leadership

Why Business?

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COURSE AT A GLANCE

 
 

What is the proper role of business in a humane and just society? Many people believe that business is an inherently suspicious activity. That suspicion is evident in the common belief that businesspeople need to “give back” to society. Is business an activity for which people must atone? Why exactly are people suspicious of it? Are they right to be suspicious?

In this course we will explore the nature of business, as well as the nature of the market economy of which it forms an integral part. We will investigate how business and the market economy function, both in theory and in practice, and what the purposes are that they are supposed to serve. We will also look at the moral implications of some specific issues and cases that arise in a market economy, in an effort to understand what limits, if any, there should be on business and markets.

“I often think back to our classroom discussions on the true purpose of business, outside of simply generating income. Professor Otteson incorporated Wake Forest Pro Humanitate into our curriculum by emphasizing that every business — whether it’s an investment banking firm or a not-for-profit — has the underlying foundation of serving others. That spirit of service is something that remained close to me when I began my job search senior year and into my career.”

- Clara Brahimy

a recent School of Business graduate who is now a wholesale credit program analyst for Wells Fargo.

 
 

FACULTY BIOGRAPHY

 

Matthew T. Phillips

Matthew Phillips teaches business law and ethics at Wake Forest University School of Business. He is the director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, which helps students explore the profession of business and its role in a humane and just society. Matthew received undergraduate and law degrees from Wake Forest and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. Prior to teaching, Matthew practiced law in Winston-Salem.

Jim Otteson

Jim Otteson is the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics at Wake Forest University School of Business and a professor of economics. He is the executive director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest and a senior fellow in the BB&T Center at the Business School. He received his BA from the University of Notre Dame and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. Jim’s work includes books on ethics, political economy, and Adam Smith.

Adam S. Hyde

Adam Hyde is the assistant director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest.  He is an economist with specialties in public policy, industrial organization, and labor markets - particularly applied to health and health care.  He earned his AB in economics from Franklin and Marshall College and his PhD in economics from the University of Virginia.  He has served as a research assistant professor in the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism and an assistant professor at the Wake Forest University School of Business, where he won multiple awards for teaching economics to graduate students.

 
 
 
 
 

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