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The Campaign for UC Davis

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Office of University Development

UC Davis
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Davis, CA 95616-5270

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Portrait of Ethical Leadership

Professor Kim Elsbach is training tomorrow’s business leaders to act with integrity.

Professor Kimberly Elsbach, holder of the Stephen G. Newberry Endowed Chair in Leadership, is building future leaders by teaching them about integrity in leadership using real-world examples.

With philanthropic support from Steve Newberry, CEO of Lam Research Corp., Elsbach is researching and writing case studies on real life issues such as diversity, integrity and values-based leadership and bringing them into the classroom — thereby enhancing business school education at UC Davis.

“A lot of case studies that are currently being used in business schools focus on turning a company around and making money, but a lot of times that is not inspirational nor does it teach you about leadership in terms of doing the right thing,” said Elsbach, whose expertise is in perception leadership — specifically legitimacy, trustworthiness and creativity. “But managers at all levels of any corporation are more likely to encounter challenges centered around doing the right thing rather than turning a company around. And their responses to those challenges often have a very large impact on the success of their future careers.”

Because these case studies originate from real-life situations and do not have clearly correct answers, they initiate lively classroom discussions and “really resonate with the students,” Elsbach said. In addition to enhancing the students’ educational experience, Elsbach’s case studies also help the Graduate School of Management produce leaders who will demonstrate integrity in leadership in their future careers. And it is a philosophy that Elsbach thinks contributed to the school’s rise in the rankings of U.S. business schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2011 — up to 28th.

“The students who go through the Graduate School of Management not only represent the school, but they also touch the community and the state through all the jobs they get,” Elsbach said. “Thanks to philanthropic support of our program and educational philosophy, we can produce better leaders who will have a positive impact on society.”