About the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative

The Koeze Business Ethics Initiative (KBEI) examines the role and influence of business in public life with an eye to fostering discussion and collaboration. A program within Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business, the KBEI is a leading resource for businesspersons, students, faculty and administrators who seek to understand the relationship between business, the common good and a life well-lived. The KBEI promotes inquiry into ethical business practices and education with the understanding that much of West Michigan’s success comes from a mindset where businesses strive to remain locally owned, to collaborate and to cultivate philanthropic interests within the community.

The Koeze Business Ethics Initiative maintains a focus on the influence and ethos of locally-owned businesses, but also includes public talks from prominent national thinkers, diverse panel discussions, consulting activities, curriculum initiatives, a faculty lunch series, international conference presentations, research, and student-centered events. Under its current director Professor Michael DeWilde, the Initiative focuses primarily on four areas of inquiry:

  • The values and psychology of family-owned businesses;
  • Ethics in health care with a special emphasis on ethics at the end of life;
  • The development, sustainability and transmission of social capital and its relation to civic well-being;
  • The understanding and use of behavioral ethics (moral psychology, neuroethics, etc.) in promoting innovative, affective business education and consulting.

Video on the importance of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative

GVSU Professor Michael DeWilde, former GVSU Provost Gayle Davis, and Jeff Koeze on the importance of the KBEI

KBEI Services

For further information about business ethics talks, help with values clarification, conflict resolution or other ethics-related topics, please contact Professor Michael DeWilde directly at [email protected] or (616) 331-7468.

Student-centered Services

Panel Discussions and Guest Speakers:
We host panel discussions and guest speakers throughout the year, providing Seidman students with an array of perspectives on ethical thought and decision making.
The Barry Castro Business Ethics Scholarship:
This merit-based scholarship awards two $1,500 scholarships per year to undergraduate students at the Seidman College of Business. Students must demonstrate outstanding academic ability and a commitment to the study of ethics in business contexts.

Ethics Research

The director and others affiliated with the Initiative are engaged in on-going scholarship relevant to ethics in business. Currently the KBEI is collaborating on a joint research project on social capital with Jerry Davis at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, as well as on developing a "Trustworthiness" survey for major companies, among other projects.

Panel Discussions

Panel Discussions and Guest Speakers:
The KBEI frequently hosts guest speakers, panel discussions, and lecture series on ethics that are open to the public. The 2022 speaker will be Dr. Michele Harper. Check our Upcoming Events to learn more.
The Barry Castro Business Ethics Lecture:
Each year, we bring in a major figure in business, journalism, or academia to deliver a public lecture and meet with students and community members.  Past speakers have included Kurt Eichenwald, Jonathan Haidt, Helen Fisher, and Francis Fukuyama. The 2017 speaker will be Cindy Padnos. 

History of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative

The KBEI was originally organized as the Business Ethics Center by Professor Barry Castro, a Management professor at GVSU until his death in 2005. Barry was interested in West Michigan's business history, among other things, and demonstrated that much of the region's success came from an ethos that encouraged locally-owned businesses to remain locally-owned, to collaborate, and to cultivate philanthropic interests within their own communities.
In 2014, we celebrated the naming of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative. Generous support from Ruth Koeze helped establish the initiative. Jeff Koeze has also played a major role in helping Seidman by highlighting the importance of ethics for the community and for students. In the late 1990s he worked with management professor Barry Castro in establishing a series of roundtable discussions that brought together business owners and professionals on questions concerning values and ethics in West Michigan businesses. Koeze continued his involvement when Michael DeWilde took over in 2008 and has been an invaluable friend and colleague as we have discussed the expansion of those conversations into what is now the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative.

Page last modified March 28, 2022