Mendoza College of Business


Mendoza College of Business
Rex and Alice Martin Director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership; Associate Teaching Professor

Christopher Adkins is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Management & Organization Department and the Executive Director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center of Ethical Leadership.  His research and teaching explore how the fields of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and behavioral economics provide new insights and best practices for values-based leadership.   Empathy is the core theme of his work, offering a foundational and teachable skill to enhance innovation, communication, diversity and inclusion, ethical decision making, and change leadership.  In June 2015, he was awarded “Master Teacher of Business Ethics” by the Wheatley Institution at Brigham Young University. 

In addition to his teaching and research, Chris designs engaging leadership programs based on the neuroscience of individual and organizational flourishing.  Partners and clients have included: World Bank, Saatchi & Saatchi, Deloitte, Aspen Institute, IBM, Conference Board, Navigant Consulting, Education First, Giving Voice to Values, Corporate Eco Forum, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Agilent Technology, Novelis. 

Areas of Expertise

Empathy in the Workplace

Business Ethics

Cognitive Neuroscience and the implications for Decision-Making and Leadership Development

Change Leadership


Ph. D., The College of William & Mary

MS, Boston University

BA, The College of William & Mary


Ethical Leadership for the Sustainable Enterprise


Adkins, C. P. (2013).  Teaching Change Leadership for Sustainable Business: Strategies from Giving Voice To Values Curriculum.  Chapter in Gentile, Mary C., Educating for values-driven leadership: Giving Voice to Values across the curriculum. Business Expert Press.

Schmidt, C. D., Davidson, K. M., & Adkins. C. P.  (2013).  Applying What Works: A Case for Deliberate Psychological Education in Undergraduate Business Ethics. Journal of Education for Business, 88 (3), 127-135.

Adkins, C. P. (2011). A Pathway for Educating Moral Intuition:  Experiential Learning Within the Giving Voice To Values Curriculum. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 8(1), 383-391.

Adkins, C. P. (2011).  Beyond Reason:  Integrating Cognitive Neuroscience in Teaching Business Ethics.  Chapter in Sims, R. R., & Sauser, W. I., Experiences in teaching business ethics.  Information Age Press.

Adkins, C. P., Gentile, M. C., Ingols, C., & Trefalt, S. (2011). Teaching “How”—Not “Whether”—to manage with integrity: Undergraduate and MBA application of the “Giving Voice to Values” curriculum.  Chapter in Wankel, C. & Stachowicz-Stanusch, A., Management Education for Integrity, 107-133, Emerald Press.

Adkins, C. P. & Dipaola, M. F. (2009).  Shaping University Culture:  Challenges and Opportunities for Leaders in Higher Education.  Pegagogia no Ensino Superior, 6, 9-36.


Neuroscience in Business Contexts (including the Neuroscience of Empathy)

“Empathy in Business Schools: The Foundational Skill for Collaboration, Communication & Diversity.” National Undergraduate Business Symposium, University of Texas-Austin, March 2015.

“Neuroscience & Organizational Values: Pathways for on-the-job Learning.”  Deloitte Chief Learning Officer Forum, March 2014.

“Inside the Cheating Mind: Best Practices from Neuroscience & Behavioral Economics for Upholding Honor & Honesty in College and Beyond.” National Undergraduate Business Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, April 2013.

“The Neuroscience of Empathy, Experiential Learning, and Elevation.” Conference Board’s Council on Learning, Development & Organizational Performance, Meeting on the Neuroscience of Leadership & Learning, Santa Clara, CA, January 2013.

“Increasing the Effectiveness of Ethical Decision-Making: Insights from Neuroscience & Social Psychology.” Keynote Presentation at 20th annual Ethics & Compliance Conference, Ethics & Compliance Officers Association, St. Louis, MO, October 2012.


Business Ethics (including Giving Voice to Values)

“A Design Thinking Approach to Business Ethics Education: Pedagogical Techniques to Enhance Complex Problem-Solving.”  Workshop presented with B. Parmar at annual conference of Society of Business Ethics, Philadelphia, PA, August 2014.

“Educating Change Leaders: Applications from the the Giving Voice to Values Curriculum.” Giving Voice to Values Faculty Conference, Babson University, June 2013

“Voicing Up and Across: Helping Students Communicate to Authority and with Peers using Giving Voice to Values.” National Undergraduate Business Symposium, The College of William & Mary, March 2011.

Pathways to Ethical Voice and Action: Theoretical and Educational Consideration. Panel Presentation with D. Cain, M. C. Gentile, and K. Locke at annual conference of Society of Business Ethics, Montreal, QC, August 2010.

“An Introduction to the Giving Voice to Values Curriculum.” Presentation with M. C. Gentile at annual AACSB Associate Deans and Innovative Programs Conference, Glendale, Arizona, November 2008.

“Promoting the Ethical Development of Undergraduate Business Students.” Presentation with C. D. Schmidt at annual conference of Association for Moral Education, New York, NY.

“Moral Development in an Undergraduate Business Ethics Course: A Research Study Utilizing Deliberate Psychological Education.”  Presentation with C. D. Schmidt at annual conference of Society for Research in Adult Development, Boston, MA.


Sustainability & Social Entrepreneurship

“Developing Empathy: An Innovative Pedagogical Approach for Social Entrepreneurship.” Presentation with B. R. Smith at annual Ashoka U Conference, Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, Arizona State University, February 2012.

“Teaching Empathy for Social Entrepreneurship: Techniques for Course and Field Settings.” Presentation with D. Stelljis and G. Van Kirk at annual Ashoka U Conference, Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, Duke University, February 2011.

“Student-Led Culture Change: A New Approach to Sustainability.” National Undergraduate Business Symposium, Ohio State University, April 2010.


Business Education & Experiential Learning

“Discovering Good Work in your Internship: An Experiential Learning Approach at William & Mary.”  National Undergraduate Business Symposium, Washington University, St. Louis, March 2012.

“What They Don’t Teach You in B-school: Executive Coaching in Graduate & Undergraduate Programs.” Annual AACSB Emerging Curriculum Conference, Baltimore, MD, November 2007.

“The Challenge of Curriculum Integration: Overcoming Obstacles and Engaging Faculty and Students.” Annual AACSB Faculty Conference on Learning, Orlando, FL, June 2007.

“Integrating Intuition and Emotion in Teaching Business Ethics: Strategies Inspired by Neuroscience, Behavioral Economics, and Social Psychology.”  Inaugural forum on Innovating Ethics Pedagogy in the Classroom and the Corporation, Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership, Notre Dame University, January 2011.

“Maximizing Moral Intuition in Managerial Decision-Making.”  Academy of Management annual conference, Chicago, Illinois, August 2009.

“Revisiting Hoffman’s Theory of Empathy & Moral Development: Resonances in Neuropsychology and Educational Interventions with Adolescents.”  Annual conference of Jean Piaget Society, Quebec City, Canada, June 2008.

“Stimulating Secondary Moral Intuitions: Theoretical and Empirical Support for Role-taking with Adolescents and Adults.” Annual conference of Society for Research in Adult Development, New York, NY, March 2008.

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