About Principled Leadership


A Unique Learning Experience

Georgetown’s EML program prepares students to be global, principled business leaders. Below EML Academic Director Catherine Tinsley explains her leadership approach for this program.

What is global, principled leadership?

Leaders inspire and guide others in the pursuit of a collective objective. Global, principled leaders define a set of ethical principles that foster the integrity and efficacy of global markets and activities, as well as hold themselves and others accountable for honorable conduct that promotes worthy collective objectives. Global, principled leadership requires conscious development of a moral profile and using “ethical means” to pursue “ethical end-states” that benefit all stakeholder groups.

Why is global, principled leadership important?

For decades, technological advances in computing, communication, and transportation, as well as demographic shifts in the population have led to revolutions in our social, political, and industrial landscapes. Where organizations once functioned as relatively self-contained units in a localized and predictable environment, there are now global supply chains, where modularized workflows off-shore production of goods or out-source services. This “flattening” as Tom Friedman called it has ushered in unprecedented levels of competition among organizations for market-share and dedicated workers, as well as unprecedented access to diverse talents and working styles. Moreover, open source computing and the ubiquity of the internet have allowed more people access to more information and ideas than once thought possible.

This environment, which can be characterized as volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA), requires leaders who have the cognitive, emotional, social, and moral capabilities to lead and leverage human, social, and financial capital through accelerated change and disruption.

Against a backdrop of constant change, numerous researchers have found that the most effective leaders operate with a clearly articulated set of principles and values. That holds true if ‘effectiveness’ is measured by overall company performance in a particular sector, or by employee engagement and satisfaction (both proxy measures for individual productivity). The reason is simple. Global, principled leaders operate from a firm foundation of ethical principles and beliefs that are clearly reflected in their decisions and interactions with others. By remaining principled in their actions, global, principled leaders are seen as consistent over time regardless of environmental pressures and fluctuations. The cumulative impact of these actions and decisions creates a trust among constituencies which, in turn, allows for more effective leadership.

How does global, principled leadership fit within Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business?

Quite simply the mission of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business is to “develop principled leaders with a global mind set to be in service to business and society.”  The EML program is an extension of that mission.


Feel free to contact our office at emlprogram@georgetown.edu with questions regarding global, principled business leaders. We would be happy to connect you with Professor Tinsley .