Bettina Palazzo black and white headshot

Dr. Bettina Palazzo

Business Ethics Expert

why book bettina?

  • Bettina delved into business ethics in the early ’90s, earning recognition for her groundbreaking work
  • Her dedication led to an award-winning PhD thesis, showcasing her deep understanding of the subject matter
  • Bettina advocates for corporate cultures that prioritise ethics, aiming to make work fulfilling and enjoyable for employees
Bettina Palazzo black and white headshot


Bettina Palazzo stumbled on the topic of business ethics in the early 90ies and soon found out that it is such a rich and exciting topic that she never stopped. 

She suffered through the cumbersome but rewarding effort of getting her head around the philosophical and economical foundations of business ethics, won an award for her PhD. thesis and rode off into the sunset to join KPMG. 

There she helped to build their business ethics consulting services. Tough pioneer work at that time! After a short detour into strategic management consulting, she returned to her true passion and started her own business ethics advisory. 

Bettina Palazzo black and white headshot

Over the years Bettina has learned that you cannot press ethics into checklists and processes and that unethical companies make unhappy people. The desire to create corporate cultures that make work fun and meaningful instead of dreadful and depressing drives everything she does.


4 psychological Ethics Taps and how to avoid them

Contrary to popular believe most corporate scandals are not initiated by evil individuals with too much criminal energy, but mostly by normal people that got pushed over the ethical edge without really noticing. They get naively entangled into conflicts of interest. Justify their unethical behaviour, as a way to get even after being treated unfairly. They get ethical tunnel vision because they are under relentless time- and performance pressure or they get entangled in ambiguous rules.

In this session you will learn:

  • Insight on scientific results and experiments that prove the power of psychological dynamics for (un)ethical behaviour in organisations.
  • Interesting stories and case studies from Theranos, Wells Fargo to the Tour de France on how these ethics traps work.
  • What companies and leaders can do to avoid them

Epic Ethical Leadership Fails and what we can learn from them?

The standard explanation for bad ethical leadership is “Power corrupts!”. But that is only one aspect of why leaders fail ethically. We will explore other individual and organizational dynamics that can lead ever again to epic ethical leadership fails. We will find out what individual leaders can do personally boost their ethical leadership muscles and what organization can do to create a framework that makes it easier for leaders to be effective ethical role models.

In this session you will learn:

  • Why being an ethical leader is hard, but very desirable.
  • How leaders can avoid the negative effects power can have on their leadership behaviour.
  • Why leaders rarely get honest feedback on their ethics and what we can do about it.

Welcome to the Ethics Gym: Building your ethical decision-making muscles!

Ethical dilemmas are not a rate exception in business – they happen all the time. But most businesspeople have never learned how to navigate the grey zones between wrong and right with calm competence. In this Ethics Gym we will first explore common obstacles to ethical decision making in organisations. Then we will discuss real-life ethical dilemma situations, test our ethical intuitions, and learn practical tools that help to improve our ethical decision-making skills. Finally, participants will get a guideline on how to address ethical dilemma situations by aiming for problem-solving instead of blaming.

In this session you will learn:

  • Being aware of the effects of obedience to authority, time- and performance pressure and group think on ethical decision-making.
  • Applying a quick and easy guideline for sound ethical analysis.
  • Learn how you can intervene if you witness unethical behaviour.

Bettina Palazzo, Dr.


You may want to go deeper with your audience. Masterclasses can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.

“Why did nobody tell us? Why people do not speak-up on ethics and how to fix it”.

Everyone wants a speak-up culture! Very few have it. 

Before a corporate scandal becomes public, many people in the company have known about the ticking time bomb for a very long time and the question is always asked: why didn’t they say anything?

In this session you will learn:

  • What are the benefits of a speak-up culture?
  • What prevents employees from openly addressing ethically sensitive topics?
  • What tools are available to promote a speak-up culture?
  • How to listen to make speak-up save and worthwhile.
  • How to speak up without creating defensiveness and escalation.


“Bettina blends intelligence, humor and lightness into serious topics such as ethics, harassment and sustainability issues at work. Her speaking style is dynamic and interactive. She also makes you feel smart and allows you to get up-to speed with the topics at hand.”

Kristin Engvig, Founder of the WIN Conference

“An incredibly empowering and enlightening experience!”

Maria Magdalena Heinrich, FAO

“Very exciting and inspiring workshop on Speak-up Culture using practical cases relevant in both professional and private life, presented by a fantastic expert and much appreciated by our teams.”

Frédéric Beyeler, Country General Counsel, L’Oréal

If you are looking for a great storyteller that can bring across the value of Ethics & Compliance, Bettina is the one.”

Chantal Verkooy, Compliance Lead France at Microsoft

“Bettina convinces with striking insights into ethics research regarding the challenges of ethical leadership, compliance communication and speak-up. Her stage presence and interactive speaking style make her talks irresistible.”

Achim Weick, CEO of EQS Group