Gwendolyn Gordon

Gwendolyn Gordon
  • Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    665 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links: SSRN page


Gwen Gordon was appointed to the department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics in 2013. Her research is an ethnographically-informed comparative corporate law, focusing specifically on the intersection of indigenous peoples’ cultural norms with issues of corporate governance and social responsibility. She has done long-term ethnographic fieldwork in New Zealand with an indigenously owned corporation. She received a B.A. in 2002 from Cornell University and her J.D. in 2006 from Harvard Law School, where she focused upon social and economic human rights for indigenous groups. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Princeton University in 2014; prior to this she worked as a corporate attorney in the London and New York offices of Shearman and Sterling LLP.



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Past Courses


    This course presents law as an evolving social institution, with special emphasis on the legal regulation of business in the context of social values. It considers basic concepts of law and legal process, in the U.S. and other legal systems, and introduces the fundamentals of rigorous legal analysis. An in-depth examination of contract law is included.


    What role can business play in helping to meet global societal needs, whether it involves the environment, improving health, expanding education or eradicating poverty? Is there any responsibility on the part of business to help meet those needs? What are models of successful business engagement in this area? How should success be measured? Are there limits to what businesses can and should do, and what institutional changes will enable businesses and entrepreneurs to better succeed? This survey course provides students the opportunity to engage in the critical analysis of these and other questions that lie at the foundation of social impact and responsibility as an area of study. The course involves case studies, conceptual issues, and talks by practitioners. The course is designed to help students develop a framework to address the question: How should business enterprises and business thinking be engaged to improve society in areas not always associated with business? The course is required for the secondary concentration in Social Impact and Responsibility

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Latest Research

Gwendolyn Gordon (2017), Ethical Bankers,.
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In the News

If Corporations Are ‘People,’ How Are They Held Accountable?

A set of recent Supreme Court decisions has granted certain privileges once reserved only for flesh-and-blood citizens to corporations. Recent Wharton research looks at the potential confusions that arise from that point of view – and what might help.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2016/07/20
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