Giving Voice to Values (GVV) for Engineering Ethics


Course modules based on the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) MOOC on Coursera, produced by the Darden Business School, University of Virginia.


Developed by Dr. Mary C. Gentile, GVV takes an action-oriented approach to values-driven leadership. It is not about persuading people to be more ethical. Rather, it starts from the premise that most people want to act on their values, but they also want their actions to be successful and effective. GVV is here tailored for Engineering Ethics instruction, as many engineering undergraduates will one day take leadership roles in business organizations. The modules include interviews with business leaders and practicing engineers. There are also GVV lessons given by Mary Gentile, exercises, and quizzes for student’s learning. The modules can be used in full as an ethics course, or separated for use as supplemental ethics material in general engineering education.


Module Introduction

This module on Giving Voice to Values was originally developed as part of a larger course on engineering ethics. The outline below presents the course in its intended order, but you may wish to extract specific materials for use in your courses. The course is designed to take place over 3-4 weeks, but can be completed at any speed. 

All course videos are linked below. Accompanying assignments, quizzes, and case studies are provided in PDF form. For those who are familiar with this module's content, a playlist of all GVV videos can be found here. Additionally, there are transcripts available in the Teaching Notes section.


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Section One: What is Giving Voice to Values? Why and How It Works

The Thought Experiment


The Giving Voice to Values approach to values-driven leadership development calls on us to think about values conflicts and ethical challenges in an entirely new way. The following survey invites you to consider and surface your “starting assumptions'' about values and how they play out in your broader life. As we progress through this course, you will want to revisit these assumptions to reflect on how they may be changing.

Your responses to the statements in this survey can be a useful tool for self-reflection. Please note you will need to keep a record of your responses in order to review them later in this course. 

GVV Survey

Engineering Interviews

Research, Approaches, and Flips

The Foundational Pillars of GVV

Section One Assignments 

Section Two: Recognizing and Learning from Your Success and Failures

Welcome to the second part of the Giving Voice to Values module. Previously, you learned about the impact of an action-focused approach to building values-driven leadership skills. Now, you'll have the opportunity to recognize your own individual successes and failures at addressing these implementation challenges in your life by completing the “Tale of Two Stories” exercise. You'll see that you are both capable of enacting your values effectively, but also that you don't always do so. You’ll also have the opportunity to identify which conditions and which problem definitions empower you to effectively voice your values and which conditions make that more difficult for you. In this way, you'll develop an individual taxonomy of enablers and disablers.

You'll also learn about three more of the seven GVV pillars: choice, normalization, and self-knowledge and alignment. And by considering two examples, one from an extrovert, one from an introvert, and by completing the personal profile exercise, you'll have the opportunity to identify your own particular style and predilections when it comes to communication.

Based on the self-knowledge and alignment GVV pillar, you'll be invited to consider how to play to your own strengths in order to make it more likely that you'll be able to voice and act on your values effectively.

A Tale of Two Stories

Case Study

Obedience, Normalization, and Self-knowledge


Case Studies 

Key Takeaways 

Section Three: Developing Scripts and Action Plans

Welcome to the third part of the Giving Voice to Values module. In this section, you'll learn how to develop practical and effective scripts and literal action plans for acting on your values. You'll be introduced to the final two GVV pillars: Voice, and Reasons and Rationalizations. You'll explore the different ways to build your own capacity for voice, and the variety of forms that voice can take. Then, you'll learn about four of the most common reasons and rationalizations that you might encounter when you begin to voice and act on your values, as well as useful ways to counteract them.

Case studies from two real life managers illustrate that although they had different levels of experience and authority in their organizations, they both found effective strategies for acting on their values. Through these stories, we encourage you to think about the levers you can use when you voice your values no matter where you sit in your life or organization.

GVV Pillar: Voice

Case Study

Reasons, Rationalizations, and Levers of Impact


Module Wrap-Up

This final section of the GVV module wraps up the lessons we've covered and presents interviews from several business leaders and an engineer. You'll end the course with one final quiz and an exercise that will test your understanding of the GVV method. 


Answer Keys

Answers to each of the quizzes are included in the PDF below.

GVV quiz answer keys

Teaching Notes

I. Sample Syllabus Integrating GVV

Download here

II. OEC Cases Useful for GVV Scripting and Rehearsing 

Chemical A or B?

III. GVV in the Workplace: The Solution

The following GVV videos could also be integrated into an ethics course. Suggestion is for instructors to preview them to decide where they would be most appropriate. 

IV. Transcripts 

Click here to view a downloadable Google doc of transcripts for all video modules.


The University of Virginia Darden School Foundation along with the Giving Voice to Values founder, Prof. Mary Gentile, has made this online ethics course content available to the Online Ethics Center Portal for non-commercial and non-revenue use by academic faculty and teachers across the world.

Mary Gentile, Rosalyn Berne. . Giving Voice to Values (GVV) for Engineering Ethics. Online Ethics Center. DOI:.