Business Ethics Training » Academic Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:28:27 +0000 en hourly 1 An Ethics Based Curriculum for Business Schools /an-ethics-based-curriculum-for-business-schools.html /an-ethics-based-curriculum-for-business-schools.html#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:24:33 +0000 admin /?p=46 As you can tell from the title of this blog – we are fans of an ethic based curriculum before and after schooling. Today we will focus on the specific applications of ethics training in business schools.

If you are looking to get an undergraduate or an MBA degree – hopefully you will take a few ethics classes but my friend Jeff Miller from reports that ethics requirements have been dropping and are the credits that were required previously are no longer required nowadays.

Although the article was written in 2003 – here we are in 2010, seven years later still reeling from the lack or ethics (and common sense) as exotic financial instruments were derived, packaged and sold en masse that would eventually result in the real estate bubble that burst and brought down the economies of the world with it.

I think the article is as relevant today as it was when Jeff wrote it, and I am providing a link to the entire PDF document here: Curriculum Vital: Ethics Courses in Business Schools

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Business Ethics as an academic discipline /business-ethics-as-an-academic-discipline.html /business-ethics-as-an-academic-discipline.html#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2009 00:35:02 +0000 admin /?p=24 The following is an excerpt from Professor Julian Friedland’s article, recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It discusses the challenges of teaching business ethics as an academic discipline:

Students who succeed in my classes learn to apply canonical ethical theory to contemporary business dilemmas, wrestling with their values and reconsidering the proper role of business in society. That is not easily done. It can be daunting for business students to re-evaluate their own views about, and relationship to, the corporate world they are about to enter as potential leaders. But once they get a taste for it, their intellectual curiosity blossoms. A few years ago, I added to my syllabus a section on consumer ethics, forcing students to confront issues of personal choice and responsibility. If consumers spent more responsibly, there would be fewer market failures; the same goes for investors. So how self-interested should we be? To grapple with such questions is to do applied ethics.

It remains to be seen if many business professors will achieve tenure by doing ethics properly speaking. Most of what now gets published in top business journals under the rubric of “ethics” is limited to empirical studies of the success of various policies presumed as ethical (”the effects of management consistency on employee loyalty and efficiency,” perhaps). Although valuable, such research does precious little to hone the mission of business itself.

While the public clamors for the return of managerial leadership in ethics and social responsibility, surprisingly little research on the subject exists, and what does get published doesn’t appear in the top journals. The reasons are varied, but perhaps more than anything it’s that those journals are exclusively empirical: Take The Academy of Management Review, the only top journal devoted to management theory. Its mission statement says it publishes only “testable knowledge-based claims.” Unfortunately, that excludes most of what counts as ethics, which is primarily a conceptual, a priori discipline akin to law and philosophy. We wouldn’t require, for example, that theses on the nature of justice or logic be empirically testable, although we still consider them “knowledge based.”

The major business journals have a responsibility to open the ivory-tower gates to a priori arguments on the ethical nature and mission of business. After all, the top business schools, which are a model for the rest, are naturally interested in hiring academics who publish in the top journals. One solution is for at least one or two of the top journals to rewrite their mission statements to expressly include articles applying ethical theory to business. They could start by creating special ethics sections in the same way that some have already created critical-essay sections. Another solution is for academics to do more reading and referencing of existing business-ethics journals. Through more references in the wider literature, those journals can rise to the top. Until such changes occur, business ethics will largely remain a second-class area of research, primarily concerned with teaching.

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Lemonade Stand Lessons /lemonade-stand-lessons.html /lemonade-stand-lessons.html#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2009 00:42:32 +0000 admin /?p=18 Ethics and Integrity in the workplace need not start in college, in the MBA graduate program or on the job. By giving a future workforce a headstart it will be easier to re-inforce business ethics training later in life with courses and programs.

Parents and Primary care educators can begin with “Lemonade Stand Lessons” – give kids scenarios like, if you had a lemonade stand, and you could only get bad, possibly diseased lemons on a particular day – would you continue to sell lemonade or suffer a day’s loss by closing down the stand and waiting until better quality lemons are available? Just an example – and I’m sure we can expand on it tenfold with better scenarios suited to each age or class group.

I believe such thinking would have a two-fold benefit: the primary one which is making kids better suited for future responsibilities whether they are managing or being managed. The second benefit is that it would encourage innovation and foster entrepreneurship which is a great need if the US plans on staying competitive going forward from 2010.

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Business Students: A Study of Contradictions /business-students-a-study-of-contradictions.html /business-students-a-study-of-contradictions.html#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2009 01:14:18 +0000 admin /?p=12 A recent study by a professor at Kansas State University shows a striking gap between what business students rate as crucial to executives and the behavior they themselves exhibit.

For example among the must-have traits – honesty was rated in the top 5 – however in a separate study conducted by the same professor, the vast majority (88%+) of the students stated they had cheated while at school.

The professor points out that the effect of such cheating continues into the professional careers of these students where they are more like to engage in unethical and morally questionable practices – and the result of this has been and will continue to be the financial disaster that is currently facing us in the form of a great recession.

Time for more character training and ethical courses at our schools and universities – and more publications to clearly distinguish between right and wrong with fairness to all.

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Goldman’s Gift: An Example of Corporate Responsibility? /goldmans-gift-an-example-of-corporate-responsibility.html /goldmans-gift-an-example-of-corporate-responsibility.html#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2009 23:33:03 +0000 admin /?p=7 This week Goldman Sach’s announced it was launching a $500 million dollar initiative to help small businesses as an apology for its part in the financial crisis.

As many smart people have pointed out – its not exactly that large an amount as many of those are loans that will carry interest, much of the money will be given to non-profits thereby providing big tax write-offs and whatever other tricks they might have up their sleeve.

This is a classical example in teaching an unethical way of conducting a business. Over at Marketplace, Cody Willard gave 5 reasons why Goldman Sachs is still a much disliked company – chief among them their role in the AIG mess.

The most concerning among them from our blog’s point of view: business ethics – is that they were selling toxic derivatives to investors for billions of dollars then turning around and betting against their own products. Somebody didn’t sign up for business ethics training in that department – or more likely they flunked that class.

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