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Teaching Business Ethics: Why, What and How James Weber Director of the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics, Duquesne University

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Title: Teaching Business Ethics: Why, What and How James Weber Director of the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics, Duquesne University


1
Teaching Business EthicsWhy, What and HowJames
WeberDirector of the Beard Center for Leadership
in Ethics, Duquesne University
  • Part of the Ethics Seminars for the Spring
  • Zicklin School of Business
  • Baruch College, City University of New York
  • March 13, 2003

2
Teaching Business Ethics
  • Why the need for business ethics education in
    our educational institutions
  • What the approach to business ethics education
    to maximize effectiveness
  • How the requisite supportive environment to
    better ensure success

3
The need for business ethics
  • Corporate greed, fraud, illegalities, etc.
  • Could a course in business ethics (or a series of
    courses) have prevented Enron, WorldCom, Tyco,
    Sprint, Ahold ?
  • Probably not. As Arlow Ulrich reported years
    ago in their 1985 study

4
Motivation for teaching business ethics?
  • The need to model ethical behavior true in any
    organization, particularly important for
    institutions of learning.
  • The desire to feel a sense of pride in the
    ethicality of my organization and in my
    organizations support of my acting in an ethical
    manner.

5
The state of ethics in educational institutions
  • It does not look good
  • SIFE survey 59 admit to cheating, only 19
    would report a cheater
  • U of Maryland students cheated on accounting exam
    via text messages on their cell phones
  • Student feel competitive pressures and primacy of
    test scores/grades as causes

6
Calls for business school action
  • Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and
    Private Enterprise improve courses, finance
    research, punish violators
  • A Call to Arms and Plan for Collective Action
    (target AACSB) change accreditation language,
    support creation of ethics courses
  • Business Week online poll stand alone course, do
    a better job, be practical in instruction

7
An approach to maximize effectiveness
  • At Duquesne University, Schools of Business
  • NOT a response to the Enron environment
  • Rooted in our mission and tradition
  • Business Ethics (1993) undergrad requirement
  • Applied Ethics (2001) graduate requirement (in
    addition to Public Affairs Management and ethics
    electives for MBA concentration)

8
Business Ethicsundergraduate requirement
  • An applied approach
  • Philosophers not mentioned or studied
  • Focus is on ethical decision-making tools
  • The 3 Rs of Ethics
  • Recognition List of Ethical Principles
  • Reasoning ethics theories CMD
  • Resolution defensible resolution(s)

9
Business Ethicsundergraduate requirement
  • A service learning approach
  • Community service at local agencies
  • Groups visit, de-brief, present to class
  • Final focus business-agency partnership for
    MUTUAL benefit

10
Business Ethicsundergraduate requirement
  • A Building a Just Community approach
  • Create personal code of ethics
  • Analyze Schools Code of Ethical Behavior,
    sign-off procedure
  • Wrestle with ethical issues in groups
  • Discuss responsibility for internal, confidential
    whistle-blower

11
Applied Ethics graduate requirement
  • A toolbox approach
  • One of the first five skills courses taken in the
    program
  • Creates a decision framework for subsequent
    courses/instructors to use
  • Introduces Code of Ethical behavior to
    govern/influence actions

12
Applied Ethics graduate requirement
  • An applied approach
  • Daily work and student life dilemmas
  • The 3 Rs of Ethics
  • Recognition List of Ethical Principles
  • Reasoning ethics theories CMD
  • Resolution defensible resolution(s)

13
The requisite supportive environment
  • Generic model for organizational success
  • Organizational commitment
  • Top management modeling
  • Codify values, expectations
  • Communicate intentions
  • Enforce compliance/punish violators
  • Ongoing improvement

14
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Organizational commitment
  • University Mission and Identity
  • Schools of Business Mission
  • Tradition and community expectation
  • Administrative institutionalization Beard Center
    for Leadership in Ethics

15
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Top management modeling
  • University Five-year Strategic Plan
  • Curriculum committee decisions
  • Deans directive Ethics Initiative
  • Faculty hiring in ethics
  • Joint program development Master of Science in
    Leadership and Business Ethics

16
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Codify values, expectations
  • Code of Ethical Behavior
  • Widespread dispersal
  • Student sign-off each semester
  • Discussion and application in business courses

17
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Communicate intentions
  • Semi-annual distribution of Code
  • Emphasis in business courses Ethics
    Across the Curriculum Report
  • Attendance at semi-annual Distinguished Ethics
    Speakers series
  • Volunteerism Rotaract Club, fraternities,
    sororities, service clubs

18
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Enforce compliance/punish violators
  • Celebrate successes promotional literature,
    publicize events
  • Code provisions for violations
  • Serious offenses referred to University (Academic
    Integrity Policy)

19
The requisite supportive environment at Duquesne U
  • Ongoing improvement
  • Periodic review of the Code
  • Periodic review of the integration across the
    curriculum
  • Ethical Advocates enabling internal,
    confidential whistle-blowing and investigations
    as needed

20
Duquesne U Ethical Nirvana ?
  • NO !!!
  • But an ethically supportive environment where
    ethics initiative seem to
    have a
    reasonable opportunity for
    success
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