David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Business Ethics Quarterly 8 (3):535-545 (1998)
The concept of business ethics has continued to remain a major item on the agenda of corporate America for the last twenty years. Regrettably, this longevity of interest has not been matched by equal attention to the pedagogical methods and techniques used to address these issues. The current mode of teaching business ethics generally involves reliance on “war stories,” case studies, andseminars. Today’s dynamic environment creates pressures for higher levels of ethical behavior by business. Many ethical challenges faced by contemporary managers are not easily resolved by existing guidelines, and require managers to expand their scope of analysis in attempting to arrive at satisfactory resolutions. Literature can be an especially alternative source of insights, as authors are able to highlight behaviors that may not be available from traditional sources. Historically, the use of literature in examining business ethics has been focused primarily on novels such as The Jungle, Babbit, and The Great Gatsby. Plays are more useful than novels in attempting to inculcate moral and ethical values since they more sharply address the interactions of characters, and the reader becomes more involved in their situations. The plays selected for analysis, Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, have intense plots and characters and allow the reader to observe a wide range motives, emotions, and traits. This untraditional approach to teaching business ethics enhances the ability to relate to the increasingly complex ethical issues facing the individual and the organization
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