Teaching business ethics in Africa: What ethical orientation? The case of east and central Africa

Journal of Business Ethics 63 (1):39 - 52 (2006)
Abstract
This paper starts off from what seems to be a difficulty of ethics in African Business today. For several years now Transparency International has placed some African countries high on its list of most corrupt countries of the world. The conclusion one draws from this assessment is that either African culture has no regard or concern for ethics, or that there has been a gradual loss of the concept of the ethical and the moral in contemporary African society. Equally problematic is the teaching and promotion of Business ethics in organizations. Western philosophical theories and systems alone have not succeeded in providing access to ethical life of people in modern Africa. This paper is an attempt to inject an orientation that takes into account African manners and customs, their religious convictions and their understanding of the world as a whole, in the teaching of Business Ethics. East and Central Africa have been selected due to their common lingua franca, Kiswahili, and the fact that the author has more teaching experience within that region.
Keywords Ethics  East Africa  cultural transition  morality  use of proverbs in teaching ethics
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