Are the “Customers” of Business Ethics Courses Satisfied? An Examination of One Source of Business Ethics Education Legitimacy

Business and Society 56 (7):947-974 (2017)

Though there are many factors that contribute to the perceived legitimacy of business ethics education, this research focuses on one factor that is given great attention both formally and informally in many business schools: student satisfaction with the course. To understand the nature of student satisfaction, the authors draw from multiple theories with central claims relating expectations with satisfaction. The authors then compare student expectations of business ethics courses with instructor objectives and discover that business ethics courses are not necessarily designed to meet student expectations. The authors speculate that this general mismatch between student expectations and instructor objectives has material consequences. As one example, the authors analyze student evaluations from three business schools and identify a “business ethics course effect”: a negative association between business ethics courses and student evaluations. The authors discuss the implications for business ethics education of a situation where pedagogical objectives and market prescriptions point in different directions.
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DOI 10.1177/0007650315609265
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