Operationalizing stakeholder theory and prioritizing ethics in MBA programs: The utility of a trust approach

Business and Society Review 124 (4):523-541 (2019)
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Abstract

At a time when some are questioning the relevancy of business education in general, others are now asking whether MBA programs should be blamed for society’s declining trust in business and the numerous corporate ethical failures of recent decades. Whether the full blame lies with business schools or not, MBA instructors are actively seeking more effective ways to help students adopt more practical and ethical managerial paradigms. Because trust theory is simple and robust and outlines the basic mental processes that drive economic exchange while simultaneously prioritizing ethical behavior, in this article, we argue that it is distinctively suited to operationalize stakeholder theory in the classroom, providing MBA students with both a principled and a practical foundation or thematic platform for their MBA coursework and subsequent careers. We also discuss potential challenges and limitations and provide recommendations for future research.

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