This paper takes a critical look at the empirical studies assessing the effectiveness of teaching courses in business and society and business ethics. It is generally found that students' ethical awareness or reasoning skills improve after taking the courses, yet this improvement appears to be short-lived. The generalizability of these findings is limited due to the lack of extensive empirical research and the inconsistencies in research design, empirical measures, and statistical analysis across studies. Thus, recommendations are presented and discussed for (...) improving the generalizability and sophistication of future research efforts in this area. (shrink)
A growing number of researchers in the business ethics field have used scenarios as a data gathering technique in their empirical investigations of ethical issues. This paper offers a review and critique of 26 studies that have utilized scenarios to elicit inferences of ethical reasoning, decision making, and/or intended behavior from managerial or student populations. The use of a theoretical foundation, the development of hypotheses, various characteristics germane to the use of scenarios, population and sampIing issues, and the use of (...) statistical measures are explored and assessed. In the interest of improving scenario-based research, ten recommendations are presented to guide future scenario research. (shrink)
This paper presents an adaptation of Lawrence Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview and Standard Issue Scoring method. The adaptation emphasizes four points: a mixture of less familiar and more familiar moral dilemmas, followup questions which probe managers' moral reasoning by focusing upon key organizational values, the flexibility of utilizing either an oral or written interview method, and a simpler, yet reliable, system for scoring the managers' responses and identifying their stage of moral reasoning. An empirical investigation found that each adaptation could (...) enhance the assessment of managers' moral reasoning. (shrink)
Relying on an expanded view of leadership and the moral reasoning framework developed by Lawrence Kohlberg (1981), this study explores the moral reasoning of the chief executive officers at the 11 largest automobile manufacturers in the world. Using the CEO's letter to their stakeholders found in the organizations' annual social responsibility reports, the CEOs' moral reasoning is compared to other managers' moral reasoning, and the moral reasoning exhibited within the CEO group is analyzed for differences due to regional location. Contrary (...) to conventional understanding based on prior research, the CEOs in our sample did not exhibit moral reasoning at a higher level than a cross section of managers but there were differences within the sample of CEOs when looking at nationality. Implications of these results for CEOs, managers, academics, and others are explored. (shrink)
This research reports on the current state of ethics and compliance programs among business organizations in the United States. Members of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association (ECOA), the premier professional association for managers working in this field, were asked to provide in-depth responses to a series of questions covering various elements of their corporate ethics and compliance programs. The findings from this analysis indicate that ethics and compliance programs have multiple components that are implemented developmentally, are influenced by regulatory (...) and legal efforts and have evolved into more sophisticated approaches that include risk assessment and employee performance appraisal. However, these programs remain vulnerable to sufficient resource allocation by the organization to be fully effective. (shrink)
This paper acknowledges the paucity of attention regarding the development of ethics programs within an academic environment and describes in a case study how the Duquesne University schools of business attempted to introduce, integrate and promote its own ethics program. The paper traces the business school’s attention to mission statements, curriculum development, ethics policy, program oversight and outcome assessment. Lessons learned are offered as suggestions for others seeking to develop and implement an ethics program in their school.
Although the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct emphasizes the importance of education in ethics, very little is known about how and when the Code and the topic of ethics can be presented to enhance the effectiveness of ethics-oriented education. The purpose of this research was to provide preliminary evidence about the ethical development of students prior to, and immediately following, such courses. We found that: (1) accounting students, after taking an auditing course which emphasized the AICPA Code, reasoned at higher (...) levels than students who had not taken the course; (2) there were no differences in moral reasoning levels when accounting and non-accounting majors were compared prior to an auditing course; and (3) there was a significant relationship between the Seniors' levels of ethical development and the choice of an ethical versus unethical action. It was concluded that an auditing course emphasizing the 'spirit' of the Code can have a positive impact on the ethical behaviour of some of the future members of the accounting profession. (shrink)
Reoccurring instances of unethical employee behavior raises the question of the effectiveness of organization’s employee ethics training programs. This research seeks to examine employee ethics training programs among US-based global organizations by asking members of the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association to describe various elements of their organizations’ ethics training programs. This investigation and assessment reveal that there are some effective aspects of ethics training but five serious concerns are identified and discussed as potential contributions to the lack of ethics (...) among business organizations’ employees. (shrink)
This research replicates Weber's 1995 study of a large financial services firm that found that ethical subclimates exist within multi-departmental organizations, are influenced by the function of the department and the stakeholders served, and are relatively stable over time. Relying upon theoretical models developed by Thompson (1967) and Victor and Cullen (1998), hypotheses are developed that predict the ethical subclimate decision-making dimensions and type for diverse departments within a large steel manufacturing firm and that these ethical subclimate types will be (...) stable across the two periods of time when the data were collected. Employees were surveyed in 1995 and again in 1999 using Victor and Cullen's Ethical Climate Questionnaire. Response rates of 88 and 94 percent were achieved. Contrary to Weber's findings, our results imply that, in both samples, ethical subclimates may be determined by the strength of an organization's overall ethical climate, rather than the department's function. However, we did find support for Weber's earlier contention that these subclimates are relatively stable. Our results also suggest that differences may exist across industries, that is when comparing a large steel manufacturer, as we did in our study, with a large financial services organization, as Weber did in his 1995 study. (shrink)
This paper compares and contrasts two distinct techniques for measuring moral judgment: The Moral Judgment Interview and the Defining Issues Test. The theoretical foundations, accompanying advantages and limitations, as well as appropriate usage of these methodologies are discussed. Adaptation and use of the instruments for business ethics research is given special attention.
The introduction and validation of a new instrument, The Moral Reasoning Inventory, designed to measure an individuals' moral reasoning (MR) in response to two moral dilemmas within a business setting is the subject of this article. The instrument consists of two moral dilemma scenarios with eight MR statements. Two measurement scales were used for analyzing patterns of individual responses: the strength of belief in the reasons and the importance of those reasons for resolving the dilemma. Managers enrolled in a part-time (...) MBA program were administered the new instrument. Data analysis clearly supported the effectiveness of the instrument to differentiate patterns of consistency in MR within decision groups. (shrink)
In response to recent recommendations for the teaching of principled moral reasoning in business school curricula, this paper assesses the viability of such an approach. The results indicate that, while business students' level of moral reasoning in this sample are like most 18- to 21-year-olds, they may be incapable of grasping the concepts embodied in principled moral reasoning. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Grounded upon the late 1970s phrase "institutionalizing ethics into business," I present a multi-component model and research agenda to enhance our understanding of organizations' efforts to integrate ethics into the daily decision-making process of employees. Three research foci are emphasized: (I) the need to establish consistent categorical frameworks to describe business organizations' efforts in the field, (2) the study of the interrelationships between the various components presented in the model, and (3) the exploration of the linkage between organizational efforts to (...) institutionalize ethics and ethical employee behavior. Research and organizational implications evolving from these research foci are discussed. (shrink)
Grounded upon the late 1970s phrase "institutionalizing ethics into business," I present a multi-component model and research agenda to enhance our understanding of organizations' efforts to integrate ethics into the daily decision-making process of employees. Three research foci are emphasized: the need to establish consistent categorical frameworks to describe business organizations' efforts in the field, the study of the interrelationships between the various components presented in the model, and the exploration of the linkage between organizational efforts to institutionalize ethics and (...) ethical employee behavior. Research and organizational implications evolving from these research foci are discussed. (shrink)
The number of online courses in business schools is growing dramatically, but little has been published about teaching business ethics courses online. This article addresses key pedagogical design, delivery, student engagement, and assessment issues that should be considered when creating a high-quality, asynchronous online business ethics course for either undergraduate or graduate business student populations. Best practices are discussed within an integrative case study approach based on the experiences of a director of online faculty development and two accomplished online business (...) ethics instructors, one teaching at a small college and the other at a research-oriented university—their successes, learning opportunities, and recommendations. (shrink)
Corporations and investors are responding to recent major ethical scandals with increased attention to the social impacts of business operations. In turn, business colleges and their international accrediting body are increasing their efforts to make students more aware of the social context of corporate activity. Business education literature lacks data on student attitudes toward such education. This study found that postscandal business students, particularly women, are indeed interested in it. Their interest is positively related to their past donation, volunteerism, and (...) non-profit organization membership activities, whether limited or extensive. Some evidence supports the proposition that education can modify internal principles over time. We offer suggestions for classroom and program uses of these findings in hopes of enriching the vision of future business managers. (shrink)
ABSTRACTInitially, a brief history of Buddhism and Confucianism describes for the reader a framework developed to determine right versus wrong action and to guide followers of these religions to do the right thing in social or business practice. In addition, this article uncovers exemplary business practices grounded in Buddhist and Confucian ethical values system and practiced in the global business arena and uses these discoveries to describe an application of Buddhist and Confucian ethical values systems. The result is the recognition (...) that these ethical values systems have an honorable and moral place in global business practice. (shrink)
A new instrument, The Moral Reasoning Inventory, designed to measure moral reasoning responses to moral dilemmas within a business setting is the subject of this paper. The instrument consists of two moral dilemma scenarios with eight moral reasoning statements. Two measurement scales were used for rating responses on the strength of belief in the reasons and the importance of the reasons for resolving the dilemma. Data analysis clearly supported theeffectiveness of the instrument to differentiate patterns of consistency in moral reasoning (...) within decision groups. (shrink)
The Millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, are often treated as a homogenous generation. While some prior research on generations posits that there are a number of consistencies across a generation, such as the Millennials, others argue that differences may emerge and distinguish individuals within a generation. Based on prior business ethics literature, this research dissects the Millennial’s personal value orientations to explore if demographic differences, such as gender, amount of work experience, business discipline, and intelligence reveal variations in (...) the ethical profile manifested by Millennials. The results from this research show that there are indeed numerous and significant statistical differences within the Millennials’ PVO dataset. Variations are found when exploring nearly every demographic variable considered. Implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
This review offers a cautious acceptance ofthe Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES) developed by Robin, Gordon, Jordan and Reiden-bach. While the contribution of the MES to future empirical research of individuals’ moral reasoning is welcomed, a number of reservations or criticisms are raised regarding theory confusion, instrument confusion, and fears arising when using the MES. I conclude that the MES is a valuable compliment to existing moral reasoning instruments - the Moral Judgment Interview and the Defining Issues Test - but not (...) a replacement of these instruments. (shrink)
In addition to a person's character and training, the organization's ethical work climate (EWC) can assess how the organization influences an individual's ethical decision-making process by examining the individuals' perception of "what is the right thing to do" in a particular organizational environment. Relatively little research has explored which EWCs dominate military units and the impact of organizational role and environmental uncertainty on individuals in the military and their ethical decision making. In this study, we examined the predominant EWCs among (...) military units and found that certain organizational influences are associated with the specific EWCs. Based on these discoveries, we discuss the implications of EWC studies and the influence of organizational role and environmental uncertainty for researchers, as well as military leaders. (shrink)
A review of extent business ethics research uncovered well over 200 published articles that investigated the role of job functions within a business organization as an explanatory factor of ethical or unethical behavior. While an important body of work, ethical breaches are often found to cut across job functions and involve multiple disciplines embedded in a business organization. This research seeks to explore a crossfunctional explanation for ethical reasoning by using an instrument new to business ethics research, the Wason selection (...) task, but well-grounded and validated in cognitive research and evolutionary psychology, to assess an individual's ability to detect rule-based social contract violations. A sample of 276 full-time business practitioners, enrolled in part-time M.B.A. programs, from the accounting, finance, information technology, marketing, supply chain, and human resource management job functions were compared on their ability to detect rule violators across a series of production scenarios in the Wason selection task. Rates of cheater detection were calculated to determine if substantive differences existed across job functions. This was followed by a series of pairwise comparisons of percentages of cheater detection across the job functions using z-tests for assessing statistical significance. The data analysis showed differences in cheater detection, with most of the variance due to the marketing job function group. Insights from this study for scholars, educators, and practitioners in the business ethics field are discussed. (shrink)
Values theory posits that individuals have values, formed by upbringing and life’s experiences, and influence an individual’s cognitive processes, decisions and behavior. Emerging onto the business scene is a new population group, the Millennials. This research seeks to explore Millennials’ values from the viewpoint of their personal value orientation. Managerial PVO from the 1980s and 2010s are used as comparative populations. The Millennials’ PVO is generally consistent with managerial PVO from past research. They tend toward a Personal, rather than Social, (...) and Competence, rather than Moral, value orientation. Yet, some subtle differences emerged. Millennials are more self-focused and less other-focused than managers from the 1980s or 2010s. They emphasize competency skills more than today’s managers but less than the managers of the 1980s and place more worth on moral values than managers of the 1980s but less than today’s managers. (shrink)
This paper presents the development andvalidation of new measurement tools to exploreself-efficacy toward service and toward civicparticipation. We developed and administereda survey to 851 students in an AACSB-accreditedcollege of business at a comprehensive publicuniversity located in the Midwest. Traditionalscale development methodologies plusconfirmatory factor analysis and simultaneousfactor analysis in several populations wereused to analyze both a primary sample and aholdback sample. Results strongly support thevalidity and reliability of the surveyinstrument. Future use for the instrumentincludes verification of the effectiveness ofpedagogies designed to (...) increase self-efficacytoward service and motivation for civicparticipation in business students. (shrink)
The Millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, are poised to have a profound impact on our society but are often treated as a homogenous generation. While some prior research on generations posits that there are a number of consistencies across a generation, others argue that differences may emerge and distinguish individuals within a generation. Based on prior business ethics literature, this research dissects the Millennial's personal value orientations to explore if demographic differences, such as gender, amount of work experience, (...) business discipline specialization, and academic performance reveal variations in the ethical profile manifested by Millennials. The results from this research show that there are indeed numerous and significant statistical differences within the Millennials' PVO dataset. Variations are found when exploring nearly every demographic variable considered. Implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Based on Davenport’s (1998) social audit, we examined six firms’ corporate social responsibility activities within the beer industry in an effort to identify and compare these firms’ industry social standing. The results have implications in our understanding and assessment of corporate citizenship practices both within and across business industry groups.
This paper explores the research question: Do all businesses institutionalize sustainability into their organizations in the same way, in the same sequence or to the same degree? Utilizing a grounded theory approach, a developmental, multi-stage and multi-dimensional model is constructed to better describe how sustainability is institutionalized in the business organization.