This paper investigates how deans and directors at the top 50 global MBA programs (as rated by the "Financial Times" in their 2006 Global MBA rankings) respond to questions about the inclusion and coverage of the topics of ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability at their respective institutions. This work purposely investigates each of the three topics separately. Our findings reveal that: (1) a majority of the schools require that one or more of these topics be covered in their MBA (...) curriculum and one-third of the schools require coverage of all three topics as part of the MBA curriculum, (2) there is a trend toward the inclusion of sustainability-related courses, (3) there is a higher percentage of student interest in these topics (as measured by the presence of a Net Impact club) in the top 10 schools, and (4) several schools are teaching these topics using experiential learning and immersion techniques. We note a fivefold increase in the number of stand-alone ethics courses since a 1988 investigation on ethics, and we include other findings about institutional support of centers or special programs; as well as a discussion of integration, teaching techniques, and notable practices in relation to all three topics. (shrink)
This paper explores some interconnections between the business and environmental ethics movements. The first section argues that business has obligations to protect the environment over and above what is required by environmental law and that it should cooperate and interact with government in establishing environmental regulation. Business must develop and demonstrate environmental moral leadership. The second section exposes the danger of using the rationale of "good ethics is good business" as a basis for such business moral leadership in both the (...) business and environmental ethics movements. The third section cautions against the moral shallowness inherent in the position or in the promotional strategy of ecological homocentrism which claims that society, including business, ought to protect the environment solely because of harm done to human beings and human interests. This paper urges business and environmental ethicists to promote broader and deeper moral perspectives than ones based on mere self-interest or human interest. Otherwise both movements will come up ethically short. (shrink)
In his What is Business Ethics? Peter Drucker accuses business ethics of singling out business unfairly for special ethical treatment, of subordinating ethical to political concerns, and of being, not ethics at all, but ethical chic. We contend that Drucker's denunciation of business ethics rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the field. This article is a response to his charges and an effort to clarify the nature, scope and purpose of business ethics.
In this paper, we examine whether ethics officers are able to perform their assigned duties independently of organizational management. Specifically, we investigate whether inherent conflicts of interest with company management potentially hinder the ability of ethics officers to serve as an effective monitor and deterrent of unethical activity throughout the organization. As part of our analysis, we conducted 10 detailed phone interviews with current and retired ethics officers in order to determine whether practicing ethics officers feel the need for additional (...) independence protection from management. We propose that the current system in which ethics officers report to management must be changed in order for ethics officers to effectively perform their jobs. Specifically, we maintain that ethics officers should (1) be hired by, (2) be fired by, and (3) report directly to the corporate board of directors rather than company management. Such a change in the reporting environment would greatly enhance the independence of ethics officers. (shrink)
The paper focuses on an online business ethics course that three professors (Painter-Morland, Fontrodona and Hoffman) taught together, and in which the fourth author (Rowe) participated as a student, from their respective locations on three continents. The course was conducted using Centra software, which allowed for synchronous online interaction. The class included students from Europe, South Africa and the United States. In order to assess the value of synchronous online teaching for ethics training, the paper identifies certain knowledge, skills and (...) capacities that are crucial to the moral development process within individuals. The paper argues that the online teaching method succeeds in creating an environment within which important ethical knowledge and skills might be developed. It provides an in-depth reflection on the advantages and dis-advantages of online teaching and proposes improvements on the way forward. One of the major advantages relates to its ability to facilitate cross-cultural discussion and debate on ethical issues and foster insight into contextual influences on ethics management within an international arena. (shrink)
Very little has been done to find out what corporations have done to build ethical values into their organizations. In this report on a survey of 1984 Fortune 1000 industrial and service companies the Center for Business Ethics reveals some facts regarding codes of ethics, ethics committees, social audits, ethics training programs, boards of directors, and other areas where corporations might institutionalize ethics. Based on the survey, the Center for Business Ethics is convinced that corporations are beginning to take steps (...) to institutionalize ethics, while recognizing that in most cases more specific mechanisms and strategies need to be implemented to make their ethics efforts truly effective. (shrink)
At the beginning of this essay I sketch a solution to the question of how we can predicate moral properties, such as moral excellence, to the corporation. This solution suggests that there are at least two necessary criteria for corporate moral excellence: (1) a moral corporate culture and (2) the moral autonomy of the individual within the corporate culture. I put forward guidelines for the development of both and argue for their necessary interdependence.
This paper outlines and argues against some criticisms of business ethics education. It maintains that these criticisms have been put forward due to a misunderstanding of the nature of business and/or ethics. Business ethics seeks a meaningful reciprocity among economic, social and moral concerns. This demands that business organizations autonomously develop ethical goals from within, which in turn demands a reciprocity between ethical theory and practical experience. Working toward such a reciprocity, the ultimate goal of business ethics education is a (...) moral business point of view through which one can live with integrity and fulfillment. (shrink)
In this paper we consider whether one type of individual investor, which we call at risk investors, should be denied access to securities markets to prevent them from suffering serious financial harm. We consider one kind of paternalistic justification for prohibiting at risk investors from participating in securities markets, and argue that it is not successful. We then argue that restricting access to markets is justified in some circumstances to protect the rights of at risk investors. We conclude with some (...) suggestions about how this might be done. (shrink)
In this paper we present six criteria for assessing proposed solutions to environmental risk problems. To assess the final criterion-the criterion of ethical responsibility-we suggest another series of criteria. However, before these criteria can be used to address ethical problems, business persons must be wiIling to discuss the problem in ethical terms. Yet many decision makers are unwilling to do so. Drawing on research by James Waters and Frederick Bird, we discuss this “moral muteness”-the inability or unwillingness to use morallanguage (...) to solve moral problems-and suggest some underlying causes of moral muteness. (shrink)