A selection of interesting articles we found recently considering ethical perspectives in education.
Integrating ethics, CSR and sustainability (ECSRS) in management education
In recent years, much discussion has taken place regarding the social role of firms and their responsibilities to society. In this context, the role of universities is crucial, as it may shape management students’ attitudes and provide them with the necessary knowledge, skills and critical analysis to make decisions as consumers and future professionals.
Setó-Pamies & Papaoikonomou emphasise that universities are multi-level learning environments, so there is a need to look beyond formal curricular content and pay more attention to implicit dimensions of the learning process in order to create significant learning. With this in mind, they propose an integrative and holistic approach to guide the integration of ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability in management education that aims to improve students’ knowledge and attitudes.
In this model, the authors consider three interdependent levels of analysis–the institutional level, the curricular level and the instrumental level–which together produce a leverage effect on student learning. For each level, they identify the main issues and aspects that need to be considered, based on an extensive literature review in this field.
Read more at: Dolors Setó-Pamies & Eleni Papaoikonomou. 2016. A Multi-level Perspective for the Integration of Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (ECSRS) in Management Education.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136(3), 523-538.
It’s all in the game: a 3D learning model for business ethics
How can we improve business ethics education for the twenty first century? This study evaluates the effectiveness of a visual case exercise in the form of a 3D immersive game given to undergraduate students at two UK Universities as part of a mandatory business ethics module.
Suzy Jagger, Haytham Siala & Diane Sloan propose that due to evolving learning styles, the immersive nature of interactive games lends itself as a vehicle to make the learning of ethics more ‘concrete’ and ‘personal’ and therefore more engaging. To achieve this, the researchers designed and built an immersive 3D simulation game in the style of a visual case.
The effectiveness of the game was evaluated using a mixed methods approach measuring recognised and adapted constructs from the technology acceptance model. Results demonstrate that students found the game beneficial to their learning of ethics with the development of knowledge and skills applicable to the real world and that they engaged with the process due to game elements. Findings demonstrate the potential for the development of simulated games to teach ethics at all levels and modes of delivery and the contribution of this type of visual case model as a pedagogic method.
For more details: Suzy Jagger, Haytham Siala & Diane Sloan. 2016. It’s All In The Game: A 3D Learning Model For Business Ethics.
Journal of Business Ethics, 137(2), 383-403.
Challenging the ‘million zeros’: the importance of imagination for business ethics education
Despite increasing the presence of ‘ethics talk’ in business and management curricula, the ability of business ethics educators to question the system and support the development of morally responsible agents is debatable. This is not because of a lack of care or competence; rather, this situation points towards a more general tendency of education to become focused on economic growth, as Nussbaum (2010) claims.
Revisiting the nature of ethics education, Cécile Rozuel argues that much moral learning occurs through the imagination, and not solely through the rational mind. Individuals are complex, and a great part of what we are lies below the threshold of consciousness. In this respect, ethics education must take into account the psyche and its influence on conscious behaviour, which can best be apprehended through the imagination.
Echoing Jung’s concerns about unconscious and indiscriminate masses (the ‘million zeros’ of the title), Rozuel thus explore show imagination and creative material contribute to enhancing both self-knowledge and ethical reflection in the context of organisational life and business education. The author especially considers how moral development and social awareness are tied up with individual psychological understanding, and argue that Jung’s analytical psychology offers insightful tools to explore our individuality.
Cécile Rozuel. 2016. Challenging The ‘Million Zeros’: The Importance of Imagination For Business Ethics Education.
Journal Of Business Ethics, 138(1), 39-51.
A role for ethics theory in speculative business ethics teaching
The paper discusses the role that ethics theory might play in business ethics teaching. It is noted that little attention is devoted to the explanation and application of ethics theory in business ethics textbooks, which suggests that ethics theory is held in low esteem by business ethics educators.
This relative disregard has been justified by some critics on the basis of the limited usefulness of ethics theory to business ethics pedagogy. Notwithstanding these criticisms, the paper argues that ethics theory can play an important role in business ethics teaching which conforms to a speculative agenda. A speculative agenda is described, and a contribution that ethics theory can make to it is explained. This constitutes a form of immanent critique, which enables putative statements of business ethicality to be subjected to critique against the cultural values upon which their credibility rests.
Ethics theory is offered as a mediating resource to facilitate such critique. Some criteria that the presentation of ethics theory needs to meet if it is to fulfill this speculative agenda are also outlined.
Mick Fryer. 2016. A role for ethics theory in speculative business ethics teaching.
Journal of Business Ethics, 138(1), 79-90.
Ethics education and accounting students’ level of moral development: experimental design in Tunisian audit context
This study explores the influence of ethics education on accounting students’ level of ethical reasoning in Tunisia. Based on cognitive developmental theory, Feten Arfaoui’s team tested the effectiveness of an ethics intervention before and after ethics education with a control group. A triangulated research design was incorporated. Experimental and qualitative methods were used to control for experimental bias.
This study revealed that the progress of moral development was not significant between the pre-test and the post-test. Data analysis revealed the primary challenges in teaching ethics in the Tunisian audit context. Through a confirmatory qualitative survey, stating “the consequences of unethical behaviour in the long term” demonstrates that the intervention meets the primary interest of this study, and it may influence auditors’ decisions and their perceptions of the potential consequences of their decisions.
Feten Arfaoui, Salma Damak-Ayadi, Raouf Ghram, R. & Asma Bouchekoua. 2016. Ethics education and accounting students’ level of moral development: experimental design in Tunisian audit context.
Journal Of Business Ethics, 138(1), 161-73.
Online education: values dilemma in business and the search for empathic engagement
Online education lacks the moral and ethical engagement as well as the empathic interactions that are essential and integral to true liberal education, including business. While the online venue can provide useful information and put libraries at the hands of the student or employee, there is an implicit lack of focus on the sacredness and centrality of the person, his or her values, attitudes, needs, and expectations.
The focus of online education is on the delivery of data, not the student’s engagement with the material or the process. Critically absent from online education is the ability to explore the transformation of data as it changes, first to information, then to knowledge, and finally to wisdom, within each person. Finally, absent is the ability to raise the level of abstraction. Since all needs to be measurable in concrete terms in online education, we are left with the language of metrics, such as deliverables, outcomes, inputs, and outputs. Where is the person in all of this? Where is the focus on the moral compass that is so necessary in any type of education?
S.M. Natale & A.F. Libertella. 2016. Online education: values dilemma in business and the search for empathic engagement.
Journal Of Business Ethics, 138(1), 175-84.
Approving or improving research ethics in management journals
Despite significant scholarly debate about knowledge production in the management discipline through the peer-review journal processes, there is minimal discussion about the ethical treatment of the research subject in these publication processes. In contrast, the ethical scrutiny of management research processes within research institutions is often highly formalized and very focused on the protection of research participants.
Hence, the question arises of how management publication processes should best account for the interests of the research subject, both in the narrow sense of specific research participants and in the broader understanding of the subject of the research. This question is particularly pertinent in light of significant codification of research ethics within academic institutions, and increasing self-reflection within the management discipline about the “good” of management research and education.
Findings from a survey and interviews with management journal editors (and others involved in journal publication) reveal a complex scenario; many editors believe that a formalized requirement within the journal publication process may have detrimental outcomes and, in fact, diminish the ethical integrity of management scholarship.
Building on these findings, this paper argues that ethical concern for the research subject merely in terms of institutional rule compliance and avoidance of harm to individual participants is insufficient, and calls for explicitly positive engagement with both the individual and the collective subject of management research should receive due ethical consideration. An alternative model involving reflexive ethical consideration of research subjects across the publication process—with implications for role of authors, reviewers, editors, and research subjects—is outlined.
Michelle Greenwood, 2016. Approving or Improving Research Ethics In Management Journals.
Journal of Business Ethics, 137(3), 507–520.
A citation analysis of business ethics research: a global perspective
This study provides a global perspective on citations of articles published in ten business ethics journals between 1999 and 2012 and establishes three findings.
First, the results indicate that Journal of Business Ethics and Business and Society are the two top business ethics journals based on the distribution of normalized citations received.
Second, although North America, particularly the US, remains the top producer of business ethics research, it has been surpassed by Europe in terms of weighted normalized research citations received in 2012, implying a potential diminishing global role of US influence in business ethics research over time.
Third, the top-ranked US institutions have reduced their business ethics research impact in recent years, while the European institutions have sharply increased theirs.
Kam C. Chan, Anna Fung, Hung-Gay Fung & Jot Yau. 2016. A Citation Analysis of Business Ethics Research: A Global Perspective.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136(3), 557-573.