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91. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Margaret Brunton, Gabriel Eweje Teaching Ethics: The Role of Culture in Ethical Perceptions
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This paper reports research carried out in a New Zealand university to revisit the question of whether national culture influences the perceptions of business students about ethical dimensions in somewhat ambiguous cases. Although this study demonstrated mixed results, the identified patterns in the data provide useful insight into the perceptions of diverse cultural groups. There are two main findings. First, the study provides an example which demonstrates that althoughHofstede’s (1991) dimensions of individualism and collectivism illustrate important differences, using these dimensions without consideration of the micro-context within geographical borders may result in variable outcomes. Second, the qualitative data revealed greater variability within cultures than would have been the case using purely quantitative data. Despite the similarity of the educational qualification these students receive, their perceptions of ethical and moral dilemmas in workplace scenarios do vary, primarily explained as an appeal to a deontological or teleological rationale, within as well as between cultural cohorts. Such insight into cultural differences is an integral component for those educators involved in curriculum development in the future.
92. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Katherina Glac, Christopher Michaelson What is a Good Answer to an Ethical Question?
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Instructors of business ethics now have a wealth of cases and other pedagogical material to draw on to contribute to achieving ethics learning goals now required at most business schools. However, standard ethics case pedagogy seems to provide more guidance regarding the form and process for getting to a good answer than on the ethical content of the answer itself. Indeed, instructors often withhold their own judgments on what is a good answer so as not to indoctrinate students with the instructor’s views. To answer our question on what is a good answer to an ethical question, we asked three master teachers of business ethics to share their perspectives on a good answer. Their answers revealed stark differences—regarding the starting point of business ethics, the purpose of business, prioritization of analytical disciplines, and research methods—but also a common thread demanding that a good answer articulates a student's own moral voice. Moral voice is a genuine expression of an individual’s considered moral judgment that is reflective of personal values and cognizant of professional expectations. Cultivating the expression of moral voice goes beyond formal and theoretical proficiency to overcome human tendencies toward idealism, insincerity, and rationalization. Moral voice does not by itself fill the gap in business ethics pedagogy on the content of a good answer, but it demands that students support an answer that they can genuinely believe in while encouraging instructors to cultivate in their students sincerity and engagement, conscience, and a sense of self that are indispensable to genuine ethical commitment.
93. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Susan L. Kirby, Eric G. Kirby, Douglas W. Lyon Expectations and Disappointments: Ethical Legitimacy of the U.S. Financial Sector
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The 2008 financial crisis has raised serious ethical questions about behaviors associated with the free market system and the effectiveness of undergraduate business ethics education. We offer opposing interpretations of the crisis, a “Markets Work” and a “Critical” perspective, in order to provide students with an opportunity to examine their ethical assumptions. We frame our discussion around legitimacy; therefore, we utilize an institutional theory lens to frame the processes by which financial organizations are rewarded with social legitimacy for using “proper” structures and following “appropriate” procedures and punished when they do not. By presenting these two opposing narratives of the crisis, we provide a richer framework for discussing the crisis and relating it to the larger issue of corporate malfeasance. We draw upon a wealth of readily available, easily accessible material. We identify films, readings, and provide notes that may use to set the direction and tenor of classroom discussion.
94. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Nimruji Jammulamadaka Smart Strategy or Great Tragedy? Vedanta Alumina and the Dongria Kondhs
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The case recounts the ongoing conflict between Vedanta Alumina and the indigenous people and environmentalists over the mining and refining of aluminium at Niyamgiri in Orissa in India. Vedanta Alumina is a subsidiary of FTSE listed Vedanta Resources Plc. The company acquired a license for mining alumina from the state owned Orissa Mining Corporation and began work on the project that would make it the world’s largest integrated producer of aluminium. Sincethe very beginning, this project has faced stiff resistance from the endangered indigenous tribes of the area and the environmentalists for its adverse impact. The case depicts the several ups and downs of both the company and the resistance movement and the methods employed by each of them during the decade old struggle that has been fought over continents and is now a very charged political issue in India. The case also illustrates how the state and political leadership has, at times supported the indigenous people, and at other times the corporate interests.
95. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Robert A. Giacalone, Lisa Calvano An Aspirational Reframing of Business Ethics Education
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The past decade has seen an increasing number of critiques of business schools and the education they provide, particularly at the MBA level. In this paper, we summarize the limitations of a minimalist approach to business ethics education and then provide a new direction that enlarges its scope and reframes its educational goals, course content, and analytical methods to inculcate higher-order aspirations among students. We propose that the outcome of business ethics education should be a desire among students to use business to enhance the well-being of all stakeholders, repair damage done to the economy, society, and the environment, and leave the world better than they found it.
96. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Aundrea Kay Guess, Carolyn Conn Heaven Help Us: Embezzlement in a Religious Organization
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Larry Barnes, Executive Director of the Southwest Missouri Baptist Association (SMBA), received a telephone call that no executive wants to receive. The pastor at Hilltop Baptist Church reported suspicions of embezzlement by the church bookkeeper. Whatever decision Barnes made in advising the pastor would impact Hilltop, the church members, the SMBA, and a number of stakeholders, including himself. His primary duty as Executive Director was to provide guidance and advice to pastors of SMBA churches, help them expand, and assist in establishing new churches. However, did his professional responsibilities encompass this situation? If not, did he have an ethical obligation to help? What if his involvement caused legal and financial problems for the SMBA? What was the likelihood the bookkeeper and her family might sue the SMBA and Barnes? Many Hilltop Church members were personal friends of Barnes. He worried about jeopardizing hisfriendship with them, particularly if the accusations were incorrect. An equally important concern was whether Hilltop Church would continue to exist. Financial problems had plagued the church in recent years and the relationship between the pastor and members was already contentious. An embezzlement scandal could cause the 150 year old church to close its doors. Barnes had to decide whether to get involved and, if so, what to recommend as a course of action to Hilltop’s pastor.
97. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Claus Strue Frederiksen The Presentation of Utilitarianism within the Field of Business Ethics
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This article presents a discussion of the presentation of utilitarianism in textbooks and research articles within the field of business ethics. My objective is twofold. First, I will demonstrate that the presentation of utilitarianism, by a substantial number of prominent business ethicists, is characterized by a lack of precision and includes faulty descriptions. In this regard, I focus on presentations of utilitarianism in relation to distributive principles and on the demanding nature of utilitarianism. Second, I will demonstrate that these imprecise and faulty presentations result in a misguided critique of utilitarianism and dubious conclusions within the field of business ethics. Here, I will discuss and reject conclusions regarding utilitarianism and its relation to capitalism, theclaim that utilitarianism is not much more sophisticated than a simple majority vote and that utilitarianism is in accordance with harmful actions such as bribery and child labor.
98. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Albert D. Spalding, Jr., Rita A. Franks Religion as the Third Rail of Ethics Education: What to Do about the R-Word
99. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Ying Han Fan, Gordon Woodbine, Glennda Scully, Ross Taplin Accounting Students’ Perceptions of Guanxi and Their Ethical Judgments
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A cross sectional study of a sample of Australian accounting students during 2011 is used to test whether the relationship concept of guanxi is accepted as a social networking concept across cultures. While favour-seeking guanxi appears to be equally important across cultural groups (as a universal set of values), its negative variant, rent-seeking guanxi continues to be sanctioned to a greater extent by students holding temporary visas from Mainland China. Contrary to the findings of Fan, Woodbine, and Scully (2012) involving Chinese auditors, this study of Australian and Chinese students did not identify favour-seeking guanxi as a factor influencing ethical judgment, whereas rent-seeking guanxi was strongly significant as a predictor of judgment making for Australian students. Major concerns are expressed about the need to sensitize Chinese students to make them more aware of unethical practices prevalent in their home country. These findings have significant implications for educators delivering ethics courses to cohorts that include international students as well as the professional bodies involved in designing development programs.
100. Journal of Business Ethics Education: Volume > 9
Linda L. Brennan, Robert D. Perkins Can Virtual Mentors Add Value to Business Ethics Education? A Case-Based Exploratory Study
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We examine the educational benefits of a virtual mentor program used to supplement classroom teaching of ethics, by connecting students with business practitioners through computer-mediated communications. Virtual mentoring can be a valuable and inexpensive way to extend the classroom lectures and discussion with real-world perspectives. In addition, it can serve additional purposes for students, such as learning how to develop a relationship with a mentor, and improving application of ethical concepts in practical situations. Is this potential realistic for business ethics education? Based on a cross-case comparison of several virtual mentoring application and student satisfaction ratings, our findings establish that perspective and confidence increased in students’ transfer of ethical concepts and applying ethical judgment to business situations. Based on these experiences we suggest guidelines to individuals who teach business ethics, regarding the value of using a virtual mentor program, including practical lessons about implementing virtual mentors programs.