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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 9, 2012

Linda L. Brennan, Robert D. Perkins
Pages 165-192

Can Virtual Mentors Add Value to Business Ethics Education? A Case-Based Exploratory Study

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.

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