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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 11, 2014

Gerald L. Plumlee, T. Gregory Barrett, L. Carolyn Pearson
Pages 129-155
DOI: 10.5840/jbee2014117

An Examination of Business Ethics Curriculum in AACSB-Accredited Business Schools

American businesses, their leaders, and the business schools that developed these leaders find themselves under public scrutiny. As a result, business programs have placed increased emphasis on developing and implementing curriculum to address business ethics, which presents practitioners with the issue of how to define, measure, and evaluate business ethics curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine the business ethics curriculum in AACSB-accredited business schools in the U.S. A framework for defining and examining the curriculum was developed using Lattuca and Stark’s (2009) Academic Plan, and other variables from the literature relevant to the business ethics curriculum were examined. The results indicated that the current business ethics curriculum in most business schools has all of the academic plan elements: an ethics-related learning goal; content in a variety of subjects and at a variety of levels; a sequence that has been applied to it; learners’ needs addressed; appropriate and even innovative learning processes; the necessary resources including faculty; assurance of learning at the program level; and has been adjusted an average of 2.6 times in the last five years. Commonly, business ethics is integrated throughout the business curriculum in addition to having an ethics class available, whether elective or required. Faculty generally create and support an ethical culture and the program’s efforts to include business ethics in the curriculum.