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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 11, 2014

Jennifer Cordon Thor, Kenneth M. York, T.J. Wharton
Pages 199-216

It’s Different Because It Affects Me: An Experiential Exercise in Ethics

Ethics education in higher education often uses a model that allows students to apply ethical theories to a hypothetical dilemma in order to make a decision. However, it is rare that students directly experience the effects of unethical decision making by others. This paper presents an in-class exercise that provides a concrete experience. The exercise gives students the experience of being the victim of unethical behavior, and subsequently allows them to apply basic ethical theories to a real life situation. It is suitable for courses in legal environment of business, ethics, and organizational behavior, at the undergraduate or graduate level. When used in a business ethics class, more emphasis can be placed on developing various ethical constructs. A narrative for how this exercise was used in an undergraduate Legal Environment of Business class is provided, along with a list of other experiential exercises that are available to teach ethics.

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