Volume 11, 2014
Dennis Wittmer, Kevin O’Brien
The Virtue of “Virtue Ethics” in Business and Business Education
This article offers an approach to advance the use of virtue ethics in the training of business managers and leaders, as well as in the education of business students. A thesis is that virtue ethics offers a valuable way to think about how we want to be and what we should strive to become qua businessperson, manager, and leader. The article provides a framework for thinking about virtue ethics in the context of business and leadership, with emphasis on building trust in organizations. It includes a brief summary of Aristotelian virtue ethics, core concepts, and how they apply to management and leadership decision-making. The article concludes with a summary of an approach for teaching a virtue ethics module, which has evolved over the past 20 years. Included are exercises, a survey tool, and a business case as components of the module. The module has been used in corporate training, as well as graduate and undergraduate business education. It is hoped this approach will spur others to explore other ways to bring virtue ethics to business and business education.