Volume 11, 2014
Wayne F. Buck
A Theory of Business Ethics Simulation Games
This article discusses the use of computer-based simulation games to teach business ethics. The current theory of business ethics simulation games (BESGs) is built on two axioms. The first is that BESGs are best used to teach students ethical principles, and the second is that this is best accomplished by presenting students with ethical dilemmas. This article disputes both of these axioms and proposes new theory. The purpose of BESGs, on the new theory, is to induce in students certain thought processes, not to simulate business situations. According to this new theory, simulation games should be designed to induce in players decision-making processes analogous to those of managers and employees confronted with ethically fraught decisions that have no obvious right or wrong answer. These ethical conundrums involve balancing risks to others and benefits for oneself in the course of ordinary, everyday work. This new theory is illustrated by describing a BESG designed by the author and currently used at several colleges and universities.