Volume 37, Issue 4, December 2014
Teaching Business Ethics as Innovative Problem Solving
Teaching business ethics offers an opportunity to encourage students to use ethical theory to develop critical thinking skills and to use these skills to practice creative, ethical problem solving that will serve them well in the course of their professional lives. In the first part of this article, I detail how the disciplined use of ethical theory not only develops students’ moral perceptions but also gives them the conceptual tools to engage in detailed, innovative analysis. In the second section of the article, I use Nike’s “green rubber” dilemma to illustrate how students can use ethical theories to construct analyses of business challenges and design innovative solutions that further the interests of diverse stakeholders. In the last section, I describe class exercises and assignments that both model detailed, creative problem solving and direct students to practice these cognitive skills on their own.