Ethics Across the Business Curriculum
Business and society are mutually interdependent: Society depends on business for wealth creation while business depends on society for an environment where it can meet its obligation to create that wealth. It is essential for business in general—and business students in particular—to understand the interrelationship between business and society, especially in terms of the ethical decision-making power placed in the hands of business owners and managers. The actions of business leaders affect not only themselves, but customers, employees, investors, suppliers, governments, citizens, and communities.
Current research indicates that workers look primarily to peers and their direct supervisors for guidance in ethical dilemma situations. The messages managers send and the contexts they create are potentially the greatest motivating force behind ethical conduct in business organizations. While most of our students will not be executives early in their careers, they learn that, even as supervisors, they will play a key ethical role in the organization by influencing the daily conduct of their direct reports. Therefore, it is critical that they master the ability to identify and resolve ethical issues. Today's literature reveals that business people become ethical leaders by expanding their awareness to include multiple stakeholder interests and by developing and practicing their own ethical decision-making skills. Consequently, our students dedicate much time to learning to recognize who the stakeholders are any given situation and developing and practicing ethical decision-making skills. Preparing students for ethical decision-making is a key component of the Dahl School of Business curriculum!