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Can Business Ethics be Trained? A Study of the Ethical Decision-making Process in Business Students


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  • Barbara Ritter


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    The purpose of this paper is to examine the various guidelines presented in the literature for instituting an ethics curriculum and to empirically study their effectiveness. Three questions are addressed concerning the trainability of ethics material and the proper integration and implementation of an ethics curriculum. An empirical study then tested the effect of ethics training on moral awareness and reasoning. The sample consisted of two business classes, one exposed to additional ethics curriculum (experimental), and one not exposed (control). For the experimental group, ethics exercises and discussion relevant to each topic were completed. Findings suggested gender differences such that, relative to other groups, women in the experimental group showed significantly improved moral awareness and decision-making processes. An explanation of the underlying cognitive processes is presented to explain the gender effect. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 153-164

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:68:y:2006:i:2:p:153-164

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    Keywords: business ethics; designing business ethics curriculum; ethics; teaching business ethics; teaching undergraduate business students;


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    1. Foti, Roseanne J. & Lord, Robert G., 1987. "Prototypes and scripts: The effects of alternative methods of processing information on rating accuracy," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 318-340, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Cubie Lau, 2010. "A Step Forward: Ethics Education Matters!," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(4), pages 565-584, April.
    2. Kevin Clark & Narda Quigley & Stephen Stumpf, 2014. "The Influence of Decision Frames and Vision Priming on Decision Outcomes in Work Groups: Motivating Stakeholder Considerations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 27-38, March.
    3. Will Drover & Jennifer Franczak & Richard Beltramini, 2012. "A 30-Year Historical Examination of Ethical Concerns Regarding Business Ethics: Who’s Concerned?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(4), pages 431-438, December.
    4. Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt & Hansen, Lars Gaarn & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 279-284.
    5. Elisaveta Sardžoska & Thomas Tang, 2012. "Work-Related Behavioral Intentions in Macedonia: Coping Strategies, Work Environment, Love of Money, Job Satisfaction, and Demographic Variables," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 373-391, July.
    6. Eddy Ng & Ronald Burke, 2010. "Predictor of Business Students’ Attitudes Toward Sustainable Business Practices," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(4), pages 603-615, September.
    7. Brian Mayhew & Pamela Murphy, 2009. "The Impact of Ethics Education on Reporting Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(3), pages 397-416, May.
    8. Nadzri Ab Ghani & Jeremy Galbreath & Robert Evans, 2012. "Predicting Whistle-Blowing Intention Among Supervisors In Malaysia," Journal of Global Management, Global Research Agency, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    9. James Bloodgood & William Turnley & Peter Mudrack, 2010. "Ethics Instruction and the Perceived Acceptability of Cheating," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 23-37, August.
    10. Daniel Holland & Chad Albrecht, 2013. "The Worldwide Academic Field of Business Ethics: Scholars’ Perceptions of the Most Important Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(4), pages 777-788, November.
    11. Mayer, David M. & Nurmohamed, Samir & Treviño, Linda Klebe & Shapiro, Debra L. & Schminke, Marshall, 2013. "Encouraging employees to report unethical conduct internally: It takes a village," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 89-103.
    12. Derek Dalton & Robin Radtke, 2013. "The Joint Effects of Machiavellianism and Ethical Environment on Whistle-Blowing," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 153-172, September.
    13. John Angelidis & Nabil Ibrahim, 2011. "The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on the Ethical Judgment of Managers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 111-119, February.
    14. Yuh-Jia Chen & Thomas Tang, 2013. "The Bright and Dark Sides of Religiosity Among University Students: Do Gender, College Major, and Income Matter?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 531-553, July.
    15. Thomas Tang & Toto Sutarso, 2013. "Falling or Not Falling into Temptation? Multiple Faces of Temptation, Monetary Intelligence, and Unethical Intentions Across Gender," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 529-552, September.


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