Critical Review of Business Ethics Education

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Several cases of immoral practices in eminent companies such as Enron and WorldCom have raised the issues of the importance of having business ethics education in higher education institutions, in anticipation that it could prevent or diminish the unethical behaviors at workplaces. On the contrary, many disbelieve that certain values like business ethics and moral judgments for instance can not be taught. This paper addresses my view points on the research findings on business ethics education of two articles; “Yes, You can Teach Business Ethics: A Review and Research Agenda” (Referred in this paper as Article 1) and “The Impact of Business Education on Moral Judgment Competence: An Empirical Study” (Referred in this paper as Article 2).

In comparison, both articles show a similarity in that they both lean towards supporting the teaching of business ethics in school. In Article 1, Williams & Dewitt suggest that there are many common concerns and skepticism about the outcome of learning business ethics, suspecting it to be a waste of time as moral values have been formed prior to high education depending on an individual’s social background and other factors. In addition, ethics is not important or relevant in a business context as self interested profit maximization is a business’ primary goal (Williams & Dewett p.110). Therefore, teaching of business ethics is not deemed as vital in the business world and often times, it fails to contribute to an individual’s moral judgment resulting in many corporate scandals seen in the news regardless of the business ethics training provided. A case of Enron and its auditing partner Arthur Anderson is a good example of companies that invest in ethics training but nevertheless behave in unethical manners contributing to Enron’s collapse, the biggest bankruptcy in US history. Was it ethical that Sherron Watkins, a former Vice President of Enron sold her company stock prior to Enron’s collapse leaving many unemployed...
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