Onus of Ethical Lapses Lies on Business Schools

Topics: Management, Human resource management, Business school Pages: 16 (5394 words) Published: May 19, 2010
Concept Paper
Seminars in HRM Final Project
Bushra Fatima, MBA 2k8

13 May, 2010


Bushra Fatima, NUST Business School, 2010


Ethical Lapses in Businesses: Onus lies on B Schools?
I joined NUST Business School two years back, after I did my engineering degree. The logical premise, I gave to justify my choice to enter a Business school was not that I was passionate about studying business administration in anyway, but was the fact that the MBA is a good add-on to my degree, ensuring better and well paying career options in the long run. In my view back then, a business school was meant to churn out managers, like so many medical and engineering schools that churn out doctors and engineers. By the end of my first semester of MBA, my perception was changed. Getting an MBA doesn’t make you a manager. Management is more of a practice, something that needs to be done outside the safe environment of Business school. According to one of my professors: “It’s like swimming; you cannot learn it by sitting cozy in an air-conditioned classroom listening to the lecture”. However, like most professions you need to understand the theory behind the practice. Hence, the case with teaching ethics in business schools and the responsibility of the institute to instill ethical values in the students is challenged. Business people act in unethical ways when they start evaluating the risk and rewards of being a moral person. Business school should teach that economic analysis is only helpful and proper when all of the options being considered are morally correct. Aristotle believed ethics was more than just learning a set of rules. Ethics was a way of living. "One becomes a lute player by playing the lute, one becomes a builder by building; likewise, one becomes courageous by doing courageous acts (a virtue for Aristotle)..." Before I hold the business schools responsible for the ethical lapses that happen in the business world, let us delve into some reality check. Can ethics be taught? Studies show that MBA alters how students view businesses and their roles and responsibilities as managers. Students bring in their ethics and moral values which may be hard to transform all together but a slight change in attitudes may be infused in them during the course of study. However, even if the student learns complete theory associated with ethics, there is no guarantee that what he does outside the class would be in conformance with what he has learnt in class. Unless, the class learning is supported by a value structure of the student’s environment on campus and at home, a message of double standards is sent. That brings me to what the student really learns in the business school and what is emphasized upon during his tenure there. When a student is taught about leadership for example, the emphasis is on business leader’s gain in terms of wealth and building multibillion dollar enterprises rather than what they have contributed to the society or what change they have made for the betterment of humanity. The business schools tend to give a myopic view of success and leadership to the students equating success with monetary gain thus monetization of the concept of leadership. A profitable enterprise according to the business schools are ones which works towards increasing short term monetary gains for the shareholder instead of emphasizing on sustainable growth and benefiting all stakeholders in long term. Thus, indoctrination of money mindedness in done to the extent of poisoning the young mind to think ethics as old school philosophy which stands in the way of success. Overall business schools convey a subtle but lethal message of privilege.

Bushra Fatima, NUST Business School, 2010


The business school teaching methodology that puts too much emphasis on case study system gives a false confidence to the student that he knows how to solve real life problems. He is encouraged to make use of the economic models without taking...
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