The trouble with ethics in MBAs

The difficulty of integrating ethics into the core curriculum of business schools is that faculties are reluctant to teach subjects outside their areas of expertise.

by Tuck School of Business
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

That is the opinion of Richard S. Shreve, professor of business ethics at Tuck, who is focused on integrating ethics into the MBA core curriculum at the school, and fostering character development in students on their courses.

"The common approach of inviting an ethics professor as a guest lecturer to address the ethical issues in a finance case, for instance, sends a powerful message to the students that ethics is not a mainstream concern in finance," says Shreve.

He is tackling the problem at Tuck by taking what he calls a two-pronged approach. Firstly, a seminar is held at the start of the year with core faculty members to share with them the ethics information that is being passed on to students and to impress upon them their responsibility as ethical role models.

Secondly, through the year Tuck stages a series of ethics panels manned by prominent business leaders and representatives from government and the media to attend classes with the students and participate in discussions.

Shreve says that he has "intentionally focussed on teaching practical business skills, rather than moulding character." That includes how to make an ethical decision when faced with a dilemma, and how to use the language of ethics to defend a position.

Reviewed by Deborah Bonello



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