This is interesting. We’ve been asked to help review a new course offering 1 credit hour business ethics. We thought we had seen the full range of ethics courses until we visited with the authors. The course is designed for business students enrolled in business education at a mid-western university. The first difference that stands out is that the target student population is not senior or graduate – but freshmen. This is a big difference and a difference that may change the effectiveness of ethics education in U.S. business curriculum.
The course is one semester but will probably be expanded to a two part / two semester program. The reason is important. Course objectives first address ethical perception. The second focus is improving decision making skills. This is not unlike the ethics courses we all took our senior year or on-going ethic’s training for our business.
What is different is the quality of the learning tool for building future leaders and their influence on the personality of the organization. Meditative management is taught as a tool in leadership decision making. This should not seem so revolutionary but it may be what is needed to prepare a new group of business leaders to embrace ethics as a way of life – not a regulatory compliance hurdle.
Emotional intelligence is certainly a buzz word / concept that has graced business literature for the past decade. We are timid in supporting the reissue but are intrigued with course components that include meditation and journaling. Every business executive could benefit from self-reflective practices.
From Lowney’s (2003) heroic leadership model based on the Jesuit concept of discernment to the Hopi Indian understanding of human connectedness, trust and genuine care for society as a whole will always be important.
Our enthusiasm for ethics education has been rekindled!
Lowney, C. (2003). Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450 Year Old Company that Changed the World. Chicago: Loyola Press