We Have an Ethical Dilemma!
Our finest business schools are beefing up their ethics programs in response to the erosion of corporate ethics that has resulted in the recent high profile debacles, right? Guess again.
A recent Business Ethics magazine article points to numerous leading business schools that have recently cut back or done away with their ethics classes and/or programs. The University of Pittsburgh has dropped a required ethics course, The State University of New York, Marquette University, Villanova University, the University of Georgia, and many others have either dropped ethics course requirements or slashed the requirements in half. Many that have retained ethics courses are employing professors with questionable knowledge in teaching ethics. From marketing professors, to professors in transportation economics, the remaining courses at some universities are being taught by professors that may be less than qualified to do so.
What is going on?
According to the article- "A primary reason," wrote Archie Carroll (a professor at the University of Georgia) is that "faculty don't want to allow 'shelf space' in the curriculum for business ethics, because they want their own courses there." Second, the faculty simply don't understand or appreciate the subject matter."
Would you want your children learning from these people?
I don't want to diminish the wonderful work that is being done by outstanding professors at schools that are committed to producing well rounded future executives. The point is- it is not enough!
If we are not changing things today, given what has transpired in corporate America in the last few years, when will we? If we are making cuts and reducing ethics education, what message does that send to our future corporate leaders?
What can you do about it? Get mad and get involved! Find out what is going on with your alma mater. Ask what support your company is giving schools to promote ethics initiatives. Take a personal stand and take some action!
If we do not assign a high importance to the ethics piece of business we are doomed to repeat the past, and we will deserve to.
If we do not take a stand and paint a clear picture of what is important in business and in our communities, we have started to unravel the fabric that has made our country great. The erosion may seem slow to some but as history looks back on this snapshot of time my guess is that many will shake their heads and wonder why we "didn't get it."