Teaching business ethics

Today is an academic day for me. I am presenting at Bentley University in the afternoon and teaching at UConn in the evening.

In many fields of study, the role of the teacher is to impart knowledge on her students. We expect English and math students to learn facts about these topics.

With business ethics, my aim is different. I seek to influence behavior.

I teach to move my students along the ethical leadership spectrum, from ethically unaware (in some situations) to ethical leaders. I teach that culture is an outcome, that it can be measured and improved. I teach about organizational integrity because personal integrity is not enough.

My quizzes and tests cannot measure my success. The real tests will be administered when my students enter the workforce. Will they recognize the ethical dilemma? Will they make the right decision? Will they implement it in a way that inspires others to do the right thing?

I don’t expect for a second that all my students will ace these real-life tests.

I can only hope that some will, some of the times.

And that it’ll make a difference.

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