When I was going through college, ethics courses were taught through the philosophy department and there wasn’t much talk about how ethics applied to the workplace. With more exposure of unethical business practices, such as Enron, coming to light and their effects impacting citizens in all walks of life, teaching ethics is a key component in more business schools across the country.
Former Professor Cal Boardman, who was the Bill Daniels Chair of Ethics, saw the need for an ethics course emerge about 25 years ago. He worked with management department to create an elective course, Foundation of Business Thought, which would address the growing interest. Boardman says the crux of the course is to “draw parallels between long-run viability business enterprises with the necessity to grow ethical business in order to succeed.” Put simply, Boardman summarizes, “You can’t mess with people because it’s a short-run business and not sustainable.” Professor Abe Bakhsheshy who teaches Business Ethics in the undergraduate and graduate programs agrees. “In order to be successful in business you need to collaborate, work in teams, and get the respect of others. If you are unethical, cheating and lying, you lose people’s trust,” which will end your career prospects very quickly.
Since the early 2000s, when the financial markets faced their biggest crisis, people are demanding more responsibility from business leaders and that starts with educating the future leaders. It was once taught that a businessperson’s only responsibility was to make money. Bakhsheshy adds, “There was no accountability. Businesses were immune because no one was being held accountable.” Now it’s essential to show students the rew