Ethics have always played a large role in business, however since the highly publicized Enron, Tyco and WorldCom scandals, the importance of educating students on these ethics have come to the forefront again. "The large number of accounting scandals in 2001 and 2002 demonstrated that personal ethics and financial reporting are inextricably connected." (Albrecht et al, 2005) In the article An Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Business Ethics Training, "a student sample in various business courses was used to investigate whether general business training and ethics instruction affect students' ethical decision making and moral development." (Fraedrich, 2005)
There are researchers that believe that ethics cannot be taught and that "business schools are primarily wasting their time teaching ethics," while "others believe that instructors may be able to sensitize students to the ethical dilemmas in business." The true dilemma comes when researchers are at a loss to measure what is considered success in ethics instruction.
"From a normative perspective, the issue of determining what is acceptable or ethical behavior, and the grounds for the justification of behaviors is the work of philosophers." The definition of ethics is the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. Each person's ethics vary according to their own morals and upbringing. This new perception on ethics has brought about a renewed interest in the importance of these values and their impact on ethical decision making in today's business environment.
The article reviews the coincidence that business schools verses regular schools provide a different perception on ethical behavior and that there are also differences between ages and genders. Kohlberg's theory of cognitive moral development suggests that sensitizing students to ethics can in some cases produce a shift in their beliefs however, the overall outcome of the...