Curriculum Vital: Ethics Courses in Business Schools

Jeffrey A. Miller
Read the article here.

Excerpt:
In the summer of 2002, Congress passed new legislation, with more stringent requirements for corporate reporting of financial information. The level of attention and concern given to issues of corporate accountability has increased significantly, along with corresponding employment opportunities for those equipped to address these matters. With all of this in the works, one would expect that colleges and universities would be positioning themselves to train ethical leaders and provide a dependable supply to fulfill this commonly acknowledged need. However, individuals having those expectations are likely to be disappointed. Throughout the 1990’s and continuing to this day, institutes of higher learning in the United States have been and are dropping business ethics courses from their MBA programs. In some cases, ethics courses have been dropped from the requirements list, while at other schools, they are being dropped altogether. Now, more than ever, we need to include ethics in the business curriculum.

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“Capital” Punishment: For Corporations that Violate the Public Trust

Jeffrey A. Miller
(Your humble web servant)
Read the article here.
Excerpt:

How did corporations obtain this power? Is this the role that we envisioned for business entities in an economic democracy? In this paper, we will look at the history of corporations and their assumption of power that is incompatible with a free society. While we will consider a variety of views as to the proper role for corporate entities, the position of this paper should be clear. We need to reform the role of corporations in our country. We should consider placing limits on the duration of corporate charters, or conditions upon their renewal. States should exercise the responsibility that has always been theirs’ — the oversight of corporate activity. If the states are unwilling or unable to provide responsible oversight, we should consider removing their oversight power, and federalizing corporate charters. Finally, if we are going to consider the corporation to be a person and afford it the same kinds of rights and freedoms that are extended to the individual, perhaps it is time to revise the methods by which we hold the corporate “person” accountable. We should impose the same kind of punishments that we have established for individuals. If a corporation is convicted in the courts for a violation of law, we should curtail its freedom to conduct business for a period of time. In the event of repeat offenses, the penalties should be increased. In those instances where a corporation severely violates the public trust, it should cease to exist. The corporate charter should be revoked, the assets seized and the corporation dissolved.

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Are Business Schools Silent Partners in Corporate Crime?

Diane L. Swanson Kansas State University, USA
William C. Frederick University of Pittsburgh, USA

Read the article here.
Excerpt:

An unexplored question is the link between corporate misdeeds and the nation’s business schools. Although policy-makers in Washington have now changed the rules for stock options and 401K plans, they have not yet investigated business schools as possibly unwitting accomplices to corporate crimes. This oversight seems odd, since the executive managers of the scandal-ridden firms and their partners in crime, some holding MBA degrees, may reflect an approach to business education that elevates narrow self-interest above broader values of community and corporate citizenship. This ideology was never very far from the minds of the executive carpetbaggers who stole from their own companies, wiped out employee pensions and made distrust of business a national byword. In the aftermath of this wholesale robbery, members of the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the USA have maintained an inexplicable silence. Behind their wall of quietude, these deans of colleges of business who set the standards for business school curricula worldwide are proposing wobbly new accreditation guidelines that will do little to head off a new generation of MBAs who are at risk of Enron-like behaviour.

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