Pilant's Business Ethics

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Tag: Master of Business Administration

Robert Dolan and Business Ethics

Robert Dolan and Business Ethics

Robert Dolan Teaches Business Ethics – YouTube

This is a brief video in which Robert Dolan, at that time, Dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, held forth on a number of issues particularly business ethics. He begins the discussion by talking about the slow down in hiring in the financial sector and the effect on the students, moves into a discussion of how business ethics should be ingrained into the courses rather than a set of separate courses, and he ends with a good discussion of executive compensation.
His idea of action-based learning is used at the Ross School of Business and explained in some detail on their web site. I recommend you watch the video and, if an educator, read the web site explanation.
James Pilant
Wall_Street_SignFrom around the web –
From the web site, Stacy Blackman Consulting:
The most commonly asked question–How is Ross going to maintain its competitive advantage with its action-based learning and what is the school’s high-level strategy going forward?–elicited this response:

“While there was some recent debate surrounding whether or not we should abandon our action-based learning as the cornerstone of our brand and pick a ‘new horse,’ the faculty has chosen to ‘feed and care for the horse we’ve got.’ In other words, the school recognizes that we do action-based learning better than any of our competitors and it should prevail as our primary differentiating factor. Moving forward, Ross looks to grow this strategy by taking it abroad.”

Dean Dolan is also committed to boosting Ross’s global footprint via the strategic placement of international offices, starting in India and then China, the MSJ reports. Having offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore will help Ross better source field-based Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), and offices with local roots will facilitate placement of Ross students in India better than efforts based in the U.S.

From the web site, Big Think:

Question: How does the Ross School integrate real world business problems in the classroom?

Robert Dolan: Well, there’s a number of ways. I guess I’ll start out by talking about the way that we do it is maybe as a little bit distinctive among business schools. I think the signature element of our school, our MBA program in particular, compared to others, is what we call action based learning. 

So right now, for example, all of our 425 first year MBA students would not be found in Ann Arbor.  They would be scattered around the globe in about 90 teams, working on real world problems. So what we’ve done to try to differentiate our students and really provide value added was probably about 10 years ago, slightly before I got to the school, we instituted what we called, this map project, which we call multidisciplinary action projects. So we, since, built that up and really invested in it as our point of differentiation.

And finally from the web site, See Sunshine:
For the second time in three years, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has been named the No. 1 business school in North America by the Wall Street Journal.The Ross School is one of only two business schools to be ranked in the top four every year since the Wall Street Journal began its rankings in 2001.

“We’re happy the Wall Street Journal has again ranked us as the best MBA program in the country,” said Ross School Dean Robert J. Dolan. “The Journal’s ranking is particularly gratifying as it reflects the sentiment of hiring companies that see our graduates at work every day.”

 

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Is Teaching Business Ethics a Waste of Time?

Is Teaching Business Ethics a Waste of Time?

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

The only way we’ll get our students to integrate their moral compasses with the practical tools of business we teach them is to incorporate the topic of ethics throughout the curriculum. This will require the accounting and finance and marketing professors to grasp the ethical blind spots inherent in their respective areas, and to appreciate and recognize approaches to lessening them. Professors, in other words, need to be moral architects themselves.

Business school and ethics: Can we train MBAs to do the right thing? – Slate Magazine

Maybe, but I don’t think so. I do think the way like the article says that the way business ethics is taught now is a failure and a disaster. The article recommends embedding ethics in every part of the business curriculum. That would be nice, but it is neither necessary or likely that will happen.

I recommend that business ethics be taught the way I do it. (I know, everybody does – however, hear me out.) I believe in giving business students the opportunity to develop their own moral landscape. I use moral problems, big ones, airline crashes, economic disasters, fires, murders, etc., as examples. Then I ask students the big questions: Who’s responsible and what should be done? They decide within a set of guidelines. I tell them that for every big open ended question, that there are usually around five or so really good answers, eleven to fifteen mediocre answers and an infinity of bad inadequate poorly thought out answers. I tell them to look for the five.

By providing the students with broad guidelines and by refusing to tell them the “right” answers, I engage their judgment. They write brief essays justifying their choices, and then we do it again and again. By the end of the semester, they have created a moral framework, that I hope lasts for their lifetimes certainly for many years. My perception is that self education, self creations in a real sense is the most effective means of education.

James Pilant

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