Teaching Ethics in the MBA Program

Hand Writing the Words Business Ethics

Ethics guide us as we make choices and decide how to act. In business, ethics are the moral rules that govern the decisions those in businesses make about how they treat employees, customers, shareholders and the public.

The study of ethics is an important part of an MBA program because, in business, ethical dilemmas arise every day. Considering and discussing ethics in an academic setting prepares business leaders to make ethical judgments in the corporate world.

Associate Dean of the School of Business and Justice Studies at Utica College Candace Grant, Ph.D. answers questions about business ethics and discusses why business students should be comfortable with technology. 

You teach Business, Technology and Ethics in the MBA program. Why is teaching ethics to MBAs so important?
I am really passionate about helping society understand why business is important. Why do we need to have business? I think sometimes business gets a bad rap, perhaps because of some of the inappropriate behaviors of companies and the inappropriateness of some aspects of capitalism. But I think sometimes we lose sight of why business is important to society.

How does Utica College infuse ethics in all MBA courses and not just in a single elective class?
My area of research is heavily focused on ethics in business and ethics in technology. But I don't like to have that as a separate conversation because I don’t think we can separate ethics from the decision-making process. Although we have a course in the MBA program in corporate ethics, it really needs to be everywhere across the curriculum. Ethics is about people. It’s about our relationships with our stakeholders. And no matter whether we’re in marketing or human resources or manufacturing, we all have responsibilities to our stakeholders. Understanding those relationships is a really important aspect of the whole MBA program.

How can business leaders incorporate ethics into everyday decisions?
Ethics must be integrated into everyday thinking. If you have a group of people in an organization making a business decision, they’re not necessarily going to stop and say, “We need to have an ethics conversation.” But it can be part of their thinking. You don’t even have to mention the word ethics. But you can have a conversation that says, “Who are the stakeholders that are going to be impacted by this decision that we're making? Let’s consider how they’re going to be affected.” Sometimes those are trade-offs. You can’t satisfy everybody. Somebody is going to be slightly disadvantaged. But how do you come up with the best solution that’s going to have the least amount of negative impact?

Why is it crucial for students pursuing an MBA to understand how to manage technology?
Technology is really important to business. Not only do we have to be cognizant about business and the value that it provides but about how information technology supports us across the business spectrum. People in business have to be aware of just what technology is, how it works and what its risks are. They don’t have to be programmers, but they sure need to have enough information about it to make good business decisions as to how they’re going to use it, not only from an ethics perspective — that is, what’s the harm it can cause to people — but also how much it costs. It’s unethical to make a poor business decision and cost a lot of money for a particular project if it’s not going to give you the business benefits that you hoped for.

Technology in the classroom
The fully online program at Utica College offers students innovative technology like live classrooms, which allow students to join their course class sessions occurring on campus in real time via webcast. Students in these live sessions take part in class discussions and engage with the professor during the class just as if they were sitting in the classroom. The archived recording of each session is also made available to students to review at any time during the course. The online MBA program truly provides and supports students with many options to learn and understand the coursework.

An MBA is one of the most sought-after degrees by employers1. You can learn more about business ethics while expanding your professional opportunities with an online MBA from Utica College. Request more information or call 315.732.2640 or toll-free at 866.295.3106 today.

1“Top degrees for getting hired in 2017.” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2016/11/23/top-degrees-for-getting-hired-in-2017/#60a04fb3634a (accessed May 4, 2017).