The concepts of business school management and business ethics do not fit easily together. Yet that will be the case in the future. Critics have suggested that B-schools bear some responsibility for the culture of excessive risk-taking that helped trigger the credit crunch, saying they failed to teach students that there is more to business than just making money.
Some schools have responded by re-examining their priorities, and giving ethics more classroom time, either in modules of its own or incorporated into key classes like strategy, finance and accounting.
Faculty are defining the subject broadly, arguing that ethical business practice is not just about refraining from cheating and corruption, but recognizing that a company has responsibilities beyond its shareholders’ wallets—to employees, community, customers and the environment.
Despite the increase in interest, there are pressures on schools to produce students who make money their top priority, particularly from school rankings that are based partly on how much salaries increase after graduation.
Wall Street Journal reports students in China are more interested than ever in issues like social responsibility and sustainability, says Charles Chen, director of executive M.B.A. programs at the China Europe International Business School, or CEIBS.