Interestingly enough, most MBA degrees now require at least one ethics class to graduate, some several more. This radical change is obviously due to the anti-Wall Street motif and “Occupy the Park” protestor groups which emerged due to the 2008 economic crash blamed on run-away greed on Wall Street. Of course, it wasn’t really that simple and one could say that the government had a big hand in what transpired too, along with real estate speculators. Nevertheless, business schools have responded with ethics classes, and most would say; it’s about time.
There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on February 7, 2013 titled; “Does an ‘A’ in Ethics Have Any Value? B-Schools Step Up Efforts to Tie Moral Principles to Their Business Programs, But Quantifying Those Virtues Is Tough,” by Melissa Korn. Now then, one has to wonder if a student with straight A average in their ethics classes is going to go to work in a corporation purposely looking around and snooping for problems to the point of being a vigilante-type whistle blower before they even understand the ends and outs of the business.
After all, corporations want people to do what they are told, not to think and tell them what to do, at least not until they’ve become acclimated to the company culture and moved up the ladder a bit to an executive decision making position. See that point? Ethics activists can be dangerous without experience and knowledge, especially if they bring with them any more than a smidge of academic anti-capitalism mind set with them. There is nothing unethical about making money or making a profit, as our free-market is where buyers and sellers freely partake.
Now then, this brings me to another question, a philosophical one. If corporations want ethical employees so they don’t steal or commit fraud, that makes sense, but I doubt they want them doing too much second guessing of the leadership. So maybe the MBA schools should first teach personal ethics to the students, and corporate pragmatism (within reason) to them before they graduate.