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Facilitating embodied learning in business ethics education: the use of relational sculpting

Sheldene Simola (Business Administration Department, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 8 April 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to first, provide an interdisciplinary overview of the pedagogical perspective known as “embodied learning”; second, describe the particular relevance of embodied perspectives for business ethics and business ethics education; third, introduce “relational sculpting” as a pertinent embodied technique in this context.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis of qualitative data on relational sculpting from n=50 participants in two sections of a required undergraduate course on business ethics was conducted.

Findings

Findings indicated that the use of relational sculpting was associated with increased emotional awareness of, and empathy for stakeholders; a more compelling sense of connection to ethical issues and the affected stakeholders; enhanced understanding of stakeholder perspectives; and, a stronger appreciation of interconnections among stakeholders, as well as of the situation as a whole.

Research limitations/implications

Future investigations could explore diverse other applications of relational sculpting and any implications these might have for learning effectiveness. Consideration could also be given to the viability, development, implementation and assessment not just of embodied techniques, but also, of integrated and coherent educational programs that are embodied in nature.

Practical implications

Step-by-step practical guidelines for using relational sculpting are provided. Additionally, comprehensive ethical guidelines for the use of innovative teaching methodologies such as relational sculpting are also provided.

Originality/value

Management scholars have recently advocated not only for increased ethics training in undergraduate and graduate curricula, but also for enhanced teaching and learning through the integration of diverse scholarly perspectives and innovations. This paper provides an interdisciplinary overview of the pedagogical perspective known as “embodied learning,” identifies its relevance for business ethics and business ethics education, and also introduces “relational sculpting” as a relevant embodied technique.

Keywords

Citation

Simola, S. (2014), "Facilitating embodied learning in business ethics education: the use of relational sculpting", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 75-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-07-2012-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited