To read this content please select one of the options below:

Effective Use of Reflection and Research Activities in Teaching Business Ethics

Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making

ISBN: 978-1-78714-416-3, eISBN: 978-1-78714-415-6

Publication date: 16 May 2017


This paper describes how Business and Society, a compulsory subject for all undergraduate students in an Australian business school, is used for a transformational approach. We explain how reflection is central in both the objectives and the pedagogy of the subject. Students conduct individual research projects and present that in a two-minute video presentation. The reflective activities are not only designed to develop a capability for reflection but also to show how reflection is an integral part of professional practice, grounded in the concept of reflection as “turning things over in the mind to a purpose,” after John Dewey. Developing these activities has required the teaching staff to reflect on the effectiveness and relevance of these aspects and to examine the various ways in which “reflection” is used in tertiary education. In the paper, we describe and explain some of the distinctive features of the course, and explain the practical, but conceptually sound, approach to ethics which underpins the design and teaching and show how it is possible to address the notions of the good life in a plural society. We also consider questions of assessment, including the assessment of reflective capacity and issues of moderation with large classes and multiple markers.




While the authors of this paper have been lead coordinators since the introduction of the unit in 2010 many others contributed to its development. In some semesters, there were more than 20 teaching staff, taking tutorials, marking papers, delivering the occasional lecture, and participating in the post-audit of each delivery. They have contributed significantly to the development of the unit. Students, too, have suggested many enhancements and the examples of business doing good in the video assignment have helped other students, teaching staff, and skeptics elsewhere in the business school to see the relevance of ethics in business. We acknowledge their multiple and often unobtrusive contributions.


Harris, H. and Sandhu, S. (2017), "Effective Use of Reflection and Research Activities in Teaching Business Ethics", Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 49-61.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited