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

Would a Hippocratic Oath of Business Encourage Business Leaders to Make Ethical Decisions? A Study into What Business Students Learn in Business Ethics Class

Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making

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

ISSN: 1529-2096

Publication date: 16 May 2017

Abstract

It has been suggested that the introduction of a universal code of ethics for business, similar to that of the Hippocratic Oath, would encourage business leaders to engage in ethical decisions. The aim of this study is to empirically investigate what future business leaders learn in business school ethics class and to critically examine if there is any correlation between the education that the Hippocratic Oath refers to and modern business ethics education. This quantitative study surveyed 128 academics that teach ethics to business students in 29 Australian universities in order to find out what business students learn when they study ethics in business schools.

The study found such an overall inconsistency in business ethics education that no specific conclusions can be made apart from concluding that there is no uniform and universal standard into the discipline of ethics and what it teaches. The experts are mainly split between the view that ethics education is about teaching critical thinking or that it is about learning academic and theoretical aspects of the discipline of ethics. A third of the experts also thought the purpose of ethics education was to teach ethical conduct.

This paper also argues that the laissez-faire approach about ethics education from Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has marginalised business ethics education as business schools overwhelmingly tend to scattering ethics topics superficially and incoherently across the curriculum. The study argues that it is critical to establish a universal standard in business ethics education in order to ensure future ethical business leaders and that the first step is to determine a universal definition of ethics.

Keywords

Citation

Erlic, S. (2017), "Would a Hippocratic Oath of Business Encourage Business Leaders to Make Ethical Decisions? A Study into What Business Students Learn in Business Ethics Class", Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 83-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-209620170000017010

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited