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Developing reflection on values as a foundation for a business career

Duncan, N. J. & Jones, A. (2011). Developing reflection on values as a foundation for a business career. In: Wankel, C. & Stachowicz-Stanusch, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Ethics in Business and Management Education. (pp. 80-99). Information Science Reference.


Students can learn to analyse questions of ethics from the philosophical perspectives of duties, consequences and virtues. This includes the development of empathy and moral courage. Our brains respond to the experiences of others using 'empathy neurons'; we are 'hard-wired' for empathy. Developing moral courage can be linked to the development of empathy, drawing on 'ethics of care' theories. Graduates who express empathy for their colleagues and care for themselves are better equipped to act ethically. We show how learning experiences can enable students to develop problem-solving responses as an alternative to 'fight or flight' reactions to ethical problems. We can help students to develop expertise in ethics by providing them with more opportunities to engage rationally and empathically with ethical problems, through active learning experiences followed by critical reflective processes. Discussing moral exemplars in active learning helps to avoid a cynical view that unethical behaviour is normal. Critical reflection encourages students to make more use of their rational and empathic capacities. The theory of cognitive dissonance helps students to become aware of how we tend to seek information that confirms our decisions while avoiding information that would alert us to ethical hazards.

Publication Type: Book Section
Publisher Keywords: Ethics; Neuroscience; Moral courage; Empathy; Experiential learning; Critical reflection; Cognitive dissonance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
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