Business Ethics Education Initiative

We are serious about business ethics education in the College of Business Administration, and this initiative reflects our focus on educating business students in ethics knowledge. Our effort is several decades old and has been recognized by the agency that accredits business schools internationally, AACSB. 

Aspen Institute Seal 2012The Aspen Institute has also ranked the K-State MBA program among the world's best for teaching and researching ethical, social and environmental responsibility in their 2010 and 2012 "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" list.  

The mission of the Business Ethics Education Initiative is to help strengthen business ethics education internationally, nationally, and locally. The goals include enhancing public awareness of the importance of business ethics coursework and identifying effective models of ethics education for relevant stakeholders.

We are achieving these goals through external and internal (campus) outreach activities, including affiliations with profit and not-for-profit organizations.

The initiative is headed by Diane Swanson, professor of management and The Edgerley Family Chair in Business Administration. Swanson is a well-known, and sought-after ethics expert.

Outreach

Internal Outreach

The initiative serves as an institutional umbrella for internal outreach activities aimed at disseminating information about business ethics education to constituents at Kansas State University.

In consultation with members of a local advisory committee and speakers bureau, the initiative sponsors a campus-wide seminar in professional ethics, guest lectures in business, government, and society classes, and ethics resources.

External Outreach

The initiative also serves as an institutional umbrella for external outreach activities aimed at improving national standards in business ethics education. In collaboration with members of our national advisory committee, the initiative sponsors a special research team, whose members are collecting data for benchmarking best practices in ethics education in business programs across the country.

Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee Chairs

Dr. William C. Frederick, University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
Professor Emeritus of Business Administration

C. Clyde Jones, Manhattan, KS, former Dean of the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University
Statement on the History and Philosophy of Business Ethics Coursework at Kansas State University

Advisory Committee Members

  • Cora Cooper, Kansas State University; Professor of Music
  • Dann Fisher, Kansas State University; Professor of Accounting, Deloitte & Touche Faculty Fellow
  • Robert A. Giacalone, University of Denver; Professor of Management; Daniels Chair in Business Ethics
  • Sara Kearns, Kansas State University; Head, Undergraduate/Community Services
  • Barrie E. Litzky, Penn State Great Valley; Associate Professor of Management and Operation
  • Tammy MacLean, Suffolk University; Associate Professor of Management
  • Mildred Myers, Carnegie Mellon University; Principal Lecturer and Media Expert
  • Marc Orlitzky, University of South Australia Business School, Australia; Associate Professor of Management
  • Sue Ravenscroft, Iowa State University; Professor of Accounting
  • Praveen Vadlani, Kansas State University, Gary and Betty Lortscher Associate Professor in Renewable Energy 
  • Sandra Waddock, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship;Professor of Management and Senior Research Fellow; Editor: Journal for Corporate Citizenship
  • Jim Weber, Duquense University, Professor of Management, Director of the Beard Center for Ethics at the Palumbo School of Business
  • Duane Windsor, Rice University, Lynette Autrey Chair of Ethics, Professor of Business, Editor, Business & Society
  • William Zawrotny, Partner, Jones Day, Atlanta
  • William Zorrilla, Program Manager, Earth's Harvest 

Ethics Education

Curriculum

While all of our coursework has a solid ethics base, the College of Business Administration in conjunction with the Business Ethics Education Initiative offers several courses focused more specifically on business ethics.

Business Ethics and Corporate Citizenship (MANGT 596)
K-State's tradition of requiring ethics courses of its business students began in 1967 when this course was embedded in the undergraduate curriculum. This course focuses on the interactions of business in social, political, economic, and technological domains that shape managers' legal and ethical responsibilities to corporate stakeholders.

Managing the Triple Bottom Line Business (MANGT 860)
This MBA requirement builds on the undergraduate course. In this course, students integrate concepts from core areas of management to formulate ethical and strategic responses to issues posed by environmental factors.

Professional Ethics (MANGT 897)
In addition to required courses in legal and social issues, Professional Ethics is offered as an elective to students in the MBA and Masters in Accountancy programs. Through directed research and case studies, students in this course apply ethics to various professions.

Other Business Courses
Ethics material is also integrated into other business courses, including Management Information Systems, Accounting, Strategy, Organizational Behavior, Leadership, and Small Business Consulting.

Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities, such as the Business Ethics Speaker Series, enhance ethics in our curriculum. Students are also providing leadership as members of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), one of the K-State student organizations in the CBA. These students have worked with two KSU professors to develop a set of radio clips on business ethics. This organization also delivers ethics material in workshops given during the K-State SIFE High School Symposiums.

Continuing Education

Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Corporate Social Responsibility - Dr. Swanson also teaches in Benedictine University Center for Values-driven Leadership's Executive PhD/DBA program. 

Credit Managers - Swanson teaches a course called Ethics in Business and Society in the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management sponsored by the National Association of Credit Management and held on the campus of Dartmouth College in June.

Accounting Ethics - Dann Fisher, PhD, CPA, and Swanson have designed an accounting ethics seminar that meets Kansas requirements for CPA license renewal. For more information, please contact either Swanson or Fisher.

Research & Publications

In alliance with the Business Ethics Education Initiative at K-State, Tammy L. MacLean , Suffolk University, and Barrie Litzky, Penn State Great Valley, are researching MBA programs in the United States to examine the extent to which all business school students are acquiring a foundation in business ethics as part of their educational experience. They have compiled curriculum requirements related to ethics in top MBA programs in the U.S. as ranked by BusinessWeek in 2004 and 2008, using each university's own website and on-line catalog as a data source.

  • Statement on the Need to Reform Business Education
  • A Survey of CSR Education: Trends, Comparisons, Processes
  • 2003 Data Compilation and Findings, Executive Summary
  • 2008 Data Compilation and Findings, Executive Summary

Books

  • Advancing Business Ethics Education (Information Age Publishing, 2008)

Edited by Diane Swanson and Dann Fisher, this book includes chapters written by prominent professors and administrators on topics featuring ethics education in terms of business school curriculum, various sub disciplines, service learning, integrity, global citizenship, moral management, decision making models, and interactive learning techniques.The book is part of a series, Ethics in Practice, edited by Robert A. Giacalone, Temple University, and Carole L. Jurkiewicz, Louisiana State University.

  • Assessing Business Ethics Education (Information Age Publishing, 2011)

Edited by Swanson and Fisher, this book takes a wholistic look at the issue of assessing business ethics education in three ways.First, it provides a venue for scholars to share the innovative and creative ways that they are assessing business ethics education at both the course and program levels, including comparisons of curricula and criteria for program rankings. Second, it provides and outlet for leaders in the field to define learning objectives for ethics education and offer suggestions for what needs to be assessed and the means for doing so. Third, this book may be used not only as a guide to meet assessment needs in business schools, but also as a touchstone for examining the need for expanded and improved coverage of business ethics in the business classroom.

It is Swanson and Fisher's second one in the series, Ethics in Practice, edited by Robert A. Giacalone, Temple University, and Carole L. Jurkiewicz, Louisiana State University.

Articles on the Need for Business Ethics Education

  • "Socially Responsible Business Schools: Collective Stakeholder Voices Demand Urgent Actions" by Martell, J., Reproduced from Journal of World Universities Forum, Vol. 1, No. 6, 2008, 115-126, by permission of the author and Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd. 
  • "Moral Education and Teaching Business Ethics in The Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society"by Swanson, D. L.,Kolb, R (Ed.). Sage Publications, 2008
  • Sidebar Feature on "Business Ethics Programs: Historical Perspective" by Swanson, D. L. Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics Report, July 2007
  • "Digging Deeper: The Laddering Interview for Surfacing Values" by Trocchia, P., Swanson, D. L., & Orlitzky, M. Journal of Management Education, 2007
  • "Accounting Education Lags CPE Ethics Requirements: Implications for the Profession and a Call to Action" by Fisher, D., Swanson, D. & Schmidt, J. Accounting Education: An International Journal's themed issue on CPD/E,2007
  • "A Call to Strengthen Proposed NASBA Ethics Requirements: A Three Step Formula, Compliance and Ethics" by Fisher, D. & Swanson, D. L.(included in the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Board Meeting Report in January 2006, www.nasba.org), 2005
  • "Panel Discussion: The Role of Ethics in Business Curricula" by Swanson, D. L. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 2005
  • "Business Ethics Education at Bay: Addressing a Crisis of Legitimacy. Issues in Accounting Education" by Swanson, D. L. (also summarized in the 2005 National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Board Report), 2005
  • "Denial and Leadership in Business Ethics Education" by Swanson, D.L. & Frederick, W.C. Ferrell, O.C. & Peterson, B. (Eds) Business Ethics: The New Challenge for Business Schools and Corporate Leaders,M.E. Sharpe, 2005
  • "A Call to Strengthen Proposed NASBA Ethics Requirements: A Three Step Formula"by Fisher, D. & Swanson, D. L.  The Accounting Educator,2005
  • "The Buck Stops Here: Why Universities Must Reclaim Business Ethics Education" by Swanson, D. L. D. Reed & R. Wellen (Eds.) Special Issue on Universities and Corporate Responsibilities. Journal of Academic Ethics, Fall 2004
  • "An Open Letter to the Deans and Faculties of American Business Schools: A Call for Action" by Mitroff, I. & Swanson, D. Academy of Management News, 2004
  • "The Business of Ethics" by Swanson, D. K-Stater, 2004
  • "Business Education Puts Corporate Reputations at Risk" by Swanson, D. L. The Corporate Citizen, November 2003.
  • "CAMPAIGN AACSB: Are Business Schools Complicit in Corporate Corruption?" by Swanson, D. L. & Frederick, W. C. Journal of Individual Employment Rights, Fall 2003
  • "Are Business Schools Silent Partners in Corporate Crime?" by Swanson, D. L. & Frederick, W. C. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Spring 2003

Research Team

Business Ethics Education Audit

  • Co-investigator: Dr. Tammy MacLean, Suffolk University, tmaclean@suffolk.edu
  • Co-investigator: Dr. Barrie Litzky, Penn State Great Valley, barrielitzky@psu.edu
  • Consulting investigator: Dr. Sandra Waddock, Boston College, Center for Corporate Citizenship

Resources

Diane Swanson
Diane Swanson, Chair
Business Ethics Education Initiative

In the News 

Interviews and Press Releases

Campaign AACSB

  • Are Business Schools Complicit in Corporate Corruption?

Speaking Engagements

  • The Role of Business Schools in Leading Corporate Ethics
  • Oregon State University Dean's Distinguished Speaker: College of Business
  • Colorado State University Honorarium Speaker: Japha Symposium on Ethics of Executive Compensation
  • AACSB International Teaching Business Ethics Conferences I & II (2004,2005)
  • Bill Daniels business Ethics Workshop