Business is governed by implicit ethics, which is partly taught as class curriculum in most of the B-schools.Yet the fundamental role of business schools is increasingly being questioned as many of the COEs associated with scandals and scams are alumni of Institutes of repute. Transformative adaptations in business schools can teach prospective leaders to aid long-term prosperity. Professional Institutes have the moral duty to prepare their students to appreciate that businesses are meant to be done ethically. Every good Institute is concerned and is grappling with these apprehensions in their own way. This paper is an attempt to highlight and present an overview of the role of business schools for giving ethical business leaders to the world.
The corporate world is not a habitat meant for all. Business means not only to succeed but to sustain. Perhaps that makes the business world callous. Competition makes, each person involved not to stop at anything. The pressure to achieve makes one to digress from established professional standards and make choice for unethical practices while extenuating such actions. Business is directed by a set of tacit ethics, many of which are taught as a part of the class curriculum in most of the Business Schools. Yet the fundamental role and mission of business schools is increasingly being questioned as many of the COEs associated with scandals are alumni of these schools making some intellectuals to raise a critical eye on business schools as the schools have the onus of preparing students to take ethical decisions.
Moral Maturity and Ethical Reasoning
Are business schools doing enough to instill the right values in their students is often asked? Can a degree in Business Administration facilitate a student to make a moral decision when there is a threat to company's market value? Can a Chief Executive courageously take products off the shelves because of safety scares? Can he apply value judgments when issues are not black and white? B-Schools are required to go an extra mile to aid students make ethical selections. Management scholars need to question the catastrophe of the efficiency and profitability model of the economy by which future management professionals are socialized. With such education do future managers and leaders contribute to sustainable communities? Generating wealth and technical advances threaten well-being at individual, community levels and natural system.
Where can ethics play a role in all this? Trevino and Nelson (2011) defined ethics," the principles, norms, and standards of conduct governing an individual or group." Society expects that both employers and employees should follow ethical conduct in their pursuit of profit. It is also true that being ethical does not necessarily mean following the law (Velasquez et al., 2010). Management ethics has to have impact and relevance in business for the practice of an ethically oriented economy, human prosperity and the society as a whole. Business schools need to serve as guardians of society (Muff, 2012), capable of developing social responsibility. They need to re-envision themselves as semi-autonomous zones, valuing broader humanistic and realistic perspectives on economic, societal, and personal transformation, while transcending the economic rationality of business.
Transformative adaptations in business schools can teach prospective leaders to aid humanity's long-term prosperity. Business schools are the places in which an educational foundation for reorienting the economy for the benefit of society can and ought to happen. Management schools are required to heighten the consciousness of students about what it means to do business ethically. Such tactic indicates that ethics should have a high primacy in business practices. Business schools in their present arrangement are adopting economic rationality as a core, single value. Awareness of what is required is deeply buried by this one-dimensional perspective. It calls for replacing the old one with new values.
Akrivou and Todorow (2014) contended that cohesive habitus confronts and transforms the status quo because it originates from a kind of integrity in the self that is choosing to engage in ethical habits of acting virtuously and with both one's own good and the good of others in mind. This can mend the thinking of the intellects into an essential benevolent purpose to serve goodness, prosperity, and happiness. Such a totally transforming (and transformed) education results in graduates with commitment who have the capacity to lead business forward toward a socially-oriented ethical economy, whereby flourishing otherwise. Innovations, risk-taking and excellence are the outcomes of teamwork and not that of a single individual. Potential graduates would require business schools to be transformative social contexts, which would enable genuine self-integration and the development of professional ethos. Self-integration means a mind-set with a capacity for cognitive and moral maturity. It enables students for actions that originate from the integrity of a mature cognition.
Business schools need to sensitize graduates to the concept of right and wrong, which will guide them while taking decisions not only at job but also in life as work is extension of life. This sensitization will be there if graduates have moral maturity. Sound ethical reasoning will enable them to tackle any moral problem--whether personal, group, organizational, or systemic and decide confidently and defend persuasively. Policy makers of the country must initiate the necessary steps for better acceptability, viability and sustainability of the programs in order to strengthen the recognition of studies, degrees and diplomas. This may help to empower the learners and nurture human abilities in their pursuit of achieving over all excellence.