Category Archives: Research

Teaching Ethics in the Business Classroom: Is Anybody Listening?

Jane Sojka & Ashok Gupta

Although the inclusion of ethics in the business curriculum is becoming increasingly important, little is known about the impact classroom discussion of ethics has had on student sensitivity to ethical issues. Using both self-assessment and objective assessment measures, this research found that students who had been exposed to ethics in five or more classes considered themselves more knowledgeable about ethics and reported a higher confidence in their ability to make ethical decisions than students who had less exposure to ethics in business courses. In addition, students with increased exposure to ethics in the classroom were found to be more sensitive to business ethics and consumer ethics than students with less classroom exposure. Areas for future research on this topic are suggested.

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The Ethics of Authority

James Petrik

The forms of authority at work in human society are so varied and pervasive that it would be a rare human being who never found himself or herself in a position of authority or subject to another’s authority. The extent to which relations of authority permeate human life underscores the need for careful thought about the obligations such relations impose on us. “The Ethics of Authority” is being prepared with a view to serving this need. It is hoped that it will:

provide a resource that will enable those in or poised to assume positions of authority to critically reflect upon the nature, value, and legitimate use of authority;

enable those subject to some authority to critically reflect upon those occasions on which it is permissible to defy that authority.

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Social and Cultural Gender Roles and the Impact of Doctor-Assisted Suicide

Celeste Friend

No abstract available

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Self-Determination in Recent International Legal Scholarship

Omar Dahbour

There has been considerable discussion of what principle of political self-determination, if any, is consistent with existing doctrines in international law. Much of the discussion can be classified as: (a) self-determination claims made by groups seceding or attempting to secede from multinational states (e.g. the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Canada); and (b) claims by indigenous peoples in countries with large surviving populations of such peoples (e.g. Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, China, and the United States). The overall trend of the discussion seems to be a rejection of any general “nationalist” principle of self-determination in favor of a principle of secession under prescribed conditions and/or a principle of autonomy for indigenous peoples in the allocation and control of land and natural resources.

Research supported by this grant has contributed to a book-length manuscript, Illusion of the Peoples: a Critique of National Self-Determination, and an article, “Self-Determination Without Nationalism.”

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Ethnic Constitution in the Guatemalan Educational System

Bienvenido Argueta

Full title: Ethnic Constitution in the Guatemalan Educational System: Toward a Phenomenological Analysis of the Birth of Racism in Pedagogical Discourses (1890-1930)

This study of the role of the Guatemalan educational system in a sociopolitical project of racial and ethnic differentiation, control, exclusion, and domination exposes the way educational awareness developed a racist discourse, as well as uncovering the methods employed to control, homogenize, and dominate the indigenous peoples. The study examines the ethical and moral grounds of racist pedagogical discourse and hence, not only the relationship between education and race, but also the links between power, science, and political enlightenment.

A central issue in this research is the description of the process of becoming aware of another culture through the prism of the Other’s body. This process is exemplified by the portrayal of the indigenous body, as revealed in the codification of discourse dealing with specific body parts, postures, gestures, attitudes, tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, and functions.

The study demonstrates the extent to which pedagogy and educational practices were seen in Guatemala as a technical power capable of making education institutions a mechanism for the normalization of the populace. Both theoretically and in practice, education constituted for the Guatemalan oligarchy a therapeutic field liberating the indigenous peoples from their presumed ethical and moral inadequacies.

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Character Education in Children's Literature: Examining 76 Years

Dorothy Leal

The use of children’s literature in the classroom has become so widespread that award-winning literature such as the Newbery books (winners of the annual Newbery Award for best book of the year for children under age 14) can be found in almost every American classroom. Despite the prominence and influence of these works, little attention has been paid to the messages of character implicit in them. At a time when schools are becoming more involved in moral development through character education, it is important to study the character traits demonstrated in these highly influential books. This study is intended to provide new understanding about the intersecting areas of children’s literature and moral education.

Preliminary findings for eight character variables show a significant shift in “respect” between the 1950s and the 1970s and for “responsibility” between the 1970s and the 1980s. In an unanticipated side effect, students expressed increased critical thinking and expressions of responsibility, respect, and other character traits toward classmates as they studied the Newbery literature for these traits using the instrument designed for this study.

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Business Ethics Module

by Chris Moberg

This business module is not course specific and will require approximately 2-3 hours of class time. I plan to implement this module in 2 or 3 class sessions throughout the quarter.


  1. Knowledge of Basic Ethical Theories
    • Consequential Ethics (Theory, Problems, Counter examples, Modifications)
    • Deontological Ethics (Theory, Problems, Counter examples, Modifications)
    • Modern Ethical Debate (Primarily Georgetown and Feminist)

    At first, I will deliver this information using traditional lecture but would like to eventually develop a web quest for the students to complete before class.

  2. Raise Awareness, Promote Reflection and Critical ThinkingThis learning outcome will be accomplished with a variety of exercises, tools, and assignments including:
    • Small Group Exercises (e.g. Heart Transplant, Life Boat)
    • Individual Exercises/Role Plays (e.g. What you do in this scenario?)
    • Questionnaires (e.g. On-line ethical surveys; student cheating research)
    • Current Event Discussions
    • Guest Speakers
    • Reflection Papers
    • Ethical Mission Statements
  3. Ethics DeliverablesAlthough I plan to use a variety of exercises each quarter, there will be two deliverables required each quarter.A. Ethical Reflection Paper – a 2-3 page paper where students are required to describe an ethical dilemma they have faced, what they did, if anything, to deal with the problem, and what they learned from the experience. In the past, this paper has been either an extra credit opportunity or an assignment worth 5% of the course grade.B. Ethical Mission Statement – ideally, this would be a 2-3 page document that includes a brief, specific ethical mission statement that students create for themselves to guide their conduct in their business careers. I would also ask them to explain what tools, resources, and processes they plan to use to evaluate tough decisions they face in the future.

Class Session #1
1. Small Group Exercise (e.g. Life Boat, Heart Transplant, What would you do scenarios)
Time: 30-45 minutes (30- exercise/ 15 class discussion)

2. Basic Ethics Lecture
Main goal would be to cover the two extremes (Kant and Consequential), covering the tenets of each theory, the limitations, and modifications. Throughout this lecture/discussion, I would ask the students which theories they used in small group exercise.
Time: 30-45 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes

Other Class Sessions
Throughout the rest of the quarter, I would like to have 2-3 more 15-30 minute in-class exercises related to ethics using many of the tools previously discussed. For example, whenever I have a guest speaker in class, I always ask them to discuss ethics. I also share current event articles on ethics throughout the quarter.

The use of guest speakers and current events varies from quarter to quarter so I want to formally plan on at least 2 other short exercise in class such as reviewing my student cheating research or more small group scenarios.

End-of-Quarter Deliverables
1. Ethical Reflection Paper
2. Ethical Mission Statement

The reflection paper is pretty self-explanatory but I will need to provide some guidance to the students about the components of the ethical mission statement.

Alice and Linda are two of your best friends. One night you see Alice kissing Bob, who has been Linda’s boyfriend for a year. They see you and tell you that this is the first time they have kissed and they realize it is a mistake. They ask you not to tell Linda. What do you do?

You have just started working for Banana Republic in the mall near your house during winter break. You are really excited about the job because you are thinking about a retailing career after graduation, but also because of the extra spending money you will earn and the 50% off employee discount you receive for all store merchandise you purchase. Shortly after you start working, several of your friends, and even your sister, ask you to buy merchandise for them using their discount. It is pretty easy to buy the clothes they want during slow times using your discount so the likelihood of getting caught is pretty small. What do you do?

You are working for an extremely popular bar during summer vacation. Shortly after you start working, one of the experienced bartenders tells you that the other bartenders will occasionally collect money for a drink but not ring it into the register, and that they place that money into the tip jar for everyone to share later. He claims that doing this several times a night will net each of the bartenders $50 more dollars in tips. What do you do?

You are working during the summer a large mass merchandise store. Shortly after you begin working there, one of your co-workers shows you how he, and many of the other employees, are stealing merchandise by taking it to a friend that works at the returns counter. By taking the merchandise to the returns counter, you can walk out of the store with the stuff without being checked by security guards. You decide not steal anything but wonder whether you should tell a manager about all the employees that are stealing. What do you do?

You are working one summer at a restaurant as a waiter/waitress. At the end of the night, the company policy is for you to give 15% of your tips to the busboys and dishwashers for helping you serve your customers. Shortly after you start working there, one of your fellow co-workers tells you that many of the other waiters/waitresses lie about how much they make in tips each night so that they can give less money to the busboys and dishwashers. Because the restaurant has no computerized system for tracking your tips, you could easily underreport the amount of your tips each night so that you can keep more money. What do you do?

You have two choices for summer jobs – one job pays $10 an hour but reports your earnings to the IRS and takes taxes out of your check. The other pays $20 an hour but the money is given to you “under the table” so that no taxes would be taken out. Which job do you take?