Management theory and corporate morality: Is there a relationship?

by Ryan, Patricia A., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 210 pages; 3390610


Historically, business school curriculum has been criticized for its emphasis on practice over research and research over practice. Ethics and the teaching of management theory have never weighed into the equation until recently. In the past few years, business schools and their curriculums have been the subject of a new criticism as a result of the proliferation of corporate scandals. A leading scholar from the London School of Business has accused business schools of creating the corporate scandals of late by teaching students management theories that promote self-interested, profit-driven motives coupled with the scientific method as a basis for inquiry at the expense of ethics. Research has shown differences between business students and nonbusiness students on ethical dimensions such as cheating and overall ethical standards. In addition, differences in cognitive moral development have been shown along several dimensions such as age and education. Because ethics and morality are often used interchangeably to describe the standards of conduct of a culture, this research investigated whether or not there are differences in moral development levels between business students and nonbusiness students using the Defining Issues Test (DIT2), a measure of cognitive moral development. The DIT2 was given to employees at a Fortune 500 company in the business and technology sector. Data was collected over a 3-week period of time and scored by the Center for the Study of Ethical Development. Results showed no significant differences between business students and nonbusiness students on any measure. However, two-way ANOVAs revealed significant effects for ethics coursework, gender, and management level. Results are discussed with recommendations for further research.

AdviserSuzanne Kavli
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEthics; Management
Publication Number3390610

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