Do Courses in Business Ethics Pay Off?

by Theodore Purcell



There is growing interest among schools of business administration in courses on business and society. One recent study found that about 56 percent of graduate schools of business administration offer courses in the general area of the socioethical issues of business, such as Business and Society, The Social and Political Environment of Business, Business Ethics, Business and its Environment, and so forth. While good ethics may not be good business in the short run, most people tend to say that sound ethics is good business in the long run. They take a broader view today. Ethical thinking and ethical problems expanded through the 1960s from questions of pricing or honesty to include the larger social questions of race relations, pollution, product quality, product safety, and occupational health. Whenever the discussion of ethics or corporate social responsibility turns to the profit motive, confusion seems to arise. The orthodox businessman feels he must support the profit motive and sometimes to make his point he will overreact by making it seem to be the exclusive motive.

California Management Review

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