Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 213-229

First online:

Case Studies of Ethics Scandals: Effects on Ethical Perceptions of Finance Students

  • Julie A. B. CagleAffiliated withDepartment of Finance, Xavier University Email author 
  • , Melissa S. BaucusAffiliated withDepartment of Management and Entrepreneurship, Xavier University

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Ethics instructors often use cases to help students understand ethics within a corporate context, but we need to know more about the impact a case-based pedagogy has on students’ ability to make ethical decisions. We used a pre- and post-test methodology to assess the effect of using cases to teach ethics in a finance course. We also wanted to determine whether recent corporate ethics scandals might have impacted students’ perceptions of the importance and prevalence of ethics in business, so we used in-depth case studies of several of the major scandals (e.g., Enron, Tyco, Adelphia). Our results are somewhat surprising since studying ethics scandals positively impacts students’ ethical decision making and their perceptions of the ethics of businesspeople.


Case pedagogy case studies corporate misconduct ethics ethics across the curriculum ethics scandals ethics training teaching ethics