Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 187-196

First online:

Marketization of Education: An Ethical Dilemma

  • Samuel M. NataleAffiliated withKellogg College, University of Oxford Email author 
  • , Caroline DoranAffiliated withSt. Mary’s College of California

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The Marketing of Education has become epidemic. Business practices and principles now commonly suffuse the approach and administration of Higher Education in an attempt to make schools both more competitive and “branded.” This seems to be progressing without reference to the significant ethical challenges as well as the growing costs to society, students, and educators in pursuing a model with such inherent conflicts. The increased focus on narrowly defined degrees targeted to specific job requirements rather than the focus on raising the level of students’ ability to engage in more abstract and critical thinking is accelerating. The impact on student world views and the lack of engagement with meaningful and challenging discourse has severely impaired their ability to become both engaged and reflective. This model has also impacted faculty morale as concern with lack of academic rigor continues to grow. An ethical crisis has emerged within education internationally and intervention is urgently needed.


Education Marketization of education Ethics in education College rankings Enrollment management Faculty morale Merit-based aid