Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 527–541

You Reap What You Sow: How MBA Programs Undermine Ethics


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1733-z

Cite this article as:
Hühn, M.P. J Bus Ethics (2014) 121: 527. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1733-z


This paper argues that the MBA, probably the most successful academic program of the last 50 years, negatively affects the theory and practice of management with regard to ethics through its pedagogy, structure, and its underlying epistemic assumptions. In particular I seek to demonstrate how the syllabus, the pedagogy and the epistemological assumptions of MBA programs together make managers/leaders unable and unwilling to deal with ethics. I also argue that while the what (content) and the how (pedagogy) play a very important role, it was only the emergence of a radical philosophical underpinning (the why) that has put management education on a negative trajectory. The paper thus examines MBA education from a meta-level perspective, connecting the pedagogical model with epistemological beliefs.


Management theoryEthicsLeadershipCorporate governanceManagement education

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kühne Logistics University – Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung (The KLU)HamburgGermany