Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 327-339

First online:

Living in the Gray: Lessons on Ethics from Prison

  • Jana L. CraftAffiliated withSchool of Business, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Often overlooked once they are remanded to custody, incarcerated former business executives can provide valuable insight into the inner workings of organizations while also contributing to the dialogue on of business ethics within the undergraduate business curricula. This paper summarizes experiences of white collar offenders obtained through a questionnaire-based research method to elicit lessons on ethics from prisoners and to provide a unique learning experience for undergraduate business students. Data was collected from 12 questionnaire responses (n = 12) which resulted in four major themes involving business ethics: core values, ethical responsibility, ethics training, and ethical culture. Narrative responses, integration of ethical decision-making research and student discoveries are included for each theme.


Ethics Ethical decision-making Ethics training Ethical business culture White collar crime