Business education: Does a focus on prosocial values increase students’ pro-social behavior?
- 25 Downloads
Prior research has shown a pronounced self-orientation in students of business and economics. This article examines if self-orientation can be alleviated by a focus on prosocial values in business education. In a cross-sectional design, we test the prosocial behavior and values of bachelor students at the beginning and the end of a traditional 3-year business administration program. We compare their behavior with the behavior of two different groups: students from an ethically-oriented international management school and students from a social work program of equal length. The results showed that students of business administration show less prosocial behavior in a dictator game than students in the other two groups. This difference is larger between final-year students than between first-year students. According to the results of the Schwartz Value Survey, the Inglehart Index, and a scale for preferences for distributive justice, students in the three disciplines differ substantially in prosocial values, but there is no significant difference between first and last semester students of the same discipline. We conclude that there is no transmission of self-oriented behavior through self-oriented values emended in traditional business education curricula. Instead, students seem to select academic programs according to their personal and preexisting social orientations.
KeywordsProsocial behavior Prosocial values Materialistic orientation Attitudes towards justice Self-selection Socialization Business education
- Phillips SM (2004) Ethics education in business schools: report of the Ethics Education Task Force to AACSB International’s Board of Directors, Tampa, FLGoogle Scholar
- Schmitt M, Maes J, Schmal A (1995) Gerechtigkeit als innerdeutsches Problem: Einstellungen zu Verteilungsprinzipien, Ungerechtigkeitssensibilität und Glaube an eine gerechte Welt als Kovariate. University of Trier, TrierGoogle Scholar
- Schmitt M, Maes J, Schmal A (1997) Gerechtigkeit als innerdeutsches Problem: Analyse der Meßeigenschaften von Meßinstrumenten für Einstellungen zu Verteilungsprinzipien, Ungerechtigkeitssensibilität und Glaube an eine gerechte Welt. University of Trier, TrierGoogle Scholar
- Schwartz SH (1992) Universals in the content and structure of values: theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Adv Exp Soc Psychol 25:1–65Google Scholar