Using Live Cases to Teach Ethics

Abstract

This paper describes a live ethics case project that can be used to teach ethics in a broad variety of business classes. The live case differs from regular cases in that it involves a current situation. Students select an on-going or current event that involves ethical violations and write a case about it. They then present their case and run a debate about the challenges and issues outlined in the case and the actions that could have or should have been taken. The dynamic project fulfills the key criteria for effective ethics education since it increases awareness of the complexity of ethical challenges, allows application of concepts, creates a personal emotional engagement in the case, is relevant, holds students accountable for their position, and creates a setting that encourages students to think critically about ethics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Ali R. Malekzadeh for comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Thanks also go to Villanova University’s Center for Responsible Leadership and Governance for supporting this project.

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Correspondence to Victoria McWilliams.

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Dr. Victoria McWilliams is Professor of Finance in the College of Commerce and Finance at Villanova University. Her areas of interest include pedagogical issues, as well as corporate governance and control. She has distinguished herself for her ability to provide high quality, innovative business education, and for her outstanding leadership achievements at various academic institutions.

Dr. Afsaneh Nahavandi is a management faculty at the School of Global management and Leadership at Arizona State University’s West campus. Her areas of interest include leadership, teams, and culture. She has been director of the MBA program at the West campus of ASU, director of the University College, and associate dean of the ASU University College since July 2006.

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McWilliams, V., Nahavandi, A. Using Live Cases to Teach Ethics. J Bus Ethics 67, 421–433 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9035-3

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Keywords

  • application of ethics
  • critical thinking
  • emotional engagement in ethics
  • increased awareness of ethics
  • live cases
  • student accountability
  • teaching ethics
  • teaching ethics in finance