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X-Men Ethics: Using Comic Books to Teach Business Ethics

Abstract

A modern form of narrative, comic books are used to communicate, discuss, and critique issues in business ethics and social issues in management. A description of comic books as a legitimate medium is followed by a discussion of the pedagogical uses of comic books and assessment techniques. The strengths of the pedagogy include crossing cultural barriers, understanding the complexity of individual decision-making and organizational influences, and the universality of dilemmas and values. We provide an initial source for educators on the topics, comic books, plotlines, and other commentary for consideration of use in the classroom from high school to graduate business ethics and social issues in management courses.

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Correspondence to Virginia W. Gerde.

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R. Spencer Foster is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology at the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, primarily interested in the commercialization of science. He has a BS and MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. He received a K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship and has taught Sociology of Sports at the University of Pittsburgh. His current areas of interest in business ethics are social networks and leadership, professional norms, and occupational segregation.

Virginia W. Gerde is an assistant professor at the A. J. Palumbo School of Business Administration and the John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business at Duquesne University. Her PhD is from Virginia Tech. Her research areas include social performance, environmental issues, and governance. When she served in Iraq as a U.S. Army officer, comic books helped her to break the ice and build relationships.

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Gerde, V.W., Foster, R.S. X-Men Ethics: Using Comic Books to Teach Business Ethics. J Bus Ethics 77, 245–258 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9347-3

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Keywords

  • comic books
  • graphic novels
  • multicultural
  • narrative
  • pedagogy
  • teaching