Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 327–339 | Cite as

Living in the Gray: Lessons on Ethics from Prison

  • Jana L. Craft


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 



The author would like to thank, Peggy Johnson, Theresa Schulz, and Alexandre Ardichvili for their assistance in reviewing this manuscript. She would also like to thank Lisa Aguado, John Nye, and Leah Hoglin for their assistance in compiling data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessSaint Mary’s University of MinnesotaWinonaUSA

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