Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 477–491 | Cite as

Teaching Ethics to Undergraduate Business Students in Australia: Comparison of Integrated and Stand-alone Approaches

  • Elizabeth Prior Jonson
  • Linda Mary McGuireEmail author
  • Deirdre O’Neill


There are questions about how ethics is best taught to undergraduate business students. There has been a proliferation in the number of stand-alone ethics courses for undergraduate students but research on the effectiveness of integrated versus stand-alone mode of delivery is inconclusive. Christensen et al. (J Bus Ethics 73(4):347–368, 2007), in a comprehensive review of ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability education, investigated how ethics education has changed over the last 20 years, including the issue of integration of these topics into the core course offerings. We use Brenner and Molander’s (Harv Bus Rev 55(1):57–71, 1977) situational ethics survey instrument to examine the effect of the mode of delivery of business ethics education on undergraduate student responses. We found a significant difference on mode of delivery. Studies have also found interesting results in respect of the effect of cultural differences and gender on the effectiveness of business ethics instruction. While not the primary focus of this study, we also looked at the influence of gender and culture on students’ responses. Our results indicate significant differences in respect of mode of delivery and culture. In contrast to other studies, we found that gender was not significant. We did test for any interactive effects of gender, culture and mode of delivery. However, no significant differences were found.


Teaching Ethics Undergraduates Mode of delivery Culture Gender Nationality 


Ethics Disclosure

This study was approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee reference Number: LR 2013000078 The impact of ethics and corporate social responsibility education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Prior Jonson
    • 1
  • Linda Mary McGuire
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deirdre O’Neill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ManagementMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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