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Integrative Live Case: A Contemporary Business Ethics Pedagogy


Disparate attempts exist to identify the key components that make an ethics pedagogy more effective and efficient. To integrate these attempts, a review of 408 articles published in leading journals is conducted. The key foci of extant literature are categorized into three domains labeled as approach (A), content (C), and delivery (D), and a comprehensive framework (ACD) for ethics pedagogy developed. Within each of these domains, binaries that reflect two alternatives are identified. Approach, the philosophical standpoint, can be theory-laden or real-world connected. Content, the constituencies addressed, can have a focus on breadth or depth. Delivery, the execution of the adopted pedagogy, can be traditional or innovative. The review of articles also identifies the lack of pedagogies that comprehensively focus on all the binaries across domains. The other substantive contribution of this article addresses this gap by developing a generic pedagogy—Integrative Live Case—based on the ACD framework. Based on an incident that is currently unfolding, this pedagogy allows integration of binaries across the three domains. It also allows for a modular course plan that can accommodate varied pedagogical preferences. Volkswagen Dieselgate is presented as a stylized example to showcase the significant advantages of using this pedagogy.

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  1. We referred to the Australian Business Deans Council’s (ABDC) journal quality list to identify the leading journals of the field. Herein, Academy of Management Learning and Education is classified as "A*"; Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics Quarterly and Management Learning are classified as "A"; and Business Ethics: A European Review and Journal of Business Ethics Education are classified as "B".

  2. The categorization within the domains is as follows: theory-laden, real-world connectedness, and theory-laden and real-world connectedness together in approach domain; depth, breadth, and depth and breadth together in content domain; and traditional, innovative, and traditional and innovative together in delivery domain. Each paper was assigned an indicator value of 1 for one of the categories in each domain. The other two categories within that domain were assigned a value of 0.

  3. We found very few papers related to business ethics pedagogy in the reviewed journals during the initial decade of the review timeline. Hence, we do not exclusively discuss the trends during 1991–2000.

  4. Selection of a live case incident can be facilitated by online repositories such as the one maintained by Professor Denis Collins ( In this blog, the author tracks and dissects significant ethical incidents in businesses that appear in the media.

  5. VW share price fell from $167 on September 17, 2015 to $102 on October 02, 2015 (

  6. ILC was implemented in an MBA ethics class with over 300 participants, divided into four sections.

  7. During these sessions, we used the traditional lecture method, case studies, and role plays focusing on interest groups and stakeholders.


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Correspondence to Swapnil Garg.

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Appendix: VW Dieselgate: An Instantiation of ILC Pedagogy

Appendix: VW Dieselgate: An Instantiation of ILC Pedagogy

On September 18, 2015, a couple of months after Volkswagen (VW) had overtaken Toyota to become the biggest auto manufacturer in the world, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act, 1963, to Volkswagen, USA (Muller 2013; Trudell and Horie 2015; USEPA 2016). The German automaker was accused of installing “defeat devices” in over 11 million vehicles worldwide, and almost half a million that it had sold in the US (Gates et al. 2016; Russell 2015). This accusation had major ramifications for VW, which lost a third of its market value almost immediately. The global auto industry also suffered a major setback, and the German economy faltered (Shankar 2016). This incident is commonly referred to by the media as the VW Dieselgate.

The strength of the Integrative Live Case pedagogy is illustrated here in the context of the VW Dieselgate incident. This instructor supplement can be used by business ethics instructors as a guide to prepare their course plan. Further, the supplement can be used to draft a detailed session plan motivated by ILC, an innovative and contemporary pedagogy, contextualized around the VW Dieselgate (Table 4).

Table 4 ILC Pedagogy Applied to VW Dieselgate

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Venkat Raman, G., Garg, S. & Thapliyal, S. Integrative Live Case: A Contemporary Business Ethics Pedagogy. J Bus Ethics 155, 1009–1032 (2019).

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  • ACD framework
  • Binaries
  • Business ethics
  • Dieselgate
  • Domains
  • Live case
  • Pedagogy
  • Volkswagen