Teaching Business Ethics: The Effectiveness of Common Pedagogical Practices in Developing Students' ‘Moral Judgment Competence'

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Published in: Ethics and Education, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2010


This study investigates the effectiveness of pedagogical practices used to teach business ethics. The business community has greatly increased its demands for better ethics education in business programs. Educators have generally agreed that the ethical principles of business people have declined. It is important, then, to examine how common methods of instruction used in business ethics could contribute to the development of higher levels of moral judgment competence for students. To determine the effectiveness of these methods, moral judgment competence levels for undergraduate and graduate students from three institutions were measured and compared based upon the pedagogical method used in a business class. Significant differences were found for moral reasoning and moral competence scores depending on the method used for ethics instruction. Students in classes with more highly integrated ethics coverage scored higher in moral reasoning and moral competence.