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Business ethics in the curriculum: assessing the evidence from U.K. subject review

Macfarlane, Bruce and Ottewill, Roger (2004) Business ethics in the curriculum: assessing the evidence from U.K. subject review Journal of Business Ethics, 54, (4), pp. 339-347. (doi:10.1007/s10551-004-1823-z).

Record type: Article


The growth of UK business ethics education has been charted at the course or ‘micro’ level by Mahoney (1990) and Cummins (1999) using postal questionnaires. These surveys, normally restricted to elite providers, have not revealed the relative importance of business ethics in the business school curriculum. In the 2000-2001 subject review of business and management programmes conducted by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for higher education (QAA), 164 business and management programmes were required to summarise their aims and objectives. Examination of this data using QSR-N6 software shows that only 14 made explicit reference to ethics. Church Colleges of Higher Education were disproportionately represented, indicating the importance of institutional context to curriculum development. An analysis of espoused aims in relation to business ethics suggests that cognition in business ethics is largely conceived as part of a broad contextual comprehension of the business environment rather than an understanding of theoretical constructs. The expression of aims in business ethics is more frequently characterised by affective or attitudinal verbs/nouns with a close link to the promotion of value positions, such as multiculturalism and environmentalism. It is concluded that business ethics occupies a more marginal position within the curriculum than previous studies have suggested.

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Published date: 2004
Keywords: aims and objectives, business curriculum, quality assurance agency


Local EPrints ID: 13995
ISSN: 0167-4544
PURE UUID: 84d65c88-58d7-4c24-b637-5815b962fa03

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Date deposited: 22 Feb 2005
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:59

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Author: Bruce Macfarlane
Author: Roger Ottewill

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