Educational institutions have a key role in preparing youngsters for a promising future. These institutions are training students to seamlessly move into management roles and helping them build skills to effectively lead corporate organisations someday. Integrity, critical thinking ability and leadership traits are some of the attributes that all Corporates seek in their leaders. Along with imparting quality education it is imperative that management education lays an emphasis in installing high standards of ethical norms and practice in these young minds.
The prevailing economic and social climate could give rise to unethical practices and behaviour. Unethical practices are largely the outcome of false justifications and a zest to win in the rat race by any means whatsoever. Revelations about automobile companies being dishonest with regards to emissions level testing, companies influencing credit ratings and audit reports reinforces the importance of imparting value education in MBA programs. Educational institutions world-wide are weaving in the importance of ethics in management into their programs.
What is ethics in management?
Ethics and value education is applicable in all walks of life. It is the basis of any personal or professional relationship. The term Ethics has its origination in the Greek word, Ethos, which means a set of ideas, beliefs about the social behaviour and relationship of a person or group. In today’s fast changing business environment, it is imperative that students understand the importance of conducting business keeping in mind ethical, environmental and community objectives along with maximising profits. They need to have it ingrained in them that it does not make sense for them to compromise their ethical standards and values for the sake of the company’s top line and bottom-line.
What does ethical education do to a student?
Ethical education gives an insight to students about what is right / wrong and helps them make the right decision when faced with ethical issues in their Corporate lives. Ethics and value education helps build ethical values, self-reflection ability, equips students with a sense of responsibility, critical thinking and evaluating abilities.
Ethical norms and value systems are an integral component of each and every course, be it corporate accounting, marketing management, human resource management etc. All management courses need to throw light on ethical predicaments that can arise in a real life situation related to their area. Guest speakers from the industry sharing the smallest live experience to a big challenging situation can help inculcate the right perspective and create an everlasting impression in the minds of the students.
Importance of role plays
Role plays on ethical situations can give rise to healthy classroom discussions helping students expand their viewpoints and understand varying decisions based on cultural differences and the upbringing of individuals. This will also enable students build on their critical thinking abilities and ethical decision making skills. Assigning live case studies discussing ethical dilemmas that Corporates face in the real world will help further build analytical skills of students improving their employability prospects too. Thus ethical decision making woven into subjects across the two year program and being integrated into the pedagogy is an effective approach.
The key importance of Ethics in Management Education
Imparting education and encouraging these students to undertake research in the field of responsible business will help cement value system and ethical norms in these students. On the flip side, personal goals of any employee should merge with the organisational goals and value system. Embedding an ethical approach to solving of situations will also avoid any unnecessary guilt pangs in them leading to a more balanced approach to decision making. Reflecting without guilt on the decisions taken and self-assessment will help individuals successfully develop in both their personal and professional lives. Such students would be able to arrive at ethical decisions giving them a comparative advantage and preparing them to be successful future business leaders. Ethical decision making in students has a direct relationship with their prospects of employability. Any Corporate would be keen to employ a management graduate for whom ethical decision making is a way of life and comes to him effortlessly.
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Prof. Pooja Misra
Chairperson, PGDM (Retail), BIMTECH