Hartman argues that ethics courses help students discover what character is. He believes that business students should learn Aristotle’s theory on ethics to better understand the ethics of the corporate world.
One has to be able to recognize dangerous situations and not be tempted to follow through on unethical behaviours within the workplace. Hartman strongly believes that students should learn about corporate ethics and be able to reject acting unethically. However, there are people who think that a course in business ethics is unhelpful. Opponents think this way because they believe that “character is formed in childhood, so how can a course improve a student’s character?” (p. 68). Hartman refutes by arguing that character can be built when students engage in critical thinking and practice by applying their values in real world situations. The course teaches students how to think “critically about their values and realize them in practice” (p.
69). This allows students to be able to view the actions of their peers through an ethical lens. He admits that although the course will not change a person’s character, it will help them to differentiate the positive and negative values and strength of character.Aristotle states that ethical people do the right thing because it is so.
However, that point of view is not always consistent. Aristotle also says that people are “social creatures” whose “character is malleable” (p. 72). Growing up in a community can shape our values and the way we perceive success based on the values and perceptions of that community. In addition, having a role model is important as it can “make a citizen want to be a certain kind of person” (p. 72). Both Hartman and Aristotle say that students do not know what they are interested in most of the time because they are “brought into the pecking order” during their time in school (p.
79). Instead of honing in on interests and passions, students are taught how to take standardized tests and how to fit into the larger class system. By addressing several case studies in his article, Hartman informs students on how to choose a career path that will support their values and lifestyles.
EvaluationHartman’s article takes a strong stance on why business ethics should be taught in a MBA program. He explains how a person of good character and virtue will lead an enjoyable life. I agree with Hartman because most people would want to lead a good life benefiting their family and friends. Hartman also addresses how businesses can sometimes be unethical. In order for a business to be successful, it must have a leader with strong ethics, who is able to put them into practice. I believe that a business ethics course would be most helpful in shaping successful leaders in these situations because students will learn how to think critically and ethically in response to a situation. An ethics course can challenge students to evaluate their own principles and apply them to their everyday lives.
Teaching students ethics can help to create a better future for all. The goal of the article is so that one can choose a career that is most suited for the individual and what they stand for, teaching us how to assess a situation ethically and making the right decision. By helping students examine their values, they can choose a company that best represents their values which then leads to a compatible career and fulfilling life.In the article, Hartman states that an individual’s character cannot be altered just from taking a business ethics class, but it can “help students who already want to be ethical business people get better at it” (p. 69). By teaching students how to deal with complex scenarios ethically, they can impact the business society in a positive way.
Hartman underlines the significance of individuals’ character and how that affects their basic leadership. However, character is not built overnight, but through time and practice. It requires investment and commitment over a lifetime. The article is relevant today as we are taking a law and ethics class in school. I believe that our society now values morality and sustainability more so than in the past. The article teaches students the importance of making ethically good decisions and how it can lead to a better job opportunity. As Hartman states, “a good business ethics course can give students practice in seeing and describing states and events in ethical terms” (p. 75).
For example, in the Enron case, the auditors were “misrepresenting the financial position of the firm” and this caused the company to fail (p. 74). The accounting firm working for Enron falsified records of profit for years, while in reality they had millions on losses and debt. Aristotle would say that the firm did not understand the important details of their actions and they believed that by “giving good client service justified misrepresenting their financial reports” (p. 74). The Enron scandal led to new regulations and law such as the Sarbane-Oxley Act, which intensified the consequences of fabricating and destroying financial statements.
ConclusionHartman’s stance on business ethic courses is well supported by the case studies he presents in the article. Having an ethics course in the MBA program can greatly benefit future business people. Business students will learn to understand ethic and build character in the process. They will have the experience and tools needed to navigate the complex world of business.