Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Thomas L. Fish

Second Advisor

Deborah DeMeester

Third Advisor

Kenneth Goodpaster


While many business schools have taken steps to increase a greater sense of ethical values and social responsibility in response to public concern, results have been questionable as can be seen by continued unethical behaviors (Assudani, Chinta, Manolis, & Burns, 2011; Izzo, 2000; Khurana, 2007). Can ethics education help business students and professionals deal with moral dilemmas and make ethically conscious decisions in the business world? There is some contemporary research and literature assessing students and business school programs, but there is very little research connecting the business world with higher education.

The purpose of this study was to discern the relevancy of business school ethics in the business world. Through interviewing 29 business leaders, this qualitative study focused on the perspectives of business professionals regarding ethics education. What do business professionals think is important in regards to ethics training? What can business schools do to help current professionals deal more effectively with moral dilemmas and ethical issues?

Using Grounded Theory coding techniques it became clear there were four categories of data including: teaching and promoting business ethics, understanding ethics, dealing with power and pressures, and pursuing professionalism. The theoretical framework I used to analyze the data included Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory, Dewey’s Educational and Moral Imagination Theories, Schein’s Organizational Culture Theory, and Bolman and Deal’s Reframing Organizations Theory. With the four theories I analyzed the findings to discern the relevancy of business ethics education, possible benefits, and important elements of business ethics education from the perspective of experienced leaders.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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