Date of this version


Document Type



Teaching Business ethics; Business ethics and humanities; Creative arts and business ethics; Collaboration and trust; Leveraging creative arts; Literature and theater


The purpose of this paper is to describe a way of teaching business ethics using the creative arts, especially literature and theater. By drawing on these disciplines for both method and texts, we can more easily make the connection to business as a fully human activity, concerned with how meaning is created. Students are encouraged to understand story-telling and narrative and how these tools lend insight into the daily life of businesspeople. The paper describes two main courses, Business Ethics Through Literature and Leadership, Ethics and Theater, and the rationale for each. We begin by suggesting three main leverage points that the courses engender. We then rely on the words of students who have taken the courses for insights into what they learned. We then critically assess some of the principles that have informed course design over time. We conclude by suggesting that paying attention to the creative arts gives rise to a rather different approach to business ethics, one grounded in the pragmatist tradition in philosophy.

Published in

Journal of Business Ethics

Citation/Other Information

131(3), 519-536