Is Graduate Students' Research Exposure To Business Ethics Comprehensive?

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Graduate-level education, at its core, has a focus on specific, in-depth disciplinary subject matter, with a strong emphasis on methods, conceptual framework, and research. For the developing student, exposure to both past and current research developments is mainly achieved by reading and studying articles published in leading journals in their field or specialty. In the business school curriculum, coursework in business ethics has attained a rather lofty stature in the preparation of the next generation of business leaders. The vexing question, however, is: Are business students provided with a comprehensive pedagogy with regard to ethics issues when they access leading journals in the area. The current study addressed this issue by conducting a content analysis, based on topical focus of articles, in the premier periodical Journal of Business Ethics, from June 2009 to June 2012. The analysis found support for the Matthew Effect which discusses skewed distributions, i.e., the majority of articles emphasized a narrow range of contemporary topics. Corporate social responsibility, cross-cultural factors, ethics standards, sustainability, customers' views, environmental issues, and U.S. corporate scandals had the most research focus. The most noteworthy deemphasized areas are: outsourcing, employee abuse, workplace safety, and tax evasion. These findings indicate that, from a research perspective, graduate-level business students are exposed to a limited number of central ethical issues to the neglect of a host of important business ethics concerns in today's corporate environment. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • BUSINESS education
  • BUSINESS ethics
  • BUSINESS students
  • CONTENT analysis (Communication)
  • CURRICULA (Courses of study)
  • JOURNAL of Business Ethics (Periodical)
  • LITERATURE reviews
  • STUDY & teaching (Graduate)
  • UNIVERSITIES & colleges -- Graduate work

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