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Ethics, values are taking on more significance for M.B.A. s

“Something has changed. I would be kidding you if I told you there wasn’t a different vibe in the classroom.”


That’s Professor Ed Soule, of the Georgetown  University McDonough School of Business, commenting on the remarkable change occurring rapidly at Georgetown and in American M.B.A. education as reported in The New York Times:


Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump  Excerpts:


“As topics like sexual harassment dominate the national conversation and chief executives weigh in on the ethical and social issues of the day, business schools around the country are hastily reshaping their curriculums with case studies ripped from the headlines… 


“‘Ethics and values have taken on more significance,’ Professor Soule said. ‘It has to do with all the things going on in this administration, often things that challenge our understanding of ethics and leadership.'”


He is by no means alone among U.S. business school academics:


“Aaron Chatterlli, assistant professor at the Duke School of Business, who is starting a class about activism among chief executives, ‘I’ve never had a class where I’m talking about gay rights or drug addiction.'” 


“Leanne Meyer, co-director of a new leadership department at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business: ‘Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products. Now shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.”


Interestingly, this new U.S. emphasis on social issues is a topical outgrowth of “responsible-business education” established globally by the United Nations. In 2007, it initiated The Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) with a mission to “to transform business and management education, and develop the responsible leaders of tomorrow.”


PRME has  succeeded admirably. Some 650 business management schools around the world — thirty in the U.S. — are PRME “signatory” participants. Working through six guiding principles, these institutions work to “ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals while drawing attention to the Sustainability Development Goals

(SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact.”


Clearly, future business leaders are embracing the emerging profile  of business responsibilities.