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Building a Culture of Integrity

Building a Culture of Integrity
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Author(s): Jill M. Purdy (University of Washington Tacoma, USA) and Joseph Lawless (University of Washington Tacoma, USA)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 14
Source title: Handbook of Research on Teaching Ethics in Business and Management Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Charles Wankel (St. John's University, USA) and Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch (Silesian University of Technology, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-510-6.ch025

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Abstract

Although business students can learn about ethics through case studies and examples, this learning may not lead to future ethical behavior in ambiguous situations or unsupportive cultures. Business schools can incorporate an experiential component to ethics education by giving students the opportunity to work in an organization with integrity: the business school itself. As students begin to develop their professional identities, the business school can establish students’ expectations about how ethical people and organizations function. This supports students in developing professional identities that incorporate integrity. The authors recommend that business schools utilize the cognitive triangle of thoughts, feelings, and actions in developing a culture of integrity. Addressing all three of these components can help students avoid cognitive distortions that make them unable to recognize ethical dilemmas or render them unaware of the consequences of decisions and behaviors. The authors suggest using a portfolio of tactics to create a culture of integrity, including integrity codes and honor codes, policies and procedures, reporting mechanisms, consequences, symbols and ceremonies, top management support, faculty-student relationships, and open, truthful exchange. Unethical actions are more likely to occur in organizations with individualistic, egoistic climates, thus the challenge is to create a more collectivist, community orientation.

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