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Reflective Cycles and Reflexive Learning Principles: Teaching Ethics from the Learner Outward1

Reflective Cycles and Reflexive Learning Principles: Teaching Ethics from the Learner Outward1
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Author(s): Michael Nancarrow (International Education Research Centre at CQUniversity, Australia) and Will Rifkin (University of Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 26
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.ch023

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Abstract

Ethics learning takes root when it draws on learners’ experiences of encounters with others, a strategy that is a foundation of adult learning processes generally. These experiences, the authors have found, can be voiced by students and managers in training and then analyzed from an ethical perspective when a safe environment has been established. A safe environment emerges through a process of incremental disclosures by the teacher and the learners. Establishing such an environment represents part of the first of what they have identified as three “cycles” of increasing awareness and understanding. In the first cycle, the teacher not only elicits but legitimates the experiences and perspectives of the learner. Second, learners are introduced to the relevant context for ethical management as being the human community and not merely the organization for which they work. Third, learners are guided to instituting a pragmatic vision for ethical action and management, a vision that recognises inescapable human frailty in themselves and others. The authors also emphasize core ethical themes of values, integrity in decision-making, and, for the public sector manager, a responsibility to serve the public interest. Such an experientially-based and highly contextualised learning process builds a student’s or manager’s capacity for both reflection-in-action and for ongoing ethical dialogue with others. Such dialogue can then enable the manager to lead organizational learning around ethics in business.

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