Herberger Business School believes we can improve the ethical behavior of our business leaders by teaching ethics and ethical decision-making. With that goal in mind, we have incorporated ethical education throughout our curriculum. Virtually every HBS business course teaches ethics. The strength of this approach is that professors can tailor the ethical lessons and ethical frameworks into the relevant content material. Students are also exposed to a variety of ethical philosophies and approaches to making ethical decisions.
HBS decided to build on the pervasiveness of ethical teaching by: (1) providing an ethical base to ensure that all students receive some common ethical learning and tools, (2) ensuring that the base ethical material is reinforced throughout a students’ progress toward a degree at each year in introductory business classes, core classes, discipline required courses and in the capstone course, and (3) encouraging and requiring extra-curricular ethical experiences.
An ethical dilemma occurs when there are several methods of solving a problem, each of which will require some ethical compromise. In these emotionally-charged situations, the goal is to avoid making impulsive decisions or acting before we have had a chance to think critically about our options. The HBS ethical decision-making model encourages us to carefully consider very different points of view before deciding how to respond.
The HBS five-step framework provides a systematic process to accomplish ethical decision-making.
More specifically, the HBS ethical decision-making model builds on the Ethical Lens Inventory laid out in the Ethics Game (Baird, 2005) that recommends we evaluate an ethical dilemma from four very different perspectives. Each of us prefers one perspective, so the challenge is to consider the other three— before we act. The different perspectives are illustrated below. Throughout your HBS degree programs, you will learn how to look at ethical dilemmas to minimize the risk of making decisions you may later regret.
For additional information, please see the Herberger Business School Ethics Integration Handbook (pdf).