Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Harvard Business School to Require Study in Ethics

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Harvard Business School to Require Study in Ethics

Article excerpt

The Harvard Business School is expected to announce shortly that it will requre entering MBA students to take a three-week course on business ethics.

The decision, made by a committee of the faculty, marks the latest effort by Harvard and other leading business schools, including Wharton, Stanford, Columbia and Dartmouth, to integrate ethics education into their management curriculums.

The new course, to be offered in September, will consist of seven sessions of one hour and 20 minutes each.

Asked about the Harvard course, Gary Edwards, executive director of the Ethics Resource Center, commented: ``Ideally, ethical issues ought to be infused throughout an entire business school curriculum. The role of the manager is, among other things, to create an environment where good people make good decisions and not do whatever it takes to keep their job.'' The center, which is based in Washington, is a non-profit educational institution.

Prompted by the insider trading on Wall Street and by reports of corporate misconduct, growing numbers of business schools have been offering a variety of ethics courses, seminars and lectures.

The decision by Harvard marks the first time that a top American business school has required students to take a course on ethics. For years, Harvard has had a separate, second-year elective course in ethics, which has been heavily subscribed, and other courses have included case studies on ethical issues.

In March 1987, the Harvard Business School was given $23 million - its largest gift ever - by John S.R. Shad, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to support ethics research. A school spokesman said, however, that, to the best of his knowledge, the gift of Shad, a Business School alumnus, was not connected with the decision to have a mandatory ethics course.

Thomas R. Piper, one of the Harvard professors who spearheaded the effort to make ethics mandatory, said the school would draw on a spectrum of faculty, including professors of finance, marketing, entrepreneurship and government relations. ``What is so important to realize is that these ethical issues are pervasive,'' he added. …

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