Finding God (Good) in Everything, Inculturation and Teaching Business Ethics in a Jesuit School of Business
Brian K. Steverson
July 1, 2013
Ethics & Social Justice
Inculturation, Jesuit, Business, Higher Education
Journal of Jesuit Business Education (JJBE)
Teaching business ethics has never been the easiest of “jobs,” but the past five years have shown yet again how necessary business ethics education is. The pedagogical difficulty in teaching business ethics has always been how to convince students that ethics is an inherent part of the practice of business, not an “add-on,” something which it would be nice to pursue as long as the bottom line allows for it. Jesuit schools of business would seem to be especially well positioned to mount such arguments given our rich tradition of cura personalis and our mission to educate men and women for others in the pursuit of social justice, all spurred by an ultimate service to the “greater Honor and Glory of God.” But, there is a catch. As the student bodies of Jesuit universities become less and less Catholic, less and less Christian, or at least less and less convinced by traditional, theologically-based arguments for ethics, how does a professor of business ethics make pedagogically convincing “Jesuit” arguments for why business managers should be motivated by the belief that their enterprises should seek to promote the common good in ethically respon- sible ways? In this paper, I very briefly describe a method for teaching business ethics as an extension of Ignatian spirituality through the use of the Jesuit technique of “inculturation” which I believe is successful in overcoming this hurdle to teaching business ethics from the Jesuit perspective.