Dr. Ruben Toledano O´Farrill
ETHICS IN BUSINESS AND THE BUSINESS SCHOOL
This paper explores the problems of advancing ethical reflection among faculty and students of a Mexican Jesuit business school, while reviewing the experience of a two-year program of activities aimed at raising awareness and understanding of ethical issues related to business activities but also generally concerning ethics in contemporary life. Our Business School decided two years ago to start a program aimed at putting ethical issues in business and economics up front and getting faculty to engage in a more direct and open way with them. A program of activities was proposed that made it more explicit that these issues are important to the Business School and that some training and discussion is necessary. This paper addresses the key question in the 26th Annual IAJBS World Forum: How do Jesuit business schools contribute to the creation and development of new forms or models of doing business that are both sustainable and committed to benefiting society? The paper is based on a recount of aims, achievements and limitations of this program, with data from user surveys and qualitative interviews. The impact the program has made is judged, to a limited extent, based on this data. The main issues discussed in the paper are: What is Ethics? This section discusses the problem of defining ethics in an engaging and simple way for faculty. A subject with centuries of history and many important exponents cannot however be addressed as it would be in an ordinary philosophy course. Ethics: whose turf? This section discusses the problem of getting faculty to engage in a subject in which they are not experts, but that needs active participation from them. It also addresses the relative shortage of actual experts that can help groups advance in ethical reflection. The ethics of what? Another problem in advancing ethical reflection is the fact that ethics have to do with every aspect of human life. Therefore, discussions tend to drift and overflow between themes and subjects. This section addressed the challenges of focusing while maintaining a complex viewpoint of the issues under discussion. Achievements and limitations: This section discusses the feedback from participants in the program, obtained through surveys and personal interviews. The impact of the program is evaluated and the major remaining challenges are outlined. Linking with the ecosystem: This section looks at other initiatives of this type in Mexican Jesuit institutions, and the possibilities of joining efforts toward a common ground in faculty development with regard to ethical reflection.