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Source: Diane Swanson, 785-532-4352, swanson@k-state.edu
Image available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Greg Tammen, 785-532-2535, gtammen@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Since the Enron scandal, questions have continually been raised about the business sector's ethics and its influence on future business executives.

Two Kansas State University business professors recruited nationally and internationally recognized experts in business ethics to address these concerns in their soon-to-be-released book, "Toward Assessing Business Ethics Education."

Diane Swanson, professor of management and von Waaden business administration professor, and Dann Fisher, associate professor of accounting, edited the book. It's the sequel to their book "Advancing Business Ethics Education" from the "Ethics in Practice" series from Information Age Publishing.

"This book, in particular, is a timely response to the urgent search by business schools to find ways to teach and assess ethics," Swanson said. "It comes at a time when the public's faith in corporations and business schools has been undermined by the widespread corruption and scandals in the business sector."

The book is for anybody interested in business ethics education, but specifically for experts in the field, business school deans, university administrators and faculty, business students and perspective employers. Swanson said she believes it will encourage a much-needed conversation among these groups.

For this installment in the series Swanson and Fisher focus on ways educators can teach and assess business ethics. The book details theoretical approaches, and also offers many empirical studies -- something that is unique in current publications about this topic, Swanson said.

"In this book we provide evidence about the effectiveness of ethics course work; the transfer of knowledge; the recognition of ethical dilemmas; and possible solutions for our future managers," she said.

"There's this worn out argument whether ethics can be taught, which is ridiculous," Swanson said. "The way we go about it in the book is ethics material can be taught in the same way you teach a course in leadership skills or conflict management. There's an existing body of knowledge. You deliver that knowledge in a classroom so students recognize it, learn the concepts and know some applications."

As one of the book's co-editors, Swanson was able to recruit several European and U.S. experts, including from the Aspen Institute, for the book's 20 chapters.

Swanson, a recognized expert in the field, also co-authored three chapters in the book. One chapter with Fisher details a pilot study conducted in her classes over three semesters. Swanson and Fisher document the ethics knowledge the students came in with and what knowledge they left with.

Swanson said studies are showing an increase in business students who want to know how their values match those of their employers and how their companies give back to the community.

"Our students are going out into that world where Enron, Arthur Anderson and other scandals have happened. We want to arm them with the reality, which is that you have to recognize ethical dilemmas and possible solutions to those problems," Swanson said. "The best way to do that is through prior education."

Of the 1,680 business schools and colleges in the nation, K-State's College of Business Administration is among the nearly 30 percent to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Of these accredited schools, just a minority requires business students to take a stand-alone course in business ethics.


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