Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals?
Scandals Reflect Failure of Business Education
We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.
The way to teach these ethics is not to set up a separate class in which a typically low-ranking professor preaches to students who would rather be somewhere else. This approach, common at business schools, serves only to perpetuate the idea that ethics are only for those students who aren’t smart enough to avoid getting caught.
C. S. Lewis covered this ground eons ago:
And all the time-- such is the tragicomedy of our situation-- we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that our civilisation needs more 'drive' or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. we laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful.
I would sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat' than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had be brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles at their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism (such as Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'. The head rules the belly through the chest-- the seat as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The chest-- Magnanimity-- Sentiment-- these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.