Journal of Business Ethics 56 (4):385 - 398 (2005)

Michael Buckley
Lehman College (CUNY)
In light of the myriad accounting and corporate ethics scandals of the early 21st century, many corporate leaders and management scholars believe that ethics education is an essential component in business school education. Despite a voluminous body of ethics education literature, few studies have found support for the effectiveness of changing an individuals ethical standards through programmatic ethics training. To address this gap in the ethics education literature the present study examines the influence of an underlying social cognitive error, called pluralistic ignorance. We believe that if pluralistic ignorance is reduced, the result will be more effective business ethics education programs. Eighty undergraduate management students participated in this longitudinal study, and a mixed-model ANOVA revealed that the reduction of pluralistic ignorance (due to an ethics education program designed to reduce pluralistic ignorance) resulted in higher personal ethical standards over the course of a semester, when compared to a class that did not receive a formal ethics education program as part of their course. We discuss the implications of pluralistic ignorance in training business ethics and ethics education.
Keywords Ethics education  introductory management  pluralistic ignorance  social comparison
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Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1007/s10551-004-3897-z
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Social Psychology.F. H. Allport - 1924 - Journal of Philosophy 21 (21):583-585.
Aristotelian Virtue and Business Ethics Education.Steven M. Mintz - 1996 - Journal of Business Ethics 15 (8):827 - 838.

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