Ethical beliefs in the catholic business school: The impact of catholic social teaching on classroom reality

Abstract

Despite a values emphasis said to distinguish Catholic business schools from secular institutions, a focus on moral development through principles of Catholic social teaching (CST) resembles the prominent role that ethics education plays at business schools accredited by AACSB International. This study measured faculty knowledge and use of CST in undergraduate business classes at Catholic and non-Catholic AACSB institutions and among Catholic and non-Catholic faculty. The results reveal both professional bureaucracy and cultural influences on ethical perspectives: Both Catholic and non-Catholic faculty at AACSB schools have similar views regarding the ethics of professional interactions with students, but faculty with a connection to Roman Catholicism are more likely to be familiar with and to use recent business-related interpretations of CST. Nonetheless, a majority of faculty at Catholic institutions are unfamiliar with CST. We conclude that if Catholic institutions wish to provide an ethics-based business education, familiarity with and use of CST appear to be unnecessary at AACSB-accredited schools. If, however, CST principles are to be important spiritual elements for students who are receiving a Catholic education, then Catholic institutions must increase awareness and perceived relevance of CST among Catholic and non-Catholic faculty.

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