Lawrence P. Ulrich, Ph.D.
|WHY TAKE THIS COURSE IN THIS WAY?|
A decade or so ago, at the height of the Enron et al. scandal, the headlines of all the newspapers and other media virtually screamed to corporate leaders and the general public that there was a gigantic need for ethical practices in the business profession. This was a general affirmative response addressed not only corporate leaders but also to Schools of Business. MBA 758 is one small way to address that need. The furor of that time about unethical and illegal practices has subsided as a result of bringing some transgressors to justice. But this has been replaced by an even greater furor as a response to recent financial problems (can anyone spell "AIG," "Lehman Brothers," etc.?), which have come to light since September 2008. The need for transparency and ethical vigilance in business practices is no less important now than it was in the wake of Enron. Perhaps the need is even greater now that the ripples of the current financial crisis will touch each taxpayer in profound ways. Ethical reflection should not only react to unethical practices, it can actually prevent them.
This preventive care about management is essential for those who would direct corporate activities. This MBA 758 course can provide tools for managers and those managers who would be future leaders. Both managers and corporate leaders --- there is a difference between the two --- will need the skills for ethical reflection so vital for maintaining a vibrant economic system with a high moral tone. But as we reflect upon the "world of work," we become more and more aware that there is another dimension required for enriching this "world of work." The "value dimension" that Ethics provides can be greatly enhanced by incorporating the value foundations provided by an exploration of the values grounded in "Faith."
A word or two (or maybe more) to orient you to this course, MBA 758 – Principled Organizations: Integrating Faith, Ethics and Work. This is a relatively new course in the MBA curriculum, but I have been teaching it for a couple of years --- I hope there are many more times to come.
We will be talking a great deal about values in this course as we examine the way individuals plot their way through the world of work. There are many ways to develop and examine values, with the primary ones being values rooted in Faith (a belief system), Ethics (developing a system of principles for guiding our behavior) or simply Self-Reflection (looking inward to discover the “'Soulful' meaning of life”).
“Faith” may be the most difficult context to explore. Since this is a “Catholic-Marianist” University, the MBA program wants to focus on this context most explicitly. Even though we have this focus for “Faith,” (the teachings of Christ [Christianity] and the Roman Catholic Church) we do not wish to exclude those students who may be guided by other sources of value, whether they be Authoritative Teachers (Moses, Budda, Muhammed, Luther, and others) or Authoritative Holy Books (The Bible, The Holy Qur’an, the Bahagavad Gita and others. As a university, we are committed to diversity, even while remaining anchored in our traditions.Thus, when we are engaged in exchanges about the value foundations of “Work,” we welcome comments, contributions, and insights from the inclusion of a variety of foundations of value. We only ask that you give serious attention to the traditions that underlie the commitments of this University and its MBA Program.
The online approach to this course can provide added incentives for your enrollment. In addition to meeting the need for spiritual and ethical reflection on business practices, it has been designed to meet the teamwork objectives of the MBA Program. One of the major advantages of doing this course online is the flexibility in schedules that it allows. Many students in the MBA Program have a variety of obligations that make classroom courses difficult to meet in a busy schedule --- work obligations, travel demands, family involvement, etc. In different terms there are always the Ohio weather uncertainties --- snow, ice, tornado warnings, etc.; a problem that I do not have since moving to California. (I only have to worry about earthquakes, wild fires, sand storms, etc.) For me, the Summer term advantages are quite significant because the course keeps me tied to my computer in an air-conditioned environment while the temperatures outside rise to 115-120+.
So, review this course website and consider enrolling in MBA 758.
There maybe a slight overlap between this course and other courses, which deal with Leadership in the MBA Program. For example, I have taught two other Leadership courses (MBA 659) and the Social Responsibility course MBA 652). This overlap occurs only at the beginning which considers ethical systems and principles. After the first couple of weeks, the courses diverge into very different directions.