The need for ethics training in business

If you’re from my generation, you remember when “Wall Street” came out, with Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas.  It came out after “Platoon” and was touted by Oliver Stone with the phrase, “Welcome to a different kind of jungle.”  Perhaps if you’re younger, you saw “Wolf of Wall Street.”  Regardless, both movies paint a pretty bleak picture of the business world.

With the general public, there is a generic viewpoint of the business world and business schools as only caring about the bottom line. For a long time this was a viewpoint that business schools did little to assuage.  But the Ross School of Business has developed a reputation of making the world a better place through business.

 And, in a recent article in the New York Times (notably featuring a quote from our own Jerry Davis) we discover that this generation may be looking to make a difference as well as making a buck. Perhaps the two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

What kinds of classes should a school like Michigan Ross be teaching to encourage this “kinder, gentler” business model? What areas of study should be expanded, and what kinds of co-curricular activities should be encouraged?  Does multidisciplinary action-based learning have a  place in the mix?