Are case studies about to play a key role in the development of business teaching and cultural awareness? In a guest post Gina Vega, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Instructional Cases, argues that the need for higher education, the business world and society at large to collaborate is stronger than ever, and invites interested parties to get involved in this critical discussion.
Business includes any transaction that requires money or ownership to change hands. Even in a barter-based society, engagement in business would be unavoidable in our 21st-century world. Business is what we “do.” However, the way we conduct our business is not consistent between individuals or across cultures and nations. Our business conduct reflects our norms and serves as a measure of the moral nature of our society.
We often relegate the topic of the moral nature of society to philosophy, the study of systems of thought. Business ethics is applied ethics, or the study of systems of action to our own actions. Philosophy provides the structure, but the behavior itself emerges from our inherent sense of morality which, in its turn, derives from philosophical perspectives, socio-economic and legal models, and religious training.
The many forms of decision-making are the core of business ethics: how we make decisions, why a decision must be made, how we can evaluate various options for action and select a recommendation, how we can reflect on the purpose of the decision and its potential consequences, which tools we can apply when analyzing an opportunity or an action, the correct identification of the decision to be made, syncretic (reconciled) approaches to harmonizing options and opportunities, and more. How do we apply the lessons learned from a vast array of multi-disciplinary theories to the small, daily decisions we make in business, and how do we wed our various small tactical decisions into a strategic behavioral thrust for our organizations?
We start by asking four BIG questions:
- Cui bono? (Who benefits?)
- Who is going to get hurt?
- How will my decision affect my personal sense of morality?
- What is the goal of business?
We conclude with an even bigger question: What actions do our values endorse?
The Starting Block
Regardless of our role in an organization or business, we are frequently confronted by conundrums that challenge our moral compass, our ability to apply ethical standards, and our actions on the ground. Our goal is to develop and share materials that can help our students learn how to handle the ethical issues that grow from today’s experiences and trials through providing guidance and practice in ethical analysis.
At the International Journal of Instructional Cases (www.ijicases.com), we share a strong commitment to advancing good business ethics curricula for both undergraduate and graduate programs. To that end, we are sponsoring a competition aims to generate teachable concise cases with expanded teaching notes related to addressing the ethical challenges presented to businesses and organizations internationally for use in the classroom and the boardroom.
Case submissions may focus on any specific ethical theme, as long as the case is four pages or fewer, following the submission guidelines here. Cases may be submitted in English, Spanish, or French and will be reviewed in English.
Cases may be focused specifically on any area that relates to business or organizational ethics on a wide variety of levels: individual, teams, SMEs through multinationals, even nations or regions. Challenges may come in the disciplines of marketing, management, human behavior, economics, finance/accounting, logistics, and others.
Prize: The winning case will receive an award of US $250 and fast track review for publication in IJIC. The prize will be awarded in December 2019.
- 1 March, 2019, Submissions open
- 1 August 2019, Submission deadline
We warmly encourage your submissions and your visits to www.ijicases.com where we are pursuing a focus on a wide range of societal forces that have evolved into an increasingly complex web of societal, government and business relationships. As society is changing and raising its expectations for business and government, the existence, power and changing nature of our relationships and expectations requires careful, and ethical management attention and action. The need for education, business, and society to work together has never been more critical. We have made our personal and professional commitment to developing tools that encourage the next generation of learners to share our focus on ethical business behavior.
Please join us!
Gina Vega, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Instructional Cases, taught corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship for 20 years and is widely published in academic journals. She has written or edited seven books, including The Case Writing Workbook: A Self-Guided Workshop (1/e and 2/e, also in Spanish). Dr. Vega is a Fulbright Specialist with assignments in Russia (2010), the UK (2012), and Peru (2018). She has been Editor-in-Chief of The CASE Journal, associate editor of the Journal of Management Education, and Teaching Case Section Editor of Project Management Journal. She is president of Organizational Ergonomics, an academic services consulting firm through for writing workshops and technical writing assistance (www.orgergo.com ).