Promoting Ethical Reflection in the Teaching of Business Ethics

12 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2008

See all articles by Howard Harris

Howard Harris

University of South Australia - School of Management


A case study provides the basis for consideration of the purpose of business ethics teaching, the importance of reflection and the evaluation of ethics teaching. The way in which personal reflection and an increased capacity for ethical action can be encouraged and openly identified as aims of the course is discussed. The paper considers changes in the design and delivery of the international management ethics and values course taught at the University of South Australia as part of the undergraduate management degree in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. As a result of student and teaching staff responses, and course evaluations, the course design, teaching and assessment has moved steadily toward an aim which explicitly refers to behaviour, without losing the significant conceptual base. Ways in which opportunities can be provided to enhance the development of a reflective capability are considered, including narrative, role models, ethical reflection, journal-keeping and practice. The changes required a change in assessment practice. The difficulties of assessing intention and commitment to ethical action, whether in an individual course or across the curriculum, are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Harris, Howard, Promoting Ethical Reflection in the Teaching of Business Ethics. Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 379-390, October 2008. Available at SSRN: or

Howard Harris (Contact Author)

University of South Australia - School of Management ( email )

City West Campus
GPO Box 2471
Adelaide, SA
+61 8 8302 9309 (Phone)
+61 8 8302 0512 (Fax)

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