Education in virtues as goal of business ethics instruction

Rose Catacutan


The moral development paradigm underlying a particular business ethics curriculum design plays a significant role in determining the goals of business ethics instruction. Concretely, the view of moral development advanced by cognitive developmental psychology that dominates business ethics literature identifies moral development with cognitive processes, but disregards educating students in virtues. The aim of the present paper is to propose an alternative paradigm of moral development to that of cognitive developmental psychology and presents Aquinas’ view of moral development as a suitable framework for a curriculum design that focuses on virtues as a possible goal of business ethics instruction. 


Goals; moral development; teaching business ethics; Thomas Aquinas; virtues

Full Text:



Acevedo, A. (2012). Personalist business ethics and humanistic management: Insights from Jacques Maritain. Journal of Business Ethics, 105, 197-219.

Aquinas, St. Thomas. (1273). Summa Theologiae, transl. (1947) by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York, NY: Benziger Brothers.

Aquinas, St. Thomas. (1993). Commentary on Aristotle’s the Nicomachean Ethics, transl. by C.I. Litzinger. Notre Dame, IN: Dumb Ox.

Argandoña, A. (2007). Integrating ethics into action theory and organizational theory. Journal of Business Ethics, 78, 435-46.

Arjoon, S. (2000). Virtue theory as a dynamic theory of business. Journal of Business Ethics, 28, 159-78.

Arjoon, S. (2006). Ethical decision-making: A case for the triple font theory. Journal of Business Ethics, 71, 395-410.

Bebeau, M., Rest, J. R., and Narvaez, D. (1999). Beyond the promise: A perspective on research in moral education. Educational Researcher, 28, 18-26.

Brock, S. (1995). What is the use of usus in Aquinas’ psychology of action? In B. Bazan., E. Andujar., and L. Sbrocchi (Eds.). Moral and political philosophies in the middle ages. Ottawa: Legas; 654-64.

Ewin, R. (1995). The virtues appropriate to business. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5, 833-42.

Feak, M. (1979). Moral development and its explanation: Kohlberg’s structuralism. Master’s thesis, McMaster University. [Online]. Available from: [Last accessed on 10 July 2013].

Felton, E, and Sims, R. (2005). Teaching business ethics: Targeted outputs. Journal of Business Ethics, 60, 377-91.

Flynn, G. (2008). The virtuous manager: A vision for leadership in business. Journal of Business Ethics, 78, 359-72.

Garten, J. (2005). B-Schools: Only a C+in ethics. Schools need to do much more to help students make moral choices. [Online] Available from: htm. [Last accessed on 1 July 2013].

Hartman, E. (1998). The role of character in business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8, 547-59.

Hosmer, L. (1994). Why be moral? A different rationale for managers. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4, 191-204.

Koehn, D. (1992). Toward an ethic of exchange. Business Ethics Quarterly, 2, 341-55.

Koehn, D. (1995). A role of virtue ethics in the analysis of business practice. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5, 533-9.

Kohlberg, L. (1984). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. Essays on moral development: The psychology of moral development. Vol. 2, (pp. 1-169). San Francisco: Harper and Row. (Original Work Published 1969).

Kohlberg, L., and Hersh, R. (1977). Moral development: A review of the theory. Theory Into Practice, 16, 53-9.

Korn, M. (2013). Does an ‘A’ in ethics have any value? [Online]. Available from: 78286102004694378.html. [Last accessed on 1 July 2013].

McDonald, G. (2004). A case example: Integrating ethics into the academic business curriculum. Journal of Business Ethics, 54, 371-84.

McInerny, R. (1997). Ethica Thomistica: The moral philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press.

Mele, D. (2003). The challenge of humanistic management. Journal of Business Ethics, 44, 77-88.

Mele, D. (2005). Ethical education in accounting: Integrating rules, values and virtues. Journal of Business Ethics, 57, 97-109.

Mele, D. (2009). Integrating personalism into virtue-based business ethics: The personalist and the common good principles. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 227-44.

Mele, D. (2010). Practical wisdom in managerial decision-making. Journal of Management Development, 29, 637-45.

Mintz, S. (1996). Aristotelian virtue and business ethics education. Journal of Business Ethics, 15, 827-38.

Moore, G. (2002). On the implications of the practice-institution distinction: Macintyre and the application of modern virtue ethics to business. Business Ethics Quarterly, 12, 19-32.

Murphy, P. (1999). Character and virtue ethics in international marketing: An agenda for managers, researcher and educators. Journal of Business Ethics, 18, 107-24.

Osorio, A. (2010). Insuficiencia de los constructos psicologicos en la educacion del altruism. Educacion, 13, 125-38.

Piaget, J. (1956). The moral judgment of the child. (M. Gabain Transl.). New York, NY: Free Press; (Original work published 1932).

Pieper, J. (1966). The four cardinal virtues. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Rest, J. (1980). Moral judgment research and the cognitive-developmental approach to moral education. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 58, 602-5.

Rest, J. R., Narvaez, D., Thoma, S. J., and Bebeau, M. J. (2000). A neo-Kohlbergian approach to morality research. Journal of Moral Education, 29, 381-96.

Ritter, B. A. (2006). Can business ethics be trained? A study of the ethical decision making process in business students. Journal of Business Ethics, 68, 153-64.

Rossouw, D. (2004). Developing business ethics as an academic field. Ben-Africa:Johannesburg: BEN-Africa.

Shaw, B. and Corvino, J. (1996). Hosmer and the “why be moral?” question. Business Ethics Quarterly, 6, 373-83.

Sims, R. (2002). Teaching business ethics for effective learning. Westport, CT: Quorum.

Solomon, R. (1992). Corporate roles, personal virtues: An Aristotelian approach to business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 2, 317-39.

Solomon, R. (1993). Ethics and excellence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stonington, J. (2011). B-schools’ new mantra: Ethics and profits. [Online]. Available from: bschools-new-mantra-ethics-and-profits-11102011.html. [Last accessed on 1 July 2013].

Strauss, V. (2010). Ethics expert to head Harvard Business School. [Online]. Available from: higher-education/ethics-expert-to-head-harvard.html. [Last accessed on 1 July 2013].

Waples, E. P., Antes, A. L., Murphy, S. T., Connelly, S., and Mumford, M. D. (2009). A meta-analytic investigation of business ethics instruction. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 133-51.

Williams, S., and Dewett, T. (2005). Yes, you can teach business ethics: A review and research agenda. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 12, 109-20.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 0976-3600 (on-line) ; ISSN 1817-7417 (print)

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2014.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help