Browsing Celebration of Teaching & Learning Symposium by Author "Jones, Aleisha"
Ethical Decision Making: A Novel Perspective to a Long-Standing Issue for Undergraduate EducationCeluch, Kevin; Jones, AleishaResearch Question and Context This research extends understanding of self-regulatory processes involved in ethical decision-making for undergraduate students. Specifically, we examine the effects of an in-class manipulation consisting of ethical scenarios designed to stimulate a counterfactual (“what if”) mindset to impact negative emotion, ethical judgment, and intention to behave unethically. This research addresses both theoretical and practical imperatives in the scholarship of teaching and learning literature. The specific research question addressed is: Can educators use counterfactual thinking to more effectively advance undergraduate students’ ethical decision-making? Grounding What are the themes in the scholarship of teaching and learning literature for teaching ethics? There is a clearly articulated call to address ethics in undergraduate education. However, exactly how to do this is less clear. While experiential learning is a favored approach (c.f., Loe & Ferell, 2001; Hunt & Laverie, 2004; Neil & Scribrowsky, 2005; Allan & Wood, 2009; Beggs, 2011), results have been mixed (c.f., Yoo & Donthu, 2002; Waples et al., 2009; Lau, 2010) resulting in a “how can we do better?” theme (c.f., Mele, 2005; Allan & Wood, 2009; Lund Dean et al., 2010; Beggs, 2011). Approach/Methods Two hundred and sixty-two undergraduate students enrolled in a range of business classes at a USI participated in this research. In keeping with counterfactual methodology (c.f., Kray et al., 2006), the study manipulated a situational element (“hands off” or “hands on” immediate supervisor) for one of two ethical scenarios in business contexts. Participants were provided a packet that consisted of, in order, one of two scenarios which included the manipulation, followed by related measures, followed by another scenario that did not include the manipulation, and a second set of measures that were different from those associated with the first scenario. Students responded to measurement items immediately after reading each scenario. Discussion/Lessons Learned In terms of educational interventions, the manipulation of a mindset (through in-class scenarios) had significant effects on emotion, ethical judgment, and intention to behave unethically. Our reasoning was that participants who were exposed to the “hands on” manipulation in the first scenario would perceive stronger likelihoods of negative consequences which, in turn, would prime a prevention-focused mindset that would then be carried over to consideration of the second scenario. Further, negative emotion was found to be a strong predictor of ethical judgment and the perception of negative consequences (from the first scenario) was found to moderate the effect of negative affect on intention to behave unethically (for the second scenario). As noted in the counterfactual literature, this approach represents a more unobtrusive way to impact behavior (Liljenquist et al., 2004) which is consistent with observations that students may learn ethics better (with less reactivity) under less intrusive approaches (Beggs, 2011). References Allan, D., & Wood, N.T. (2009). Incorporating ethics into the marketing communications class: A case of old Joe and new Joe Camel. Marketing Education Review, 19 (3), 63-71. Beggs, J. M. (2011). Seamless integration of ethics. Marketing Education Review, 21 (1), 49-55. Hunt, S.D., & Laverie, D.A. (2004). Experiential learning and the Hunt-Vitell Theory of Ethics: teaching marketing ethics by integrating theory and practice. Marketing Education Review, 14 (3), 9-15. Kray, L., Galinsky, A.D., & Wong, E.M. (2006). Thinking within the box: The relational processing style elicited by counterfactual mind-sets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 33-48. Lau, C.L.L. (2010). A step forward: Ethics education matters! Journal of Business Ethics, 92 (4), 565-584. Liljenquist, K.A., Galinsky, A.D., & Kray, L.J. (2004). Exploring the rabbit hole of possibilities by myself or with my group: The benefits and liabilities of activating counterfactual mind-sets for information sharing and group coordination. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 17, 263-279. Loe, T.W., & Ferell, L. (2001). Teaching marketing ethics in the 21st century. Marketing Education Review, 11 (2), 1-16. Lund Dean, K., Beggs, J. M., & Keane, T. P. (2010). Mid-level managers, organizational context, and (un)ethical encounters. Journal of Business Ethics, 97 (1), 51-69. Mele, D. (2005). Ethical education in accounting: integrating rules, values and virtues. Journal of Business Ethics, 57 (1), 97-109. Neil, A., & Schibrowsky, J.A. (2005). The impact of corporate culture, the reward system, and perceived moral intensity on marketing students’ ethical decision making. Journal of Marketing Education, 27 (1), 68-80. Waples, E.P., Antes, A.L., Murphy, S.T., Connelly, S., & Mumford, M.D. (2009). A meta-analytic investigation of business ethics instruction. Journal of Business Ethics, 87 (1), 133-151. Yoo, B., & Donthu, N. (2002). The effects of marketing education and individual cultural values on marketing ethics of students. Journal of Marketing Education, 24 (2), 92-103.