PublicationsBusiness Education Forum

 

Business Education Forum Highlights
October 2004, Volume 59, Number 1

FORUM FEATURE
Making Sense of Ethics - "Recent "ethics" scandals are more about misconduct than about making morally ambiguous or difficult choices. Though the unethical acts of one employee can take down the whole company, Johnson explains, the employee’s "dilemma" is not necessarily about having the moral framework to know what to do. "[Instead it’s about] having the moral courage to do what is right—even if what is right is unpopular, or earns me less money, or slows down my advancement," Johnson says. Ethical dilemmas require courage because they involve morally ambiguous choices between two "goods" rather than between a "good" and a "bad." For example, the employee who isn’t sure whether or not to cover for a coworker must decide which is the "higher good"—telling the truth, or protecting a friend. In either case, there is likely to be unpleasant fallout."

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
Business for Social Responsibility (BSR): Advancing Responsible Business Practices throughout the World - "Suppose you are a company that has been rocked by news of recent ethics scandals in your business sector. You are not particularly worried about misconduct on your own "turf": you have an ethics and conduct code in place and regularly provide in-depth training to your employees. Yet, you don’t just want to avoid wrongdoing. You want to add something of value to the world. And you are mindful of the shift from an emphasis on benefiting the shareholders to benefiting all stakeholders—those who are affected either directly or indirectly by a development outcome or have an interest in a development outcome—i.e., the shareholders, analysts, regulators, activists, labor unions, employees, community organizations, and the news media. Where do you go? What do you do? Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) can help. A global, nonprofit organization of 450 member companies, BSR promotes corporate social responsibility (CSR) and seeks to create a just and sustainable world. It does this by providing members with practical tools such as information, education and training, access to networking opportunities, and advice."

 

CURRICULUM FORUM

Accounting
Old Professor + New Tricks = Great Results - "Does the adage, "You can’t teach an old dog new tricks" apply to professors? It doesn’t have to, even for a 14-year veteran of the college accounting classroom. The craft of this instructor’s teaching had been honed to a level that was well regarded by students and colleagues. In fact, her classroom skills resulted in "Teacher of the Year" awards at both previous teaching appointments. Now, at the start of a new appointment at LaGrange College, a small private comprehensive college in western Georgia, that teaching style was being called into question. The business department chair was pushing a methodology that stressed student-centered, higher-level learning; discipline integration; discussion; and group application. Change is always difficult, but for this award-winning veteran, getting on board with a new methodology was downright painful."

Basic Business
Business Educators Can Take a Leadership Role in Character Education - "Finding the best mix of objectives and topics to interweave in a business course is an important and complicated task. State and local standards provide the framework by specifying high school graduation goals and competencies. National and state business education standards and input from community advisory boards give a more directed listing of business competencies and local workforce expectations. Business educators have worked hard to incorporate into their classes a set of objectives reflecting state graduation standards and local workplace readiness skills. This article asks business educators to accept another challenge: take a leadership role in promoting character education within the business education curriculum and within their school systems."

Communication
Sometimes Less Is More: Teaching Presentation Skills to a Large Class - "Helping students improve their presentation skills is a challenge for instructors at all levels. The problem that most business communication instructors face is finding the best way to accomplish this objective. Those who have taught presentation skills realize that there is no perfect solution. In fact, if it is to be done well and meet the needs of students, there is no easy solution, either."

International Business
The Enlarged European Union - "The European Union, a group of nations united for prosperity and peace, increased from 15 to 25 member countries on May 1, 2004. Prior to that date, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom constituted the European Union. The countries that recently joined the European Union include Cypress, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia (European Union, 2004c). Since the European Union is involved in unprecedented enlargement and since American-based businesses must often compete against European Union-based businesses in the global marketplace, this article provides an update about the European Union and related teaching ideas that may be useful to teachers in a variety of business courses."

Marketing
Customer Service Certification: Educational Value, Employment Mileage - "Many industries have initiated industry-based certifications based on skill standards, which identify what individuals need to know and be able to do to successfully perform work-related functions. Many information technology certifications exist such as Java, Microsoft.NET, Cisco, and Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3). Other industries such as the automotive field (with ASE certification via the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) and interior design (with Certified Kitchen Designer via the National Kitchen and Bath Association) also have certifications that help employers identify competent employees. One set of skills that contributes to the success of any business is the customer service skills. Customer service has become a competitive factor for many businesses. A recent three-year study by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) showed that small businesses that put heavy emphasis on customer service were more likely to survive and succeed than competitors who emphasized such advantages as lower prices or product selection."

Methods
The Job Design Simulation That Keeps on Giving - "A variety of business school courses and professional development programs provide excellent opportunities to convey to students the value of corporate responsibility to the environment. Whether in the form of experiential exercises, case studies, videos, or text, classes in organizational behavior, human resource management, business management, general business, operations management, as well as corporate and social responsibility can easily weave the theme of good corporate citizenship into class material."

Research
Student Learning on the Web: Student Preferences and Online Class Materials - "In times of change, the learner will inherit the earth while the learned are beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists" (Hoffer in McMahan, 1998). In fact, most business education programs are following the advice embodied in this insight. Online learning via the Web exemplifies a time of change as much as anything in educational history, and most current research suggests that new technologies such as those that led to Web-based education are associated with positive changes in learning activity. In a study conducted by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), online learners showed significantly higher scores on measurements of information management, communication, and presentation of ideas, compared with those having no online access (Follansbee, p. 1). The study investigated two questions: (1) What is the impact of online use on student performance and attitudes? and (2) What is the impact of online use on teacher behavior and attitude? Students with online access became more confident in carrying out a research project, while those without online access became less confident."

Technology
The New Hacker--The Social Engineer - "Today, many successful hackers have moved above ground and use a set of techniques labeled in the cyber world, social engineering. In this brand of hacking, the social engineer transforms a classic con into high-tech deception, manipulating people (Mitnick and Simon, 2002) by violating the boundary between the cyber world and the real world. Representing a new generation of hackers, social engineers are proliferating and prospering at a rapid pace."