Aug. 30, 2021

Navigating today’s world: the importance of ethics education

CCAL’s commitment to ethics education for business students and professionals
Navigating today’s world: the importance of ethics education

The Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business’ (CCAL) Ethics Strategy aims to provide world-class business ethics education, welcoming a diverse group of high-profile business ethics scholars to engage with our students, faculty and industry professionals. This engagement from multiple perspectives helps develop the skills needed to engage the ethical challenges we will actually face. 

Choosing the ethical course of action as we engage in our business and daily lives can be daunting.  Situations are complex, often with no straightforward answers. Even an ‘ethically better choice’ requires us to be able to withstand the potential conflict that can arise both within ourselves and with others. 

Do you tell your boss all the information including the bad news even though it means they may not see you as favorably going forward? Do break your promise to attend an important meeting to help your friend who is in distress? Do you sacrifice the vacation you have earned to give a suffering co-worker a break?

One view is that the answers to all these questions can be found simply by consulting the correct set of simple rules, and ethics is simply a matter of learning and applying these rules. But sticking to rules will not do, since rules are made to cover what has already happened and do not always apply to the new challenges we face. Ethics is therefore a skill we develop organically, not a procedure we apply mechanically.

Choosing an ethically better course of action requires we have the skills that help us be both reasoned and empathic in withstanding and engaging with the conflicts of business and daily life. How can you develop this skill?

Developing the skills and awareness to navigate any variety of situations, requires an approach that encourages us to explore, debate, dialogue and reason about the questions and issues we know to be ethically controversial. Understanding ethical choices from a variety of perspectives and learning to reason with empathy is something that business ethicists can help us explore when completing formal education or at any time in our lives.

To learn more and see what we are eager to build out even further, visit our website.

If you are interested in further learning about the overall value of an education in ethics, you can get a quick view in this TED Talk.

Enjoying what you’re reading? Join CCAL’s mailing list here to receive monthly updates on leadership learning, ethics and research.