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Corporate social responsibility and ethics in the principles of marketing course: one institution's journey.


Past and ongoing scandals in the business world provide justification for an increased emphasis on ethics and corporate social responsibility content in undergraduate business study, not as a separate course but integrated with other courses. The current paper presents a case history of the justification, planning, and practice of integrating ethics and corporate social responsibility material into the Principles of Marketing course at Bellarmine University, a small, historically Catholic, liberal arts university in the South. Relevant literature, the authors' experiences, both in the planning stages and after the new course design's initial offerings are discussed. Additional perspectives from the institution's President, Provost, and Dean of the Business School are presented, along with recommendations for other schools wrestling with how to address this issue.


Through collaborative efforts among the marketing faculty of the business school and the philosophy department of the arts and sciences college at a small southern university the authors we were able to integrate informative and practical content on ethical and corporate social responsibility issues into the Principles of Marketing course. This was accomplished by: linking our effort to the mission statements of the university and business school, direct application of university goals and objectives to course outcomes, and, through the thoughtful and active support of the administration. The rationale and explanation of how this came to pass is recounted below.

Periodically, stories of questionable, and at times criminal, business activity have risen to dominate the business press. Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart have been investigated for their charge-back policies that leave their suppliers confused and temporarily or permanently underpaid. Sears Roebuck's disregard for bankruptcy laws, debtors' rights, and creditor priorities led to a $63 million fine--the largest in U.S. bankruptcy law history, to name a few (Jennings, 1999). Stories of unethical business practices, and their consequences have also come to dominate the popular press. Recently, Time Magazine named three corporate whistleblowers as their Persons of the Year for 2002 (Lacayo & Ripley, 2002).

The most widely reported story involving questionable business practices of recent history, and the one that has generated the most discussion beyond business professionals, is Enron. While the final chapter in that story has yet to be written, there has been widespread negative impact on employees as well as a large number of retirement plans. With the potential for criminal sentences and new Congressional legislation, the Enron scandal highlights once again the fact that organizations do not make decisions, individuals do. The Enron story also underscores the need for institutions of higher education to reexamine whether and how they address the subjects of ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their curricula.

Most of these scandals are not marketing transgressions per se. Fallout will likely involve public relations and affect future advertising and sales efforts for the firms. Because of this reality, an organization's ongoing marketing effectiveness is brought into play. While various alleged and admitted business actions may only be tangentially related to marketing, marketing's integrative nature and broad spectrum reach make it a natural area, both within the firm and in the curriculum, to link with ethical issues.

Transactions between buyers and sellers are at the heart of marketing. Given the numerous temptations for buyers and sellers to act unethically, before, during, and after transactions, the Principles of Marketing course is both a logical, and an ideal location, for discussion of business ethics and their influences on decision-making.

The accreditation agency for collegiate schools of business (AACSB International) has placed increased emphasis on teaching ethics to undergraduate and graduate business students (Silver & Valentine, 2000). Additionally, many companies are discovering that good business ethics are conducive to a good corporate image and long-term growth. As a result, a growing number of business schools are teaching ethics (Boroughs, 1995). Students themselves believe, quite strongly, that the discussion of ethics and ethical issues is worthwhile and important. Many believe a course in business/marketing ethics should be required. Even more students indicate that they would take such a course, if offered, even if it was not required (Shannon & Berl, 1997). Within this environment, the purpose of the present paper is to provide direction to other schools of business who are considering adding more business ethics to their curricula.


In partial response to this reality, schools of business are increasingly offering or requiring substantive courses in ethics. The teaching of ethics represents a beginning for training tomorrow's business leaders, but it must go beyond merely teaching ethics as institutional responsibility. The hope is that students will ultimately possess a sense of personal values that transcend the laws and rules of institutionalized ethics and that business vocabulary will soon contain words like civility, decency, honesty, and fairness, taking their place right alongside a practical vocabulary that includes such terms as profit, market share, and growth rate (Gibbons, 1992; Solomon, 1994; Maitland, 1997). Education in ethics produces more enlightened consumers of ethics information who are able to make sound determinations about responsibility in ethical dilemmas (Carlson & Burke, 1998). Ethics instruction cannot turn an immoral person into a moral one, but teaching ethics can help prevent good people from making bad decisions (Johnson, 2000).

There is no question that both potential risks and rewards accompany ethical considerations in a business context. "Doing the right thing" does not guarantee success any more than the use of questionable practices assures immediate self-destruction in the marketplace. The importance of covering ethical issues in business is rooted in the longstanding recognition that integrity and respect do matter, and that shareholders, employees, consumers and society benefit more substantially from the long-term impact of corporate decision-making than from a short-term desire to increase profits. Providing students with a sense of balance between the risks and rewards of ethical considerations, based on the premise that the greatest companies are founded on ethics, should be a significant component of a well-rounded education (Matthews, 2003).

Originally, the field of business ethics focused on the role of business within the greater society, delineating the moral obligations of a business operating with the intent to perpetuate the free enterprise system. Business ethics has not been viewed as an entirely distinct field, but as the application of the broader field of ethics to a specific area (Bishop, 1992; Carroll, 1998; Kaler, 2000; McWilliams & Siegel, 2001). Corporate social responsibility by comparison, can be characterized by the idea that business responsibilities extend beyond the sphere of economics into the realm of social issues (Buchholz, 1987; Donaldson & Preston, 1995; Moir, 2001). The social responsibility framework requires that business actions not only be examined in the context of market transactions, but also with regard to their overall impact on society and whether they act to solve important social problems (Bishop, 1992; Carroll, 1998; Kaler, 2000; McWilliams & Siegel, 2001).

The concept of integration, whether concerning content areas, teaching approaches, or the marketing program itself into the larger undergraduate curriculum, as a means to enrich the educational experience of students, has been explored in a number of ways. One stream of research has examined the effectiveness of hybrid courses, drawing on two or more traditional areas resulting in courses in product and price management (Schibrowsky, 1995), customer analysis (Anderson, 1997), customer service, (Sautter, Maltz, & Boberg, 1999), and business principles (DeMoranville, Aurand, & Gordon, 2000). A second set of studies has explored integrating marketing and non-marketing courses in the service of developing important skills or addressing emerging areas such as team-based experiential learning (Bobbitt, Inks, Kemp, & Mayo, 2000), information literacy (Sterngold & Hurlbert, 1998), quality improvement (Marshall, Lassk, Kennedy, & Goolsby, 1996), relationship marketing (Cannon & Sheth, 1994; Palmer, 1994), creativity (Ramocki, 1994), and e-commerce/e-business (Tomkovick, LaBerre, Decker, Haugen, Hostager, Pathos, & Steiner, 2000; Williamson, Brookshire, & Wright, 2002). A third area of investigation has explored the appropriate role for marketing content in the larger business curriculum (Koch, 1997; Lamont & Friedman, 1997; Pharr & Morris, 1997; Barber, Borin, Cerf, & Swartz, 2001).

Finding a place for ethics content, and the construct's applied perspective, corporate social responsibility (CSR), in the business curriculum is not a new challenge. A variety of approaches and pedagogical techniques have been used to this end (Loe & Ferrell, 2001). Substantively, teaching these topics in business is difficult because one must go beyond moral standards of behavior to analyze goals, norms, beliefs, and values. Ethical principles of analysis are needed in those cases where a decision about an ethical problem cannot be reached based on moral standards of behavior alone (Hosmer, 1996).

The four primary first principles of ethical analysis are: utilitarianism, universalism, distributive justice, and personal liberty. Although none provides a simple solution to ethical dilemmas, through ethical analysis, they can clarify issues and result in a ranking of alternative moral actions (Hosmer, 1996). Approaches in business ethics based on classical theories, particularly those relying on Kantian ethics and utilitarianism, have been criticized as too abstract and general to provide adequate guidance for managers (Stark, 1993). If a decision is made not to treat business or marketing ethics and corporate social responsibility as separate courses but rather to integrate them into the curriculum, the practical challenge becomes how to best do it pedagogically.


The extant literature provides four basic approaches to the inclusion of ethics and CSR material in the undergraduate business curriculum. The first approach might be best characterized by the familiar phrase, "caveat emptor" (i.e., let the buyer beware), which is to say that there is no concerted effort to address ethical issues, much less training, in the curriculum. Until recent decades this was the prevailing perspective in most schools, and certainly this was the case at Bellarmine University. Part of the justification for this position comes from the attitude, "it's covered in the core general education requirements," and part comes from the belief that business majors are inherently as moral (or immoral) as everyone else. In either case, the conclusion stemming from this perspective is that no special attention to ethics or CSR is warranted in the business curriculum itself since a course in ethics is required as part of every student's general education curriculum at Bellarmine University.

The second approach to integrating ethics and CSR into the business curriculum has been to simply allow each professor or instructor the prerogative of what and how much ethics content to include. This approach seems justified on two grounds: the aforementioned belief that business majors are no more or less moral than anyone else; and b) academic freedom and professional latitude entitles the instructor to address any relevant topics to the students' educational benefit. Regardless of the merit of these justifications, simply leaving coverage of ethics and CSR issues to the instructor undoubtedly makes for a very uneven and contorted curriculum (especially considering multiple-section course structures and the growing use of part-time faculty, which opens a whole other realm of discussion beyond the scope of this paper).

The third approach has been to incorporate ethics- and CSR-related projects or activities into the coursework of the curriculum in some uniform way, while still allowing individual instructors primary, if not total, oversight. While this does ensure some minimum level of coverage of ethical and CSR issues in the curriculum, it suffers from the same weakness as the previous approach; coverage and relative emphasis may differ widely and be uneven across sections or semesters.

A fourth option to ethics and CSR education in the business curriculum has been to place it at the end of a student's development or academic program, either as part of a business policy or other senior-level capstone course. Engaging students in role-playing scenarios, ethical dilemmas, and decision-making discussions can be very rewarding since it comes at the pinnacle of their educational comprehension and reflective experience. But the weakness of this approach may offset these strengths. Covering issues of ethics and morality at the end of an educational program, treating it somewhat like an unnecessary appendage, may lead to the misperception that ethical and CSR considerations are not really that important. Moreover, this approach may communicate to students that decision-making of an ethical sort does not have a central or foundational place in business or marketing considerations.

Fortunately for faculty, students, and administrators, the attention given to ethical and socially responsibly corporate decision-making in marketing has increased dramatically in recent years. This is due, in part, to help from academic textbook publishers. Texts for courses in Marketing Ethics have grown widely in recent years, with new titles appearing every year. Additionally, the inclusion of ethics and CSR related material (ethics boxes and other context-sensitive information) has placed ethical decision-making at the center of a well-balanced curriculum and educational experience, similar to the treatment now afforded to international issues and the impact of technology on business.


Bellarmine University is a private, independent institution, founded in the Catholic liberal arts tradition by the local Archdiocese. The University enrolls approximately 2,500 students, the majority of whom are enrolled in professional degree programs such as Business, Education and Nursing. The University's and Business School's mission statements reflect the broad-based nature of the institution (see Table 1).

The general education curriculum required of all undergraduate students includes a course on ethics, taught by faculty in the Department of Philosophy. For undergraduate students enrolled in any of the three majors housed in the School of Business: Business Administration, Accounting, or Economics, it is customary for them to take the required ethics course early in their programs, either freshman or sophomore year. Business administration majors generally have a gap between exposure to formal ethics coursework and the beginning of Business Administration studies in the junior year. It should be noted that Principles of Marketing is currently the only formal marketing course offered at Bellarmine University. Consequently, it offers the only opportunity to integrate marketing with ethics and CSR content.

Prior to the initiative described below, one of the marketing faculty at Bellarmine University incorporated one hour of ethics into all sections of the Principles of Marketing course offered during the 2000-2001 academic year. Reflecting on the experience, the faculty member concluded that team-teaching the course with a faculty member from the Department of Philosophy would strengthen the content and overall impact of the course.

At least four factors contributed to the initiative of developing a team-taught course that integrates ethics and CSR content into the Principles of Marketing course: 1) a desire by central administration to strengthen the "liberal arts core" through an "ethics across the curriculum" approach; 2) a desire to better align our business curriculum with AACSB standards; 3) a desire by the Rubel School faculty to better realize the mission statement and educational objectives of the university; and 4) the willingness of marketing faculty to bring an experimental approach to the subject matter.

An initiative such as this does not move forward without at least some significant support from the administration. As part of the background investigation and preparation for developing the course, the authors interviewed three prominent members of the administration, (the President, Provost, and Dean of the School of Business), to gauge the level of support and rationale for integrating ethics across the curriculum, and specifically into the business program in this manner. The rationale for gauging the level of support for the initiative from these three individuals stems from the fact that the smaller the institution, the more relative power and impact each individual has, on operations, on policy, etc. and their unique roles in the overall direction and character of the institution. Additionally, moving forward on such a significant and experimental change without at least tacit support from the Dean and other, higher ranking administrators, is fraught with its own kind of peril.

Although the President, Provost, and Dean of the Business School are not experts in business ethics, they all bring two special characteristics to the discussion. First, the mission of the university ends with the statement, "...and to make a living and a life worth living." As a university founded in the Catholic liberal arts tradition, helping students to develop an ethical framework for their lives is fundamental to the mission of the university. Other business schools with a strong liberal arts tradition likely have faced (or will face) the need to examine business ethics in the curriculum. Second, all three of the interviewees are extremely supportive of the business school earning accreditation from the AACSB. The AACSB requires schools to prove that business ethics is covered in the curriculum. The views of these interviewees likely will resonate with leaders of other schools seeking accreditation or reaccredidation.

A President's Perspective

"We [here at Bellarmine] have a class born in 1983. There are a handful of educating agents: family, church, government, and the community, each reinforcing each other. But each has weakened as educating agents. The number one educating agent in society, one that didn't really exist 40 years ago, is pop culture promulgated by mass media. Pop culture is loaded with value--but not to anything other than the duty to yourself (fragmented, individualistic, competitive, materialistic, cotton-candy." (President Joseph J. McGowan, Interview 2001).

As one might speculate from the quotation presented above, the President's justifications for the initiative described in the present paper are both broad and comprehensive. In the interview Dr. McGowan mentioned that growing up, he heard the word "ethics" repeatedly--in his house, in church, and in college (ethics and theology courses). The influences he cited as affecting him when he was growing up included: the proliferation of mass media through television; the assassinations of Malcolm X, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.; Vietnam; Watergate; and the youth movement. In contrasting his experiences with those of students today he stated his belief that for many students, no longer is there a locus of ethical values which underlies any consideration of issues or cultural practices. As a society we are moving from a much more comprehensible world to a more fragmented world. Dr. McGowan commented that as a consequence of this, "we (Bellarmine University) have an opportunity (and a duty) in business to be more aggressive in addressing ethical issues." Concerning the issue of integrating ethics and CSR content into an already well-defined course like Principles of Marketing, he reflected that "the more narrowly a discipline is taught, the lesser a product you produce. Further, if done well, it is a distinguishing characteristic. You sacrifice some technical content, but what you sacrifice students can pick up. What you get is a better understanding."

Dr. McGowan's general interest in "ethics across the curriculum" springs from a vision of the university as a contributive yet critical, social institution. He contends that faculty do students a disservice if they do not educate them about culture, its messages and values, and how to be a genuinely happy, well-balanced person. As he stated, "ethics lies at the intersection of our personal and professional relationships." Consequently, he fully supported the endeavor because he sees it as a genuine opportunity for the university to assert this role as an instrument of critical social reflection.

One of our questions raised a difficult issue: "Are you concerned that our students might be less competitive (i.e., less willing to take risks) in the marketplace, given this additional focus on ethics in the business curriculum?" Dr. McGowan responded, "Not if taught in the context of human freedom. Faculty must demand the creation of meaning, making sure students understand the plasma they are a means of challenging the shallowness of contemporary culture." For President McGowan, consideration of ethical and social responsibility issues specific to the discipline of marketing is part of a comprehensive approach to this profession, providing students with a vocabulary for recognizing and responding to issues and opportunities.

A Provost's Perspective

"I don't think ethics are effective as a single course in philosophy. It is necessary to spend more time on what ethics is, but it's more relevant if it is integrated into various courses. Business is not just about making money, it has to also involve social justice, and teach students to be citizens of the world--and the Business curriculum shouldn't be shy about serious content" (Provost John A. Oppelt, Interview 2001).

The Provost of Bellarmine University is Dr. John Oppelt. His concerns were more focused on the institutional identity of the university than with cultural identity. His primary interest was exhibited by his question, "What makes Bellarmine different from other educational institutions?" His answer involves situating Bellarmine firmly within its Catholic liberal arts tradition. To Dr. Oppelt, the curriculum should reflect the traditions and values that constitute the academic heritage of Bellarmine, especially concepts such as "social justice." In his view, the university has a responsibility to model moral behavior by showing an awareness and sensitivity to issues and concerns. To this end, the required ethics course in the core curriculum is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of educating the whole person. It takes more than discussions of theoretical differences to acquaint students to, as he puts it, "the practice of living."

Dr. Oppelt acknowledges that this approach has not always been supported at Bellarmine. In part these changes are a reflection of changes in the faculty composition and of changes to the agendas of the administration and Board of Trustees. As an independent university, Bellarmine struggles with issues of its Catholic identity. "Care of the person," not just teaching students has been developing in recent years. He believes that--far from making students less competitive in the marketplace, this educational philosophy should make them more competitive, and should attract more students to the university. When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of these changes in terms of educational philosophy (e.g. integrating ethics across the curriculum), Dr. Oppelt responded that the greatest potential weaknesses would be to have faculty who are not committed to the program or who take no responsibility for knowing and teaching the value of social justice. He believes that one should be able to include it in the curriculum and contrast it with opposing views even if--especially if--one does not agree with some of its values. This is particularly the case with marketing, which is not simply a course in "how to sell more." There are many issues and implications; the task, Dr. Oppelt believes, is to give students the necessary background and tools for moral decision-making and good behavior. The strength of this program, he argues, is that it gives us a richer, better-defined curriculum, which will motivate and equip students to be better persons. "Introduce students to what it is, why it is important, what happens in its presence/absence, and relation to a good life and creating meaning. Unless a man or woman has thought through these issues, learned to reason ethically and morally, we have failed them" (Oppelt, Interview 2001).

A Dean's Perspective

"Somehow, someway, ethics is business" (Dean Daniel L. Bauer, Interview 2001).

The authors also had the opportunity to interview the Dean of the Rubel School of Business, Dr. Daniel L. Bauer. His attitude toward this initiative was very positive. Not only did he view this as a chance to highlight the liberal arts foundation and social justice tradition of the University, he saw it as an opportunity to view business decision-making in an ethical framework. As Dr. Bauer asserts, "Business really is about ethics." In fact, he mentioned that he would like to see the process begun with the Principles of Marketing course move out into other areas of the business curriculum. The primary strength he cited is the opportunity to provide students with a more well-rounded education, or as he put it, "developing the skills to be a successful, broad-based manager."

Dr. Bauer pointed out that it might be necessary to sacrifice some marketing content by devoting one-third of the course to philosophical discussion and application. The two marketing faculty involved in the project chose to greatly decrease coverage of retailing, wholesaling, and marketing on the Internet to free up the required time for an expanded discussion of ethics and CSR. In addition, they shortened discussions of other marketing principles (e.g., three class periods on consumer behavior became two). It was believed that the strengths from this approach outweigh the weaknesses and would offset any loss of specific content.

During the initial offerings of the newly developed Principles of Marketing course, the decision was made to incorporate, as a part of the assessment process of all business administration students, the ETS Major Field Examination. At present there is insufficient data to answer the question of whether the new course structure has indeed increased student understanding and application of ethical content without sacrificing in-depth knowledge of marketing. As we progress with the experiment the question will be revisited.

Regarding whether or not an emphasis on ethics and CSR might make Bellarmine University's students less competitive in the marketplace (i.e., less willing to take risks), Dr. Bauer pointed out that ethics and risk-taking are fundamentally different. His contention was that over the long-run, corporations sensitive to ethical considerations perform better than others; tracking the performance of "ethical corporations" shows that they out perform their competition. Verschoor (1999) confirms that corporate performance is closely linked to a strong ethical commitment. Dr. Bauer's overarching goal for this project was to provide future managers and leaders with a framework for making good decisions, where "good" is defined not merely as what is prudent, but also sensitive to moral values. From a practical standpoint, Dr. Bauer stated that "on the positive side, our graduates are better-rounded students, broad-based, not specialized, managers. On the negative side, in the Principles of Marketing course, we are giving up one-third of the time spent on marketing."

With the encouragement of the Dean of the Business School, Dr. Bauer, we developed a team-taught approach to the Principles of Marketing course, which involved close collaboration on syllabus planning, course content, topics to be discussed, and grading procedures among all of the faculty involved in the conduct and administration of the various course sections. The result was one-third of the course's in-class time devoted to ethical/CSR issues and decision-making, which is equal to roughly one class period per week (out of three, 50-minute sessions). The content of this aspect of the course included coverage of textbook chapters and course materials with ethics and CSR content, development of a moral decision-making rubric, and several case studies and discussions, many of which highlight current events.


The initial offering of this new Principles of Marketing course took place during the Fall 2001 semester. The two sections' enrollment totaled approximately 40 students. A different marketing faculty headed each section with the same faculty member from the Department of Philosophy serving as co-instructor in both sections. At the completion of the semester, formal evaluation forms were administered to all students. In addition to ratings on a number of questions concerning teaching effectiveness, students were asked to indicate whether each of the four stated course objectives was achieved (see Table 2). Space was also provided for written comments.

On the question, "Overall, I would rate the course ... excellent (5), very good (4), good (3), fair (2), or poor (1)" a combined score of 4.03 was given. Additionally, students overwhelmingly rated the course objectives as met. The faculty interpreted this as a strong showing for a first outing.

Written comments provided by students were also generally supportive. Where concerns were expressed, they tended to bring up issues related to the overwhelming number of assignments/tasks required in the course. Specific comments also pointed to a lack of time rather than a lack of interest in achieving the objectives of the course. After meeting to discuss this feedback, the authors have made some changes in the way the course is both designed and delivered (see Table 3).

The importance of selected components of the course, as reflected in the point value and percentage of each student's final course grade, has been changed. Streamlining the course in terms of folding in-class active learning activities into class participation and eliminating the book review project, allows for a more focused effort to be mounted by students (i.e., a better value to in-class time investment ratio), with the direction of the faculty on their ethics projects. Structural changes in how the course is being delivered are also being pursued. The original design of the course was delivered through three, 50-minute sessions per week. Every third session (i.e., each Friday) dealt with ethical and CSR content. The philosophy professor led these sessions, assisted by the marketing faculty member. Given the amount of marketing material typically covered in the Principles course, taking one-third of a three-credit hour course at regular intervals for the ethics and CSR content sub-optimizes how the material can be presented.

The faculty are currently considering going through the committee approval process to create a zero-credit hour marketing ethics lab (similar to chemistry lab sections students are required to enroll in along with a lecture section) that will meet at select pre-determined times during the semester when the course is next offered. The lab session will focus on connecting and expanding material discussions from the regular class sessions. Continued team planning and pacing of the course will ensure a truly integrated course experience.


Our experience may not resonate with everyone; in particular the level of administrative support we have received makes this endeavor somewhat unique. These justifications are persuasive in part because of the sound philosophical basis to which they appeal, that of applying moral reasoning to the context of contemporary marketing practices, and in part because these justifications come from the administrators themselves. We have been able to establish a firm theoretical and practical basis for integrating ethics and corporate social responsibility into the Principles of Marketing course by linking our initiative to the mission statements of the university and business school, by linking course goals to the objectives of the curriculum adopted by the faculty and administration, and by allowing the administration to articulate to us their own educational philosophy and concerns.

In addition to the recommendations above, derived in part from an extensive literature review by Bishop (1992) and writings by Bok (1988), we offer the following advice to professors and administrators seeking to integrate a greater degree of ethical and corporate social responsibility content in their Principles of Marketing course:

* Reinforce the belief that being an ethical marketer is a prerequisite to being a competent marketer.

* Equip students to recognize ethical dilemmas when they arise.

* Build from a solid general education foundation, where possible, through which students develop a broad sense of humanity and a generalizable critical thought process.

* Blend both philosophical theory and practice into the teaching of ethics and CSR.

* Reinforce students' existing value systems.

* Create "conscious conflicts" that cause students to examine decisions in light of their own beliefs.

* Present students with the opportunity to consider multiple ethical/CSR issues and applications.

* Present students with ethical issues that they are likely to face in the early stages of their marketing and business careers.

* Focus much of the effort on getting students to recognize ethical issues rather than to make the "right" decisions.

* Encourage students to develop perceptiveness and analytical skills.

* Differentiate between acting legally and acting ethically and responsibly.

* Teach ethics and CSR, rather than preach them.

The effectiveness of this modification to the Business School curriculum is evident on many levels. First, there has been an obvious deepening of understanding by students of marketing, and that there is an ethical dimension to decision-making. The inclusion of a broader coverage of ethical and CSR issues contributes significantly to each student's grasp of social forces which are influencing contemporary marketing environments. Second, the applied ethics discussions and assignments, with our emphasis on case-studies, provides students with first-hand knowledge of both excellent and poor marketing strategies and methods of decision-making. Exposure to cases gives students the opportunity to explore alternative responses to decisions in scenarios which hindsight reveals were overlooked or ill-conceived, and better prepares the students to recognize situations which warrant ethical considerations. Third, the existence of ethical considerations in the accreditation standards of the AACSB is itself a testimony to the growing importance of corporate ethics and social responsibility to the academic education of future business administration leaders. This account of the justification and development of our interdisciplinary effort is useful not only because it demonstrates some of the philosophical underpinnings for integrating ethics and corporate social responsibility content across the curriculum, but also because it recounts some of the most persuasive arguments for promoting this type of project in a university curriculum.


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Michael R. Luthy, Bellarmine University Julie Toner Schrader, Bellarmine University Barry L. Padgett, Bellarmine University
Table 1: University and Business School Mission Statements

Bellarmine University Mission Statement

"Bellarmine University serves Kentucky and the region by providing an
educational environment of academic excellence in the Catholic liberal
arts tradition, where talented and diverse persons of all faiths and
ages develop the intellectual, moral, and professional competencies to
lead, to serve, and make a living and a life worth living."

W. Fielding Rubel School of Business Mission Statement

"The mission of the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business is to provide
student centered, quality education in the Catholic liberal arts
tradition at the Undergraduate and Masters levels. The School is
enriched by the diverse intellectual perspectives inherent in the
overall mission of Bellarmine University."

Table 2: Principles of Marketing Course Objectives and Outcomes

 Percent of
 Stating Link to
 Objective University Goals
Objectives Achieved and Expectations

Develop a more thorough 93% Historical and Social
understanding of marketing Consciousness
planning, implementation, and Communications Skills
control issues as well as Comprehensive
demonstrate the ability to Integration
identify the salient factors
influencing marketing by
studying and applying textbook
concepts, class discussions,
and analysis of marketing

Explore the social and ethical Philosophical
implications of marketing Foundation
decisions. Gain an appreciation 91% A Commitment to Virtue
of the interdisciplinary nature Thinking Skills
of most business relationships Comprehensive
and the connection between Integration
marketing and the other
functional disciplines through
refinement and application of
management and financial
concepts and methods in
marketing decision-making.

Experience a variety of domestic 91% Historical and Social
and international problem Consciousness
situations commonly encountered Thinking Skills
in marketing management and Communications Skills
gain a comprehensive
understanding of the scope of
marketing decision-making and
how consumer behavior varies
among individuals, subcultures,
and cultures.

Improve interpersonal 88% Thinking Skills
communication, writing, Communications Skills
analytical, and logical
reasoning skills through
preparation for, and
participation in, class
discussions, examinations,
case evaluations, and case

Source: B.A. 305, Principles of Marketing Course Syllabus, Fall 2001.

Table 3: Comparison of Techniques and Grading

 Fall 2001 Next
Techniques Offering Offering

Examinations: (individual)

 Midterm 1 (1/2 application-oriented 100 No change
 multiple choice questions, 1/2 essays
 involving problem solving, critical
 thinking, synthesis questions)

 Midterm 2 (1/2 application-oriented 100 No change
 multiple choice questions, 1/2 essays
 involving problem solving, critical
 thinking, synthesis questions)

 Comprehensive Final Exam (1/2 multiple 200 No change
 choice, 1/2 take-home case analysis.

Marketing Ethics Project: (Teams of two)

 Ten page paper and in-class presentation 200 Increased to
 on controversial marketing ethics topic. 400 Points
 One person from each team will research
 the positive side of the topic while the
 other person will research the negative
 side of the topic.

In-Class Assignments: (Individual)

 Active-learning assignments including 100 Made part of
 exercises, reaction papers to videos or participation
 guest speakers, and cases from the

Book Review: (Individual)

 Each student will read a popular press 75 Dropped
 book pertaining to some aspect of
 marketing and then present a summary to
 the class.

Class Participation: (Individual)

 All students are expected to have read 50 100
 the chapters and cases BEFORE class and
 are expected to take an ACTIVE role in
 class discussions, in-class projects, and
 case analyses. Both quality and quantity
 of participation will be factored into
 the grade. Integration of knowledge with
 past experience, job performance, and
 course material is particularly

Total Points Possible 825 900
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Author:Luthy, Michael R.; Toner Schrader, Julie; Padgett, Barry L.
Publication:Academy of Marketing Studies Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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