Developing Moral Muscle in a Literature-Based Business Ethics Course

Brokerhof, I.M., Sucher, S., Bal, M. , Hakemulder, F., Jansen, P.G.W. and Solinger, O.N. (2022) Developing Moral Muscle in a Literature-Based Business Ethics Course. Academy of Management Learning & Education . ISSN 1537-260X

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Developing Moral Muscle in a Literature-Based Business Ethics Course
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Moral subjectivity (e.g., reflexivity, perspective-taking) is a necessary condition for moral development. However, widely used approaches to business ethics education, rooted in conceptualizations of ethical development as objective and quantifiable, often neglect students’ subjective involvement in moral matters. In this case study we investigated subjective aspects of moral development of MBA students in a business ethics course using an alternative pedagogy based on world literature as course material. The findings elucidated that the use of literary narratives stimulated the development of “moral muscle,” a dynamic moral capability that needs to be developed through regular reflection and practice. Additionally, the development of moral muscle during the course showed heterogeneity among students, with different starting positions, learning routes, and end states of their moral development. The findings contribute to a new theoretical understanding of moral development as a dynamic process – as moral muscle – with different individual change trajectories, and shed new light on how the use of literary narratives in business ethics education can stimulate this development.

Keywords:Fiction, Business Ethics, Moral Development
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N200 Management studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:47597
Deposited On:21 Dec 2021 10:52

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