The current tensions around teaching moral formation through character education can be traced back to a long-standing struggle between the political, religious, and secular groups who have each waxed and waned in public favor and credibility. Yet, despite the challenge of association, there is a clear need for democratic societies to cultivate citizens who are civically minded and educated to seek solutions that empower human flourishing and the common good. Further, our business leaders, as foundational to the success of our economy, must be educated to view their business actions through a lens of ethics and to build companies that contribute to the social good. This paper argues that it is necessary to move beyond the tensions of how and if character education has a place, and to recognize the implications and shortfalls of our current system. Business students should be given the benefit of a curriculum infused with morally grounded teaching that prepares them to lead ethical and civically responsible businesses.
character education, business education, business ethics, civic responsibility, social good
Christine Beech teaches business in the graduate school at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and is a student at the University of Birmingham where she is pursuing continuing studies in character and virtue education. She holds a doctorate in business management from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC).