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Your Turn First, Do Not Cheat A profoundly disturbing finding emerged from a recent survey of graduate business students: Over half admit- ted to cheating during the course of their programs. That statistic about academic dishonesty was published last year by Donald L. McCabe, Kenneth D. Butterfield, and Linda Klebe Treviño, and it compounds the damage inflicted by the spate of corporate scandals over the past decade. No wonder the general public wonders if cheating in busi- ness is the exception or the norm, or if anyone in business is a person of integrity. As a former CEO who is now a business school dean and company director, I ask a crucial question. If business schools do not take the lead on teaching integrity, who will? Many argue that it is unreason- able to expect business schools to teach integrity, given that typical MBA students come to us as fully formed adults in their mid-to-late 20s, and most already have had an average of five years' work experi- ence. But businesspeople know through their experiences, and academics through their research, that integrity is the essential foun- dation of a successful career. If we are not doing our best to instill it and nurture it, then we are not serving our students or the com- munity. If business schools want to be at the forefront of keeping business ethical, we have to take action ourselves. Here are some suggestions: Don't admit cheaters. A critical find- ing of the academic dishonesty study is that observed peer behavior is the single most important fac- tor in explaining why MBAs cheat. 68 BizEd JULY/AUGUST 2007 by Steve Jones Because this means that one student who violates the rules can influ- ence many others, we need to keep bad eggs out. Virtually all business schools require students to reveal past criminal convictions, and most also require them to disclose prior disciplinary sanctions. The critical question is what schools do with this information. I don't advo- cate that schools automatically reject anyone with a ques- tionable past, but I do urge schools to scrutinize such applicants with much more rigor. In particular, admin- istrators should require such stu- dents to provide a detailed account of any transgressions, with appropriate documentation. They should also make sure students undergo extensive interviews with the admissions office to demonstrate their commitment to honor. Any doubts pertaining to applicants should be resolved before admission. Encourage faculty to play a greater role Steve Jones action, when necessary, before they leave school. Second, faculty should routinely WE SHOULD TEACH OUR expose students to the idea that there is more to business than maxi- mizing shareholder wealth. I don't mean that professors should espouse a particular corporate philosophy. I do suggest that, as part of a proper business educa- tion, faculty should present students with a variety of theories about what constitutes good corporate behavior, including careful attention to cus- tomers, employees, and communities. If faculty do this job well, they will assist students in carrying honor from the classroom to the boardroom. Make ethics courses STUDENTS PRIMA HONESTAS, OR "FIRST, ACT WITH INTEGRITY." mandatory. For almost 30 years, my school has required all MBA students to take a business in promoting integrity. Faculty carry at least two important responsibilities. First, they must clearly establish that they will not allow cheating in their classrooms, and they must follow their words with action whenever they detect improper behavior. We can't control what students do after they graduate, but we can leave no doubt that we will take disciplinary ethics course. We understand that simply preaching about corporate social responsibility to 27- to 30- year-old graduate students isn't enough to produce highly ethical business people. Instead, we must expose students to real-life examples of complex corporate dilemmas, including many where there is no "right" answer, to help them iden- tify the ethical challenges they will face in corporate life. The key is to arm them with the skills to identify critical ethical issues and to use a thoughtful, fair approach to resolve

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