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Doing Business with the Community:
Business Ethics/Case Studies

What makes a company successful and what obligations do companies have to the communities in which they reside? Management professor Mary-Ellen Boyle helps students answer these questions firsthand in her Business Ethics course. Throughout this upper-level management course — which is only open to juniors and seniors — students analyze the social, political, technological and ethical issues confronting modern corporations and their managers. Through readings, case studies and their own group projects, students examine the relationship between organizations and their many stakeholders, including a careful analysis of managerial values and ethics.

According to Boyle the course is always "evolving" as is the Management Department's approach to service learning and ethics education. She explains, "In the recently revised curriculum we have created an introductory course, The Art and Science of Management, which starts students with a simple service project and introduces the idea of business ethics as part of a holistic approach to management. Then we'll revisit these areas in our 200 [upper level] level classes, to be followed by a culminating project in the capstone class senior year where they learn about corporate social responsibility, business policy and competitive analysis. I think this will be an educationally sound way to teach our students about the importance of business and the impact of community service."

Teams of active learners

Working in project teams is among the assignments in the courseā€¹and plans for future courses in this area. Students groups of three or four become mini-consulting teams. They do everything from identifying a client in Clark's community to a needs analysis to completion of a marketing plan. For example, one project team, who chose a new local business, Tammy's Salon and Spa, met with the salon owner multiple times to brainstorm about ways to help her business grow, then presented their proposals and followed through by implementing some of their ideas. Today, Tammy's has new brochures, signage and its own Web site thanks to the work of these Clark "consultants." Read more about their project.

According to Jason Green '05, a management and economics major, "This course is not just about creating successful businesses, it's about using all the tools we have learned as management majors during our time at Clark to help local businesses — to help members of the community. That's the real ethical lesson of the course."

 

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Additional Resources
Business Ethics Home
Interview with the Professor
Interview with Students
Inside a Team Project
Course Structure
Course Syllabus
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Management Professor Mary-Ellen Boyle

Candace Reddy, a member of one of the student "consulting" teams

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