Behavior is the measure of integrity

How can non-ethical people and institutions teach Ethics? They cannot, or actually, they should not.  And before you jump on me to ask me how I define “non-ethical”, let’s take the easiest interpretation: conflicts of interest, financials, legals.

In my semester’s assignment, as part of my MSc on Educational Leadership, I researched how Ethics are integrated in MBA programs. A common element that most program managers mentioned is the need for their institutions to demonstrate integrity, so that the Schools functions as a “role-model” for their students. Processes, transparency, Codes of Ethics, Ethics Committees etc are just some of the internal practices that support this objective.

A new blog called “Sounding Board” started by Jane Robbins tries to discuss issues that arise within higher education institutions around the institution’s practices and processes. As she says:

it was not enough to comment after-the-fact; it feels too much like trying to treat a preventable disease at an advanced stage, like trying to get the proverbial horse back in the barn. I began to feel that, like ethical behavior itself, something more active—and proactive—was needed.  We needed an anticipatory ethics.
After a few days, loads of very interesting questions have started to come up, such as:
– Should Professors teach using their own textbooks? Under which criteria?
I fully agree when she also says “Behavior is the measure of integrity. We can say we have high standards, or the best students, but if we cheat on that for own interest, and don’t defend our standards, then our behavior conflicts with our espoused values, and is bound to harm others. Eventually, we may harm ourselves, in the form of lost trust from those who count on us for the very things we are set up—and claim—to do.”
I would add a couple more questions for reflection
  • Is paying for education ethical? Doesn’t payment create an expectation for satisfaction with the “service” offered
  • How about student recruitment and selection? Do we recruit people that we know they will do well in their studies and careers either way, in order to then be able to “showcase” them as successful Alumni and therefore attract more students, again select the best of the best, increase tuition etc?
I would love to hear your views.

What do you think?

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