Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, reflects on business ethics in his recent commentary. Gregg explores the presence of business ethics courses in business schools; however, with the large presence of business ethics courses we still have a lack of ethics present in business. The lack of ethics in business became a major factor in our current financial crisis. Gregg further explains that business is not just about management or the business ethics that are taught, but businessmen and women need to also learn stewardship:
Business, however, is about more than management. It also involves stewardship (inasmuch as managers have moral and fiduciary responsibilities to their clients and investors) and entrepreneurship – the actual creation of wealth. Many business leaders would be shocked to discover that studying entrepreneurship remains optional in many business schools today.
This underlines another problem for some business schools. It’s not clear that all business professors are convinced of the morality of economies based on free enterprise, limited government, and rule of law. This ambivalence cannot help but be communicated to their students, which they take with them into the marketplace. It is very difficult for business schools to teach the moral habits associated with successful business when many business professors regard private enterprise and markets as, at best, useful but morally-insignificant phenomena.
Gregg also makes references it Pope Benedict XVI’s new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, to demonstrate the need for morality in business:
Hence, though Benedict speaks approvingly of the rise in ethics-consciousness in the worlds of finance and business, he cautions that simply attaching the label “ethical” to a given enterprise tells us nothing about the actual morality of its practices. What ultimately matters, the Pope affirms, is the precise vision of morality – and therefore the understanding of the human person – informing not simply a particular business, but the entire economy (CV 45).