Business Ethics Education as Transformative:
the Jesuit Tradition
A keynote address with
Dr. Brian Steverson
John L. Aram Chair of Business Ethics
If you were unable to attend the lecture
Click here to view the recording!
In honor of Gonzaga University's 125th Anniversary and the celebration's theme of Tradition and Transformation, Dr. Steverson will present this year's lecture.
In the years following the onset of the financial crisis, Americans are still searching for answers. A story in the New York Times placed at least some of the blame on MBA programs across the country (Holland, "Is it Time to Retrain B-Schools?" March 15, 2009). According to Angel Cabrera, dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management,
It is so obvious that something big has failed. We can look the other way, but come on. The CEO's of those companies, those are the people we used to brag about. We cannot say, "Well, it wasn't our fault" when there is such a systemic, widespread failure of leadership.
What should be done? Make business schools more Jesuit! Catholic moral philosophy has a seven century tradition of attention to the ethical foundation of economic and business activity. That philosophical tradition is strikingly evident in the Jesuit tradition of business education.
Jesuit "B-Schools" have labored for decades to educate business leaders who see business as the pivotal social institution that it is and themselves as stewards concerned with structuring those institutions to serve the common good. At its very heart, the Jesuit tradition of business education is transformative, both of individuals and, through the efforts of its graduates, business institutions as well.
Dr. Steverson will trace the history and nature of this distinctively Jesuit model of business education, discuss its emphasis on personal and institutional transformation, and offer some suggetsions for how to make all business education "more Jesuit."
Dr. Steverson came to Gonzaga in 1992 after earning his Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1991 and spending four years in the Philosophy Department of Xavier University of Louisiana located in New Orleans. Until 2008, he was a member of the Philosophy Department in the College of Arts & Sciences before assuming the John L. Aram Chair in Business Ethics in the Fall of 2008. He has been teaching Business Ethics and related courses for 22 years.
Dr. Steverson currently serves on the following committees and professional education roles:
- Hospice of Spokane Ethics Committee
- Ethics CPE Provider: Washington State Board of Accountancy and Northwest Chapter of Fraud Examiners
Dr. Steverson's publications include:
"Vulnerable Values Argument for Professionalization of Business Management," Business & Professional Ethics Journal
"Temporary Employment and the Social Contract," The Online Journal of Ethics I, St. Thomas University, later anthologized in Business Ethics for the 21st Century.
John L. Aram
The Aram Lecture on Business Ethics is a keynote address given each year by a visiting lecturer invited by Gonzaga University's John L. Aram Professor of Business Ethics. The professorship, held by Dr. Brian Steverson, was established in honor of John Aram, a Gonzaga trustee and benefactor, to give students greater awareness of the ethical dilemmas faced by decision makers in business and government.
John Aram's long and dedicated service to the forest industry spurred Weyerhaeuser Company, Boise Cascade Corporation, Potlatch Corporation, the George F. Jewett Foundation, and many industry associates and friends to establish the professorship in business ethics at Gonzaga. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose life exemplified a commitment to ethical values in both his business and personal endeavors.
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