It’s no longer enough to teach what will make a business successful. Highlighting new trends in our society, business schools are now adding a heavier dose of ethics. They study the well-known problems of Uber, Wells Fargo and the NFL, for example, and besides finance, marketing and economics, they are including behavioral psychology and discussing the responsibility of businesses. That is in part because shareholders are now expecting companies to exercise social responsibility. And in turn more and more MBA students are interested in including these concerns to their understanding of their future role. Business schools throughout the country are accordingly therefore changing their curricula and have reinstated what had been omitted in the recent past. The #MeToo movement has strengthened the trend and sexual harassment is also the topic of some courses, courses which can sound more like classes in human nature than in business practices.
Certainly the willingness of businesses and corporations to address ethical issues and social responsibility is being done to maintain the bottom line. Companies large and small see including them as being in their best interest. Nevertheless it is burrowing these inclusions deeper into the general culture and further legitimizing them. If so, my fear that this may only be a fad may end up having no standing.