The key to teaching business ethics successfully, says Sims, is to start with clear goals and a sensible expectation of outcomes, and with a true knowledge and appreciation of how people actually learn. Seems obvious enough, he says, but the surprise is that so few understand this. Thus, the teaching of business ethics is often an unproductive, frustrating exercise in futility. Sims hopes to change that. Proceeding with the conviction that open communications between teacher and student before, during, and after the teaching experience is vital, Sims identifies key teaching processes, gives practical advice on designing and planning the curriculum, and offers guidance on how to develop a climate conducive to effective learning. He highlights the importance of creating a classroom climate that encourages open dialogue, good moral conversation, and conversational learning. And throughout he emphasizes that learning styles and experiential learning theory are cornerstones of teaching business ethics, thus taking an approach unlike any in the literature. An important guide for those who are new to teaching this essential subject, Sims’ book will also be helpful for more experienced teachers who are wondering why their own methods do not always work, or do not work as well as they believe they should.
Sims identifies important processes that must be managed if business ethics is to be taught and learned successfully—processes such as creating stakeholder commitment to the goals, purposes, and outcomes of the teaching effort, and curriculum design and planning that are attuned to individual differences in learning styles, motivation, and values. Also included in Sims’ processes are the development of individual school outcomes, and expectations, and the assessment procedures that can measure them. He discusses the importance of incorporating debriefing into an experiential learning exercise or discussion, and goes on to give an in-depth discussion of the pedagogical approaches that allow teachers to teach the practical and theoretical components of the subject simultaneously. Well illustrated with examples, such as an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and a way to institutionalize outcomes assessment by means of total quality management, Sims’ book returns constantly to his major theme: that to teach business ethics effectively the teacher must first create a climate of trust and sharing within and between students, and between students and teacher, and that the teacher must have a concrete way to measure the impact of the teaching effort’s results.