When it comes to religion and business ethics, Catholic Schools have a uniquely important position in that they are institutions generally founded in support of religious values which in turn supposedly impact the content and method of teaching of business (and business ethics). Catholic business schools claim to have a distinctiveness which gives them an advantage over non-Catholic business schools (Spitzer, 2010; Lowney, 2012). It is clear that Catholic schools are better than their peers at providing business ethics education in their curriculum. But it also appears that many Catholic business schools and departments consider their business ethics education one of the most important Catholic distinctives. However, merely having a business ethics class is not enough to distinguish one from a secular business school. This paper is primarily a presentation of the findings of our research survey on Catholic Social Teaching in Catholic business schools completed in the Fall of 2014. We proposed to collect data from 50 Catholic colleges and Universities using a series of 30 questions. Our study shows that there are some distinctive programs and methods by which Catholic Business Schools are integrating faith with business, but for many of these schools, the following traits seemed to be characteristic:
- Business Ethics classes were considered to be the key location of any Catholic Social Teaching in the business school
- Many Catholic business schools assume that the Catholic identity is taught through core non-business classes.
- At most of the schools, a very small minority of faculty were considered capable of speaking about Catholic Social Thought.
- In terms of self-perception of how their institution was improving their distinctive Catholic identity, nearly 2/3 of the schools thought they were improving, and about 2/3 thought they were doing better than other Catholic Business Schools.
- Generally, uniquely Catholic mission goals for education like “Change Unity of Heart, Mind and Soul” or “Care for the individual person” scored more poorly than “Producing employable graduates” or “Cultivating innovative problem-solvers”
While Catholic Business Schools do much better than their peers at requiring business ethics classes, by and large it seems that the Catholic identity of many of these business schools is in many cases maintained and promoted primarily by requiring business ethics classes.
Gustafson, Andrew B. and McCarville, Matthew
"Catholic Social Thought in Catholic Business Schools in the U.S. Today: A Survey and Conclusions,"
Journal of Religion and Business Ethics: Vol. 4
, Article 2.
Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/jrbe/vol4/iss1/2