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The Effect of Live Theatre on Business Ethics

Amy David, Amanda S. Mayes () and Elizabeth C. Coppola
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Amy David: Purdue University
Amanda S. Mayes: Purdue University
Elizabeth C. Coppola: Purdue University

Humanistic Management Journal, 2020, vol. 5, issue 2, No 5, 215-230

Abstract: Abstract While many authors have theorized about the ability of the humanities to enhance business ethics education, scant empirical work exists to support this speculation. We therefore conduct a study to measure the impact of a live theatre performance on ethical reasoning. We asked students to analyze an ethically-laden historical disaster scenario both before and after attending a performance featuring related narrative themes. Our hypothesis is that attending a live performance would cause students to take a more ethical view of an industrial disaster case study. Results show support for the notion that live theatre may impact individuals’ ethical decision-making as applied to a representative business case. Specifically, we found a significant difference in what parties students hold responsible, what actions students think should have been taken, and how cultural norms affect students’ perceptions of ethical obligations. We therefore suggest that live theatre may be a novel pedagogical tool in business ethics education.

Keywords: Humanities; Management; Theatre; Teaching ethics; Application of ethics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s41463-020-00081-y

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