New chair gives Haskayne a conscience

The University of Calgary is hoping ethical concerns don’t take a backseat to profit margins with the creation of the first Chair in Business Ethics.

Working in collaboration with the Haskayne School of Business and the Department of Philosophy, Dr. Gregory Daneke will occupy the new Faculty of Humanities chair.

“The chair’s designed to be sort of a bridge point,” said Daneke, stressing his hopes to see connections between the business and philosophy departments as well as industry. Ethical debate has been a mainstay of medical and law students for years, but has not been as strong in most business curriculums, said Daneke, adding ethical questions have recently assumed new importance thanks to technological developments and corporate scandals.

“Ultimately it’s going to be business students making these decisions,” he said. “The problem is the technology is moving faster than we can have these debates.”

Pointing to ethical concerns around technological developments like genetic engineering, stem cell research and file-sharing, Daneke stressed the need for students to question their own values first and then apply that to their life and work decisions.

“Students think in terms of grandiose choices, not in terms of the little choices they can make right now,” he said. “We sort of defer this responsibility until our lives are engineered around us and then we don’t know how to get out. It’s better to decide now what kind of life you’d prefer to have and then make decisions around that.”

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