Learning from Greek philosophers: the foundations and structural conditions of ethical training in business schools

Sandrine Fremeaux, Grant Michelson*, Christine Noël-Lemaitre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


There is an extensive body of work that has previously examined the teaching of ethics in business schools whereby it is hoped that the values and behaviours of students might be provoked to show positive and enduring change. Rather than dealing with the content issues of particular business ethics courses per se, this article explores the philosophical foundations and the structural conditions for developing ethical training programs in business schools. It is informed by historical analysis, specifically, an examination of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies that inspires virtue ethics, and together provides four conditions for consideration: respect for law, dialectics, imitation and deliberation. We outline the necessary structural conditions for implementing these requirements as well as suggesting the necessary pedagogical protocol applicable to all courses. It is argued that reference to our two ancient Greek philosophers provide many valuable and insightful lessons for the implementation of ethical training today including choice of theoretical content and the approach towards learning. Further, the enactment of a pedagogical protocol requires a policy of recruiting and managing business school teachers-instructors that takes into account, and consciously encourages, intellectual, relational and spiritual pedagogical qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date5 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2018


  • Aristotle
  • Business ethics
  • Business schools
  • Pedagogy
  • Plato
  • Teaching methods
  • Virtue ethics


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