University of Virginia Darden School of Business Ranked No. 1 in Business Ethics

20 January 2012

Research published in the December 2011 issue of the academic journal Business & Society recognizes the University of Virginia Darden School of Business as the leading MBA program in the field of Business Ethics.

The findings are based on a survey administered to 320 business ethics scholars from across the world. Participants included members of the European Academy of Business in Society, the Society for Business Ethics, the European Business Ethics Network, the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management and the International Association for Business and Society.

The University of Virginia Darden School received 57 votes and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School received 56 votes — a statistical tie.

The article — by Chad Albrecht of Utah State University, Jeffrey A. Thompson of Brigham Young University and Jeffrey L. Hoopes of the University of Michigan — recognizes Darden and Wharton as “clear leaders in the field of business ethics,” which “share the pinnacle of the field with no close contenders.” The next highest vote total was 24, received by Harvard University.

Commenting on the findings of this research, University Professor R. Edward Freeman said that he attributes Darden’s prominence in the field of business ethics to three factors: a long-standing emphasis on ethics at the University of Virginia and the Darden School; an approach that both recognizes ethics as a core discipline of business and also integrates ethics across the School’s MBA curriculum; and the continuing innovation of faculty at the School.

“Darden was an early leader in the field,” says Freeman. “We were the first top MBA program to have a required and graded course in business ethics. When the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics was founded in 1966, this was also a first at a major institution. Under the leadership of Darden Professor Alec Horniman, its first director, the Olsson Center gained prominence as a world-class research center in the field.”

The current director of the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics, Professor Andrew Wicks, says that the Ruffin Lecture Series held at Darden helped to build and sustain the field of Business Ethics before it was such a widely held discipline. “Darden really helped to foster a broader community of business ethics scholars over the last 25 years,” says Wicks. “The Ruffin Lectures brought current and future leaders in the field together in one place — they created enormous value for the faculty of the Darden School and for faculty at other institutions, especially those that were on the fence about the lasting importance of the discipline.”

Others view Darden’s strength in ethics as a springboard for further innovation in business education. “The public’s expectations of business continue to evolve and it is a given that emerging business leaders will have unprecedented challenges and opportunities with respect to social issues,” says Dean Krehmeyer, executive director of the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics. The Institute, which is housed at Darden, was formed in partnership with Business Roundtable — an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees.

“The CEOs of Business Roundtable companies are very engaged with developing the next generation of leaders,” says Krehmeyer. “They view the knowledge that Darden and the Institute are creating around key issues like public trust in business, short-termism and ethical leadership as critical to the success of their businesses in creating long-term, sustainable value.”

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia