Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Business ethics education and Mezirow's transformative learning theory
by Herseth, Todd L., Ed.D., University of South Dakota, 2016, 114; 10131552
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to determine if using intentional, transformational learning strategies in an undergraduate business ethics course improved the curriculum with respect to targeted, student learning outcomes. Since business schools have a social mandate to provide opportunities for ethical growth and development, improving the efficacy of business ethics education is of paramount importance. The importance of this mandate has been further highlighted in recent years by egregious instances of misconduct by business professionals whose actions have had obvious and profoundly negative impacts upon the stability of our financial systems and state of the world economy.

This was a quasi-experimental, quantitative study conducted at a university of approximately 8,000 students. The focus of the study was to measure the effects of intentional, transformational learning strategies on the occurrence of transformational learning and cognitive moral development among students enrolled in the university's online business ethics course. The intentional, transformational learning strategies utilized were those identified by David Warren Keller in a 2007 study and adapted to an online learning environment. The correlation between epistemological development based on the Perry Scheme (of William G. Perry Jr.) and the occurrence of transformational learning was also examined in this study.

While this curricular intervention was not found to have had a statistically significant impact on the targeted outcomes, a statistically significant correlation was observed between epistemological development and transformational learning. A principle conclusion of the researcher is that the online learning environment is the most likely explanation for the difference in the efficacy of the curricular intervention when comparing the results of the Keller study to the current study due to the affective dimensions of the student learning experience (central to transformational learning) in the online learning environment and the limitations inherent therein, which are detailed in the study. Finally, the correlation observed between epistemological development and transformational learning, while statistically significant, was inconclusive due to the absence of additional correlations which would have been expected, yet merits further study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Baron, Mark
Commitee: Bjordal, Gary, Card, Karen, Santo, Susan
School: University of South Dakota
Department: Educational Administration
School Location: United States -- South Dakota
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Business education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Business, Curriculum, Ethics, Instruction, Mezirow, Transformational
Publication Number: 10131552
ISBN: 978-1-339-89344-0
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