Encouraging ethical decision-making in business

    Photo of Rick Revoir

    Photo of Rick Revoir

    Rick Revoir has created a way to help businesses and individuals make ethical decisions.

    Revoir, associate professor of management in the School of Business and Technology, has created a Massive Open Online Course or MOOC about ethical decision-making in business. MOOCs have created headlines because they are free of charge and open to everyone. Revoir's MOOC is online at go.css.edu/learn. It provides a decision-making model for students to learn and apply, as well as introduces assignments and exercises that incorporate St. Scholastica's Benedictine values into its curriculum.

    "Our students and people in the workforce face complicated decisions every day," said Revoir. "This course helps increase ethical awareness, and strengthens their skills in ethical decision-making. It explains what companies are doing to encourage ethical decision-making in the workplace."

    The MOOC includes a unit based on work by Gary Boelhower, professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. Scholastica. His contribution comes from a traditional approach: writing a book.

    His new book, "Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions," offers a model for wise decision-making based on five principles woven throughout the major religions of the world.

    "There are common principles at the heart of our human knowing of what's most important," Boelhower said. "Even though there are differences in doctrines and theologies, when it comes down to how we practice, what we do day to day, there is a common foundation of values shared across cultures and religions. The five principles get at that."

    Revoir, who is director of the Sandbulte Center for Ethical Leadership, notes that the course is just the second business ethics MOOC to be offered in the country. The initiative was supported by a $10,000 grant from the C. Charles Jackson Foundation as well as funding from St. Scholastica's School of Business and Technology.

    The MOOC explores the habits of strong ethical leaders, as well as personal values and corporate values. He incorporates the "FIORD" method to help with wise decision-making. FIORD is an acronym for: analyzing Facts, Issues, Options (and consequences), making a Recommendation and Defending that recommendation.

    "It's a helpful model for people to deal with ethical dilemmas and complicated decisions," he said.

    The self-paced course is designed to be completed in eight weeks. Students can register through Oct. 1. Those who successfully finish the MOOC will receive a certificate of completion to add to their resume and/or social media profiles.

    Revoir adds that it's beneficial to have other decision-making models to use, such as the one Boelhower introduces in his book. The five principles for wise decision-making in "Choose Wisely" are: respect all persons, appreciate the wholeness of being human, recognize the interconnectedness of all reality, value inner wisdom and personal experience, and attend to preservation and transformation.

    Boelhower has written many scholarly articles on integrating values. His book is the culmination of many years of research and exploration on the topic.

    "I'm not pretending to say this is the model everybody should use to make ethical decisions," Boelhower said. "Rather, I hope that this model gets people thinking about their own most important principles and values so we all become more intentional about the process of ethical decision-making."