Chapter 6: Business education: do values make a difference?
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Prior research has identified a pronounced self-orientation in students of business and economics. This article examines if such effects can be alleviated by a focus on prosocial values in business education. Based on a cross-sectional design, we test prosocial behavior and values of bachelor students in the first and last semester of a traditional 3-year business administration program and make a comparison to students from an ethically oriented management school and a social work program of equal length. We measured prosocial behavior through the amount of money shared in a dictator game. Here Students of business administration show less prosocial behavior than students in the other two groups. This effect increases at the end of their program. We used the Schwartz Value Survey to measure prosocial values, the Inglehart Index to measure materialistic orientation, and a scale for preferences for distributive justice principles to measure attitudes towards justice. Students in the three disciplines strongly differ in prosocial values but no significant difference arises because of education measured by differences between the first and last semester of the same discipline. We find no evidence for self-oriented behavior transmission through self-oriented values emended in traditional business education curriculum. Instead, students seem to self-select into disciplines according to their personal and preexisting inclinations.

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