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Challenging the 'million zeros': the importance of imagination for business ethics education

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Volume138
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)39-51
Publication statusPublished
Early online date3/04/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Despite increasing presence of 'ethics talk' in business and management curricula, the ability of business ethics educators to question the system and support the development of morally responsible agents is debatable. This is not because of a lack of care or competence; rather, this situation points towards a more general tendency of education to become focused on economic growth, as Nussbaum (2010) claims. Revisiting the nature of ethics education, I argue that much moral learning occurs through the imagination, and not solely through the rational mind. Individuals are complex, and a great part of what we are lies below the threshold of consciousness. In this respect, ethics education must take into account the psyche and its influence on conscious behaviour, which can best be apprehended through the imagination. Echoing Jung's concerns about unconscious and indiscriminate masses (the 'million zeros' of the title), I thus explore how imagination and creative material contribute to enhancing both self-knowledge and ethical reflection in the context of organisational life and business education. I especially consider how moral development and social awareness are tied up with individual psychological understanding, and argue that Jung's analytical psychology offers insightful tools to explore our individuality.