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Appears in:
Pages: 910-917
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

RELEVANT APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS TO CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN KENYA

P. Oluoch

Strathmore University (KENYA)
In his book, The Trouble with Nigeria, Chinua Achebe says, “Nigeria has many thoughtful men and women of conscience, a large number of talented people. Why is it then that all these patriots make so little impact on the life of our nation? Why is it that our corruption, gross inequalities, our noisy vulgarities, our selfishness, our ineptitude seem so much stronger than the good influences at work in our society? Why do all the good among us seem so helpless while the worst are full of vile energy?” This is an ethical dilemma, not only in Nigeria but also in Kenya and other African countries today.

As we grapple with issues of development in Kenya and in Africa at large, we need to place these issues in the appropriate and relevant historical and social context. This context has been determined by the encounter of cultural and ethical paradigms (Indigenous African, European, Indian and Arabic), that many observers and critics are inherently at divergence about. The paradigms exist, and the social reality is that they do co-exist. The rift between traditional African life and modernity implicitly shows what maybe is, the core problem of Africa: the rift between traditional African life and modernity (Kigongo, James 1989).

Generally speaking Africans know how to enjoy life. They live in the present. They enjoy the group they are part of. Family loyalty, respect for the elderly and for those of high status and authority is paramount. The individual is submerged in the group, participating in deeply rooted traditions. Personal face to face presence goes before regulations. There is always time. And the enjoyment of the communal spirit also takes time. It is allowed to interrupt any other activities. And such a communal spirit also implies divisions between us and them, tribal factions, clientele or patronage systems. Such a value system clashes with the values of modernity, inevitably (Otto, Kroesen November 2009). The Western educational system, on which the teaching of Business Ethics is based, introduces “modernity” in Africa. Planning, individualism, competition, a sequential ordering of time, becoming interchangeable as functional agents within big companies or state apparatuses, intelligent and important people who don’t avoid hard work, participating in an open civil society in which criticism and opposition belongs to the political system, an analytical approach to problems etc.: without such values a modern state as well as competitive companies cannot be run.

This presents a fundamental challenge to contemporary African society and particularly to education. Education could offer a broader approach to the teaching of Business Ethics, and sensitize the society in this regard. Curriculum development in the entire education system needs to be more conscious of the problematic of the old moral order and give more attention to the paradigms of the ethical dilemma in the new dispensation. The consciousness of the relevance of African cultural and ethical heritage to the contemporary society needs strong development in the educational system. At the same time education needs to evolve a concept of development that is not biased in favour of material orientation or motivated by the sense of individualism. Education must synthesize the individual and human relationships.
@InProceedings{OLUOCH2011REL,
author = {Oluoch, P.},
title = {RELEVANT APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS TO CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN KENYA},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {910-917}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Oluoch
TI - RELEVANT APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS TO CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN KENYA
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 910
EP - 917
ER -
P. Oluoch (2011) RELEVANT APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BUSINESS ETHICS TO CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN KENYA, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 910-917.
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