John J. McCall, Ph.D.
Professor, the John McShain Chair in Ethics
Areas Taught: Philosophy
Expertise: Business Ethics, Employee Rights, Moral Philosophy
Evaluating the Ethics of Contemporary Business
"Scandals push the teaching of business ethics to the forefront," says John J. McCall, Ph.D., director of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics and professor of philosophy and management at Saint Joseph's University.
"Applying ethics to business is something that has been done for centuries, but the contemporary practice of looking at ethics and appropriate business behavior really took off in the 1980s in response to the insider trading and savings and loan scandals. Then concern receded a little, but given recent events, there is renewed public interest."
Dr. McCall ought to know — he wrote a book on the subject that is used widely on college campuses in both business and philosophy curricula. Now in its fifth printing, Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics (co-authored with Joseph R. Desjardins) looks at business ethics from social and political perspectives and applies traditional ethical analysis to specific cases.
But at its core is a concern for the rights and responsibilities of employees. "Our primary motive for writing the book was that most textbooks did not include discussion of employees and their potential rights."
Media have tapped Dr. McCall for his expertise on ethics-related issues. He has commented on an insurance company's efforts to bolster their bottom line by eliminating employee severance benefits; executive compensation and the appropriateness of company leaders accepting stock options for their compensation portfolios; and the ethics of a financial institution's Political Action Committee.
As director of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics, Dr. McCall focuses on mentoring Erivan K. Haub School of Business faculty in the Center's Fellows Program so that students are assured of substantive and repeated exposure to questions of ethics in the classroom. "Students need to have a serial exposure to business ethics. This is not an issue to be covered in the last chapter of the textbook."