Winning Paper Examines Honda's Troubled Ethics

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Three students from the Haub School of Business were recently awarded first prize in the annual Graduate Ethics Paper Competition, sponsored by The Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics

Bledar Qato, Mark Bidoli and Ayse Kalic were awarded $2,000 for their paper, "Honda and the United Auto Workers Clash over New Factory Jobs."

In the paper, the students examined Honda's recent decision to grant employment in their new Greensburg, Ind., plant, only to people living in 20 of the state's 92 counties, many of which did not have unionized laid-off auto workers. The students evaluated other options to Honda's decision, and offered what they felt was the best alternative solution that would benefit both the company and its potential employees.

The paper was praised by panelists of the competition, composed of Saint Joseph's faculty members and outside business executives.

"The criteria for the competition require that a paper not just offer a proposed solution to an ethical problem, but that it defends that solution by argument based on a deeper theoretical understanding of ethics," said John McCall, Ph.D, professor of philosophy and management. "The Honda paper was exceptionally clear and organized, identified real choices that were open to the firm, and argued persuasively for a solution by applying theory to the facts of the case."

Kalic reflected on the impact the paper had on her outlook on the world of business.

"This paper helped me to see things out-of-the box," said Kalic. "Ethics is such an important topic that makes one realize that the business world and humanism should not be separated. People are the most important assets of companies, and we cannot ignore human rights."

The Graduate Business Ethics Competition stresses the real-world application of topics learned within the classroom.

"The Arrupe paper competition is meant to emphasize the role of ethics in a business education at a Jesuit university; it gives students an opportunity to engage in the ethical reflection that is crucial for their future careers; and it provides student peers a public example of student work that the University values," said McCall. "The competition encourages students to model the kind of substantive and theoretically sophisticated analysis that Jesuit education should embody."

--Dan Wisniewski '08

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