Developing reflective students: evaluating the benefits of learning logs within a business ethics programme

Bruce MacFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The paper presents a rationale for the inclusion of a learning log within a business ethics programme drawing on the results of a pilot with a group of undergraduate students. Learning logs were found to serve as a valuable means of helping students connect theory with familiar working practice and also enabled them to reflect on their own personal development and understanding of ethics over time. Comparison between the first and final log entries indicate that students were able to critically re-evaluate many of their initial assumptions about business ethics. While the first log entries were characterised by scepticism and relativist attitudes to business ethics, the final entry indicated that many students now rejected the notion that ethics are only relevant to private life. Moreover, there was evidence of increased understanding of the scope of ethical issues and the complexity of decision-making. Critical workplace incidents, reported in the third log entry, illustrated a wide range of ethical dilemmas facing young and inexperienced service workers. Integrating the use of such critical incidents, written from the perspective of a front-line worker, within a business ethics programme may also serve as a valuable counter-weight to the traditional emphasis on large corporate case studies which cast students in the role of a middle or senior manager
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
JournalTeaching Business Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001


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