NMSU students participate in business ethics competition

March 23, 2012 by Janet Perez, NMSU News Center

Editor’s Note: The judges’ assessment of the competition and announcement of the winner from 3:30-4 p.m., March 30, is open to the media.

Ethical lapses and absences in various corners of the business world have caused significant damage to the economy over the decades, so an increasing number of business colleges are working to instill a sound ethical foundation in their students.

Through its participation in the Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium, New Mexico State University’s College of Business strives to teach principle-based ethics to its students. A team of those students will be competing in an ethics case competition hosted by NMSU and the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. The competition takes place Friday, March 30, at the Fidel Center at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.

NMSU will be competing against teams from UNM, NMT and New Mexico Highlands University. Using role-play simulation, the students will be put in the positions of executives at a company. Each team will then be given a situation that has ethical implications and they must prepare a response to present to a panel of judges. The teams will not know what ethical challenge they will face until the competition begins.

“Ethical principles, such as acting honestly and respecting other’s rights and property, are used to guide decision making,” said Bruce Huhmann, an associate professor of marketing at NMSU and the chair of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the College of Business. “This role-playing simulation will challenge students to follow ethical principles in a difficult situation that could occur in any organization.

“Although we do not have a stand-alone business ethics class, the faculty in the College of Business does a great job of working ethics into classes in every discipline,” Huhmann added. “Our students should be able to perform and make the right decisions in the ethical dilemma they will face during the competition.”

The NMSU-UNM Ethics Case Competition is just one way the universities are cooperating to promote business ethics throughout the state. Twice a year, NMSU and UNM host workshops for faculty from all New Mexico universities and community colleges that focus on teaching business ethics. The bi-annual workshops are held in January in Las Cruces and in Santa Fe in May.

“We are having an effect on students and faculty throughout New Mexico,” said O.C. Ferrell, Bill Daniels Professor of Business Ethics at UNM. “We feel this to be a very mutually beneficial relationship.”

The teams in the competition must apply principles developed through the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative to the simulated situation they are given and then defend it to a panel of judges made up of business people. The judges include NMSU College of Business Advisory Council members John A. Carey, president of the New Mexico Society of CPAs; and JoLou Trujillo-Ottino, president of Mediaworks. Other judges are Loren Kuehne, executive secretary of the Rotary Club of Las Cruces; Belinda Snyder, program manager of the technology transfer division at Los Alamos National Lab; Mike Lowrimore, senior vice president and New Mexico regional manager for Bank of the West; and Linda Parker, CEO of Retirement Strategies.

“We are trying to help the leaders of tomorrow be able to do the right thing when challenged,” Huhmann said.

For more information, contact Huhmann at bhuhmann@nmsu.edu

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