Nearly concurrent with the announcement of the new College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, Dr. Frank Schweigert published a new book which nearly screams relevance in today’s public affairs and echoes a similar significance within the educational community, particularly in regards to economic practice and participation and how it is taught throughout our universities and interwoven into our lives.
The book, “Business Ethics Education and the Pragmatic Pursuit of the Good,” is an extended argument for and about the compulsory idea that business ethics should be taught as a part of, and in tandem with, business strategy. It discusses the severance of ethics from within business practice and how that detachment, or lack of emphasis, has thoroughly marginalized the concept of ethics in business from education, and thusly, how modern business practice fails to be accountable to the public.
Schweigert’s primary areas of teaching, research and professional experience have been centered on non-profit management and governance, philanthropy, church business education and administration and civic organizations, most recently with the Northwest Area Foundation. He continues to volunteer time as a circle keeper and mediator in dispute resolution and restorative justice. He came to Metropolitan State University in 2006 and served as a professor in the College of Management, and director of master’s programs in Public and Nonprofit Administration, Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and Public Administration, and is currently the dean of the newly created College of Community Studies and Public Affairs.
The writing process began for Schweigert in 2010 when he began gathering research on ethics, history, and moral and business education to construct aspects of what gradually became a coherent argument via research and many conversations with business leaders and colleagues. He began by showing his early works to people who were supportive of the ideas he intended to outline. He held off on going to a publisher and presented concepts from the text at the College of Management and the Society for Business Ethics.
In 2013-2014, Schweigert took a sabbatical from writing while gathering much of the research necessary for the book, and then in spring 2014 signed a contract with Springer Publishing to have the book finalized the following year.
Schweigert said he is often inspired to write in response to a problem, and that the problem which stirred this text is related to how emphasis on the “role of ethics in business is overshadowed and marginalized by a narrow understanding of business success as profit alone.” This text was a response to the way business and ethics are being taught.
Consequently, Schweigert said he hopes that the book will find its way into the hands of business strategy and business ethics professors and reestablish the importance of public accountability within the business sector, and reignite the dialogue and purpose of business in serving the public welfare.
This book covers topics ranging from social and environmental responsibility to honor and shame, all within the context of business management, administration and policy.
Schweigert said that ethics are inherent in business and is convinced that steering away from this and toward the doctrine of wealth accumulation without public accountability has only been a recent trend—perhaps having begun as recently as 300 years ago.
“The duties and ideals emphasized in business schools reinforce self-interest and profit-making, and these dominate the curriculum to the extent that ethical obligations are marginalized.“
He hopes for his book to restore a more complete sense of what business is and what it has been in the past, and most importantly, that business strategy will again preach accountability in regards to public welfare. “Business education and business ethics, to be truly sustainable, must be directed to the achievement of a just economy,” Schweigert says. He believes this reality to not be far from us and that the idea of public welfare is natural—so natural that so much of it goes unnoticed.