Students Taught to Consider Business Ethics

Donna Eacho is an organizer of cultural events and a former member of the Cosmopolitan Club of Vienna. Wife of former US ambassador to Austria William Eacho, Donna Eacho is a prominent figure in business and an advocate for business ethics. She is a judge for the National Capital Business Ethics Award.

The 1970s saw an important landmark in business ethics when reports at the Ford Motor Company began to surface regarding the company’s Pinto model. The vehicle was recalled in 1978, after 30 deaths had resulted from the cars’ exploding subsequent to rear impact. Dennis Gioia, professor and chair of management and organization at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, was Ford’s recall coordinator in charge of the Pinto case.

Using the Pinto story as a case for business ethics, Gioia now teaches students how to have a positive impact in modern business. One of his lectures focuses on the complexity of ethics, and how decisions affect both consumers and company image. In recent years the demand for ethical practices and transparency in business has increased, and professors are tasked with teaching students the importance of making ethical business decisions.