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Moral Education for Sustainable Development: Exploring Morally Challenging Business Situations within the Global Supply Chain Context

Textile and Apparel Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Textile, Merchandising, and Interiors, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
School of Human Sciences, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 39762, USA
Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA
Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1641;
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult and Community Education for Sustainability)
PDF [370 KB, uploaded 15 September 2017]


This study presents the need for moral development education of current and future professionals so they can help build sustainable companies and global supply chains. Grounded in Ha-Brookshire’s moral responsibility theory of corporate sustainability, the authors explored a set of real-life business situations where business professionals experienced morally challenging dilemmas. The study was conducted within the context of the textile and apparel (TA) industry because of the global and fragmented supply chain nature of the industry. The real-life business situations were interpreted using Kohlberg’s moral development stage theory. The results of in-depth individual interviews followed by three focus groups of industry professionals in spring 2017 showed that participants have experienced a variety of morally challenging business situations throughout their careers. This includes simple problems at the individual and firm levels, as well as wicked and complex problems at the industry and global levels. The study concludes that for TA businesses to be truly sustainable, professionals’ moral ability is critical and, therefore, appropriate moral development education is necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: moral development; moral education; corporate sustainability; business situations moral development; moral education; corporate sustainability; business situations

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Ha-Brookshire, J.; McAndrews, L.; Kim, J.; Freeman, C., Jr.; Jin, B.; Norum, P.; LeHew, M.L.A.; Karpova, E.; Hassall, L.; Marcketti, S. Moral Education for Sustainable Development: Exploring Morally Challenging Business Situations within the Global Supply Chain Context. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1641.

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