Developing the Virtuous Self in an Online MBA: Reflections on Instruments and Processes

  •  Valerie Dalton    
  •  Bligh Grant    
  •  Theresa Smith-Ruig    
  •  Kay Hempsall    


The relationship between virtue ethics and leadership is profound and has been the subject of sustained examination (see, for example, Fontrodona et al., 2012). The core of these debates has centred on the way in which a life of the good, conceived as a process of self-awareness built through experience and reflection, has the capacity to comprise the people who inhabit, lead, and constitute organizations. Prima facie management education ought to entail the explicit development of the virtuous self, rather than this being a residual element to overall education. This requires a more reflective approach to management teaching practice. We are challenged in this endeavour by our status as providers of online education. Our central concern in this paper is to provide an account of a Leadership Development ePortfolio, particularly its development to a program of online leadership skill development. This includes, among other skills, the development of reflective practice skills, development of self-awareness, self-mastery (Senge, 1990), and a consideration of how to apply those skills to others (e.g.: mentoring) and with others (e.g., team learning, service learning). We argue that introducing these elements to a program fosters the development of ethically virtuous management graduates.

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