CoBE professor’s in-class coffee exercise sparks ethics discussion

Monday, January 11, 2021, 5:29am by

Dr. Todd Inouye’s in-class exercise From Farm to Cup: A Coffee Supply Chain Negotiation has already earned international recognition as an exemplary teaching innovation. Now it has caught the attention of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE),  a professional business society with over 7,500 members worldwide.  In the latest issue of ethikos, the society’s official publication, Dr. Inouye is interviewed by Adam Turteltaub, CHC, CCEP, Chief Engagement & Strategy Officer, SCCE & HCCA (Health Care Compliance Association).

The original article, published in the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education by Dr. Inouye and his colleague Dr. James Kling, describes a role play using the global coffee supply chain. In this exercise, business undergraduates practice negotiations, improve their understanding of supply chain management, and consider the ethical implications of certain business transactions.

In the ethikos interview, Dr. Inouye elaborates on the concept of bounded ethicality, and how managers are limited in what they can consider and assume  when doing business. Often managers do not realize that they can indirectly contribute to unethical practices in making day-to-day decisions. Managers need to understand that they are responsible for much more than simply growing revenues or cutting costs. They are required to have a good understanding of how their own decisions will impact other members of their supply chains.

Asked how this topic connects to his research interests, Dr. Inouye responded,

Business ethics as a discipline is always applicable across every circumstance and yet it remains one of the least understood concepts for professionals and students alike. There are no clear ethical boundaries to follow as these are typically determined by one’s personal experience, education, the views of their peers along with the views of their society. What may be clearly unethical for one, may be ethical and even expected for another. As a strategic management professor, it is my responsibility to help students to understand how ethics are intertwined in all business decision making and that their “ethical switch” should always be turned on. As graduates of the University of Hilo, they are expected to be good community stewards wherever they do business and having the necessary ethical awareness is always expected.

In order to be successful over the long term, business leaders need to think about the ethical implications of their decisions, not only for themselves and their colleagues, but also for the rest of the supply chain as well as the community stakeholders they serve.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a reputation, and only one bad one to ruin it.”

Money and Banking course sees record enrollment as students seek to understand current events

Monday, August 24, 2020, 7:07pm by

The College of Business and Economics is seeing unprecedented enrollment in ECON 340, Money and Banking.

The course covers:

  • The relationship between the monetary system and price levels, employment and income.
  • The nature and functions of money and banking.
  • The role of money in international trade and inflation.

ECON 340 fulfills a requirement for the BBA degree, but it is also attracting attention from other majors and even non-students.

Dr. Amir Mohammadian, who teaches ECON 340, says he is not surprised that in this volatile and often-confusing era, students want to learn how our economic systems work:

Basically, every financial decision we make depends on what is happening in the financial markets. This course helps you gain a clear understanding of how financial markets work, how they are connected to each other, and the role of monetary policy.

ECON 340 gives students a glimpse behind the curtain at the impact the Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the United States, has on the economy. Dr. Mohammadian says,

What I find even more interesting about this course is that we learn about the channel through which the Fed influences the banking system, financial markets and as a result our life, career, and economic well-being. The knowledge you gain in this class will help you to make rational, thoughtful, and educated decisions for your financial plans based on current and future economic conditions.

CoBE is working to accommodate everyone who wants to take the class. Those wishing to take Money and Banking on a non-credit basis, please contact the College of Business and Economics Executive Education program at or 808.932.7272.

Certificates in Business, IT, and Finance sought as pandemic disrupts careers

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 7:25am by

Strada Education reports that over half of Americans are concerned about job security in the wake of the pandemic, and many of those believe a career change would require more education. Career-changers prefer certificates over 4-year degrees.

Potential career-switchers prefer non-degree programs

Source: Strada Education

The most popular fields to switch into are Business, Information Technology, and Finance.

18% want to switch to business; 14% to IT; and 9% to finance.

Source: Strada Education

The  University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers non-degree certificates in  AccountingBusiness AdministrationData Science,  Finance, and Health Care Administration.  Apply here to enroll in a non-degree certificate; no application fee is required.

The College of Business and Economics also offers executive education and proctoring of professional exams. Contact for more information.

CoBE coffee simulation featured in national teaching journal

Thursday, June 18, 2020, 6:05am by

From Farm to Cup: A Coffee Supply Chain Negotiation Role-Play

A study of Dr. Todd Inouye‘s coffee supply chain simulation is coming out in July in the teaching journal for DSI (Decision Sciences Institute), DSJIE (Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education). This article and class activity was presented at both the Academy of International Business Conference as a finalist for the CUIBE Award for Best Paper on International Business Education and again at the DSI annual conference as a finalist for the Instructional Innovation Award.

How it all started

Dr. James Kling, who specializes in supply chain management at Niagara University, approached Dr. Inouye one day with a problem. Current supply chain simulations were dated and boring, and failed to provide a high standard of experiential learning. Dr. Inouye and Dr. Kling developed this simulation from the ground up. It has been run in multiple MBA and undergraduate classes at Niagara University and in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters at UH Hilo in CoBE’s required MGT 333 – International Management course. Students get to experience different parts of the coffee supply chain in a pricing negotiation which also folds in the ethical dilemmas businesses face as they push to lower costs.

The results

Dr. Inouye and Dr. Kling have found that students who complete the activity significantly improve their ethical awareness and scope of responsibility while feeling more confident in negotiating.
From Farm to Cup: A Coffee Supply Chain Negotiation Role-Play
Todd M. Inouye and James A. Kling. Forthcoming in Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, a publication of the Decision Sciences Institute.