Student proposal ranks high in ethics award contest

January 11, 2012

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater understand the importance of practicing and promoting ethics in business. Their work on behalf of CINTAS Corp. earned runner-up status at the 2011 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards.

To be nominated in this statewide competition, companies must demonstrate ethical management practices, excellence in customer relations, fairness in advertising and responsibility in the marketplace.

CINTAS teamed up with UW-Whitewater after one of its Madison employees, Michele Thoren, visited a business ethics class in the College of Business and Economics.

"The business program at UW-Whitewater is solid and we've had great success hiring graduates," said Thoren, human resource manager. "Working on this proposal was a great way for students to get to know CINTAS and to see real world examples of business ethics."

K. Praveen Parboteeah, professor of management, decided to make the Better Business Bureau Torch Awards proposal a class project.

"The relationship between UW-Whitewater and CINTAS is reflective of our mission at the university," Parboteeah said. "We want students to graduate with a strong business foundation and professional and personal integrity."

With Thoren's assistance, the UW-Whitewater students compiled a portfolio on CINTAS's ethical practices, including a written report supported by company documents and employee communications.

"It's so important for students to see firsthand a company that promotes ethical behavior," said Parboteeah. "This is experience they can reference during job interviews."

CINTAS, an international company, provides a diverse array of behind-the-scenes business services for customers. The Madison CINTAS location launders uniforms, and provides mats, towels and cleaning supplies.


Sara Kuhl