Ethical Responsibility in Business
ECTS: 8 credits
`Managers must have the courage to ask questions, to press for answers and to speak out when things are going wrong.’ (Graduate Management Admission Council, Autumn 2002)
The objective of this course is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations. The course will be concerned with morality in action, as it happens, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics. The course will aim to show that ethics in action is diffused and difficult. Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to `work it out’ for themselves. It is this `how to work it out’ that the course will keep as its focus. Managers and employees must eventually make a choice and not only do they have to justify this choice but also respect that others may have a different perspective. The course will use a number of case studies as a basis to develop this moral sensibility so that managers will be able to act in a morally appropriate manner as part of their ongoing organisational action.
Year/Course Type: 3 ma
Terms Taught: L
Person Responsible: Sarah Gregory
Course Website: https://luvle.lancs.ac.uk/MNGT/MNGT314.nsf
The courses secretary is based in the Undergraduate Office (Room A13). Please respect her office hours.
By the end of the course, students should have:
- An understanding of key ethical frameworks and ideas
- An appreciation of how these frameworks and ideas can be used to develop managerial ethical decision-making skills
- An appreciation of why it is important for managers and employees to care about ethics
- An understanding of the current ethical challenges facing managers and employees within organisations today.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
The teaching strategy supports the learning objectives to develop knowledge and understanding round the `ethical’ issues that managers and employees face in organisations today. The course consists of 10 lectures, each 1 hour in length and 10 seminars of 2 hours each where case studies will be utilised and form the basis for group and class discussion. There will also be the opportunity in seminars for personal experiences within the class to be developed as case studies.
Mode of Delivery
Lecture: 1 hour per week for 10 weeks
Seminar: 2 hours per week for 10 weeks
SESSION 1: Ethical Responsibility in Business
Introduction to the module, themes, content and assessment
Definitions – ethics, values, morality, business ethics.
Seminar: An interactive groupwork exercise to look at issues around ethics, values and morality.
SESSION 2: Understanding Key Ethical Frameworks
Seminar: Introduction to the group case studies and allocation of the groups.
SESSION 3: Employees and Business Ethics
Ethical issues in Organisations:
Human Resource Issues
Conflicts of Interest
Customer Confidence Issues
Use of Corporate Resources
Seminar: Guest lecture
SESSION 4: `Unethical’ Behaviour
Lying; Greed; Free-riding; Employee Crime; White Collar Crime; Embezzlement and Fraud; and Bribery
Seminar: Discussion of mini-case studies relating to `unethical’ behaviour.
SESSION 5: Whistleblowing
What is whistleblowing?
Justification for whistleblowing
Positive and negative impacts
Seminar: Progress reports on the group case studies.
SESSION 6: Codes of Conduct and Codes of Ethics
Seminar: Case studies of Codes of Conduct and Codes of Ethics to discover how organisations present their ethical position.
SESSION 7: Corporate citizenship and social responsibility
Corporations as corporate citizens
Why do corporations have social responsibilities?
Seminar: Guest lecture
SESSION 8: Sustainability
The triple bottom line
Seminar: Preparation of presentations
SESSION 9: Student presentations (no lecture)
SESSION 10: Recap, evaluation of module content and exam preparation.
Seminar: Submission of group projects
Proposed Group Case Studies will include McDonalds, Shell, Barings Bank, Nestle, Nike, Co-operative Bank
This will take place in the summer term.
1. Group Project 30% (a 5,000 word paper based on a case study to be submitted at the end of the course).
2. Presentation 20% (30 minute group presentation of the key issues raised by the case, how the ethical frameworks studied on the module apply to the case and what your suggested resolution/s to the issues raised by the case might be.)
This course is compulsory for:
BBA (Hons) Management
BBA (Hons) European Management
It is not available to anyone else.
Boatright, J R (2003) Ethics and the Conduct of Business (4th edition), Prentice Hall
Chryssides, G D and Kaler, J H (1993) An Introduction to Business Ethics, Thomson Learning
Cowton, C and Crisp, C (1998) Business Ethics: Perspectives on the practice of theory, Oxford University Press
Crane, A and Matten, D (2004), Business Ethics: A European Perspective, Oxford University Press
Dienhart, J W (2000) Business, Institutions and Ethics, Oxford University Press
Fisher, C and Lovell A (2003) Business Ethics and Values, Prentice Hall Financial Times
Hinman, L M (1998) Ethics, A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory (2nd edition), Harcourt Brace College Publishers
Maclagan, P (1998) Management and Morality, Sage
McEwan, T (2001) Managing Values and Beliefs in Organisations, Pearson Education
Parker, M (1998) Ethics & Organisations, Sage
Shaw, W H (1999) Business Ethics (3rd edition), Wadsworth Publishing Company
Singer, P (1994) Ethics, Oxford University Press
Trevino, L K and Nelson, K A (1999) Managing Business Ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right, John Wiley & Sons
Details of relevant websites will be provided during the first session.