Business ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability

RRR13 Business ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    Business ethics is about the role of business in society, and the ethical challenges that arise in business contexts. The purpose of this course is twofold. First, it sheds light on the nature of business ethical questions in general and aims to develop students' ability to identify and make informed decisions related to ethical problems in business. Second, it explores the individual, social and organizational factors that determine the ethicality of behavior of firms, managers, and employees. These are key issues that will shape the future of business at a time when corporate conduct is subjected to increasing scrutiny and new business models developed to address questions of legitimacy and sustainability. Moreover, the course aims to develop students' ability to understand the psychological, social and organizational mechanisms that produce desirable behaviors, so that they can build organizations in which ethical behavior is facilitated.

    The course has three main parts. The first part of the course outlines the nature of business ethical challenges, and introduces basic normative frameworks that can inform ethical evaluation of choices, decisions and behavior. The second part of the course addresses the incentives for ethical and unethical behaviour of firms, arising from relations to key stakeholder groups, including employees, consumers, and governments. The third part of the course analyzes central professional ethics challenges and dilemmas in key business areas, and in the context of an increasingly globalized economy.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, the students shall:

    Knowledge

    ·      Have knowledge about key concepts and perspectives on business ethics and how they relate to each other.

    ·      Have a realistic view of the expectations companies face from society, and how these are reflected in relevant policies, conventions and standards.

    ·      Have an understanding of individual, social and organizational factors that determine the ethicality of behavior in organizations.

    ·      Be familiar with research-based insights that can inform business-ethical assessments and decisions from various literature streams, including normative theory, moral psychology, behavioral economics and other social sciences.

    ·      Have an understanding of the ethical challenges that arise in relations to key stakeholder groups, and in central business professions.

     

    Skills

    ·      Be able to identify, reflect on and judge business-ethical problems informed by relevant perspectives.

    ·      Be able to communicate,justify and challenge ethical judgments.

    ·      Be able to analyze which individual, social and organizational factors determine the ethicality of behavior in organizations and thereby make informed assessments of how to build more ethical organizations and societies.

     

    General competence

    ·      Have acquired a knowledge of and the ability to reflect upon and take into consideration issues relating to the ethics of decisions, choices and behavior in business settings.

    ·      Be familiar with the basic concepts and perspectives needed to take more advanced courses in ethics at the master's level.

  • Teaching

    The course comprises of regular lectures and guest lectures, and one group-based assignment  to be presented in interactive sessions in the classroom.

  • Required prerequisites

    The course is based on basic knowledge of business and economics. Hence students must have passed BED1 and SAM1, or similar courses, to take this course.

  • Requirements for course approval

    One group-based assignment (approved/not approved).

    Submission of two questions to the course readings in advance of lectures, for at least half of the scheduled lectures.

  • Assessment

    Three-day individual home exam, from 9:00 a.m. on the first exam day, until 2:00 pm on the third exam day.

  • Grading Scale

    A-F

  • Literature

    Crane, Matten, Glozer & Spence (2019). Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press. 5th edition

    + a selection of articles and book chapters

Overview

ECTS Credits
7.5
Teaching language
English
Semester

Autumn. Offered autumn 2021.

Course responsible

Ivar Kolstad, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law