Diversity and Inclusive Work-life in Firms and Ethics

ETI452 Diversity and Inclusive Work-life in Firms and Ethics

Autumn 2024

  • Topics

    Societies as well as firms increasingly become diverse in terms of the composition of the workforce. Equality is high on the political agenda and more and more firms acknowledge that to recruit the best workers they need a profile embracing diversity and inclusive worklife to attract diverse groups of workers and offer attractive 2 careers. Firms must follow anti-discrimination laws but also increasingly integrate equality and business ethics as part of their corporate management strategy.

    The goals of the course are

    • to study the relationship between discriminatory behaviour in labour markets and the business ethics of organizations
    • to give an empirical overview of main topics in inequality with Norwegian and international da
    • to discuss how firms report on sustainability that is ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) where the focus is on inequality and governance
    • to discuss potential correlations between gender equality and environmental sustainability, corporate governance and equity, environmental sustainability and equity

    The course invites students to a discussion of related questions and cases with an emphasis on gender differences and gender diversity in firms, but also include diversity with respect to race, sexual orientation, age etc. The course leaders ensure that topics in group discussions and term papers reflect a broad range of issues related to diversity and inclusive worklife.

    The course starts with a general introduction to managing business and ethical values. What do we mean by ethical values in business and why are those important for management? How are decisions made on a sound ethical basis? What is corporate social responsibility? We then turn to diversity in firms and ethics. We introduce the topic by discussing whether there is a business case for diversity. Do firms perform better if they have more women in the management or on boards? We learn about the challenges of treating everybody equally in terms of work and pay in organizations. We discuss ethical issues that arise related to discriminatory behaviour in a legal sense. The course uses empirical studies to train students to get an understanding of discriminatory behaviour supplemented by lectures discussing the economic, ethical and legal background. In the last part of the course, we turn to the measurement of ESG indicators with focus on Social and Governance, the legal requirements and reporting systems of ESG. This includes an economic discussion of long-term strategies of firms. Students use cases to learn to identify ethical dilemmas of diversity and inclusive worklife in businesses and find solutions taking the position of a corporate manager or an employee. The case discussions take place in groups during the lecture sessions.

    The course outline is:

    1. Introduction: Managing business and ethics.
    2. Writing a term paper and selecting a topic (group assignment).
    3. Discriminatory behaviour and business ethics.
    4. Ethical issues inside the organization and anti-discrimination legislation.
    5. Managing ethics and diversity in organizations.
    6. The responsibility to ensure equal rights and equal opportunities as owners of the firm structure.
    7. Causes and Consequences of Inequality.
    8. Increasing LEGAL requirements: compliance, audits, public relations.
    9. Diversity and Inclusion – the boards’ ESG responsibilities.
    10. ESG reporting: Diversity and inclusive worklife.
    11. Meetings with students supervising term papers (independent but supervised worktime)
    12. Presentations of the term papers (in student groups).

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course the candidate:


    • Has an understanding of diversity management and ethical issues with particular emphasis on discriminatory behavior in labor markets
    • Has broad knowledge of the laws of anti-discrimination legislation Has broad knowledge of the legal, economics and ethical background of ESG reporting
    • Has knowledge on strategies of becoming/assessing a diverse and inclusive organisation Has knowledge of empirical evidence on inequality
    • Has knowledge of the UN sustainability goals, particularly, 5 Gender Equality, 8 Good jobs and Economic Growth, 10 reduced inequalities
    • Has knowledge on core issues related to how to manage diverse businesses


    • Can apply academic knowledge and relevant results of research to practical problems and make well-founded choices
    • Can reflect upon his/her own academic practice and adjust it during the dialogues with co-students in group discussions of case studies
    • Can find, evaluate and refer to information and scholarly subject matter and present it in a manner that sheds light on the problem


    • Has insight into relevant professional issues of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace
    • Has knowledge in ethical issues of diversity and inclusive worklife and solving them
    • Has know-how on how to implement ESG reporting with focus on diversity and inclusive worklife and sustainability more broadly
    • Can communicate important subject matters such as models, problems and solutions, both in writing and orally
    • Can exchange opinions and experiences with others with a background in the field, thereby contributing to the development of good practice


ECTS Credits