Diversity in Firm and Ethics (Expired)

ETI451 Diversity in Firm and Ethics (Expired)

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 in order to recruit the best workers they need a profile inviting diverse groups of workers and offering attractive careers. Firms must follow anti-discrimination laws but also increasingly integrate equality and business ethics as part of their corporate management strategy. The goal of the course is to study the relations between discrimination in labour markets and the business ethics of organisations. The course discusses related questions and cases with an emphasis on gender, but also include diversity with respect to race, sexual orientation, etc.

    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 to treat everyone equally in terms of work and pay in organisations. 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. Students use cases to learn to identify ethical dilemmas in gender diverse businesses and find solutions taking the position as a corporate manager or as an employee. The case discussions take place in groups during the lecture sessions.

    The course outline is:

    1. Introduction: Managing business and ethics

    2. Discriminatory behaviour and business ethics

    3. Ethical issues inside the organisation and anti-discrimination legislation

    4. Managing ethics in gender diverse organisations

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, students can:


    • Explain diversity management and ethical issues with particular emphasis on gender and discriminatory behaviour
    • Identify the laws of anti-discrimination legislation
    • Describe empirical evidence in this field
    • Discuss core issues related to how to manage diverse businesses


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

    General competence

    • Discuss relevant professional issues of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace
    • Communicate important subject matters such as models, problems and solutions, both in writing and orally
    • Critically reflect on opinions and experiences with others with a background in the field, thereby contributing to the development of good practice

  • Teaching

    This course is 2.5 credit points and meets five times (three hours each) from January to March. It is case-based, supported by lectures and guest lectures. Two of the cases require more extensive reading and students are expected to come well-prepared to the case discussions. These discussions will take place in class both in smaller groups (4-6 students) and larger groups (at most 40 students). The term project is to write a short term paper (approx. 5-7 pages), which is a group assignment, due in March. The student groups will also present the term project in March 2024. For a detailed course outline, see Canvas.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    None. IKE01 is a course presenting an introduction to ethics and can be advantageous to have taken at the bachelor at NHH, but is not required.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Compulsory Activity

    Since case discussions are essential for learning in this course, it is mandatory to attend classes. Students should attend every class, also those with visiting speakers. A student missing more than one class without prior approval will fail the course. While I may grant permission to miss a class for personal reasons, you need to ask for permission in advance.

  • Assessment

    The grade is based on a portfolio consisting of class participation (approximately 40%), a written term paper, and the presentation of this term paper (approximately 60%). One grade is given for the entire portfolio. Grading scale A-F.

    Class participation is an individual effort. The evaluation of class participation will mainly be based on the case discussions in small and larger groups. It will reflect the quality of a student's comments and insights, as well as the intensity of participation. There is no make-up for a missed class.

    The term project is a group assignment, with a written term paper and a presentation as deliveries. The term paper can be written in English or Norwegian. The presentation takes place in English.

    The assignment is to identify and discuss a current ethical dilemma related to diversity, equality and inclusive worklife in business. Students can choose a topic from a list of suggested topics by the course instructor or find their own. In order to prepare for the term project, students need to work through the course material including the relevant book chapters, cases, and articles from the reading list. The assignment essay should be 5-7 pages, and 2000 to the max. 2800 words in 12pt times new roman. Students work in a group of 2-4 students*. They are expected to develop in the group the topic, link it to the course material, discuss the solution and write the paper.

    Students decide on the topic and list of group members of the term paper during the course (approx. end of January). The deadline for submitting the written term paper is in March. The specific dates will be announced at the beginning of the semester. The submitted term papers will be graded A-F and returned to the students. Afterward, students hold short presentations of their findings in the assignment papers, which are followed by a discussion. Students will again work in groups. After the presentations, the final grade for the written term paper will be formed. This grade makes up for 60 % of the total grade.

    The grades awarded may not be appealed due to the nature of the assessment.

    *The size of the group may be adjusted depending on how many take the course.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A-F.

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    Core reference:

    Trevino, Linda K. and Katherine A. Nelsen (2021): Managing Business Ethics - Straight talk about how to do it right, 7th edition, Wiley. Available as e-book.

    There will also be a list of cases and articles that will be announced in class.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

This course is expired.

Course responsible

Professor Astrid Kunze, Department of Economics.