- ARCHIVE for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Postgraduate Course: Business Ethics (MBA) (BUST11211)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaBusiness Studies Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course provides a general grounding in both theoretical and applied ethics. The course content is designed around the following components:

(i) A perspective on the moral content of human action.

(ii) A review and analysis of the range of theories within the field of moral philosophy.

(iii) A critical analysis of the economic (markets) and organisational (commercial entities) contexts within which ethical or unethical decision making and practice operates.

(iv) An insight into applied ethics through the analysis of case studies and insights into codes of practice.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Not available to visiting students (SS1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
No Classes have been defined for this Course
First Class First class information not currently available
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
On completing the course students will be able:

(i) to understand the scope and content of ethical theory (including its limitations) and its relevance for diverse institutional and operational business contexts and individual choice and agency.

(ii) to apply the theoretical precepts of ethical theory in order to evaluate real-life situations, clarify ethical alternatives, articulate associated moral values and be able to explain techniques of moral reasoning.

(iii) to be aware of the significance of corporate governance in shaping the values and practices of an organisation.

(iv) to be aware of the content and objectives of corporate social responsibility policies.

(v) to understand the relevance of ethical reasoning to one&©s own professional career and to be aware of the constraints that organisational life can sometimes place on moral self-determination.

(vi) to develop a greater awareness of cross cultural variations in assessing moral issues through case based discussions with other members of learning groups.

Assessment Information
The Ethics course is assessed by two projects.

(1). The first is a group assessed piece of work involving the analysis of a case that will be distributed in class to each class member. The groups will be those organised for Semester 1. Copies will be provided to each class member.

Supporting evidence for the case analysis should be drawn principally from readings indicated below for lectures. However, students are encouraged to utilise any other pertinent sources that they wish.

Each group will therefore undertake to write a report for the case that should be approximately 1000 words in length.

This assignment has the purposes of;

(i). Providing part of the assessment for the first component of the composite Strategic Management core course.
(ii). As an alternative to a class exam at the end of Semester 1.
(iii). To facilitate the development of group working in the Strategic Management course groups, with group working becoming an increasingly significant component of the MBA programme in Semester 2.
(iv). As a means to encourage multi-cultural study groups to explore their member&©s own experiences and different cultural perspectives concerning business practices.

(2). The Second piece of assessed work is an essay to be undertaken and completed on an individual basis. This essay will require each class member to provide a personal reflection on the significance of ethics, for example, to their professional careers. Each essay should be of 1000 words in length and correctly referenced where sources are used.

Useful Web Sites:

Any search engine for Business Ethics, Ethical Investment, Corporate Social Responsibility, etc.

The course reference text also identifies useful web based sources. Go direct to corporate web sites in order to access codes of ethical practice.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus SESSION 1: Introduction: Business and Society.


Bakan, J. (2008) $łThe Externalising Machine,&© in Burchell, J.B. (ed) The Corporate Social Responsibility Reader, Routledge: London (to be distributed).

Documentary: The Corporation (part 1)

SESSION 2: Models of Ethical Decision-making (1): prescriptive theories.

Stark, A. (1993) $łWhat&©s The Matter With Business Ethics?&© Harvard Business Review, 71 (3).

n.b. You are not expected to become expert in ethical theory. However, what is important at this stage is that you can recognise influential theories, such as Utilitarianism.

Documentary: The Corporation (part 2).

SESSION 3: Models of Ethical Decision-making (2): questions of character.

Hine, J.A.H.S. & Ashman, I. (2010) $łIceland&©s Banking Sector and the Political Economy of Crisis,&© in Kolb, R.W. (ed) Lessons from the Financial Crisis: Causes, Consequences and Our Economic Future, John Wiley & Sons: New Jersey. (to be distributed).

Group meeting to prepare group assignment.

Class reflection and discussion: Business Ethics Scenarios (to be distributed).

SESSION 4: The Manager, the Corporation and Bureaucratic Rationality


Hine, J.A.H.S. (2007) $łThe Shadow of MacIntyre&©s Manager in the Kingdom of Conscience constrained,&© Business Ethics: A European Review, 16 (4).
Bird, F.B. & Waters, J.A. (2001) $łThe Moral Muteness of Managers,&© California Review, (reprint from edition Fall 1989).

SESSION 5: Corporate Governance.

Erturk, I. Et al. (2004) $łCorporate governance and disappointment,&© Review of International Political Economy, 11:4, 677-713.
McCall, J.J. (2004) $łAssessing American executive compensation: a cautionary tale for Europeans,&© Business Ethics: A European Review, 13 (4). (to be distributed).
Sternberg, E. (1997) $łThe Defects of Stakeholder Theory,&© Scholarly Research and Theory Papers Vol. 5:1. (to be distributed)

The British Telecom Better Business Game;

SESSION 6: The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate


Crook, C. (2005) $łThe Good Company,&© The Economist. (to be distributed)
Porter, M. E. and Kramer, M. R. (2006) $łThe competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy,&© Harvard Business Review 80 (12), pp. 56-68.
Hine, J.A.H.S. and Preuss, L. (2008) $ł &«Society is Out There, Organisation is in Here&Ŗ: On the Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility Held by Different Managerial Groups,&© Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 88:2

SESSION 7: International Business


Zadek, S. (2004) $łThe Path to Corporate Responsibility,&© Harvard Business Review, December. (to be distributed).
Royle, T. (2005) $łRealism or Idealism? Corporate Social Responsibility and the Employee Stakeholder in the Global Fast-food Industry,&© Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 14, No. 1.

SESSION 8: Corporate Strategy for Reputation Management.


Cadbury, A. (1987) $łEthical managers make their own rules,&© Harvard Business Review, (reprint $ś to be distributed).
Hollender, J. (2004) $łWhat matters Most: Corporate Values and Social Responsibility,&© California Management Review, 46 (4). (to be distributed)

Case Study: McCoy, B. “The Parable of the Sadhu,&© Harvard Business Review (reprint $ś to be distributed in Session 7).
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr James Hine
Tel: (0131 6)50 3805
Course secretaryMr Stuart Mallen
Tel: (0131 6)50 8071
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Important Information
© Copyright 2011 The University of Edinburgh - 16 January 2012 5:43 am