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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Postgraduate Course: Business Ethics (MBA) (BUST11211)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe 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.

Course description SESSION 1: Introduction: Business and Society.


Bakan, J. (2008) 'The 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) 'What'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) 'Iceland'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) 'The 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) 'The Moral Muteness of Managers,' California Review, (reprint from edition Fall 1989).

SESSION 5: Corporate Governance.

Erturk, I. Et al. (2004) 'Corporate governance and disappointment,' Review of International Political Economy, 11:4, 677-713.
McCall, J.J. (2004) 'Assessing American executive compensation: a cautionary tale for Europeans,' Business Ethics: A European Review, 13 (4). (to be distributed).
Sternberg, E. (1997) 'The 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) 'The Good Company,' The Economist. (to be distributed)
Porter, M. E. and Kramer, M. R. (2006) 'The competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy,' Harvard Business Review 80 (12), pp. 56-68.
Hine, J.A.H.S. and Preuss, L. (2008) '"Society is Out There, Organisation is in Here": 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) 'The Path to Corporate Responsibility,' Harvard Business Review, December. (to be distributed).
Royle, T. (2005) 'Realism 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) 'Ethical managers make their own rules,' Harvard Business Review, (reprint - to be distributed).
Hollender, J. (2004) 'What 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 - to be distributed in Session 7).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements For Business School PG students only, or by special permission of the School. Please contact the course secretary.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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.

Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsMBA BusEthics
Course organiserDr James Hine
Tel: (0131 6)50 3805
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ainsworth
Tel: (0131 6)51 3854
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