Ethics and Business

Ethics and Business

Intended Learning Outcomes

The aims of the course will be achieved when the following intended learning outcomes have been satisfied, where a student is able to:

1.    Define meanings of ethics and morals in the context of business and management
2.    Identify the principal competing ethical approaches in contemporary capitalist relations
3.    Demonstrate the importance of ethical considerations of business and commercial activities
4.    Analyse and critique notions of corporate social responsibility and accountability
5.    Critically examine the relationships between business and wider society in contemporary capitalism


You should write a paper addressing any one of the following topics.  The paper should be no more than 2,000 words in length (excluding bibliography).

The deadline for submissions is Monday 23rd March 2015.

In writing your assignment you should demonstrate that you have:

•    Chosen appropriate literature to enable you to discuss and analyse the question you have selected.
•    Understood this literature and how it relates to the question selected.
•    Developed a cohesive argument, which identifies the relevant issues and considers relevant (and perhaps opposing) views.
•    Adopted a clear writing style, appropriate for academic work
•    Structured the assignment appropriately
•    Offer a clear conclusion
•    Applied the appropriate citation convention.

1.    Can Adam Smith’s works offer contemporary firms any useful ethical guidance?

2.    Does Rawls’ Theory of Justice sufficiently demonstrate that utilitarianism is deeply flawed?  In your view, which provides the more attractive ethical framework for firms?

3.    Andrew Carnegie’s writings on the Gospel of Wealth offer present-day wealthy individuals guidance on the accompanying responsibilities of wealth creation.  Please discuss.

4.    The ethical consumer is fictitious, as those who claim to be ethically concerned do not ‘walk the talk’.  Please discuss.

The assignment topics assess the following Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) listed on page 2, above:

Assignment Number    Intended Learning Outcomes
1    1, 3, 5
2    2, 3, 5
3    3, 4, 5
4    3, 5

The essay must be word-processed according to the following guidelines:
•    All margins should be at least 1 inch (25 mm).
•    The text should have 1.5 (or double) line spacing.
•    Divide the text into paragraphs, with a blank line between each paragraph.
•    Font: Times New Roman.
•    The font size should be 12 point, and the print should be clear and black.  The text may be left aligned or justified, as you wish.
•    The page number should be displayed at the bottom of each page, starting with 1 on the first page of text.

Quotations should be kept to a minimum and should be no longer than is needed to prove your point. Your essay should not simply present a series of quotations and paraphrases from your reading.

Use single, not double, inverted commas, to indicate a quotation.  Double quotation marks are used only for a ‘quote “within” a quote’, which will not occur often.  Quotations should appear in the same font as the rest of the text, not in italics.  Short quotations should be placed within the text, and not on a separate line, in order to keep the text flowing.

Use longer quotations sparingly.  As a rule, quotations need to be placed on a separate line only if they are more than forty words long (around three lines). Long quotations should be

indented on the left by at least 0.5 inch (12 mm); separated from the text by a blank line above and below; single-spaced; and left aligned or justified (not centred).  Do not use inverted commas when indenting a quotation.


The recommended text is:

Crane, A. and Matten, D. (2010) Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization, (Third Edition), Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Please note that this book does not cover all the contents of the course.  You must supplement your reading of this text with other texts and journal articles.

The following textbooks will be drawn upon to varying degrees during the course.
•    DeMartino, G. F. (2011) The Economist’s Oath: On the Need for and Content of Professional Economic Ethics, Oxford University Press: Oxford.

•    DesJardines, J. (2011) An Introduction to Business Ethics, (4th edition), McGraw-Hill: New York

•    Griseri, P. and Seppala, N. (2010) Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, South-Western CENGAGE Learning: Andover.

•    Harrison, M. R. (2005) An Introduction to Business and Management Ethics, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

•    Harrison, R., Newholm, T., and Shaw, D. S. (2005) The Ethical Consumer, Sage: London.

Other useful texts include;

Sandel, M. J. (2012) What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Penguin: New York.

Solomon, J. (2010) Corporate Governance and Accountability, Wiley: Hoboken, NJ.

Trevino, L. K. and Nelson, K. A. (2011) Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk About How to do it Right, Wiley: Hoboken, NJ.

The Journal of Business Ethics and Business Ethics Quarterly are obvious sources of material.


Harvard Referencing System*: 27 references, 3-5 books, 22-24 Internet resources

* no footnotes. Bibliography at the end of the paper with alphabetical order.

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