Contemporary and International Issues in Business Ethics
“Identify, investigate and critically analyse TWO contemporary cases/scenarios of Business Ethical Concern. With regard to the social and political role of business in society, critique each case/scenario from a maximum of two of the following theoretical perspectives: Utilitarianism, Kantian theory, An Ethic of Care, Virtue, and Postmodern Ethics.”
Identifying and Investigating:
Step 1: Business ethics issues are reported upon regularly in the media. Conduct an ongoing and thorough investigation of the incidents that have been reported on in the web/ newspapers/ television/ radio, since the start of the module.
You may use material from the Blackboard News File folder but remember you have been encouraged to do your own searches from the start.
Step 2: Choose 2 Areas of Business Ethical Concern to investigate and analyse. They may be concerning one company or more than one. Write a very brief outline of the topics and what interests you about them.
NB. In the allocated tutorial time you must t negotiate with me to ensure that they are suitable – to be evidenced by my signature. Non-negotiated work may not be marked.
Writing your coursework – suggestions:
Describe – Identify the facts:
Briefly outline the case
How did the situation come about?
What are the key Issues?
Who are the stakeholders?
Whose rights are involved if any?
Identify any duties – who has them?
Identify any virtues, or precedents
Discern – identify the ethical issues:
What are the most significant issues (where there are more than one give no more than two)
Are there conflicting interests, if so, which are the most important?
Are there conflicting rights? Which carry the most weight?
Are there any conflicts of duty, which should take precedence?
Critique your case /scenario from a theoretical perspective (s)
Consider the social and political role of business in society
How does your chosen ethical theoretical perspective (s) apply to the case/scenario?
What light do they shine upon potential outcomes/principles/duties/actions etc might their application entail/ suggest?
If you are using 2 ethical theoretical perspectives for one case, do they suggest conflicting or similar outcomes/principles/duties/actions etc, might their application entail/ suggest?
(Suggestions based upon a modified version of
K. Goodpaster’s (2002) framework for case study analysis*)
Reading: please refer to reading list below
• References should be given in the text to show evidence of wider reading.
• Please be reminded that regular class attendance will help you focus on the relevant issues and theories
• Tutorial appointments will be available but do come prepared
• Contact me in good time if you need further clarification/advice
Learning outcomes for Coursework 2
? Identify and critically analyse key national and international issues in Business Ethics
? Apply ethical reasoning to a range of contemporary business issues.
? Critically discuss the social and philosophical nature of ethics within a business context.
? Critically examine the contexts and contemporary debates of responsible business
? Cultivate an interest in current affairs concerning the ethical impact of business on society and the individual.
Marking Scheme for Coursework 2
Marks will be awarded for the following:
• Answers are expressed in clear and correct English
• The text is fully referenced using the Harvard scheme
• An accurate word count is on the front sheet
• Understanding of the relevance of social and political theory, in addition to ethical theory in the study of Business Ethics.
• Ability to apply theory in a critical manner to real world examples of Business Ethical concern
• Demonstration of ‘moral imagination’(see introduction to module handbook)
• Effective use of journal articles
Marking Criteria for Coursework 2
Good answers (worthy of grade A or B) will have critical, rather than merely descriptive, reference to theory and its applicability to examples of practice.
Good answers will show evidence of wider reading
Grade A 70% plus: demonstrating independent critical thinking and original insights
Grade B 60- 70 %: arguments are well-defined and clearly articulated an ability to engage in critical evaluation and reflection
Grade C 50 -60 %: generally demonstrates an ability to communicate information, ideas, concepts and arguments successfully
Grade D 40-50%: demonstrates a basic knowledge and understanding of many aspects of the field of study relevant to the task.
For further details please see the Academic Handbook
Crane, A, & Matten, D, (2010), Business Ethics, Oxford University Press.
Velasquez, Manuel, G. (7th Ed.), (2012), Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases, Prentice Hall.
Fisher C & Lovell A, (2009), Business Ethics & Values, FT/Prentice Hall
Rowson, R., (2006), Working Ethics – how to be fair in a culturally complex world, Jessica Kingsley Publishing, London and Philadelphia
Bickle, R. & Scott Cato, M. (2008) New Views of Society S.L.R.P. Glasgow
Kline, J. (2010), Ethics for International Business, Routledge
Journal of Business Ethics
Business Ethics Quarterly
Harvard Business Review
http://www.ibe.org.uk: Institute of Business Ethics, website, which provides resources
N.B. There is a Library folder on Blackboard where I have placed journal articles and book chapters that are relevant to this module
See also ‘Newsfile’ on Blackboard for a range of Business Ethical cases
*Goodpaster, K., in Bowie, N., 2002, The Blackwell Guide to Business Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford
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