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Business Ethics

by William Frey

Business Ethics is a derived copy from the Corporate Governance course previously published in Connexions. While many courses using this title place emphasis on applying classical philosophical and ethical theory, this course's approach is decidedly interdisciplinary and practical. It is not designed as a socio-humanistic elective, a service philosophy course, or even an applied philosophical ethics course but as a laboratory, skills-based course where students develop, practice, and refine decision-making and problem-solving strategies that they will carry with them into the world of business practice. Emphasis has been placed on responding to the four ethical themes identified by the AACSB ethics task force: Ethical Leadership, Ethical Decision-Making, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Governance. Modules include (1) theory building activities (responsibility, rights, virtue), (2) problem specification frameworks emphasizing socio-technical system building and analogies with design, (3) specific modules responding to AACSB ethics themes (moral ecologies, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and a history of the modern corporation) and (4) modules that provide the course with a capstone, integrative experience (Business Ethics Bowl, Social Impact Statement Reports, and Corporate Ethics Compliance Officer Reports). While a quick glance shows that this collection holds more modules than can possibly be covered in a single semester, this approach gives the user flexibility as to the method used for integrating ethics into the business administration curriculum. Modules can be recombined into different standalone courses such as business ethics, business/government/society, or environment of organizations. Since each module can be covered independently, they can be integrated into the business administration curriculum as specific interventions in mainstream business courses in areas like accounting, finance, management, information systems, human resources or office administration. (In fact many have been written for and tested in these circumstances.) Business Ethics has been developed through the NSF-funded project, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF SES 0551779.

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