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Business Ethics and Sustainability *

Name of module: Business Ethics and Sustainability *

Exam number: 8011

Semester/Trimester: Semester

Form of the module (i.e. obligatory, elective course): Wahlpflicht

Frequency of module offer: Summer semester 2011; summer semester 2013

Prerequisites: Registration in the Viadrina Moodle System until beginning of the semester is required. IBA-Bachelor-Students and Foreign Exchange Students ONLY! "Orientierungsphase" should be completed.

Applicability of module for other modules and study programmes:

Person responsible for module: Prof. Dr. Sandra Loeb (Kings College, USA)

Name of the professor: Prof. Dr. Sandra Loeb (Kings College, USA)

Language of teaching: englisch

ECTS-Credits (based on the workload): 5

Workload and its composition (self-study, contact time):
Kontaktzeit (Vorlesung, Übung, Seminar etc.): 37,5 Std.; Selbststudium: 112,5 Std.

Contact hours (per week in semester): 3

Methods and duration of examination:
It is possible to earn a course requirement (Prüfungsschein). Provided that you successfully complete the final 120 min examination (50%) and a practical group presentation (50%). Please note that due to the block course and interactive structure regularly attendance and participation is mandatory.

Emphasis of the grade for the final grade: Eins

Aim of the module (expected learning outcomes and competencies to be acquired):
When you finish this course, you should:
- Have a clearer understanding of different ethical concepts, your own ethical philosophy, and how each relates to the corporation
- Be able to identify ethical issues in the context of business decision making
- Recognize and give weight to ethical considerations in light of business operations
- Appreciate some of the ethical implications of contemporary business issues
- Hone your critical thinking skills

Contents of the module:
Pickup the paper today and odds are that you will find something mentioned about business ethics.
Over the last few years, each of us have become increasingly sensitized to the presence of business ethic issues in contemporary society because of the crises of Enron and Arthur Andersen, Global Crossing, WorldCom, Adelphia, and HealthSouth to name a few companies. In addition, Wall Street has confronted issues of stockholder credibility and confidence, or lack thereof, as it grapples with illicit trading, and institutional governance issues.
The ethical issues may be quite clear in some of the previous examples. In other instances, ethical issues may be fuzzy and confusing. Clarity of what’s ethical or unethical may, arguably, depend on an individual’s perspective, knowledgebase, or sensitivity to the social context. In other words, an ethical understanding and action for you might not elicit the same response from someone else in the corporation. However, it is clear that frameworks exist which provide an individual with decision.
Points based on rules, laws, and ethical perspectives that allow one to discern what is ethical and unethical. Likewise, the culture of the corporation and its core values, whether stated explicitly or not, indicate that certain operative standards exist for business conduct. At times, the challenge for employees and corporations is to identify the values of the organization, and understand how those values square with their own personal values.
The main questions considered by this class during the term are as follows:
- To which mental model of business do you subscribe?
- How does your mental model of business drive your ethical thinking?
- What moral philosophy theories describe your ethical behavior and business practices?
-  Do you apply moral theory and standards proactively in decision making, and not after-the-fact as a rationalization of your actions?
- Is there an ethical framework for the culture of the organization and team where you work?
- How does it square with your ethical standards?
- Is there a difference between being ethical and being legal?

Teaching and learning methods:
Formal lectures will be supported by materials including visual aids, appropriate videos, and interactive sessions involving case studies.

Literature (compulsory reading, recommended literature):
Business Ethics and Ethical Business by Robert Audi, Oxford Press, 2009.

Course material:
Registration in Moodle required.

Further information:
Ms. Loeb's email