Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Business Ethics

Business Ethics
3
10311
4
First semester
OB
Main language of instruction: Catalan

Other languages of instruction: English, Spanish

If the student is enrolled for the English track then classes for that subject will be taught in the same language.
If the student is enrolled for the English track then classes for that subject will be taught in the same language.

Teaching staff


Agree interviews by email

Introduction

In the event that the health authorities announce a new period of confinement due to the evolution of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, the teaching staff will promptly communicate how this may effect the teaching methodologies and activities as well as the assessment.


organisations and their relationships with society, making sound moral judgements in decision-making, evaluating one’s own values, arguing ethically in business environments and contributing to collective decisions. At the same time, it facilitates an understanding of those from different cultural traditions or ideological backgrounds and helps distinguish between what is right and what is only economically profitable or ‘politically correct’.

Business ethics contributes to the humanisation of economic and business activities. At the same time, it enhances corporate reputation and minimises the risk of relations between society and the company turning sour.

This course centres on worldwide case studies in which ethical issues are particularly prominent. It also presents the foundations of ethics in a serious but accessible way.

Pre-course requirements

no prerequisites

Objectives

  • To understand why ethics is an essential part of any human decision.
  • To gain an understanding of frequent ethical issues and dilemmas in business management.
  • To become familiar with the essential business ethics concepts and the most relevant international standards for business ethics and corporate social responsibility.
  • To understand the role of human virtues in business management and dealing with people.
  • To understand the main ethical requirements for decision-making based on human dignity, human rights and other essential ethical principles.
  • To reflect on an effective integration of ethics into business management and organisations.

Competencies

  • 11 - To be familiar with the main concepts and theories related to humanity and society.
  • 12 - To be familiar with the main concepts and theories of economic and business philosophy.
  • 50 - To acquire the ability to relate concepts, analyse and synthesise.
  • 51 - To develop decision making skills.
  • 53 - To acquire the skills necessary to learn autonomously.
  • 54 - To be able to express one’s ideas and formulate arguments in a logical and coherent way, both verbally and in writing.
  • 56 - To be able to create arguments which are conducive to critical and self-critical thinking.
  • 60 - To acquire knowledge that promotes respect for other cultures and habits.
  • 62 - To acquire mechanisms that facilitate the adoption of ethical commitments.
  • 68 - To develop mechanisms that encourage sensitivity towards social welfare issues.

Learning outcomes

Students who take this course will develop their ability to identify ethical values and make moral judgements. They will also learn to identify and solve practical problems and make good decisions.


Syllabus

I. FOUNDATIONS OF BUSINESS ETHICS

November 3

Session 1. What is business ethics about?

Reading:

The rise and fall of Arthur Andersen

Melé, D., Business Ethics in Action. Seeking Human Excellence in Organisations. Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009 (hereinafter BEA) pp. 6-15.

Session 2: Business Ethics: some conceptual clarifications

Reading:

BEA pp. 13-17; 27-38.

November 5

Session 3: Case Study Workshop

Manville: Selling in a different cultural context

Facing a custom in Philippine

Session 4: Cultural diversity and business ethics

BEA pp. 46-57.

Melé, D. & Sánchez-Runde, C. 2013. “Cultural Diversity and Universal Ethics in a Global World.” Journal of Business Ethics, 116:4, 681-87.

November 10

Session 5: Case Study Workshop

Working for a Family Business

Session 6: Ethical Theories and Religious Approaches

Reading:

BEA pp. 57-64 and 89-94.

Melé, D., 2011. “Catholic Social Teaching” in L. Bouckaert and L. Zsolnai (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business. New York, Palgrave – MacMillan, pp. 118-128.

November 12

(Assignment for the 1st Report. Deadline: November 17)

Session 7: Case Study Workshop

A Good Team Player

Session 8: Human Dignity and the Common Good

Reading:

BEA pp. 71-89

Melé, D., 2009. "Integrating Personalism into Virtue-Based Business Ethics: The Personalist and the Common Good Principles." Journal of Business Ethics 88(1): 227-244. 

 II. THE PERSON WITHIN THE ORGANISATION

November 17

Session 9: Case Study Workshop

Discussion of case study for the 1st Report

Paula’s Dilemma

Session 10: Individual Responsibility within the Organisation

Reading: BEA pp. 101-101.

Alzola, M. 2008. “Character and Environment: The Status of Virtues in Organisations.” Journal of Business Ethics, 78:3, 343-57. 

November 19

Session 11: Case Study Workshop

A project in Asia Danone – The decision to close biscuit plants

 

Session 12: Ethical Decision-Making

Reading: BEA, pp. 111-122.

Arjoon, S. 2006. “Ethical Decision-Making: A Case for the Triple Font Theory.” Journal of Business Ethics, 71:4, 395-410.

November 24

(Assignment for the 2nd Report. Deadline: November 26)

Session 13: Case Study Workshop

Easy Money on Wall Street

Session 14: Frequent Ethical Issues in Business

Reading: BEA pp. 129-146. Argandoña, A. 2007. 'The United Nations Convention against Corruption and its Impact on International Companies.' Journal of Business Ethics, 74:4, 481-96. PART III MANAGERIAL AND ORGANISATIONAL ETHICS November 26

 

Session 15: Case Study Workshop

Discussion of case study for the 1st Report Medtronic Inc. – A mission-driven company

 

Session 16: The Purpose of the Firm and Organisational Cultures

Reading: BEA pp. 158-168.

Abela, A. V. (2001). "Profit and More: Catholic Social Teaching and the Purpose of the Firm." Journal of Business Ethics 31, Part 2(2): 107-116.

December 1

 

Session 17: Case Study Workshop

Toshiba

 

Session 18: Virtues in Leadership and Organisational Cultures

Reading: BEA pp. 179-184; 202-218 and 227-245. Melé, D., The Character of a Business Leader.

 

December 3

Session 19: Case Study Workshop

Hotelasa Surgikos

 

Session 20: Ethics of Work and in Organising Work

BEA pp. 250-265.

 

December 10

 

Session 21: Case Study Workshop

The Pizza Puzzle

 

Session 22: Marketing Ethics

Reading: BEA pp. 274-290. AMA Code of Ethics

PART IV SOCIETAL AND EVIRONMENTAL BUSINESS ETHICS

December 15

Session 23: Case Study Workshop

Siemens – Several bribes hit the company General Motors – Sullivan Principles and gift-giving policy BEA pp. 143-146.

Session 24: Corporate Social Responsibility

Reading:

BEA pp. 299-316 and pp. 324-337.

Garriga, E. & Melé, D. 2004. “Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory.” Journal of Business Ethics, 53:1-2, August, 51-71.

 

December 17

 

Session 25: Case Study Workshop

Managing a New Product

Session 26: Environmental Business Ethics

Reading:

BEA pp. 347-361

Melé, D. (forthcoming). 'Pollution.' In R. W. Kolb (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society, Los Angeles: Sage. (Draft)

December 22

Session 27: Case Study Workshop

Toshiba

Session 28: Business Ethics: An overview 

Pava, M. 2008. “Why Corporations Should Not Abandon Social Responsibility.” Journal of Business Ethics, 83:4, 805-12

Next syllabus in for Spanish group (only for your information)

Chapter 1 Origen y principales enfoques de la Ética empresarial
  1.1 Códigos éticos
   Material
     Artículo Melé. Códigos de Ética mele.codigosdeetica.pdf 
     Caux Round Table Principles cauxroundtableprincipios.pdf 
     Código ético BBVA codigoconductabbva.pdf 
     Còdic ètic Telefonica codigoeticotelefonica.pdf 
     EASY MONEY ON WALL STREET casoeasymoneyonwallstreet.docx 
     The Minnesota Principles theminnesotaprinciples.docx 
   Websites
     The Minnesota Principles http://www.cebcglobal.org/index.php?/about/the-minnesota-princip 

Chapter 2 La dimensión ética del comportamiento
  2. Qué aporta la ética a la empresa

Chapter 3 Fundamentos antropológicos de la Ètica. Racionalidad y Afectividad
  Material
   Apuntes Estructura Persona apuntesestr.persona.doc 
   Estructura persona. Esquema estructurapersona.esquema.ppt 
   Plató. La República platon.republ.1.doc 

Chapter 4 Decision-Making and Efficacy
  Material
   Caso Electrónica electronica.doc 
   Quo vadis quovadis.cas.doc 

Chapter 5 La lógica del mercado. Lógica del egoísta
  Material
   Enron elcasoenron.docx 
  5.1 Egoismo o benevolencia
   Material
     Milgrom. El egoismo milgrom.doc 

Chapter 6 Estructuring Decisions
  6.1 Definición completa de problemas de decisión
   Material
     El paciente tretrapléjico eltetraplejico.caso.docx 
     Regalo de Reyes regalodereyes.doc 
  6.2 Determiantes de la calidad de las deciisiones

Chapter 7 Virtues in Decision-Making

Chapter 8 Motivational Conflicts and Dilemmas
  Material
   El candidato elcandidato.doc 
   Héroe heroi.docx 

Chapter 9 Ethics and Human Cooperation
  Material
   Caso Protenc protenc.docx 

Chapter 10 La persona en la empresa
  Material
   El ladrón de Pittsburg elladrondepittsburg.docx 
   El niño inmigrante ninoinmigrante.doc 
  10. Qué significa tratar a otros como personas

Chapter 11 Development of the Cooperation. Trust
  11.1 Valores posesivos y valores contributivos en la empresa
  11.2 Competencia y cooperación. La confianza
   Material
     Caso La decisión de Inglaterra ladecisiondeinglaterra.doc 

Chapter 12 Responsability and Solidarity
  12. Egoism, Sentimentalism and Realism in Business

- Teaching and learning activities

Methodological resources

This module uses three different methodological resources:

1. Interactive classes that build on students' prior knowledge

2. Lectures explaining the main concepts

3. Analysis of practical case studies

Class organisation

Most classes are divided into two sessions. Generally, the first has a practical focus, involving a discussion of case studies, dilemmas or activities, while the second is a lecture in which issues arising in the case studies and others will be discussed in depth.

Classes start at 12:10 on Mondays. It is extremely important to be punctual.

Course segments

  1. Foundations of Business Ethics
  2. Individual Ethics within the Organisation
  3. Managerial and Organisational Ethics
  4. Societal Business Ethics

Language

The language of this course is English. However, examinations and any reports can be completed in English, as well as in Catalan or Spanish

Project

A project is required for this course. Two options are possible:

1) Description and discussion of a case study about a company chosen by each student, showing how this company understands and implements business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability (see internet resources). 

2) Description and discussion of a case study with ethical issues (own experience or experience of a relative) with ethical comments in terms of morality, responsibilities and virtues.

The deadline for the project is 30 November. Please send the project via e-mail to the lecturer: mele@iese.edu.


  1. Códigos éticos




  1. Más allá de los resultados
  2. Qué aporta la ética a la empresa





  1. Definición completa de problemas de decisión

  2. Determiantes de la calidad de las decisiones





  1. Egoism, Sentimentalism and realism in Business



  1. Valores posesivos y valores contributivos en la empresa
  2. Competencia y cooperación. La confianza



  1. Qué significa tratar a otros como personas

Teaching and learning activities

In person



Methodological resources

This subject used three different methodological resources:

1. Interactive lessons that arouse the students' prior knowledge

2. Lectures explaining the main concepts

3. Analysis of practical cases

Class organization

Most classes are presented in two sessions. Generally, the first is practical oriented. It is devoted to a discussion of case studies, dilemmas or activities, while the second is a lecture in which issues which arose in the case studies, and others, will be dealt with in depth.

The classes start at 12:10 on Mondays.  It is extremely important to be punctual.

Course segments

  1. Foundations of Business Ethics.
  2. Individual Ethics within the Organization.
  3. Managerial and Organizational Ethics.
  4. Societal Business Ethics

Language

The language of this course is English. However, exams and eventual reports can be done in English, as well as in Catalan or Spanish

Project

A project is required for this course. Two options are possible:

1)    Description and discussion of a case study of a company chosen by each student, showing how this company understands and implement s business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability (see Internet resources). 

2)    Description and discussion of a case study with ethical issues (one’s own experience or experience of a relative) with ethical comments in terms of morality, responsibilities and virtues.

The deadline for the project is November 30th. Please, send the project via email to the professor: mele@iese.edu.


Evaluation systems and criteria

In person



10% Personal case study project

20% Participation in class

35% Mid-course examination 1

35% Mid-course examination 2 (if you have pass the mid-course examination 1 with 6 points)

70% Final examination (you must pass the examination with 5 points to pass the course)

Both mid-course and final examinations will consist of discussing a dilemma or a case study plus some questions related to the lectures, literature and class discussions.

 

 

Bibliography and resources

Melé, D., Business Ethics in Action. Seeking Human Excellence in Organizations. Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009. This book is required by the course.

Melé, D.. 2012. Management Ethics: Placing Ethics at the Core of Good Management. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

 Bowie, N.E. (ed.). 2002, The Blackwell Guide to Business Ethics (Blackwell,Oxford).

Guillén Parra, M. 2006, Ética en las organizaciones. Construyendo confianza, Pearson-Prentice-Hall, Madrid.

Llano, C.: 1997, Dilemas éticos de la empresa contemporánea (Fondo de Cultura Económica, México).

Teaching and learning material