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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5280M Business Ethics

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Jamie Dow

Taught: 1 Sep to 30 Nov View Timetable

Year running 2024/25


IDEA5210MIntro Ethics: Reason Happiness
IDEA5220MProfessional Issues 1
IDEA5230MAgents & Profes Responsibility

This module is not approved as an Elective


'Business ethics' is often ridiculed as an oxymoron. If this were so then those working in business would face an alarming fragmentation between their personal life and their business or professional life. In personal life they would adhere to a set of ethical values but at work they might be required to compromise them because 'business is business'.

This module examines whether such compartmentalisation is really necessary, and more positively what exactly the relation of ethics to business life is, across a wide range of activities. Whilst it focuses on business a number of the issues it raises might arise in a much wider range of corporate or working environments, from health service management, to prisons, to Universities.

The module will examine issues such as:
- the relationship between the nature of business and ethics in business;
- different approaches to business ethics from stockholder theories to stakeholder theories;
- and the nature and extent of Corporate (Social) Responsibility to individuals, communities, and the environment.

It may also address fairness or justice in the supply chain, in hiring and firing, with respect to equality and diversity, responsible advertising/marketing, and ethical issues arising in international business.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- Display understanding of key ethical concepts and their application to business organisations;
- Explain and evaluate the significance of ethical reasoning and practice within business;
- Critically analyse competing theories of business ethics;
- Formulate arguments for and against claims relating to business ethics.


Topics may include, for example:

- What is business? The purpose of business and business ethics
- CSR and license to operate
- Social Enterprises and Business Ethics
- Ethics and Marketing
- Hiring and firing
- Just prices and the supply chain
- International Business Ethics
- Human Resources: Equality and Diversity
- Business and the Environment
- Ethics and Financial Decision making.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning82.0016.00
Independent online learning hours34.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

On-Line Learning: online tutor-led discussion.
Independent Online Learning: working through exercises online.

Private Study Time:
Students be assigned set readings, and will be given teaching materials to work through at their own pace. These materials will set the readings in context, at certain points provide prompts for carefully structured online discussions, which will be supported by tutors.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay plans (400 words).

Tutors will be involved in students' discussions to monitor their contributions, and provide clarification or answer questions where necessary. Access to teaching materials will also be logged through the VLE, which will give some indication of students' progress in independent learning.

Contribution to online discussions will be assessed (on participation rather than content) to encourage regular, active participation.

There will also be an online personal tutoring system to review progress on completed modules and identify any areas where further support is needed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 word90.00
Group DiscussionParticipation in online group discussions10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:19:42


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