The past decade has been especially tumultuous in the business world, due in no small part to questionable ethical practices. From accounting scandals to ill-advised mortgages, the business world is full of examples of ethical failures. These scandals beg the questions: what does “ethical” mean in a business context? Are ethical practices actually important, or are they merely a “feel-good” addition? In this class, we will address these questions by examining “ethics before the rules” by learning about the origins of ethical thought, the practice of different ethical approaches, and the application of ethics to current business problems at both the organizational and individual levels.
- Develop a usable framework for accurately identifying, considering, and acting in situations of ethical importance
- Understand why an individual’s basic beliefs about life necessarily drive one’s view of ethics
- Know the roles that culture and society play in determining ethical standards
- Understand the primary approaches to ethics, including self-interest, altruism, social contracts, virtue ethics, and natural law
- Practice applying ethical frameworks to classic and contemporary business issues
- Understand the debate about who should control businesses, including the purpose of business and the role of stakeholders