Spring 2014 Undergrad Ethics Syllabus

Topics: Social responsibility, Business ethics, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 5 (1228 words) Published: April 22, 2015


Prof. Michael A. Santoro
Spring 2014

Course Objectives and Methodology

This course is about leadership ethics and the professional responsibilities of companies. Students will acquire a practical understanding of business responsibilities to investors, customers, employees, suppliers, and the general public. Students will learn about how ethics, law, and economics interrelate and overlap. Thus we will spend considerable time studying law and economics in this class.

Students will learn to think critically about business ethics and corporate social responsibility in three dimensions--the societal, the organizational, and the individual. We examine the complex ethical and economic relationship between business and society. We also consider whether business has to be socially responsible to achieve sustainable profits. At the organizational level we ask students to consider both governance mechanisms and corporate culture characteristics that contribute to a company’s success or demise. Finally, we we will place special emphasis on “making ethics personal” and focus on how young business executives can give voice to their values at work.

Grading Policy

The course grade will be based on 4 in-class exams and 2 personal journal assignments each worth 15% of the grade. 10% of the grade will be based on class participation. The exams will consist of a combination of short answers and essay questions. Further information about the journal assignments will be provided in class.

Students must also attend be on time for every class. Absence from more than three classes for any reason will result in a reduced grade, e.g. from A- to B+. Absence from 4 or more classes could result in an F grade and the student will have to repeat the class. Students must complete the class reading prior to every class. I will be cold calling most of the students in the class during the course. If you are not prepared when called upon, it will be noted and this will result in a lowering of your class participation grade. It is the QUALITY of class participation, based on the criteria described below, NOT THE QUANTITY, that goes into the class participation grade.

Class Participation

In a typical class, one or more students will be asked to start the class by answering a specific question or discussing a specific issue. Preparation for class (including any assignment questions) should be sufficient to handle such a leadoff assignment. After a few minutes of initial analysis, we will open the discussion to the rest of the class. As a group, we will then try to complete the analysis of the situation and address the problems and issues presented in the readings.

The development of verbal skills is given a high priority in this course. The classroom should be considered a laboratory in which you can test your ability to convince your peers of the correctness of your approach to complex problems, and of your ability to achieve the desired results through the use of that approach. Some of the things that have an impact on effective class participation are the following:

1. Is the participant a good listener?

2. Are the points that are made relevant to the discussion? Are they linked to the comments of others?

3. Do the comments show evidence of analysis of the readings?

4. Does the participant distinguish among different kinds of data, such as facts, opinions, beliefs, and concepts?

5. Is there a willingness to test new ideas, or are all comments “safe”? (For example, repetition of case facts without analysis and conclusions or a comment already made by a colleague)

6. Is the participant willing to interact with other class members?

The questions above deal with both the process of class participation and (of equal or greater concern) the content of what you say. As noted above, class participation is potentially a component of your grade in this course....
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