SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2N422797
Module Leader Daniel McGregor
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge


Summary of Content

The module is intended to set out a broad groundwork for the coverage of ethical issues in relation to business, both in the private and public sector and of those following a professional route, covering topics such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, professionalism and ethical leadership. The aim of this module is to equip students with a set of analytical tools and concepts to drive ethical decision-making and which encompass the outcomes that may result in behaving ethically whilst highlighting the difference between compliance and ethically driven behaviours. The module seeks to explore the ethical dilemmas arising in business both in the public, private and professional sectors and of the particular ethical responsibilities of individuals working in industry or the profession. In addition, students will gain insight into the internal and external accountability structures of an organisation aimed at producing an ethical organisation. In so doing, PRME-related issues/topics are covered.


Introduction An Overview of Business Ethics in both private and public sectors Ethical Issues in Business Capitalism, Morality and Markets What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets Laying an Ethical Foundation: An Ethical Theory Perspective Ethics, Morality and Values Virtue Ethics Deontological Ethics Consequentialist Egoism Consequentialist Utilitarianism Ethical Decision-Making Components of Ethical Behaviour Decision-Making Formats Individual and Situational Factors affecting decision-making: descriptive theories of decision-making Practicing Individual Ethics in the organisation: Unethical behaviour by individuals in organisations Components of Personal Ethical Development Professional Ethics Professionalism and the moral basis of professional behaviour Professional Codes of Ethics Business as a Profession Leadership Ethics The Ethical Challenges of Leadership The Shadow Side of Leadership Normative Leadership Theories Followership Ethics The Ethical Challenges of Followership Meeting the Moral Demands of Followership: Principles and Strategies Whistle-blowing Ethics in the Public Sector Managing Ethics in the Public Sector The Public Interest: is there such a thing and what purpose does it service Ethical culture: what is it and how can it be changed? Compliance approaches Integrity approaches Building an Ethical Organisation Making Ethics Matter: Components of Ethical Culture An Organisation's internal accountability:- -360 - An Organisational Code of Ethics - Corporate Social Responsibility (including Stakeholder theory and the Shareholder versus Stakeholder debate) - Sustainability (including sustainability discourses and drivers, sustainable development, the future of sustainability) An organisation's external accountability:- -360 - Corporate Governance: Developments in corporate governance Promoting Organizational Citizenship in a Global Society Global Issues and International Obligations The Organisation as Global Citizen Promoting Organisational Citizenship Ethical Global Citizenship The Dangers of Globalization and the Challenges of Ethical Diversity Finding Moral Common Ground Resolving Ethical Cross-Cultural Conflicts

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module the student should be able to: Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the business environment and the necessity for ethical behaviour. This will be reflected in the unseen examination and the essay;. Evaluate a range of approaches to ethical theory and their application to the business environment. This will be reflected in the essay and in discussions in seminars and via GCU Learn discussion board;. Exhibit an understanding of a limited range of ethical dilemmas that arise in business activity and formulate possible approaches to their resolution. This will be reflected in the unseen examination and the discussions in seminars and via GCU Learn discussion board;. Evaluate the role of professionalism in the area of ethics and the responsibilities of professionals encountering ethical dilemmas in business practice. This will be reflected in the unseen examination and/or the essay and in discussions in seminars and via GCU Learn discussion board.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching/learning strategy has two interrelated elements: -360b7 Lectures introduce topics and highlight the issues involved; b7 Seminars provide opportunities for consideration and discussion of ethical problems within a number of dimensions of business activity to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the need for ethical behaviour in different contexts and the conflicting nature of the decisions that have to be made. The strategy is intended to introduce students early in their university careers to the conflicting pressures within the business environment and the need for ethical and socially responsible behaviour by company management. In addition, there is a particular focus on the responsibilities of professionalism and ethical leadership when operating both within industry and commerce and the profession. This strategy is achieved by introducing the issues in lectures and thereafter requiring students to consider either small case studies involving ethical dilemmas in different areas of organisational activity or by critically analysing journal articles of the chosen topic areas. Students will be introduced to a number of theoretical approaches to ethical decision-making to offer a broader perspective on the subject. GCU Learn Virtual Learning Environment is used to support learning activities. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCU Learn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

-567 Books and articles: -360b7 Crane, A. & Matten, D., Business Ethics (latest edition), Oxford: University Press b7 Duska, R. Duska, B.S. & Ragatz, J.A., Accounting Ethics (latest edition), West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell b7 DeGeorge, R.T., Business Ethics (latest edition), New Jersey: Prentice Hall b7 Fisher, C. & Lovell, A., Business Ethics and Values (latest edition), Essex: Prentice Hall b7 Harrison, M., An Introduction to Business and Management Ethics, (latest edition) Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan b7 Johnson, C.E., Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach (latest edition) , London: Sage Publications b7 Lawton, A., Rayner, J., & Lasthuizen, K., Ethics and Management in the Public Sector (latest edition), Oxon: Routledge b7 McPhail, K. & Walters, D. , Accounting and Business Ethics , London: Routledge b7 Solomon, R.C. , Ethics and Excellence (latest edition), New York: Oxford University Press -567 Online sources: http:// -360 1. http:www.un globalcompact .org/? 1. http:www.p rinceofwales prince - of-wales / initiatives? <> <> <> <> World Resources Institute <> <> <> <> <> <> -567 Other sources: Journals: Business Ethics Quarterly Journal of Business Ethics Business and Society Review Journal of Organisational Behaviour Research in Organisational Behaviour Corporate Governance; An International Review Corporate Governance; The international Journal of Business in Society Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Journal of Management and Governance Community Banker Global Risk Regulator Internal Auditing & Business Risk Journal of Banking & Finance Journal of Financial Services Research The Service Industries Journal Accounting, Organisations and Society Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal Research on Accounting Ethics Journal of Value Inquiry Journal of Managerial Psychology Management Decision Critical Perspectives on Accounting Journal of Public Administration Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration Social Policy and Administration -360

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: -360b7 Working in small groups; b7 Discussing open-ended problems with a variety of possible outcomes; -360b7 Generic critical and analytical skills; b7 Planning and managing their workloads independently; Reflective skills.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Assessment (FT) 38.00
Independent Learning (FT) 116.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 60.00 35% Unseen Examination
Course Work 01 1.00 40.00 35% 1,500 word essay