SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2N425211
Module Leader Daniel McGregor
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)
  • C (May start)-A (September start)

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 the Organisations Components of Personal Ethical Development Professional Ethics Professionalism and the moral basis of professional behaviour Establishing Professional Codes of Ethics Business as a Profession Leadership Ethics The Ethical Challenges of Leadership The Shadow Side of Leadership Normative Leadership Theories Building an Ethical Organisation Making Ethics Matter: Components of Ethical Culture An organisation's internal accountability: -360 - Whistle-blowing Procedures -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 Ethical Global Citizenship The Dangers of Globalization and the Challenges of Ethical Diversity Finding Moral Common Ground Resolving Ethical Cross-Cultural Conflicts

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the business environment and the necessity for ethical behaviour. 2. Evaluate a range of approaches to ethical theory and their application to the business environment. 3. Exhibit an understanding of a limited range of ethical dilemmas that arise in business activity and formulate possible approaches to their resolution. 4. Evaluate the role of professionalism in the area of ethics and the responsibilities of professionals encountering ethical dilemmas in business practice.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This work based module adopts a blended approach to learning which combines face to face contact and online learning via GCU's virtual learning environment, GCU Learn. The teaching and learning strategy encourages an active and self-directed approach to learning. In the context of a work based ethos, teaching and learning methods use real world and real work scenarios to promote action learning, inquiry based learning, problem based learning and peer learning. These methods include lectures, seminars, online directed learning packages (power point presentations/study guides/videos), podcasts and discussion boards. These approaches will be used to directly involve the students in the process of learning and to encourage collaborative learning amongst students. Learners will be supported during the module by the module team which includes module tutors, work based mentors and Academic Development Tutors. Module tutors act as facilitators and also determine the level and accuracy of knowledge acquisition at key points in the delivery. Additionally, input, when necessary, either directly or with the support of external experts will add to the authenticity, credibility and application of education and learning to the workplace. Work based mentors provide a full spectrum of workplace support; helping apprentices to identify relevant work activity that can operate as a source for work-integrated learning, advise on the development of work-based projects, provide feedback on the development of professional competence, and formatively comment on progress in achieving negotiated work-integrated learning objectives. Academic Development Tutors will provide support to help maximise students' potential in relation to academic writing, referencing and the development of effective study techniques. Both formative and summative assessment strategies will be adopted during the module. Formative assessment will be used not only to encourage knowledge of the subject, but also to help develop transferable skills. Summative assessments will provide evidence of the learning achieved throughout the module. Summative assessments are compulsory. An overall mark of 40% must be achieved in the module. Students will have access to ongoing academic support as they work through the module assessment activities, and staff will assist students to reflect on and evaluate achievement of the learning outcomes. The percentage of Work Based Learning for this module, as represented by the Independent Learning 'Activity Type' is 72%. Work Based Assessment will account for 20% with the remainder of 8% accounted for by Lectures and Seminars.

Indicative Reading

Books and articles CRANE, A. & MATTEN, D., Business Ethics (latest edition), Oxford: University Press -359b7 DUSKA, R. DUSKA, B.S. & RAGATZ, J.A., Accounting Ethics (latest edition), West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell b7 DE GEORGE, 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 Online sources: -566 Business Respect <> United Nations Global Compact <> Prince of Wales Initiatives <> Sustain Ability <> Social Accountability International <> The Economics Foundation <> World Resources Institute <> Association for Accountancy and Business Affairs <> The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility <> GRI Sustainability Reporting <> CERES <> Corporate Register <> Chartered Banker <> Ethical Corporation <> -566 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 Accounting, Organisations and Society Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal Research on Accounting Ethics

Transferrable Skills

Self-management: self-motivation, time management and critical self-reflection and evaluation of personal performance. Interpersonal Skills: an ability to work collaboratively and constructively with others in seminars and outside of class in allocated groups. Oral and written communication skills, negotiation skills and presentation skills Group work when participating in the group work in seminars and outside of class in allocated groups. Information technology skills will be developed through Internet searches and online communication. Analytical, evaluative and creative problem solving will be developed throughout the module experience but especially through case studies, seminar debates. Using Turnitin software to improve writing style.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 145.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Lectures (FT) 15.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 40% Negotiated individual work based assignment: essay - 3000 words