SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN424936
Module Leader Jane Burt
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Standard Programme Entry Requirements

Summary of Content

The module is intended to set out a broad groundwork for the coverage of ethical, governance and responsible leadership issues in relation to business. Students will be supported to critically explore the private, public and social enterprise sectors, covering topics such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, professionalism, ethical leadership and key issues in corporate governance and the extent to which present arrangements secure corporate accountability. In so doing, students will gain insight into the internal and external accountability structures aimed at producing an ethical organisation. The aim of this module is to equip students with a set of analytical tools and concepts to drive responsible decision-making whilst highlighting the difference between compliance and ethically driven behaviours. The module will therefore incorporate both a theoretical and practical understanding of real world issues, from a UK and global perspective. The UN Global Compact's Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and GCU's Common Good attributes will be the foundation upon which this module is built. PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact. The teaching of this module is based on a dialectic approach to learning, that of debate, conversation and informed opinions. For all topics studied, students will require to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving skills, whilst exhibiting two way communication and personal effectiveness skills.


-360b7 Introduction to the theoretical aspects of Ethics, Governance and Responsible Leadership -360b7 Corporate Accountability: To Shareholders and beyond b7 Good Governance and the responsible leadership of the board: effectiveness and diversity b7 Responsible executive incentives b7 Relationships within the corporate governance framework b7 The role of institutional investors and financial analysts in corporate governance b7 Laying an Ethical Foundation: Ethics, Morality and Values b7 The philosophy and psychology of ethical decision-making b7 Professional Ethics: Professionalism, Professional behaviour and Codes of Ethics b7 Building an ethical organisation: Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability b7 Leadership Ethics: The ethical challenge of responsible leadership b7 Ethical Global Citizenship: The challenges of ethical diversity and finding moral common ground

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1 Demonstrate a theoretical and systematic understanding of ethics, governance and responsible leadership in relation to private, public and social business environments2 Critically evaluate current developments in the areas of ethics, governance and responsible leadership, from a knowledge base that is informed by recent research and practice.3 Extrapolate from existing research and scholarship, practice and international developments to identify revised approaches to practice to improve standards of performance, accountability and ethical behaviour.4 Demonstrate the ability to critically engage in two way communication by participating in group discussions, role-play, and the analysis of real-world case-studies and ethical dilemmas on the basis of prior knowledge and reading.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This school-wide module is geared towards the development of business skills that encourage global responsible leaders that are not just economically astute but also socially and environmentally aware of the impact of their business activities. The overall strategy is intended to introduce students to the conflicting pressures within the business environment and the need for ethical and socially responsible behaviour by company management. In line with GCU's Common Good Attributes, the objective of the module is to educate students in ethics, governance and responsible leadership so as to produce graduates who can enter the work place with an understanding of PRME principles and the GCU's Common Good ethos embedded in to their thinking. The module is based on real-world learning from a global perspective, considering business, social and environmental issues. Students will gain the necessary critical and reflective skills that will allow them to think through real-world problems. The aim is to highlight to students that they must be respectful of different cultures, whilst understanding the need to be ethical in their thinking. The curriculum is based on theoretical versus practical aspects, for example, of corporate accountability, good governance, building an ethical organisation, responsible leadership and ethical global citizenship and the challenges of ethical diversity and finding moral common ground. The learning and teaching strategy privileges thought processes that encourage and stimulate imagination to allow students to rethink their entire world-views. Learning and teaching is based on cultivating moral imagination in order for students to become morally aware, to be intellectually entrepreneurial in exploring the world without undue inhibitions. Students will experience the business world through different and varied lenses so that ideas and actions of business people in the workplace can be critically explored and consequences understood. The aim is to engage students in analysis, research and discussion of contemporary, real life issues, both from a UK and international perspective. The teaching and learning strategy aims to embed these attributes by way of a dialectic approach to learning. Face to face contact involves three hours of class contact per week: normally a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour seminar. Lectures will be used to highlight the key theoretical and practical issues on a specific topic and point the way towards relevant journal articles and other appropriate literature. Students will then be expected to prepare for the following week's seminars on each topic by engaging in literature searches, undertaking relevant reading and preparing responses to discursive questions. In addition, discussion boards, padlets, wiki's and blogs are utilised to expand on, and broaden the student's knowledge base out with the classroom. The lectures will adopt a variety of teaching styles including seminar style contributions such as group discussion to enhance intellectual, critical and analytical skills. For more applied topics, students will be required to attempt relevant problem or scenario based questions prior to the lectures or seminars taking place, providing the basis for deepening professional skills, knowledge and understanding. Seminar classes are conducted in workshop format providing a mix of tutor led, student led and group learning. Extensive use is made of the VLE site GCULearn to complement and support the face to face, distance learning and independent learning elements of the module as well as enhancing the student learning experience and engagement. As a blended learning tool, GCULearn-2 provides access and engagement with learning materials, learning activities, and assessment submissions. It contains r esources including key readings such as scanned material, journal articles, book chapters, digital book chapters, web-links, embedded video clips and is also used for interactive forums such as discussion boards and blogs. -2 It provides online access to lecture materials, and seminar materials in the form of journal articles, e-books, documentaries, latest subject-specific news articles and up-to-date professional ethics and corporate governance codes as prescribed by both industry and professional bodies. The module also provides access to relevant academic support materials such as GCU's Harvard reference guide and Academic Journal Guide, whilst embedding GCU's SMILE and SMIRK facility to enhance online learning in all areas of academic work.

Indicative Reading

Essential : -360b7 Solomon J. Corporate Governance and Accountability: J Wiley & Sons, Chichester -360b7 Fisher, C. and Lovell, A. (2013), Business Ethics and Values, (4th edn), Essex: Prentice Hall Recommended : -360b7 Mallin C. A., (2013) 4th edition Corporate Governance; Oxford University Press: Oxford -360b7 Tricker B., (2013) 2nd edition Corporate Governance: Principles, Policies and Practices: Oxford b7 University Press; Oxford b7 Crane, A. & Matten, D., Business Ethics (latest edition), Oxford: University Press -360b7 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 Various prescribed journal articles taken from journals such as Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance - An International Review, International Journal of Auditing; Journal of Business Ethics; Business Ethics Quarterly, Business and Society Review, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, Strategic Management Journal -567 Online sources: <> -360 1. 1. <> <> <> <> <> <> <> 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

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: -360b7 Communication skills by engaging in a two way oral communication process with a peer group; -360b7 Think creatively about a range of approaches and options for corporate accountability and ethics, requiring the organisation of thoughts, analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal.; b7 Discussing open-ended problems with a variety of possible outcomes; b7 Generic critical and analytical skills; b7 Planning and managing their workloads independently; b7 Reflective skills.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 84.00
Lectures (FDL) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FDL) 30.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Independent Learning (FDL) 84.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FDL) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Facilitation and Contribution n/a 30.00 45% Facilitation and Contribution in seminarsFor DL students Contribution on discussion board
2500 word essay n/a 70.00 45% Essay