SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN426603
Module Leader Jane Burt
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • B (January 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.


Introduction to the theoretical aspects of Ethics and Professionalism Laying an Ethical Foundation: Ethics, Morality and Values The philosophy and psychology of ethical decision-making Professional Ethics: Professionalism, Professional behaviour and Codes of Ethics Building an ethical organisation: Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Leadership Ethics: The ethical challenge of responsible leadership Ethical Global Citizenship: The challenges of ethical diversity and finding moral common ground

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Demonstrate a theoretical and systematic understanding of ethics and professionalism required for good leadership in relation to private, public and social business environments.2. Critically evaluate current developments in the areas of ethics and professionalism , 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 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 and professionalism, 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, building an ethical organisation, professionalism, 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 will be 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 provides access and engagement with learning materials, learning activities, and assessment submissions. It contains resources 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. 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 codes of ethics 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

Books and articles: Crane, A. & Matten, D., Business Ethics (latest edition), Oxford: University Press Duska, R. Duska, B.S. & Ragatz, J.A., Accounting Ethics (latest edition), West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell DeGeorge, R.T., Business Ethics (latest edition), New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Fisher, C. & Lovell, A., Business Ethics and Values (latest edition), Essex: Prentice Hall Harrison, M., An Introduction to Business and Management Ethics, (latest edition) Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan Johnson, C.E., Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach (latest edition) , London: Sage Publications Lawton, A., Rayner, J., & Lasthuizen, K., Ethics and Management in the Public Sector (latest edition)Oxon: Routledge McPhail, K. & Walters, D., Accounting and Business Ethics, London: Routledge Solomon, R.C., Ethics and Excellence (latest edition), New York: Oxford University Press Online sources: http:// http:www.un globalcompact .org/? http:www.p rinceofwales prince - of-wales / initiatives? <>> <> World Resources Institute>> <> <> <> - 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 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 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: Communication skills by engaging in a two-way oral communication process with a peer group; Think creatively about a range of approaches and options for professional and corporate accountability and ethics, requiring the organisation of thoughts, analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal; Discussing open-ended problems with a variety of possible outcomes; Generic critical and analytical skills; Planning and managing their workloads independently; Reflective skills.

Module Structure

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

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 50% 2,500 word essay submitted through turnitin