Course description

Business and Professional Ethics


Business and professional ethics as a course topic has two main functions. On the one hand, ethics is potentially helpful when it comes to analyzing, handling and not least preventing moral conflict cases in business contexts. On the other hand, business ethics invites a constructive and critical look at business professional roles, at business practices, and not least at other business school disciplines.

The course emphasizes work with cases and it reflects that the subject business and professional ethics should be a field of good listening, reflection and discussion. For a first impression, watch perhaps a popular presentation of what the field is about such as the one by St Gallen university: or search on your own for online presentations of business ethics and/or of corporate responsibility.

Course content

  • Why moral conflict cases are ubiquitous
  • Cases sorted by fields, with debriefing and discussion: human resource management ethics, marketing and PR ethics, professional ethics, environmental ethics, cross-cultural business ethics
  • Business and professional ethics, additional topics and approaches
  • Business ethics and corporate responsibility, structured by different kinds of stakeholders
  • Business ethics as a research and a teaching discipline
  • Different approaches to moral philosophy. With a focus on discourse ethics and a Socratic dialogue in the Nelson-Heckmann tradition, see about the latter perhaps 
  • Thinking beyond moral conflict cases: business ethics as professional ethics

Learning outcome knowledge

After completing the course, students should:

  • Know the most important terminology, theories and authors' names within normative and descriptive business ethical theory 
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of chosen approaches

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 60%
  • Presentation: 25%
  • Presentation and discussion: 15%