This course involves a detailed study of the ethical problems that arise in business, along with methods and techniques for analyzing and evaluating proposed solutions. The course is divided into four sections. The first is an overview of ethical concepts and theories, and of the importance and role of ethics in business. Distinctions are drawn between the legal and ethical dimensions of business, and between consequentialist and non-consequentialist theories in ethics.
The second section examines the concept of responsibility, with emphasis on the view that discussions of responsibility make sense only within the context of well defined social roles. Different kinds of social roles are examined, as is the claim that the activity of business is itself a social role. Two different types of social responsibility often ascribed to business, beneficence and non-malevolence, are examined.
The third section examines problems of honesty and deception in business. The wrongness of deception itself is examined, along with specific problems involving deception in accounting, finance, management and marketing. Problems surrounding employee rights, privacy and whistleblowing are also examined.
The fourth section examines problems of economic and social justice. Theories of distributive justice and the role of business in achieving it are presented, along with broader questions of social justice and affirmative action.