PH425      Half Unit
Business and Organisational Ethics

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Gabriel Wollner


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Economics and Philosophy, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), MSc in Management and Regulation of Risk, MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance, MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy, MSc in Philosophy of Science, MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, MSc in Public Management and Governance and MSc in Risk and Finance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This introductory course to business and organisational ethics is divided into three parts. The first part raises normative questions about the structure in which firms operate, including questions about the proper scope of markets and questions of distributive justice. The second part outlines a framework for incorporating moral principles into the decision-making of business professionals. The course introduces basic approaches in normative theory, explains how these approaches relate to standard ways of managerial and economic decision-making and discusses to what extent business professionals are bound by ordinary moral requirements. The third part focuses on firms and corporations as units of moral concern, with a particular focus on their role in international and global affairs. The course discusses justice and democracy at the workplace, the significance of international labour standards, how business professionals may or may not respond to practices like bribery and insider trading, and how responsibility is properly distributed between corporate and individual actors.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Two essays of 1500 words

Indicative reading

Arthur I. Applbaum (2000), Ethics for Adversaries, Princeton University Press

Robert Audi (2005), 'The Place of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Business and the Professions', Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 24 (3), 2-21.

Norman E. Bowie, (2001), The Blackwell Guide to Business Ethics (Blackwell Philosophy Guides), Wiley-Blackwell

Nien-he Hsieh (2009), 'Does Global Business Have a Duty to Promote Just Institutions?', Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 19 (2), 251-273

Martin Sandbu (2011), Just Business: Arguments in Business Ethics, Prentice Hall


Exam (67%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (33%, 1500 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Philosophy

Total students 2012/13: 24

Average class size 2012/13: 11

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information