MG468      Half Unit
Foundations of Management III: Business Ethics, Corporate Governance and Leadership

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Alexander Pepper NAB 4.30


This course is compulsory on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MiM) and Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange). This course is not available as an outside option.

This is a second year core Global Masters in Management course and is not available to any other students.


This is a second year course for Global Masters in Management students so students on this course must have successfully completed the first year of the programme.

Course content

This is a core course for second year GMiM students. The purpose of the course is to help students to understand key ideas in business ethics, corporate governance and leadership, to prepare them for future leadership roles. Business leaders have a special role to play because of their ability to determine an organisation’s mission, vision and values, how companies should be governed and led, and the ethical standards which business should aspire to.

In the first part of the module, we consider two historical approaches to the ethical responsibilities of managers. According to the shareholder approach, the interests of shareholders take priority over the interests of other stakeholders. According to the stakeholder approach, managers are morally obliged to balance competing stakeholder interests in their decision-making. We discuss how both these approaches are importantly incomplete, and how a combination of two more recent approaches, the so-called “team-production theory of company law” and “market failures approach”, may provide a viable alternative.

In the second part of the module we look at corporate governance, focusing in particular on the different roles of directors, managers and the main board.

In the final part of the module we look at organisational leadership in the context of business ethics and corporate governance. We examine various models of organisational leadership, including Michael Maccoby’s thesis that many business leaders today are “productive narcissists”.

Our teaching encourages students to address questions such as:

  • What obligations do business leaders owe to shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders?
  • What is the difference between corporate governance and organisational management?
  • What is the difference between organizational management and business leadership?
  • What are the incredible pros and inevitable cons of narcissistic leadership?
  • Are normative questions of “character” relevant in an organizational context?
  • What constituted good ethical decision-making?


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

The formative assignment will involve the preparation of an assignment plan for a business case analysis involving issues relating to leadership, corporate governance and business ethics.

Indicative reading

  • Friedman, Milton (1970): "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits", New York Times Magazine, Sept. 13.
  • Donaldson, Thomas; Preston, Lee E. (1995). "The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications". Academy of Management Review. Academy of Management. 20 (1): pp.70-
  • Heath, Joseph (2014): "A Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics", in Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics, pp. 25-41. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Maccoby, Michael (2000) “Narcissistic Leaders” Harvard Business Review. 78 (1) pp.68-77  
  • Goffee, Robert., & Jones, Gareth (2000) “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You”. Harvard Business Review, 78 (5) pp. 62-70

In addition to the core readings, students will be encouraged to read more widely in:

For weeks 2-4:  Heath, Joseph (2014) Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

For weeks 8-10: Maccoby, Michael (2007) The Leaders We Need: And What Makes Us Follow. Harvard Business Review Press.

For week 11: Moore, Geoff (2016) Virtue at Work – Ethics for Individuals, Managers, and Organizations. Oxford University Press, especially chapters 3 and 4.


Assignment (75%), group exercise (15%) and other (10%).

Assessment is in three parts:

(1) A slide deck (5 slides only) to be submitted in connection with a case study (15% of total marks, assessed on a group basis).

(2) Speaker’s notes (500 words) to be submitted in connection with the debate in Week 11 (10% of total marks, assessed on an individual basis)

(3) A 3500 word summative assignment (75% of total marks, assessed on an individual basis).

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness