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

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Alexander Pepper MAR 5.38


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 core course for Global Master's in Management students and is not available as an outside elective.


This is a second year course for Global Master's in Management students who must have successfully completed the first year of the programme.

Course content

The purpose of the course is to provide students with a thorough understanding of key ideas in business ethics, corporate governance and ethical leadership, in order 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 value maximisation 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”, as well as recent research on authenticity, gravitas, and ethical leadership..

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 organisational management and business leadership?
  • What are the incredible pros and inevitable cons of narcissistic leadership?
  • Are normative questions of “character” relevant in an organisational context?
  • What constituted good ethical decision-making?


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

Formative coursework

Formative feedback will be provided in respect of participation in seminars.

Indicative reading


Mayer, C. (2018) Prosperity: Better Business Makes Greater Good. Oxford University Press

Business ethics

Heath, J. (2014) Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press., especially Chps 1,2 and 4, which are particularly relevant for weeks 2-4.

Moore, G. (2016) Virtue at Work – Ethics for Individuals, Managers, and Organizations. Oxford University Press, especially Chapter 4, relevant for week 11.


Mook, L. (2013) (ed.) Accounting for Social Value. University of Toronto Press

Tricker, B. (2019) Corporate Governance: Principles, Policies and Practices 4th ed.  Oxford University Press


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

Miller, C. (2018) The Character Gap - How Good Are We? Oxford University Press.

Newton, R. (2019) Authentic Gravitas: Who Stands Out and Why. The Orion Publishing Company Limited., relevant for weeks 8-10


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 presentation (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) to be completed at the end of the course.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2021/22: 84

Average class size 2021/22: 14

Controlled access 2021/22: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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