BUSINESS DECISION MAKING AND BUSINESS ETHICS
This course introduces students to a variety of decision making techniques used in business, and examines their usefulness and limitations. Students will explore the differences between quantitative and qualitative data, and the relative weighting given to qualitative data in business decisions. The focus is then broadened to examine the concept of business ethics, trace the pressures which have required businesses to develop ethical policies, and confront the question: are profit and ethics mutually exclusive concepts?
Topics to be covered include:
- Comparison of business objectives versus stakeholder desires.
- Examination of traditional business methods of data research and decision making techniques.
- Reliability, risk and uncertainty. Legal considerations.
- Business matrix models as a basis for decision making.
- Approaches of the theorists. Distributive justice.
- Corporate governance versus pressure groups.
- Evaluation of the usefulness of environmental audits and social responsibility.
- Consideration of merits of whistle-blowing in cases of malpractice.
- Practical examples of business approaches to ethics. Analysing a set of case studies to form a solution to varying ethical problems.
- To enable students to become familiar with the more common business decision making techniques and to assess their value.
- To develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical issues relating to business ethics.
- To develop the knowledge and skills necessary to use decision making techniques.
- To understand the theoretical approaches to business ethics and to apply them to practical situations.
- To evaluate the ethical policies of a range of businesses.
- To research topics and to present findings and conclusions in written and oral presentations.
- An ability to use decision making techniques and to evaluate the results.
- To demonstrate an understanding of theory and to apply it in a variety of ways to varied business situations.
- To show through individual and group research an understanding of the subject, and to develop this understanding through appropriate application.
- To have completed regular assignments on each aspect of the course and to deliver this acquired knowledge through a range of visual, oral and written material.
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching hours or equivalent in Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class and the final project.
Students will be expected to attend all classes and to be active participants. They will be expected to complete essays, case studies, perform oral presentations and research projects.
The breakdown of marks awarded for the course is as follows:
- 40% Essays
- 30% Research assignment
- 20% Class participation
- 10% Attendance
Sample Essay Titles
- Do you believe that money is the reward for taking risk. Do you believe that investors should consider the common good, when they are making a choice amongst alternative investments.
- Give an argument for and an argument against acceptance of a contract to buy materials from a company notorious for its poor treatment of workers in third world countries.
Essential Purchase and Reading
Business Ethics – Chryssides and Kaler
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
Business Ethics – Crane and Matten.
Perspectives in Business Ethics – Hartman.
For specific decision making techniques a variety of sources will be used, and material provided. Use will also be made of current newspapers and journals, and the published statements of businesses.