COMMERCE 7016OL - Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics (M)

Online - Quadmester 3 - 2015

This course reflects the major contemporary trends in corporate citizenship, social and environmental responsibility and accountability. Communities and governments now require organisations to be responsible and accountable for their performance in relation to their social and environmental responsibilities, and these responsibilities have increasingly formed part of organisations' ethical values and strategic agendas. This course will include consideration of the enlarged spectrum of corporate stakeholders; corporate social responsibilities, citizenship and reputation; business-government relationships and political environmental management; sustainable development; environmental management and accountability; social investing and corporate philanthropy; community and employee relationships; and public affairs and media management. Accordingly, this course focuses on understanding and implementing enhanced organisational performance that includes social, environmental and ethical performance indicators in addition to the traditional financial performance indicators.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMMERCE 7016OL
    Course Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics (M)
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Business School
    Term Quadmester 3
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Online
    Units 3
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Jeffrey Keddie

    Dr Jeffrey Keddie

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Refer to Weekly Modules 1 – 10. The schedule of topics is also provided in this course outline.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the end of this course, you will be able to:
    1. Explore the relationship between ethics and business and the subsequent theories of justice and economics across different cultural traditions.
    2. Explain the relationship between ethics, morals and values in the workplace.
    3. Formulate ethical philosophy to explain how it contributes to current practice.
    4. Analyse some of the competing demands on business when scrutinising the ethics of business activity.
    5. Critically apply understanding of ethics to real-world contexts. Gather and analyse information by way of undertaking a research project on a topic relevant to business ethics. 
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 3, 5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Wicks, A.C., Freeman, R.E., Werhane, P.H. and Martin, K.E. (2010). Business Ethics: A
    Managerial Approach. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ. ISBN 13:978-0-13-142792-1

    List assigned articles and resources by week. This does not include assigned textbook readings.
    W1  Chapter 1: Ethical Reasoning and Marketing Decisions – Murphy et al (2005) Solomon, R. C. (2009) ‘It’s Good Business’, in Shaw, H., Barry, V. & Sansbury, G. Moral Issues in Business (Asia-Pacific edn.). South Melbourne: Cengage Learning, pp. 37-46.
    W2 Kohlberg, L. & Hersh, R. (1977) ‘Moral development: A review of the theory’, Theory into Practice, 16, pp. 53-59.
    Gilligan, C. (1982) ‘Woman’s Place in Man’s Life Cycle’, in In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory in Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, pp. 5-23.
    W3 Norton, T. (1992) ‘The Narcissism and Moral Mazes of Corporate Life: A Commentary on the writings of H. Schwartz and R. Jackall’, Business Ethics Quarterly, 2(1), 75-81.
    W4 Crane, A. & Matten, D. (2010) Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization. (3rd edn.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 91-104.
    Hardin, G. (1974) ‘Lifeboat ethics: The case against helping the poor’, Psychology Today, September, pp. 38 & 40-43.
    W5 Chapter 5: “Corporate Social Responsibility” in Hartman and Des Jardines (eds) Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity MgGraw-Hill_Irwin (2010):
    5-1”Rethinking the Social Responsibility of Business: A Reason Debate Featuring Milton Friedman, Whole Food’s John Mackey and Cypress Semiconductor’s T.J. Rodgers. 5-2 “Does it Pay to Be Good?” A.J. Vogl
    W6 Friedman, M. (1970) “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”, New York Times Magazine, 13 September.
    Freeman, R. E. (2009) ‘Managing for Stakeholders’, in Beauchamp, T. L., Bowie, N. E. & Arnold, D. G. (2009) Ethical Theory and Business. (8th edn.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, pp. 56-68.
    Lawrence, A.T. & Weber, J. (2008) ‘Shell Oil in Nigeria’ in Lawrence, A.T. & Weber, J. Business and Society: Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy. (12th edn.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, pp. 520-530.
    W7 Maitland, I. (2005) ‘The Great Non-Debate over International Sweatshops’, in Hartman, L. P. Perspectives in Business Ethics. (3rd edn.). Boston: McGraw-Hill, pp. 476-513.
    Lee, M. & Ruhe, J. (1999) ‘Ethical mindsets of Christianity and Confucianism: A comparative study’, International Journal of Value-Based Management, 12, pp. 13-27
    W8 Rice, G. (1999) ‘Islamic ethics and the implications for business’ Journal of Business Ethics, 18, pp. 345-358.
    Weber, M. (2002) ‘The Protestant ethic and “spirit” of capitalism’ in The Protestant ethic and the ‘spirit’ of capitalism and other writings (eds. Baehr, P. & Wells, G. C.). New York: Penguin Books
    Weber, M. (2002) ‘The Protestant ethic and “spirit” of capitalism’ in The Protestant ethic and the ‘spirit’ of capitalism and other writings (eds. Baehr, P. & Wells, G. C.). New York: Penguin Books.
    Lee, M. & Ruhe, J. (1999) ‘Ethical mindsets of Christianity and Confucianism: A comparative study’, International Journal of Value-Based Management, 12, pp.13-27

    Recommended Resources
    Recommended Journals include:
    • Business Ethics Quarterly
    • Journal of Business Ethics
    • Business and Society
    • Business and Society Review
    • Economics and Philosophy 
    Online Learning
    Each week’s module is accessible via the LEARN site. Each module contains an overview of the week’s content, links to the week’s lecture and cases (on those weeks where cases are included), and tutorial and case discussion forums.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is offered in an online teaching mode. Students in this course are expected to participate and contribute to Discussion Forums in a substantive manner on a weekly basis.

    Substantive participation includes responses to discussion questions as well as discourse between students related to the subject matter. Substantive responses must be based upon the course content, theory or personal experiences, not mere opinion. A simple "I agree" will not count. Examples of substantive participation do not include posting of assignments or a question you might have for the facilitator or the group. Posting assignments or emails to students and/or teaching staff outside of classroom threads does not count as discussion participation.

    Substantive responses should also include appropriate documentation/citation where appropriate. The point value of participation in the learning experience is defined within each assignment as presented in the assignment pages associated with each course; and/or as directed by the facilitator.

    Students are expected to contribute to the class discussion in a substantive way each week. As a general rule of thumb, students need to post at least 2-3 substantive responses each week beyond the posting of assignments. However, students should not be limited in the number of discussion postings that they contribute each week. Quantity is considered important, but the quality of the responses is even more important.

    Students are expected to read all discussion area postings. The quality of the student responses will be graded. Students will earn participation grades based upon the quality of their responses to both weekly learning activities and discussion questions.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students to devote a total of 156 hours to their studies over the
    duration of the course. This time is to be spent in a combination of reading and posting to online
    forums, reading required materials, preparing materials for assessment, and other activities as
    Learning Activities Summary
    W1 The Language of Ethics
    W2 A Look at the Sources of Ethical Problems in Business and How to Prevent Them
    W3 Ethics, Stakeholders, Corporate Strategy and Value Creation
    W4 Business Ethics in the Global Market Place
    W5 Corporate Social Responsibility: Models and Approaches
    W6 Marketing and Operations
    W7 Finance and Accounting
    W8 Management
    W9 Environmental Sustainability and Its Challenges to Management
    W10 Managing on the Ethical Frontier
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Objectives Due Date Percentage
    Weight/Point Value
    Title/Deliverable Description
     Day #/
    Week #
    Quiz – Ethical
    1, 4, 5  Day 7
    Week 2
    Individual Project 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Day 7
    Week 6
    Group Project

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Day 7
    Weeks 9
    Day 7 week 10.
    Tutorial Questions

    Case Study
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Day 3-7
    Week 1 - 10

    Day 3 – 7
    Week 1,2,3,4,6,7 and 8
    Turning Gears

    Turning Gears Debrief
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Day 7
    Week 9
    Day 7
    Week 10

    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial and Case Study Questions:

    Tutorial and case study questions are included in each relevant week’s storyboard, and can be discussed via the LEARN site, via the course navigation panel, from day 3-7 each week. The tutorial online discussions are worth a cumulative total of 11% of your total grade. The case study questions are worth a cumulative total of 15% of your total grade.

    Ethical Theories Quiz:

    The ethical theories quiz is included in the week 2 module, and may be answered through the LEARN site, via the week 2 navigation panel. Once logged on to answer 40 minutes will be available to answer the quiz. The quiz is worth 10% of your final grade.

    Individual project:

    The purpose of this assignment is for you to examine your life as an ethical person, using the framework of moral development articulated by Kohlberg, or the alternate model offered by Gilligan.
    In this assignment you will be expected to:
    • Explain your theoretical understanding of moral development;
    • Offer some reflection on your own moral development;
    • Use the theory to analyse your current moral position, including significant influences;
    • Consider how the theory may assist you in your decision-making in the work context;
    • Refer to a minimum of six refereed journal articles or theoretical chapters or books (no textbooks, or readings sourced from textbooks, are to be used). You may use the readings that have been provided (those that are not sourced from textbooks) but you are also encouraged to conduct your own research for sources;
    • Meet all expected standards of essay writing detailed in the Communications Skills Handbook; and
    • Ensure all references are sourced correctly and detailed in a reference list. 
    Grading Criteria:

    The individual assignment is worth 100 marks and 20% toward your final grade. It will be assessed using the following grading criteria:
    • Introduction (10%) This states the purpose of the essay and details what will follow. The introduction (which does not have to be limited to one paragraph) also clearly identifies the selected theoretical concepts that will be considered and their relationship to your moral development. Reference will be made in the introduction to what aspect of workplace decision-making and/or your ethical person you will consider in terms of the moral theory.
    • Explanation (30%) Here you will explain your understanding of moral development. As much as possible this is to be in your own words and correctly referenced.
    • Analysis (30%) This is the main part of your report. In this section you will use material from the previous section to reflect on your moral development and use the theory to analyse your current moral positions and your ethical being.
    • Implications of this for work (10%) Here you will discuss your moral position in the context of organisational decision-making. If possible try to be specific about a particular circumstance where you may draw on this moral theory to guide your decision-making.
    • Conclusion (10%): This is where you draw your conclusion from the above discussion section and reiterate what you had covered in the previous sections. In this section, you may want to offer some suggestions that require your further consideration.
    • The quality of your essay in terms of language, grammar and referencing will also be assessed (10%).
    Length and Presentation:
    Referencing system APA or Harvard referencing system is necessary in assignments, especially material copied from the internet.

    For examples of correct citations visit the following links:
    Length 2000 words
    Font 11 point (except headings)
    Program/File Type Submit in Word
    Inclusions Should be pasted into the Word document if possible.

    Assignments are to be submitted via the DropBox function of the LEARN site.

    Estimated return date: Essays will be returned to students within three weeks of their submission.

    Group Project:

    In this assignment you will work with a group assigned by your teaching staff in Week 1 to complete a research report. A private group collaborative space will be made available to each group in the Course Home. In your research reports you will explore the ethical and business dimensions of a chosen issue falling under ONE of the following topics:
    1. Ethics and business corruption
    2. Ethics and executive compensation
    3. Ethics and human resource management
    4. Ethics and property rights
    5. Ethics and the natural environment
    6. Ethics, religion and business practices.
    An exploration of the international/global/cross-cultural dimensions of the issue is also encouraged where applicable.

    In this assignment you will be expected to:
    • Clarify which specific issue you will be researching: be specific when setting the boundaries.
    • Conduct a review of the research literature on your selected issue
    • Explain the ethical theories you will use to analyse the issue (you are encouraged to utilise ethical perspectives from beyond the Western perspective)
    • Analyse the issue from the perspective of the selected ethical theories
    • Develop a conclusion about what is ethical and/ or unethical within your selected issue. You will need to use ethics to justify your position.
    Please note: Your group must also give a 20 minute presentation of the research and analytical findings of your group research report in Week 10. Please see the associated assignment page in Week 10 for more details.
    Grading Criteria

    The group research report is worth 100 marks and 25% toward your final grade. It will be assessed using the following grading criteria.
    • Analysis & Research (40%) To what extent does the report indicate extensive and relevant research on the topic? How did the group utilise the research data? Has the group attempted analysis of the topic from the perspective of ethical theories and/or relevant philosophical viewpoints?
    • Intellectual Extension (15%) To what extent did the report encourage new thought about/appreciation for this topic? What contribution has the group made to the development of our knowledge and understanding of this topic?
    • Reflection and Discussion (15%) To what extent did the group members show that they had carefully considered the ethical implications that could be used to analyse the issue? To what extent did their report facilitate discussion? How competent were the participants in responding to questions from the audience?
    • Technique (15%) To what extent is the report technically competent (e.g. use of visuals, figures and tables etc.)? How creative was the group in presenting the material?
    • Synergy (15%) To what extent were the verbal, visual and written parts of the presentation interrelated with each other and integrated as a whole? Did it appear that the strengths of all group members were utilised in their presentation?
    Length and Presentation:
    Referencing system APA or Harvard referencing system is necessary in assignments, especially material copied from the internet.

    For examples of correct citations visit the following links:  
    Length 3000 words
    Font 11 point (except headings)
    Program/File Type Submit in Word
    Inclusions Should be pasted into the Word document if possible.

    Assignments are to be submitted via the DropBox function of the LEARN site.

    Estimated return date: Essays will be returned to students within four weeks of their submission.

    Turning Gears:

    In this assignment you will access an online simulation and work your way through a real world ethical dilemma in a virtual environment. Upon completing the simulation you will then respond to a series of debrief questions which will be used to assess your understanding. The simulation exercise will be available to begin on Day 1 of Week 8 and end on Day 7 of Week 9. You MUST complete the simulation by Day 7 of Week 9. You will have one week to submit your responses to the debrief questions for grading.

    Please note the following critical dates:
    • Simulation opens: Day 1 of Week 8
    • Simulation closes: Day 7 of Week 9
    • Submit debrief responses by: Day 7 of Week 10
    You may access the simulation here:

    Your responses to the simulation need to be submitted via the DropBox function on the LEARN site.


    Use the following tips to successfully complete this assignment.
    • Register and run through the free simulation demo before the Turning Gears simulation officially “opens” on Day 1 of Week 8 to familiarize yourself with the simulation interface.
    • Review the Simulation Overview and Players’ Guide below before you begin the simulation.
    • Please give yourselves plenty of time to do this assessment task! For the De-brief questions, remember reflective answers considering the total of the course of and all that you have learned are as important as the simulation itself.
    The simulation is worth 20% of your final grade. 

    1. Extensions to the due date of individual assessment may be granted under special circumstances. An extension request based on illness or on exceptional personal circumstances must include the "Supporting Statement / Certification Form" that is page 4 of the Supplementary Assessment application available at:
    2. Students applying for an extension based on medical reasons must visit their medical practitioner, with that approved University form, and have the medical practitioner complete it. A normal doctor's certificate will not be accepted. For supplementary examination on compassionate grounds refer to:
    3. Quality of English expression is considered to be an integral part of the assessment process. Marks may be deducted because of grammar and spelling.
    Presentation of Assignments
    • You must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    • Assignments are to be submitted in soft copy formats. Soft copies should be submitted via the DropBox function. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that soft copies of assignments have been received by the teaching staff.
    • Lecturers can refuse to accept assignments which have not acknowledged the University’s policy on plagiarism.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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