Business and its Environment:
A study of the business decision-making process as these decisions interact with the social, technological, political/legal and economic environments. The causes and effects of the regulation of business are developed and explored.
What is the corporation? Do corporations--and more particularly the managers who represent them--have any responsibilities beyond seeking to maximize shareholder wealth? Is the term 'business ethics' an oxymoron? What is the source of moral truth? These and other related questions provide the 'grist' for this course.
This course is designed to be a challenging and exciting course for the undergraduate business student. Two major themes will provide direction throughout the quarter: business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Most of your prior business coursework has been concerned with highly structured topics closely related to a well-developed body of theory; not so with business ethics/corporate social responsibility. There is not a specific set of skills serving to lead you through the course, and no unifying meta-theory to inform your decisions. The problems and issues of business ethics/corporate social responsibility embrace the entire spectrum of business and management disciplines. Many variables and situational factors must be dealt with at once; weighing the 'pros and cons' of a particular course of action necessitates a total enterprise perspective.
This course has been included in your business curriculum in order to stress the appropriateness of moral judgement as a central component of business decision making. The overriding pedagogical objective is to sharpen your abilities to think critically and to diagnose situations from an ethical perspective. Accomplishing this objective entails introducing you to a broad range of ethical frameworks. Application of such models of moral reasoning necessarily takes account of the complexities and constraints imposed by the environment in which the firm operates, why the environment must be attended to, and how it affects the moral character of decisions.
o Ethical context
Define “ethics” as applied to businesso Social context
Explain how ethics is different from legal compliance
Recognize the ethical issues in a business situation
Discuss the uses of a corporate social audit and code of conduct
Explain how a firm promotes and practices ethical behavior
Describe the common ways of explaining ethical/social duties in businesso Legal/regulatory context
Identify the relationships and responsibilities business has to stakeholder groups
Explain the nature and imperative of a “market economy” and citizens self-identifying as consumers
Describe the sources of legal rules and regulationso Political context
Use legal reasoning in a case
Explain the basics of business law
Explain the need for and various types of business regulation
Summarize the ways disputes are resolved and the advantages of each
Discuss how business is expected to respond to, or reflect, societal expectations, and the consequences of not doing soo Ecological context
Describe how business influences the regulatory process
Summarize the history of relationships among business, government, and society
Explain the effects of business on the environment, and why it has those effectso Ethical theories and models of ethical reasoning;
Identify the theories, methodology, and standards used to measure environmental damage and remediation
Discuss how and why government regulation affects the environment
Summarize theories on the limits of growth
Recognize concepts for a steady-state economy
Describe several important ethical theorieso Global economic environment
Explain the stages of moral development in men and women
Discuss how societal values are incorporated into ethical reasoning
Identify the effects on business decisions of operating across borders
A maximum of 1000 points may be accumulated in this course. Point distribution varies as follows (see grading contract at back of syllabus for details):
o Reflective Journal 100 points o Writing Assignments 0-350 points o Midterm Exam 200-300 points o Final Exam 0-300 points o Case Analysis 200-300 points
Grading policy anticipates that faculty members are expected to use all grades from A to F to distinguish among level of academic accomplishment, with the grade for average undergraduate achievement being a C. The following grading standards will be used to determine your final course grade. Students are responsible for monitoring their own progress throughout the semester.
|930 - 1000 points
|900 - 929 points
|865 - 899 points
|830 - 864 points
|800 - 829 points
|765 - 799 points
|730 - 764 points
|700 - 729 points
|665 - 699 points
|630 - 664 points
|600 - 629 points
In a section entitled Grades and Intellectual Honesty, the Western Washington University catalog states:
Grades are given for the student’s work and achievement. Fair evaluation of students’ work and helpful instruction are possible only when students submit work which genuinely reflects their own reading, computation, research and thoughts and is their own production, whether in writing or other format(s). Intellectual dishonesty can result in a failing grade and the placement of a note in the student’s permanent record. For the university’s policy on academic dishonesty, see Appendix D.
Students involved in any form of academic dishonesty (including but not limited to plagiarism or `cheating') on any MGT 482 coursework will receive a failing grade for the course.
Three texts are assigned: Business Ethics: A Managerial, Stakeholder Approach (Weiss), Taking Sides (Newton & Ford), and The Principles of Scientific Management (Taylor). Students are expected to read each assigned chapter before the scheduled lecture for that chapter. Assigned case studies, supplementary reading materials, and course videos will be available on the course website. Students will be provided case studies for end-of-term presentations by their class colleagues.
For roughly half the weeks the class schedule will indicate a 'prompt' for your reflective journal (see course schedule for due dates). This term-long assignment accounts for ten percent of your course grade, and is designed to engage you in linking the course content with your application project (whether a social change project or a case analysis).
For each week during which a reflective journal assignment is posted, students are to 'cut and paste' the 'prompt' from the course schedule into a new thread within their own journal, and then provide their reflections on the 'prompt.' The reflective journal is to be kept in Blackboard. To post an entry, do the following:
o Click on the 'journal' button in the left menu bar o Click on 'view' o Click on 'new entry' o Enter a BRIEF journal entry title o Cut and paste the 'prompt' from the course schedule into the BODY of the journal entry o Click 'save' (following completion of journal entry)
Each student has access to only their own journal. Only each individual student, as well as the faculty member, have access to these posts--which are time and date stamped upon submission.
MIDTERM AND FINAL EXAMINATIONS:
Two exams will be given, covering assigned texts, assigned readings, class lectures, streaming video, and/or case project presentations. The exams will include short essay, multiple choice, true/false and fill-in questions. The midterm exam will cover the introductory lectures as well as Weiss's text; the final exam will focus on concluding lectures and readings, but is additionally designed to be comprehensive in nature. Consult course schedule for an outline of topics to be covered on each exam (includes links to study guides).
There will be four writing assignments throughout the term (see course schedule for due dates). All assignments relate directly to the course content, either as presented in class or as covered in assigned readings. Each paper will take the form of a two page, double-spaced, typed paper which directly addresses the question(s) posed. While it is certainly allowable for students to discuss these writing assignments with one another, final papers ought to be recognizable as the 'independent' work of the student submitting the writing assignment.
Papers are to be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mail memo line as well as the MS Word file name MUST begin with the LAST NAME of the student and also include the course designation (MGT 482).
If you need help with your writing, please access the following link: List of Good Sources for Improving your Writing and Presentations.
TEAM CASE ANALYSIS:
Each student is provided the opportunity to participate in a team project, with the primary objective being to link theory and practice:
Analyze a contemporary business ethics case using the principles outlined in lecture and readings.
Each three member team is to prepare both a comprehensive written (due 7-10 days following the class presentation) as well as an oral analysis of a business ethics case of their own choosing, to include: (1) a statement identifying the case issue(s); (2) listing of alternatives providing resolution of these case issues; (3) analysis of proposed resolutions from the perspective of managerial as well as ethical theory; (4) assessment of both the financial as well as the political viability of the recommended alternative; (5) selection of optimal resolution (with supporting defense from both the managerial and ethical perspectives); as well as (6) suggestions for implementation. Any assumptions made must be clearly identified as such, but do not 'assume away' the dilemma--resolve it!
A 'Case Proposal' form is to be submitted by each group no later than the second day of the course. Cases can come from any appropriate current source; the Wall Street Journal and the 'Social Issues' column of Business Week are among the more popular periodicals for sourcing business ethics cases. Cases are to be presented during a class session related to the topic of the case (see course schedule for topic dates).
Reporting will take the form of a 20 minute oral presentation followed by a 10 minute question and answer session. Be creative. Prepare the analysis as if you were presenting the information to any fitting audience you explicitly identify, to be role-played by those students not in your group (who will be accountable for posing relevant questions to the presenting group).Areas considered (in addition to those previously or subsequently mentioned) in grading the team project are listed in the table below.
|o accuracy of issue identification|
|o clarity and conciseness of arguments|
|o use of theory to support recommendations|
|o soundness of recommendation(s)|
|o feasibilty of case resolution|
|o professionalism of presentation|
|o creativity of presentation|
|o ability to engage the class in discussion|
Outlined above are the course activities available to students. Ranges of possible points have been listed above. Each student is to fill out and return to the instructor a binding contract for work to be completed this term (see below). You are to fill out the number of points desired for each activity. The total number of points must total 1000. Points for each activity will range from 0-35% of the course grade, depending upon the individual assignment and weightings. Points must be selected in increments of 50. Note that you are given the opportunity of opting out of the writing assignments or the final examination or the case analysis.
For example, a student may choose to minimize the points on the midterm and final by completing all other coursework at the maximum points possible:
|o Reflective Journal||100 points|
|o Writing Assignments||350 points|
|o Midterm Exam||250 points|
|o Final Examination||0 points|
|o Case Analysis||300 points|
In all cases, class participation is mandatory. Failure to attend scheduled class sessions may be reflected in final course grading.
To send your MGT 482 contract, fill out the following form thoroughly and completely. This form must be submitted electronically. A copy of each contract will be posted to the course Blackboard site by the end of the fourth week of class.
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