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Chapter 2: Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

Link to Chapter 2: Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

Course Outcomes/Goals -

Evaluate the ethics of a business decision.

Ch 2.1 Misgoverning Corporations: An Overview

intro busn 2.1 Misgoverning Corporations: An Overview

We'll be covering info from Ch 2.1, linked here.

Why Study Business Ethics?

This presentation shows just a few mainstream movies where business ethics comes into play, many of which are based on true events.

Here is one current news example of business ethics, which we will look over and talk about in class.

Here are a few classic business ethics cases we'll look at. We'll focus on the first two.

You are the future business leaders

Discussion Questions

Use a Google Doc to answer and discuss the following questions with your group and we'll discuss them together.
  • How do you define ethics?
  • How do you define business ethics?
  • What is social responsibility?
  • How do you recognize an ethical organization?

The Assignment

Watch a movie that deals with business ethics. Try searching for 'business ethics movies' (I found a number of lists). After you've watched the movie, create a multimedia presentation that gives a brief summary/overview and explains the ethical issues that were addressed. After you've completed your presentation, use this rubric to self assess your work. You need to send me your presentation and self assessment in order to get credit. Add your presentation to this collaborative page

2.2 The Individual Approach to Ethics

2.2 The Individual Approach to Ethics

How ethical are you? Take the short quiz on this page and we'll discuss the answers as a group.

We'll check the video on behavioral ethics.

In class we'll read about the ethical dilemma James Burke faced when he was CEO of Johnson & Johnson. We'll also look at  their more recent ethical situation. 

We'll use the information in Ch 2.2 to determine questions we can ask when dealing with an ethical dilemma or ethical decision. 

You will break into three groups and be given one of the cases below. You will have a short amount of time to review the case and come up with a short skit. The other groups will decide if it is an ethical dilemma or ethical decision and use the guiding questions to determine the right action.

2.3 Identifying Ethical Issues

busn 2.3 Identifying Ethical Issues

bentley gift
Working in the business world, it is possible that you could be put in a situation where you have to make an ethical choice. In class, we'll look at some examples from Ch 2.3

With a partner, create and share a Google Doc. For each of the following examples answer the following questions:

1. What is the ethical situation?
2. How should the person act or what is the best choice? What should be done?

  • Example #1 - Lutheran Social Services
  • Example #2 - Everyday at lunch you leave five minutes early and come in five minutes late. You just mark your time sheet to show the correct times. You have been doing this for the last five years and no one has noticed.
  • Example #3 - You purposely order an extra box of paper at the office because you are running low at home and could use some more.
  • Example #4 - Friday afternoon you are done with your work for the day and you decide to binge watch a few episodes of Mr. Robot.
  • Example #5 - What is this movie an example of?
  • Example #6 - You are friends with one of the members of your sales team. They have not been meeting their sales goals and are in danger of losing their job. Do you tell them what you know?
  • Example #7 - A purchasing agent hires his brother-in-law to provide vending services to the company lunch areas.

The Assignment

Answer Ch. 2.3 Exercise question two and send it to me on Schoology. Use Lucidchart or Google Drawing to create a flowchart that addresses the ethical situations covered in Ch 2.3. Here is an example of a flowchart:

(Image from xkcd)

2.4 The Organizational Approach to Ethics

busn 2.4 The Organizational Approach to Ethics

We will be covering info from Ch 2.4. With a partner, you will create a ThingLink during today's lesson. Head out to their site and create an account. Find an image about business ethics that can be used for your ThingLink.

Which company would you rather work for? 


A company's culture is set by its leadership, and it typically drives ethical decisions. Find a company that has a good culture and add it to your ThingLink. What did you find?

"Actions speak louder than words." Leaders need to be available for their employees and to lead by example. We'll look at the example from your book.

Find an example of an ethical business leader. I was able to pull up a few results with this search, "ethical leadership examples in business". Add a link to your ThingLink. What did you find?

People should be held accountable for unethical behavior. We'll look at an example in your book. Find your own example to add to your ThingLink (try searching, 'employee fired for unethical behavior'). What did you find?

Code of Conduct: a document describing the principles and guidelines that all employees must follow in the course of all job-related activities. A good code of conduct will help employees avoid unethical situations. Find a code of conduct and add it to your ThingLink. What did you find?

Add your ThingLink to this page to share with the group.

2.5 Corporate Social Responsibility

busn 2.5 Corporate Social Responsibility

Here is how our book defines Corporate Social Responsibility, "Corporate social responsibility refers to the approach that an organization takes in balancing its responsibilities toward different stakeholders when making legal, economic, ethical, and social decisions." 

We are talking about doing the right thing. What does that mean? It depends on the stakeholders we are talking about. We will use our book and break up this chapter to discuss what social responsibility looks like for different groups.

You will be given a section to become an 'expert' in and share that information with the class. Use Google Slides to create a very brief presentation about your section. Make sure to include the following:
  • What does social responsibility mean for this group?
  • Pictures and/or videos
  • Real world examples and/or statistics 
Add your presentation here.

Presentation Supplements:

Fiduciary Responsibility - "... safeguarding the company’s assets and handling its funds in a trustworthy manner."

2.6 Environmentalism

busn 2.6 Environmentalism


We'll learn about businesses impact on the environment in this section

What can companies do to protect the environment? We'll look at an example below of what might happen when companies don't protect the environment (no political agenda).

Patagonia is one environmentally friendly company.

Is global warming a real threat? Check out this interactive climate time machine.

Here is how our book defines sustainability, "... the principle of providing products today that don’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs." We'll also talk about Google's triple bottom line.

The Assignment

Choose a company to research (one you haven't researched already). Write one to two paragraphs that answer the following questions:

  1. What does the company do to protect the environment?
  2. How would you rate their efforts?
  3. Why does the company promote environmental efforts? Does promoting environmental efforts help their business?

2.8 Cases and Problems

The Assignment

Complete The Global View case from this section.