Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16
Seminars / Tutorials 4


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Unseen written examination  85%
Semester Assessment Group poster presentation  15%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Unseen written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Demonstrate an understanding of theories of ethics;

* Analyse business scenarios by applying ethical theories;

* Critically evaluate the ethical basis of business activity;

* Analyse the role of business in society;

* Critically reflect on ethical conduct of individuals in business.


This module is conceived as an optional module primarily directed at students following degree schemes in Business and Management and cognate subjects. It will complement core introductory modules by encouraging students to critically reflect on the relationship between ethics and business practice and to offer some conceptual frameworks that will assist such reflection. This will add another dimension to the existing ethical content of Business and Management programmes. Ethical issues are implicit in the content of core modules, and explicitly addressed at the minimum level consistent with the QAA benchmark. This introductory module has been designed to be compatible with future development of embedded ethics content by allowing deeper engagement with the issues of ethical expectations and ethics theories in a broad business context.

Brief description

The module will begin by reflecting on why business ethics has become so important. It will also consider how businesses might respond to the ethical expectations of various groups. We will then turn to the contentious issue of assessing ethicality. A range of different ways of thinking about ethics will be introduced and aplied to practical, business scenarios. This will enable students to explore the implications of these different ethics theories for business practice. Furthermore, considering practical scenarios through the lens of different ethics theories will help students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of those scenarios. The module will also consider the role that business plays, or could play, in society and how this relates to the conduct of individual business people.


The relationship between business and ethics

  • Why should business bother about ethics?
  • Identifying instrumental stakeholders
  • Some contrasting responses that businesses might adopt towards ethics
  • Differentiating normative responsibilities from instrumental responsibilities
  • The power of business
Some ways of thinking about ethics in relation to business

  • Ethical business conduct as maximising wellbeing
  • Rights in relation to business
  • Ethics as observing the contractial obligations that define business relationships
  • Business ethics and the concept of duty
  • Virtue in business
Contrasting ways of thinking about businesses' social and environmental responsibilities

  • Considering the purpose of business
  • Business and the creation of shareholder wealth
  • Corporate social responsibility

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will be expected to communicate effectively using a variety of media and reporting formats used in business.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to develop their own learning and performance, and demonstrate self-management in terms of time, planning and behaviour in all aspects of the module.
Information Technology Students will utilize information technology and internet resources in preparing presentations and in personal study.
Personal Development and Career planning The module developes personal and interpersonal skills including independence, self awareness and critical thought.
Problem solving The module will develop the skills of identifying and refining problems. Problem solving skills will be developed through the negotiation inherent in team work (group presentation).
Research skills Students should be able to exercise appropriate judgement in the location, extraction and presentation of information, methods or resources.
Subject Specific Skills The module will develop critical reflection on the relationship between ethics, business practice and the individual.
Team work Students will work in groups in tutorials and in preparing a poster presentation.


This module is at CQFW Level 4