Business Ethics


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Ethics Courses

Undergraduate courses 

Sponsored by Center for International Corporate Responsibility

70-436 (new course) Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Business
Spring: 9 units.  
Corporate social responsibility has become an integral part of the functioning 
of the business and has direct impact on all traditional functions such as 
marketing, operations, strategy and human resource management.  The course
covers several dimensions of social responsibility, including:
protecting reputation;  
managing diversity and complexity; stabilizing the relationship between business 
and the society in which it operates, including the physical environment;

recognition that the business and society relationship is increasingly a global 
one, adding many new complexities;
having an integrated and consistent 
approach to corporate strategy that explicitly addresses corporate social 
responsibility concerns.

Offered by the Business School

70-332 Business, Society and Ethics (required for business majors)
Spring: 9 units.  

The course examines the political, social and legal environment of the firm, within and outside the United States. Topics include restrictive trade practices, laws and directors' responsibilities and liabilities, manufacturers' responsibilities and liabilities, securities regulation, environmental protection, intellectual property, labor unions, trade associations, employee rights and duties, the attorney-client relationship, advertising and the media, the role of regulatory agencies, multinational operations, dealing with bribery and corruption, values in a business society, societal implications of business policies and corporate social responsibility.

Offered by the Philosophy Department at Carnegie Mellon

80-130 Introduction to Ethics
Spring: 9 units
As an Introduction to Ethics, the course is designed to be both historical and
thematic. Key representatives of the history of ethics will be discussed in
detail and major ethical theories will be analyzed in relation to concrete
situations. The moral philosophies of Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Bentham and Mill,
etc. will be presented as background to the thematic problems of ethical
relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, and other concepts of ethical theory.

80-136 Social Structure, Public Policy, & Ethical Dilemmas
Spring: 9 units
This course is to help students to think through issues about ethical and moral
dimensions of social policies, economic policies and ways of structuring
political and other institutions. The course is not based on individual
decisions but rather on collective action, especially through the state. The
course will always proceed through discussions of concrete examples, and
general moral perspectives, economic principles, or rational dilemmas will be
extracted from the cases. For each example, we will examine how legal and
empirical considerations interact with ethical considerations.

80-230 Ethical Theory
Spring: 9 units
Ethical theory addresses the most fundamental normative questions of
human conduct. Some of these questions can be stated in the following way:
How do we determine the right way to act in our lives? What, if anything, is
the ultimate end which we should try to achieve in life? What reasons can we
give for living our lives a particular way? Of course, everyone must grapple
with questions like these in everyday living. In this course we will explore
some attempts by philosophers to give general accounts of the moral life that
provide alternative answers to these important practical questions. To help
motivate our discussion, we will study selections from both classic and
contemporary works in moral theory. Prerequisite: 80-130 or permission of

80-241 Professional Ethics
Fall & Spring: 9 units
This is a self-paced course that examines the numerous ethical issues,
problems and dilemmas that confront professionals in such areas as
medicine, law, engineering, the media, government and the natural and
social sciences. As a self-paced course, video and audio tapes and an
electronic bulletin board are employed to create a virtual classroom for
student discussions.

80-243 Business Ethics
Alternate Years (Spring): 9 units
Various moral mazes that confront managers in the contemporary business
organization will be the focus of this course. Topics treated will include:
conflicts of interest, whistleblowing, confidentiality and privacy, environmental
issues, sexual harassment, diversity in the workplace, international business
ethics and corporate social responsibility. Codes of business ethics, ethics
audits, recommendations from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Commission,
ethics hotlines, business ethics officers, corporate ethics committees and
other mechanisms designed to address the ethics of business will also be

80-245 Medical Ethics
Alternate Years (Spring): 9 units
This course provides a detailed introduction to a range of ethical issues that
arise in the context of health care provision, research, and public policy.
Topics will include the nature of the moral relationships between health care
professionals, patients, and various third parties such as the
government or insurance companies. We will take up questions of individual
liberty in end of life decisions, including assisted suicide, as well as in other
contexts such as reproduction. We will also look at the impact of technological

innovation on our notions of life, death, the family and the
human body and examine specific ethical issues in medical research. While
the course engages such substantive ethical issues it also attempts to
sharpen students’ skills in practical reasoning through argument analysis,
analogical reasoning, and the application of theory and principles to
particular cases.

MBA courses

Offered by the Business School

45-740 Business Law and Ethics (required for MBA students)

This course examines the external political, social and legal environment of the 
firm and its managers. the historical development as well as the economic and 
social implications of these constraints will be analyzed. Problems dealing with 
legal and regulatory matters will be considered, including labor negotiations, antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, patents and warranties, officers’ and 
directors’ responsibilities and liabilities, manufacturers’ and suppliers’ product 
liability, securities regulations, equal opportunity, pollution and safety. The political, 
social and technological role of managers as a group will also be considered.  
Particular consideration will be given to the role managers’ play in relation to that of 
the government.

45-849 Ethical Issues in Business
Mini 3
This course examines ethical issues in business from both a Western and a global 
perspective.  It first analyzes a series of cases from the point of view of Western 
ethical thought, covering such issues as privacy, employee rights, product liability, 
sexual harassment, diversity, intellectual property and corporate responsibility.  It 
then examines how other cultures give rise to different norms for business practice, 
for instance in such matters as nepotism, gifts, "cronyism," sexual equality, family 
obligations, care, loyalty, and economic development.  The class is conducted in a 
Socratic manner that enables students to develop skills in presenting arguments.