Courses NonDegree Display 2022-2023

Course Description To PDF
Course title Ethics, Organisations and Society
Course code EBC2081
ECTS credits 6,5
Assessment Whole/Half Grades
Period Start End Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
5 17-4-2023 9-6-2023 X X
Level Intermediate
Coordinator Nick Sutton
For more information:
Language of instruction English
The core of an ethics course is to confront students with ethical and responsibility dilemmas that they have to study, reflect on and discuss in small groups. Ethics is characterised by a discourse on moral values, norms and standards and the decision-making on the basis of sound argumentation. Students who have completed the course have mastered the core insights of business ethics theory and corporate responsibility.
Ethical issues, decisions and dilemmas are all around us - living in a global society means that we as individuals are constantly confronted with different norms and values which challenge our existing view of the world. This may occur through cultural differences when we experience an unfamiliar environment, or perhaps when adapting to the organisational culture of a new workplace. This increases complexity not only for individual decision-makers who wish to do the right thing, but also for businesses looking to operate in the right way.

A lack of ethical behaviour and competence has already contributed to some of the major crises that have taken place in this relatively young millennium. Beginning with the Enron Corporation scandal in 2001, it seems almost every year we see another well-known organisation or high-profile individual criticised for apparent misconduct (and not always when acting illegally). Unethical behaviour is clearly not limited to any particular industry or area of life.

Ethics should, however, not be confused with morality. Ethics is a way of thinking and involves a fundamental reflection on the norms and values in our society, rather than simply telling us what is right or wrong. At the same time, it is a practice. The values of the firm, its risk and compliance management approaches, its policies regarding diversity and inclusivity, its incentive structures or the discussions with stakeholders on the social and environmental footprint of the company are directly related to ethics and corporate responsibility.

Although business operating in a climate of criticism is not a new phenomenon, the current climate clearly presents huge challenges to organisations. Today’s average consumer is more educated and technologically equipped - the Internet and social media provide individuals with the ability to learn about and mobilise rapidly around causes or issues and to transmit opinions and information into the public domain faster, more effectively and at a lower cost than ever before. As data becomes an increasingly valuable resource to organisations, the implications of how firms manage corporate data are also a major concern for businesses, customers and governments.

Global economic, environmental and political turbulence are pervasive threats – recent economic crises added momentum to widespread anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist movements around the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals, organisations and governments to re-evaluate the ways in which they operate and interact.

Ethical issues occur at all levels – individual, organisational, industrial, national and global. Acquiring and developing ethical awareness and skills to better understand and improve the (often fragile) relationship between business, its stakeholders and society is as important today as it has ever been.
The literature for this course consists of a textbook and academic articles. The book is: Jones, G., Cardinal, D., and Hayward, J., Moral Philosophy, a guide to ethical theory, Hodder Education, London, 2006. The book can be obtained at Studystore Maastricht.
In order to participate in this course, all participants should have a basic understanding of the functioning of organisations, management of and co-ordination within organisations, organisational ecology, co-ordination mechanisms in industries – such as, for example, the choice between allocation through planning or through market forces – and of an ‘economic order’.
An advanced level of English
Teaching methods (indicative; course manual is definitive) PBL / Presentation / Lecture / Groupwork
Assessment methods (indicative; course manual is definitive) Final Paper / Participation
Evaluation in previous academic year For the complete evaluation of this course please click "here"
This course belongs to the following programmes / specialisations
Bachelor Econometrics and Operations Research Year 3 Elective Course(s)
Bachelor Fiscal Economics Year 2 Compulsory Course(s)
Bachelor Fiscal Economics Year 3 Elective Course(s)
Bachelor International Business - Emerging Markets Year 3 Elective Course(s)
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Accounting
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Finance
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Inf Mgmt
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Marketing
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Org
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj SCM
Bachelor International Business Year 3 Ethics Elec(s) - Maj Strategy
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