MBA527 Iss in Ethics/Social Responsibil

for F2P 2009

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


MBA 527 Iss in Ethics/Social Responsibil


F2P 2009 MBD


Holtsclaw, Charice L.


Adjunct Faculty, Attorney


JD - Washburn School of Law
MBA - Park University
B.S. Bus Mgmt - Northwest Missouri State University

Office Hours

As needed by appointment

Daytime Phone

816-842-6700 (prefer email)


Class Days


Class Time

5:30-9:50 p.m.


MG620 or equivalent approved by Program Director.

Credit Hours



Gibson, Kevin. (2005). Business Ethics: People, Profits and the Planet. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Product Details
ISBN: 0072998725
ISBN-13: 9780072998726
Format: Textbook Hardcover, 696pp 
Pub. Date: August 2005
Edition Number: 1

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:


Educational Philosophy:
The facilitator's educational philosophy centers around readings, cases, and review questions because the best way to learn the topic is through application and discussion.  Lectures and outside resources will supplement the readings to highlight important concepts, but class discussions and questions will be the main method which allows the concepts to sink in so that you will be able to apply them in a business setting.  It is key that all assignments be completed to the best of your ability before coming to class, and you are prepared to discuss your answers with the class.

Class Assessment:

Homework, Discussion, Team Project and Peer Review

Grading Rubrics

Discussion (weekly points possible: 25)

  1. Discussion points cannot be made up if you miss class without prior approval at Instructor's discretion.

Homework (weekly points possible: 25)

  1. 10 points for answering the correct questions and submitting by start of class each week (email or paper).
  2. 15 points for effort, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness of the responses, including application to weekly subject matter and documentation of sources.
Article Reviews and presentation (2 - 25 points each)

Team presentation of Chapter (25 points)

Team Project and Presentation (points possible: 160)

Details of the group project will be handed out in Week 2

Peer Review (points possible: 15)

  1. You will assess your team members contribution to the team project in paragraph form with a narrative of their performance.
  2. Due Week 8 at the beginning of class.


Methods of evaluation:

Assignment Points
Weekly homework assignments from chapters (25 pts each week) Weeks 2-7 125
Weekly Discussion activities (25 pts each week) Weeks 1-6 175
Article Reviews (25 points each) 50
Team Presentation of Chapter 25
Team Project and Presentation 160
Peer Review 15
Total possible points 550

Method of conversion of points to grade at end of term:

90% or more  = A
80% - 89%  = B
70% - 79%  = C
less than 70% = not acceptable for consideration as graduate work.

Final grades will be based on performance on (a) homework, (b) Discussion participation, (c) team project, (d) peer review, (e) article reviews (f) chapter presentation

Late Submission of Course Materials:
As a general rule late assignments are not accepted. At instructor's discretion late assignments may be accepted if you contact the instructor prior to the due date and request permission to turn in late. Instructor will determine an applicable point deduction for lateness. Discussion points can be made up if absent only one time with prior approval and make-up project.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Week 1 Assignments (To be Completed before first class): 

  • Read Chapter 1 of the textbook
  • Homework

    1.  Look up the terms “free market” and “capitalism” in a dictionary or encyclopedia. What are your thoughts on free markets and capitalism?

    2.  Define “externalities”

    3.  Distinguish between “consumer choice” and “consumer sovereignty” as described in the reading.

    4.  Give a simple explanation of the invisible hand.

Week 2 Assignments - Guest presenter:

  • Read Chapter 2 of the textbook
  • Current Event Article Review (oral presentation to class)
  • Movie about business ethics
  • Homework: 

         1.  There are some standard questions about utilitarianism including:

               a. What about the welfare of future generations – can potential people have moral consideration?
To what extent do we have to make others happy? What if that endeavor conflicts with our present life plans? 
                  c. Do intentions matter, or is it really the case that ‘all’s well that ends well’?
d. There is a concern about minority interests – if we could live luxuriously if some anonymous person was tortured (or if we get cheap gas at the expense of an Amazonian tribe we’ve never heard of) where is the problem? Presumably, there would be an overall diminishment of utility if we all knew that our rights might be taken away if it suited the majority, and so overall utility supports a robust sense of rights. However, that may not be a convincing argument to many.
e. Do animals and the environment count in the calculus, or is it just humans?
f. Why can’t I favor those I know and love?

      2.  Historically, discussions of rights were largely about negative rights – not allowing the government to force you to house soldiers or not make disparaging political speeches. However, in the last fifty years or so the tone has changed more to issues of entitlements, and these are harder to deal with since they require action and resource allocation. What positive rights, then, should we fund? (We already fund lawyers for the poor and certain kinds of health care).

      3.  Consider the case of a remote Scottish coastal village that is the ideal place for an oil terminal. Building the terminal will irreparably damage the local landscape. There are only forty people who live in the village, and they have declared that they don’t want to move whatever the compensation. What should happen and why? Is it useful to use ‘rights’ terminology in a case like this?

    Week 3 Assignments:

    • Read Chapters 3 and 4 of the textbook
    • Article Review 1 Due
    • Homework: 

      1.  High motivation and emotional strength may be a necessary condition of being a good leader. On the other hand, there may be many individuals in the world who have these characteristics without being ethical. Could you be ethical without demonstrating these qualities? What do you understand by the term “emotional strength?”

      2.  Describe a) The illusion of control and b) Risk framing with examples.

      3. What does Jackall say about putting in more time at the office?  

      4.  The picture we get from Friedman is like someone fishing from a boat: Catching the fish is an individual endeavor, and what you catch you can do with what you like. There is no real feeling that one needs to do anything but harvest. The analogy with fishing can be continued, since it is possible to over-fish, which hurts everyone. In a more practical case, imagine that you own a franchise fast-food outlet in a run-down part of town. You visit once a week to check in with the manager, and collect the profits. Do you think you owe any duties to the community that supports your outlet? You could easily enhance the site by minor landscaping, but that wouldn’t bring you any profits. Again, you are routinely approached to donate to local good causes, but there is no prospect that doing so will increase your sales. Is your franchise a profit center, a member of the community or both?

    Week 4 Assignments:

    • Read Chapters 5 and 6 of the textbook;
    • Read Cases: Love Canal pp. 644-645; Exxon Valdez pp. 627-628; Challenger p. 651
    • Homework: 

                   1.  Answer the questions at the end of the following cases: 

                              Case: Love Canal p. 644-645

                              Case: Exxon Valdez pp. 627-628

                   2.  What sort of problem did Lee Iaccoca think he had on his hands with the Pinto?

                   3.  What does Davis think about whether a whistleblower needs a wealth of documentation to support his or her case?

    Week 5 Assignments:

    • Read Chapters 7 and 9 of the textbook
    • Team Project First Draft
    • Homework

      1.  Find and attach a copy of a corporate code and examine it for the elements that Murphy outlines.

      2.  What is the effect of making some corporate actions criminal instead of civil offenses?

      3.  What do Mills and MacLean mean that life is sacred? How is this manifested?

      4.  What does Kang believe would be the result of an absolute ban on children’s advertising on television?

      5.  Compare the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911 with the Hamlet, N.C. chicken factory fire 80 years later. In Hamlet, all but one of the doors were padlocked, apparently to stop employee theft. Were the demands on the employers higher in 1991? Do you think there was a greater public outcry in 1911 or 1991?

    Week 6 Assignments:

    • Read Chapters 10 and 11 of the textbook
    • Article Review 2 Due
    • Homework: 

      1.  Do firms have any obligations at all to the community? Are their actions consistent with the public claims they make about good citizenship? Should they be held accountable in any way for not living up to the promises they make when fishing for incentives?

      2.  Give a brief account of the notion of trust that Koehn derives from Watsuji Tetsuro.

      3.  "Lifnei ivver" is a form of proscribed behavior that is based on the Biblical injunction "You shall not put a stumbling block in the path of the blind." How is it used in the context of Green’s analysis of business ethics?

      4.  Conduct some independent research on the World Wide Web for CSR messages. They can be sorted by stakeholder groups or the kind of content they have. Find at least one message that apparently contradicts some of the company’s recent actions (e.g., finding a company recently fined for toxic dumping espousing environmental responsibility on the web).

    Week 7 Assignments:

    • Read Chapters 12 and 13 of the textbook
    • Read Case:  Bhopal Disaster
    • Homework: 

      1.  What effect did the repeal of the ‘Eckhardt Amendment’ have on the FCPA?

      2.  What does Donaldson mean by the term “moral free space”?

      3.  What problem does Werhane see with the Sullivan principles for multinational companies?

    Week 8 Assignments:

    • Team Project and Presentations (175 points)

    Academic Honesty:
    As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31


    Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

    Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

    Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31-32

    Attendance Policy:

    Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 35

    Disability Guidelines:
    Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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    Last Updated:10/5/2009 12:05:01 PM