AC215-Professional and Business Ethics

Module Provider: Henley Business School
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Mr Solomon Ailenotor


Summary module description:

An introduction to the moral norms of international accounting and financial management, the ethical choices to which they give rise and the resources on which such choices can be based.

Business has its own moral norms, which often differ from those in society at large, while both business and social norms evolve over time and vary between cultures. Within business, the area of finance and accounting raises particular issues in this respect as the micro-culture of financial trading, the professional norms of the accounting profession and the overwhelming preoccupation with money introduce a variety of conflicting moral pressures. This module aims to equip students with the intellectual foundations for negotiating the moral world that ensues.

Throughout the module, applications to real-world situations are used both to develop students' analytical, reflexive and decision making skills and to introduce them to the range of moral issues and contexts encountered in the practices of accountancy, investment and financial management.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding of:
1. The moral norms prevailing in a variety of cultures and contexts
2. Contemporary theories of the foundations of morality and of moral change
3. Contemporary debates in relation to the field of study, and the arguments put forward in those debates
4. The basic principles of ethical reasoning in different cultural traditions
5. The main schools of philosophical ethics, including the strengths and limitations of their arguments

Ability to:
1. Identify the moral elements of complex business and management situations.
2. Analyse these elements from a variety of perspectives
3. Construct a reasoned ethical argument for responding in a particular way, including responses to possible criticisms, from both moral and economic perspectives.

Additional outcomes:
The ability to conduct a reasoned debate with people from different cultures and perspectives on complex and emotively laden issues.

Outline content:
The institution of morality; variations of moral norms across time, across societies, across contexts; social and psychological foundations of morals; the politics of morality; business and moral culture; the moral norms of international accounting and finance; ethics and life choices, distinction between ethics and morals; ethical and moral traditions of the main world cultures; schools and traditions of ethical reasoning; their achievements and limitations; applications of ethical reasoning to international accounting and finance.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
At the core of this module are case study analysis and class discussion. These will be supported by lectures, to direct reading and expound and clarify key points, and group discussion in tutorials, to monitor learning progress and identify and resolve difficulties. Role-play exercises may also be included.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 25
Tutorials 3
Guided independent study 172
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 75
Oral assessment and presentation 25

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    Requirement for a University pass
    A minimum mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By resit

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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