MMM066-Ethics in International Management

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Kleio Akrivou


Type of module:

Summary module description:

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


An introduction to the moral norms of international 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. This module aims to develop students’ awareness and a critical understanding of key issues, and dimensions which reflect relationships in business, government and in society.  This module aims to equip students with the intellectual foundations for “negotiating” the moral world that ensues. It is divided into two parts:


Part 1 aims to equip students with a critical understanding of moral norms. This includes an understanding of how moral norms vary between countries and between business, home and other social settings; of their social and psychological foundations; and of the social and political processes through which they evolve.


Part 2 aims to equip students with a basis for making ethical choices, in cases where moral norms conflict or are in tension - for example where the moral practices of a business organisation conflict with what one would consider moral in a domestic or social context, or where the moral practices of a culture in which managers operate differ from those of their home culture. This includes an introduction to ethical reasoning and an understanding of the relationship between reason, emotions and tradition.


Throughout the course applications to real-world situations are used both to develop students’ analytical, reflexive and decision skills and to introduce them to the range of moral issues and contexts encountered in international management.

Assessable learning outcomes:

A critical and refined understanding of key normative approaches and theories of ethics. A practical contextualisation of theory into real-world situations relevant to international business management and the relations between business and society. To reach the outcomes students are enabled to develop analytical, reflexive discussion and decision skills and team-working. To introduce them to the range of moral issues and contexts encountered in international management.

Knowledge of

- The moral norms prevailing in a variety of cultures and contexts

- Contemporary theories of the foundations of morality and of moral change

- Contemporary debates in relation to the field of study, and the arguments put forward in those debates

- The basic principles of ethical reasoning in different cultural traditions

- The main schools of philosophical ethics, including the strengths and limitations of their arguments

Ability to

- Identify the moral elements of complex business and management situations

- Analyse these elements from a variety of perspectives

- Construct a reasoned ethical argument for responding in a particular way, including responses to possible criticisms, from both moral and economic perspectives

Additional outcomes:

Ability to

- Conduct a reasoned debate with people from different cultures and perspectives on complex and emotively laden issues


Through taking this module, students should gain a greater insight into a variety of topics that have an ‘ethical’ or moral aspect for international managers and should also have developed their teamwork and presentational skills.

Outline content:

1. The institution of morality; Ethics and life choices, distinction between ethics and morals.

2. Variations of moral norms across time, across societies, across contexts. Moral relativism, pluralism, absolutism. The moral norms of international management; challenges for ethical decision making in business. Social, and psychological foundations of morals.

3.  Schools and traditions of ethical reasoning (normative theories): Modern Ethical Theories I

4. Modern Ethical Theories II

Tutorials: Applications of ethical reasoning to international management. Working in teams and via cases regarding contextualising and applying ethics in international business and management.

5. Classical and Virtue  Theories. 

6.Applying Virtue Theory in Contemporary Business, Management and Governance.

7. Business and moral cultures. Embedding Ethics in Organisations: Corporate Codes, Ethical Cultures, and Ethical Leadership.

Global context:

Various cases regarding contextualising and applying ethics in international business and management involve global context and ethical challenges to resolve in business, government and society.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught through a two hour lecture session each week, combining elements of lectures, and case analysis involving integrative learning methods. At the core of this module are case study analysis and class discussion, using a mixture of written and video case material. Emphasis is given in harmonically blending current and core theory lines, cases involving ethical challenges for international management and storytelling, with the aid of mini cases. These will be supported by lectures, to direct reading and expound and clarify key points, and small 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
Project Supervision 2.5
Demonstration 10
Work-based learning 10
Guided independent study 149.5
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Report 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework 1: One group essay of 1000 words, with a weight of 10% in the overall assessment of the module – (partly formative). This is a first plan of the content you plan to follow for the group written report in the form of a brief essay(CW2).  A 10 percent excess of the upper limit of the wordcount is permissible. Due by Week 25 (w6 spring term)

Coursework 2: One group written report of 1000 words(10+/- percent is permissible), and an orally performed defence via a group presentation (delivered in an interactive seminar). This combined coursework has a weight of 30% in the overall assessment of the module (slides and report are equally weighted subcomponents).  Oral feedback and formative feedback are also provided to the teams in an interactive seminar.  Each of the two subcomponents of this coursework counts for 50 percent of this coursework mark. Due by Week 28-29 (W9-10 spring term)

Coursework 3: One individual essay of 3,000 words with a weight of 60% in the overall assessment of the module.  Due by Week 30-31 (W11-12 of the spring term)  A 10 percent excess of the upper limit of the wordcount is permissible.

Formative assessment methods:

Groups and group members work in CW1 towards the preparation of the second coursework. This process enables peer learning and peer formative feedback. CW 2 feedback is also partly formative and is provide to each team of students in a specially organised interactive presentation session (practical seminar).  Feedback is on both content and presentation skills from lecturer(s) and peer feedback from their class fellow members are then given to the teams of students.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

An individual essay (capped at 50 percent).

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):



1. Required text books

All readings and referenced books are provided online via our UoR TALIS electronic online reading listing system and the TALIS and Blackboard interface. Also the University electronic databases are to be used for retrieving extra literature teams or students may need to complete their coursework.


Library orders for the textbooks of this module are covering the registered student numbers. Therefore it is not normally required of students in this module to purchase textbooks. Students who wish to do so the costs of the key textbooks should be informed that the costs for each textbook ranges from 15 £ (which is the usual cost of the OUP textbook by Crane and Matten, to 137£ which is the cost for the “Business & Society: Ethics, Sustainability & Stakeholder Management” textbook by Jill Brown and Archie Carroll as this latter is a new book.


Students  may also look for used and second hand copies via Amazon and the prices vary from 5£ to up to 60 £.

2. Printing and binding

All marking is done online so students in this module shouldn’t have any extra costs for printing coursework.

However if students wish to print their documents at their own costs the following apply:

1. Students can bind their work for free in the ARC in HBS.

2. Multifunctional devices (MFD) which can print, copy or scan are available on the subject floors of the Library Building and on the Ground Floor of the URS Building. Send your printing from any PC and pick it up on any MFD across campus by logging in using your Campus Card.

Printing costs general information can be found via

Costs for 2018-9 are:

  • 5p for A4 black and white

  • 10p for A3 black and white

  • 30p for A4 colour

  • 60p for A3 colour


3. Computers and devices with a particular specification

The following, which  are available on the Ground Floor of the URS Building:

145 PCs


Last updated: 1 May 2018


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