MM359B-Business Ethics for 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: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Dr Adeyinka Adewale

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module aims to develop students’ awareness and a refined critical understanding of the key approaches and theories of ethics and the understanding of key issues, and dimensions which reflect relationships in business and in society. It’s practically applied to relations involving business and broader stakeholders in international business and management contexts with a focus on ethical complexities in international management.  


This module aims to develop students’ awareness and a refined critical understanding of the key approaches and theories of ethics. Students will develop an awareness and understanding of the ethical issues which reflect relationships with key business and non-business stakeholders in the context of international business. The class discussions will also emphasis the potential tensions between economic and ethics concerns and the need to ethically inform and balance economic and business aims with a focus on acting for the good in business and in society.


The module will focus on the ethical complexities facing and affecting the relations of business and society and how to apply different ethical perspectives, concepts and concerns in evaluating business, government and societal problems and alternative pathways of action. Finally, the module will focus on ethical theory on individual and contextual factors which impact / impede capacities for ethical decision making and action in context of international managers, particularly within an alien foreign context. Using a combination of ethical theory and case study analysis, the module aims to enable students to analyse ethical challenges that corporate decision-makers face in trying to successfully do their business.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Intended learning outcomes:


• A critical and refined understanding of key normative approaches and theories of ethics. 

• A higher level understanding of what is meant by the notion of the good and how “value” is captured by various normative philosophies. 

• A more confident capacity for applying ethical theory for critical evaluation, decision making and debates of alternative actions in the contexts of international business, government and society.



Assessable learning outcomes:


At the end of this module, students should have developed:


(1) an in depth and critical understanding of and comparison of various ethical frameworks beyond ethical relativism, a refined understanding of key theories and terms (which were taught in more introductory ethics courses) involved in ethical evaluation and decision making.


(2) confident analytic capacity and expert terminology demonstrating evaluative, synthetic and comparative thinking applied to (a) appreciating the complexity and the apprehension of purely economic versus ethical dimensions of action involved in international business and management,  and (b) applying different ethical perspectives, concepts and concerns in evaluating business, government and societal problems, and alternative ways of action in international business and management.


(3) An apprehension of how some of the key theory concepts are being contextualised in specific business and societies with a focus in international contexts.


(4) A more confident capacity for applying critically ethical theory for the evaluation, decision making and debates of alternative action in international business, government and society contexts.


These will involve:


• A critical awareness of the range of ethical issues arising in international management contexts when business interests clash with local political, community and other stakeholder interests;


• The ability to construct and present a rigorous ethical argument regarding the relationship between business and society and between business norms and (local) cultural norms;


• The ability to analyse cases of business dilemmas in international settings, ethical perspectives which balances business goals and key stakeholders rights;


• The relationship between context and ethical norms;


• The ability to approach business situations from a critical ethical as well as an economic perspective, combining moral and instrumental forms of reasoning in work, both individually and as a team.

Additional outcomes:

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 other agents working in international firms to exercise their own ethical judgement and often their wisdom to negotiate business goals while taking into account the interests and rights of other local business and non business stakeholders. They should be able to discuss in depth both practical and theoretical issues relating to ethics and ethical decision-making in international management contexts, that particularly relate to the relationship between business and society. They should be able to appreciate the importance of harmonizing between a global business ethics vs local ethical cultural insights to ensure long term viability of their business in its broader social and economic context. They will also improve their teamwork and presentational skills.

Outline content:

Lecture 1:  Introduction – Doing the Right Thing

Lecture 2:  Utilitarianism and Critical Review of Consequential and Deontological Ethics 

Lecture 3:  Critical Review of Kant – Is Kant Right After All?

Lecture 4:  The Rawlsian Argument for Equality and Justice 

Lecture 5:  Aristotle – Common Good and The Firm 

Lecture 6:  Ethical Leadership 

Lecture7:  Ethics Regarding Business Implications to Communities 

Lecture 8:  International Business and Politics 

Lecture 9:  Descriptive Ethics: Individual and Contextual Factors

Lecture 10: Revision Lecture

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught through a two hour lecture session each week, combining elements of lectures, videos and case analysis via teaching, debates and class discussion. There will also be five tutorial sessions with specific topics/case studies for discussion and learning methods involving teamwork and peer learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Work-based learning 35
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 10
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for tutorials 5
    Preparation for presentations 20
    Essay preparation 80
    Reflection 5
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
None required

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


Coursework: One individual essay of 3,000 words with a weight of 100% of the overall assessment of the module. Due by Week 33 (W14 of the spring term)

Formative assessment methods:



The formative feedback will enable students to reflectively learn from their peers and the lecturer(s), which may be utilised as essay content, argument construction and effective writing planning.


Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that 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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A weighted average mark of coursework and examination of 40%.

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment by an individual essay worth 100% of the module.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

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. Therefore it is not required of students in this module to purchase textbooks. We have also planned for enough paper print and electronic copies of the textbook in the University Library.

However, if students wish to purchase the main textbook by M. Sandel it is available online for about £10 pounds each paperback copy.  If students wish to do so they may look for used and second hand copies via Amazon.


Printing and binding

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

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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