Ethics course lecture 1
Ethics course lecture 1
A few points...
• There will be lectures, presentations and
Assignments will be given most weeks.
There will be a final examination.
The course grade will consist of the grades
received for the assignments and active
participation (65%), as well as the final
• The following topics will be covered:
1. Why is business ethics important to
2. A brief introduction to theories of ethics
3. Safety in the workplace
4. Blowing the whistle
The Responsibility of professionals
• John R. Boatright. 2003. Ethics and the Conduct
of Business. Prentice Hall
• Robert A. Larmer. 2008. Ethics in the Workplace.
West Publishing Company
Plus other literature you can find on these
A short discussion...
Today there is a lot of talk about the
importance of ethics to business, many
companies have hired special ethics
officers to deal with this issue..
• These ethics officers are availble to talk to
empoyees about any ethical concerns they may
• They also visit subcontractors and check that
their staff is not working in bad conditions, not
polluting, and that they are not using child
labour, etc. (Nokia is an example of a compamy
that uses these officials.)
Can institutions have morality..?
• Persons can be moral or immoral, but can
Do we expect different behaviour from
institutions than from people?
Do we expect certain type of conduct from
different instituitions, and if they do not behave
as we expect them to are they immoral?
The courts, the church, the police, the banks.
Do we have expect a bank to behave differently
than a nightclub? Why?
Codes of conduct...
• Many companies have also drawn up
codes of conduct often written by outside
What counts are deeds...
• But has the behaviour of companies and
of individual business men and women
• Volkswagen, Patria, Siemens, Kone,...the
list of companies having problems with
ethics does not seem to get any shorter.
Five simple questions...
All business mannagers should ask
themselves the following five questions
before makig an important business
1. Who are the people affected by this
business decision? (Employees,
shareholders, customers, suppliers,etc.)
2. Does this decision cause any serious
harm to any of these parties and can I
do something about that?
More moral questions...
3. Is my behavior deceptive? Would I
regard it as deceptive if I were in the
4. Are there any disguised conflicts between
me and those parties affected by the
decision in question.
5. What where to happen if everyone
involved in the transaction where to
behave in a like manner (like I am planing
to behave now)?