Ethical Management and Decision Making

Commerce & Business Administration
Course Code
BUSN 3314
Semester Length
15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
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Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course explores the managerial, organizational, social and economic context within which managers make ethical decisions. The course equips students with the abilities to recognize ethical dilemmas in their workplace, the field of business, their communities and the world at large. The foci of the course will be to: (a) develop the students' understanding of the relationship between ethics and organizational structures and cultures and how each may affect organizational "actors" in their decision making and actions and (b) enhance the students' skills in designing effective ethical decision-making frameworks for their current and future roles as managers. Both of these foci aim to facilitate the students' and their organizations' abilities to ethically engage with the internal and external stakeholders, community and world at large.
Course Content

I.   An introduction to Business Ethics and influences on ethical-decision making
     a. Rise of Business Ethics
     b. Global environment
     c. Economic systems
        i.   Market economies: Capitalism in crisis
        ii.  Mixed market economies
        iii. Command economies: Communist and Socialist economies
      d. Foundations of ethical decision making
II.  Stakeholder and issues management approaches
     a. Stakeholder management approach to ethics
     b. Recognizing and resolving stakeholder issues and perspectives
     c. Implementing plans that recognize stakeholder interests
III. Ethical principles and their effects on decision making
     a. Ethical principles and approaches
     b. Ethical decision making models
IV.  Organizational influences on organizational ethics and ethical decision-making
     a. Organizational culture and structure influences
     b. Corporate social responsibility
     c. Internal and external stakeholders
V.   Developing ethical organizations
     a. Workplace ethical topics, such as:
        i.   Hiring, promoting, discharging and disciplining;
        ii.   Discrimination;
        iii.  Abuse of power, harassment, bribes and kickbacks;
        iv.   Product and workplace safety;
        v.    Advertising;
        vi.   Whistleblowing;
        vii.  Environmental issues; and
        viii. Research and development, supply chain, etc.
     b. Ethical leadership styles and approaches
     c. Ethical organizational cultures
     d. Ethical organizational structures, policies and procedures
     e. Ethical human resource management
     f. Ethics programs and corporate social responsibility approaches
VI.  Tools, models and frameworks for personal ethical decision making   

Learning Activities

Methods will include case studies, classroom discussion, lectures, seminars and reading assignments.  Guest speakers, role-plays and audio-visual materials may be used where appropriate.

Means of Assessment
Participation 0-10%
Case Study(ies) 10-30%
Project(s) and/or Assignment(s) 30-50%
Examination(s) (see note 4) 20-30%



1. At least 50% of the total coursework must be individual work. 
2. To pass the course, students must achieve a cumulative grade of 50% in all non-group assessments as well as 50% overall in the course. In other words, students must have achieved at least 50% on their cumulative individual assessments in order to be eligible to earn marks from group work.
3. No single assessment (e.g., case study, exam, quiz, project, etc.) can be worth more than 30%.
4. The use of a final exam is at the discretion of the instructor; however, if a final exam is not given, then a final project is required.
5. Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • appraise their values in order to develop a moral compass that will guide and influence them;
  • critique the complex nature and implications of the managerial, organizational, social and economic context within which managers make ethical decisions;
  • recognize and analyze the personal, organizational and social dynamics (e.g., culture, organizational culture and system, issue intensity, moral/value development) underlying the process, content and outcomes of ethical decision making;
  • identify the effects of organizational power dynamics, organizational culture and societal/systemic influences on managers’ and employees’ behaviour;
  • select and apply tools, models and/or frameworks for personal and managerial decision making; and
  • propose and evaluate methods to appropriately shape organizational systems, culture and processes that engender ethical decisions in a diverse organizational and societal contexts.
Textbook Materials

Custom cases and readings  AND

Any one of the following:

-Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. Business Ethics;

-Weiss, J.W. Business Ethics: A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach;

- Or other textbook as approved by the department.



BUSN 1200 or BUSN 1210; and

PHIL 1122 or PHIL 1102; and

ENGL 1130, CMNS 1115 or an English, Communications or Creative Writing course that transfers (as English credit) to one of the B.C. research universities (SFU, UBC, UBC-O, UVic or UNBC)


 Active in PBD Advanced Supply Chain with BLAW 3780, BUSN 1210, (CMNS 1115 or CMNS 1125), and CMNS 1210


 With the instructor's permission



For PDD/PBD students who are not required to take FINC 1231 as a pre-requisite in their program, it is recommended that students engage in self-directed studies in Business Math or Algebra prior to taking this course. Free self-directed courses can be found on sites such as Cousera or edX. Free open texbooks can be found on BC Campus and Open Stax.







Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for BUSN 3314
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO MGMT 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Winter 2023

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BUSN 3314 001 - This section is restricted to Business Management Diplomas, BBA Management, PBD Advanced Human Resource Management, and PBD Advanced Supply Chain Management until Friday, December 16, 2022 at 9:00 am.

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