Business and Engineering Ethics
ePrep Course for
“Business and Engineering Ethics” is one of the ten specially designed ePrep courses meant for NSF, NSmen and others before they start their university studies.
The Business Ethics portion of the course is developed in collaboration with the publishers of the textbook, “Business & Society”, and the textbook comes free with the course.
Engineering Ethics is to complement the Business Ethics with engineering applications of ethics.
Audio: Fuller Intro to Business and Engineering Ethics
The Learning Contents
I. Business Ethics
Chapter 1 The Business and Society Relationship
- Describe and explain business and society as foundational concepts. Describe how society is viewed as the macroenvironment.
- Explain the characteristics of a pluralistic society. Describe pluralism and identify its attributes, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Define a special-interest society and describe how it evolves.
- Identify, discuss, and illustrate the factors leading up to business criticism and corporate response. What is the general criticism of business? How may the balance of power and responsibility be resolved? What is the changing social contract?
- Highlight the major focuses or themes of the book: managerial approach, business ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management.
Chapter 2 Corporate Social Responsibility, Citizenship, and Sustainability
- Describe some early views of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Explain how CSR evolved and encompasses economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic components. Explain the Pyramid of CSR.
- Articulate the traditional arguments both against and for CSR. Explain how the business case for CSR has strengthened the concept’s acceptance.
- Describe how the concept of corporate social responsiveness differs from CSR.
- Summarize how corporate social performance (CSP) became more popular. Describe how it is different than CSR. Elaborate on how it differs from corporate social responsiveness.
- Describe how corporate citizenship is a valuable way of thinking about CSR. Explain its broad and narrow views. Explain how corporate citizenship develops and proceeds in stages.
- Summarize the three perspectives on the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP).
- Explain how sustainability is a broad concept that embraces profits, people, and the planet. Describe how the triple bottom line is a vehicle for implementing sustainability.
- Elaborate on the ages and stages of CSR. Define CSR Greenwashing and how it may lead to misleading reputational profiles of companies.
- Describe and characterize the socially responsible investing movement. Differentiate between negative and positive screens that are used in investment decisions.
Chapter 3 The Stakeholder Approach to Business, Society, and Ethics
- Identify origins of the stakeholder concept by explaining what a stake is and what a stakeholder is.
- Explain who business’s stakeholders are in primary and secondary terms.
- Differentiate among the three stakeholder approaches—strategic, multifiduciary, and synthesis.
- Identify and explain the three values of the stakeholder model.
- Name and describe the five key questions that capture the essence of stakeholder management.
- Explain major concepts in effective stakeholder management to include stakeholder thinking, stakeholder culture, stakeholder management capability, and stakeholder engagement.
- Describe the three strategic steps toward global stakeholder management.
Chapter 4 Corporate Governance: Foundational Issues
- Link the issue of legitimacy to corporate governance.
- Discuss the problems that have led to the recent spate of corporate scandals and problems in corporate governance.
- Discuss the principal way in which companies can improve corporate governance.
- Discuss the role of shareholders and the idea of strengthening shareholder voice. What are some of the mechanisms that enable this?
- Discuss the role of the SEC in protecting investors.
- Discuss the principal ways in which shareholder activists exert pressure on corporate management to improve governance.
- Discuss investor relations and the concept of shareholder engagement.
- Compare and contrast the shareholder-primacy and the director-primacy models of corporate governance. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Which do you prefer and why?
Chapter 5 Strategic Management and Corporate Public Policy
- Describe the concepts of strategic management and corporate public policy.
- Articulate the four major strategy levels and explain enterprise-level strategy, social entrepreneurship, and the benefit corporation.
- Explain the strategic management process and the role that sustainability reports and integrated reports play in the process.
- Link public affairs with the strategic management function.
- Describe the public affairs function today, and enumerate the different activities and functions that comprise it.
Chapter 6 Issue, Risk, and Crisis Management
- Distinguish between risk management, issue management, and crisis management.
- Describe the major categories of risk and some of the factors that have characterized risk management in actual practice.
- Define issue management and the stages in the issue management process.
- Define Crisis management and identify four crisis stages.
- List and discuss the major stages or steps involved in managing business crises.
Chapter 7 Business Ethics Essentials
- Describe the public’s opinion of business ethics.
- Define business ethics, explain the conventional approach to business ethics and identify the sources of ethical norms in individuals.
- Analyze economic, legal, and ethical aspects of a decision by using a Venn model.
- Identify, explain, and illustrate three models of management ethics.
- In terms of making moral management actionable, describe and discuss Kohlberg’s three levels of moral development and Gilligan’s ethics of care.
- Identify and discuss six major elements of moral judgment.
II. Business Ethics – Optional Chapters
- Corporate Governance: Foundational Issues.
- Strategic Management and Corporate Public Affairs.
- Issue, Risk, and Crisis Management.
- Business, Government, and Regulation.
- Business Influence on Government and Public Policy.
- Consumer Stakeholders: Information Issues and Responses.
- Consumer Stakeholders: Product and Service Issues.
- Sustainability and the Natural Environment.
- Business and Community Stakeholders.
- Employee Stakeholders and Workplace Issues.
- Employee Stakeholders: Privacy, Safety, and Health.
- Employment Discrimination and Affirmative Action.
See complete Learning Outcomes
III. Engineering Ethics
CHAPTER ONE: Engineering Ethics: Making the Case
Main Ideas in This Chapter
- This book focuses on the ethical challenges of engineers as professionals.
- Ethical commitment is central to most accounts of professionalism, including engineering.
- The codes of ethics of professional engineering societies are important resources for studying engineering ethics, but they, too, must be critically evaluated.
- Possible conflicts between professional ethics, personal ethics, and common morality raise important moral questions.
- In addition to concern about preventing disasters and professional misconduct, engineering ethics is also concerned with promoting a better life through the development and use of technology.
CHAPTER TWO: A Practical Ethics Toolkit
Main Ideas in This Chapter
- professionals are problem solvers and ethical problems are one type of problem that they often face. Practical ethics provides a series of techniques for resolving ethical problems.
- The first task of practical ethics is to analyze an ethical problem into its factual, conceptual, and application components.
- Two techniques that are often useful in ethical problem solving are line drawing and finding creative middle way solutions.
- Often, resolving ethical problems in engineering requires more than an appeal to professional codes and standards of practice. An appeal to common morality is necessary. Common morality can be formulated in several ways and has some generally accepted structural components.
- Common morality can be modeled in several ways, two of which are especially important. These models can be useful in resolving some practical ethical problems.
- Several widely recognized tests or application procedures exist for both of the models for common morality. They can be useful tools in applying the two models, especially with regard to social issues.
CHAPTER THREE: Responsibility in Engineering
Main Ideas in This Chapter
- Responsibility has to do with accountability, both for what one does in the present and future and for what one has done in the past.
- The obligation-responsibilities of engineers require not only adhering to regulatory norms and standard practices of engineering but also satisfying the standard of reasonable care.
- Beyond this, “good works” are both possible and desirable.
- Engineers can expect to be held accountable, if not legally liable, for inten-tonally, negligently, and recklessly caused harms.
- Responsible engineering practice requires good judgment, not simply following algorithms.
- A good test of engineering responsibility is the question: “What does an engineer do when no one is looking?” This makes evident the importance of trust in the work of engineers.
IV. Engineering Ethics – Optional Chapters
- The Social and Value Dimensions of Technology.
- Trust and Reliability.
- Risk and Liability in Engineering.
- Engineers in Organizations.
- Engineers and the Environment.
- Engineering in the Global Context.
See complete Main Ideas
What You Get in this Course
I. Free Textbook
“Business and Society” 9th Ed., by Archie B. Carroll and Ann K Buschholtz, is a very popular business ethics textbook.
II. Free Consultation
A retired NTU professor is acting as the tutor. You can consult him via email or WhatsApp.
III. Materials Online
1 Notes, video lessons and PowerPoint files.
2 Answers to all questions in the textbook.
3 Questions and answers.
4 Example cases on ethics.
5 Bonus learning materials in mathematics, including calculus, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, probability and statistics, as well as on other subjects such as corporate finance, economics, Python programming, and psychology.
IV. Digital Certificate
A digital certificate will be issued if you have successfully completed the course and passing all the tests at the end of each of the ten compulsory chapters.
Business and Engineering Ethics ePrep Course Materials
1. Video Interview (Importance of Protection of Nature)
2. Discussion Question and Suggested Answer (Business Ethics)
Question: Is the stakeholder corporation a realistic model for business firms? Will stakeholder corporations become more prevalent in the 21st century? Why or why not?
Answer: A cynic would look at the current business climate and declare that the stakeholder corporation is an impractical dream that will not come to fruition any time soon. Recent failures in the financial services and automotive industries (among others) and the continuing disparity in CEO and worker pay provide much evidence that primary consideration is given to enriching those in control of the organization at the expense of all others. However, this ignores the groundswell of support for stakeholder inclusion by many, both inside and outside of corporations. This support, along with the complexity of business operations and relationships, will almost require that firms recognize and give credence to the claims their various stakeholders hold on them. There is a paradox at work here, just as there is in the centralization/decentralization question in the management of a firm. As the operating environment becomes more complex, the initial reaction to gaining control is to centralize decision-making. However, the sheer complexity soon makes centralization impossible—the few decision makers are overwhelmed. Thus, decentralization becomes the only way to deal with complexity. In a similar manner, the sheer complexity and strength of stakeholder demands will soon mandate that firms recognize them and deal with them.
3. Discussion Question and Suggested Answer (Engineering Ethics)
Question: A patent is supposed to protect the intellectual property of one person from theft by another. To be awarded a patent, however, an applicant must show that her patent serves a “teaching” function. This education enables the public and other inventors to further the development of technology. Many cases in patent law involve a conflict between the need of society to protect the rights of individuals and the need to promote the advancement of technology. How could this conflict arise? Which of these two needs seems most important?
Answer: The need to promote the overall good often conflicts with the need to protect the rights of individuals. This is in fact a familiar conflict within ethical theory itself, and it should come as no surprise that this theoretical conflict is often manifested in significant practical disputes.
One such practical dispute is society’s need to protect the rights of individuals and its need to promote the advancement of technology. On the one hand, if patents too severely restrict the flow of technological information, they inhibit the development of technology and thus do not serve the interests of society. On the other hand, people have a right to control and benefit from the revenues from their own property, including intellectual property. To allow others to freely use anther’s intellectual property is to allow a kind of theft and to violate the legitimate rights of the owners of intellectual property.
The issue is even more complicated that this. If people can freely use the intellectual property of others, there will be less incentive for the most creative members of society to produce that intellectual property in the first place. This will also hinder the development of technology and thus harm society. Thus, there are utilitarian reasons both for restricting and not restricting the use of intellectual property, as well as non-utilitarian reasons for protecting intellectual property rights.
When there are several value conflicts on both sides of an issue, the best approach is to find a “creative middle way” between the two extremes. Although the details of such a policy are difficult to work out, the overall ethical requirement is clear: intellectual property should be given protection, but not so much protection that the development of technology is crippled.
Beyond Business and Engineering Ethics
– Bonus Materials
1. Video Lesson on Business Finance (DuPont Equation)
2. Video Lesson on Corporate Finance (Expectation Theory)
3. Cross-Word Puzzle on Biotechnology (Application in Medicine)
4. Worked Example on Engineering Economy (Comparison of Alternative)
Question: Often it makes a lot of sense to spend some money now so you can save more money in the future. Consider filtered water. A high-tech water filter cost about $60 and can filter 7,200 ounces of water. This will save you purchasing two 20-ounce bottle of filtered water every day, each costing $1.15. The filter will need replacing every 6 months. How much will this filter save you in a year’s time?
Answer. In six months you will spend approximately $360 on bottled water. The cost of the filter is $50, so you will save $310 every four months. This amounts to $620 over a year, and you don’t need to bother recycling all those plastic bottles! An up-front expenditure of $50 can indeed save a lot of money each year.
5. Objective Question Exercise on Physics (Forces)
Question: What prevents gravity from pulling you through the ground to the center of the Earth? Choose the best answer.
1. The density of matter is too great.
2. The positive nuclei of your body’s atoms repel the positive nuclei of the atoms of the ground.
3. The density of the ground is greater than the density of your body.
4. Atoms are bound together by chemical bonds.
5. Electrons on the ground’s surface and the surface of your feet repel one another.
Answer: (5). The outer regions of the atoms in your body and the atoms making up the ground both contain negatively charged electrons. When your body is in close proximity to the ground, these negatively charged regions exert repulsive forces on each other. Since the atoms in the solid ground are rigidly locked in position and cannot move away from your body, this repulsive force prevents your body from penetrating the ground.
6. Web Exercise on Psychology (Health, Stress and Coping)
Question: Which of these is a symptom that would indicate a major depressive disorder?
a. Moods that swing between sadness and overexcitement.
b. Disappointment when something doesn’t work out right.
c. Feeling sadness and anger when a relationship breaks up.
d. Lack of interest in things that are normally enjoyable.
7. Video Lesson on Calculus (Differentiation)
8. Video Lesson on Life Science (Nondisjunction)
9. Video Lesson on Mathematics (Exponential Function)
10. Python Programming (Detecting Outliers)
import numpy as np
age = [1, 31, 3, 14, 6, 11, 11, 15, 68, 23, 24, 31, 12, 13, 21]
mean = np.mean(age)
std = np.std(age)
print("mean of the dataset is", mean)
print("std. deviation is", std)
threshold = 3
outlier = 
for i in age:
z = (i-mean)/std
if z < 0:
z = -z
if z > threshold:
print("outlier in dataset is", outlier)
mean of the dataset is 18.933333333333334
std. deviation is 15.783817310425539
outlier in dataset is 
11. Economics (The Variety of Supply Curves)
- Slope of Supply Curve: in general, the flatter the supply curve that passes through a given point, the more elastic the supply
- When the elasticity is equal to zero, the supply is perfectly inelastic and is a vertical
- When the elasticity is infinite, the supply is perfectly elastic and is a horizontal
- Because firms often have a maximum capacity for production, the elasticity of supply may be very high at low levels of quantity supplied and very low at high levels of quantity as shown in the figure below
12. Discrete Mathematics (Logically Equivalent Statements)