Business and Engineering Ethics
Uni ePrep Course
Now Also Available at SF@NS LXP
As you prepare to start your university studies, have you considered the importance of studying ethics before starting your university studies?
Ethics is the study of moral principles and values, and it plays a critical role in our personal and professional lives. As a student, studying ethics before starting university can provide you with a solid foundation of moral principles and values that will guide your decision-making throughout your academic journey and beyond.
Ethics is an essential component of academic integrity. Universities have strict codes of conduct that prohibit plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty. By studying ethics, you will understand the importance of honesty and integrity in academic work, and you will be better equipped to navigate the complex ethical issues that may arise during your studies.
Moreover, ethics is relevant to virtually every academic discipline. Whether you are studying law, medicine, engineering, or business, ethical principles are a critical component of your field. By studying ethics, you will learn how to analyze complex ethical dilemmas and make informed decisions that align with your personal and professional values.
Studying ethics can help you develop a strong moral compass that will guide your decisions throughout your life. As you navigate the challenges of university and beyond, you will be faced with difficult decisions that require you to balance competing interests and values. By studying ethics, you will be better equipped to navigate these challenges and make decisions that align with your personal values and beliefs.
Studying ethics before starting your university studies is essential for your personal and professional development. It will provide you with a solid foundation of moral principles and values that will guide your decision-making throughout your academic journey and beyond. So don’t neglect the importance of ethics – make it a priority as you prepare for university.
“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.
The fundamentals of various fields of applications of ethics are the same, and ethics is important no matter what field of studies you are in, you are recommended to sign up for this course and learn about ethics.
A retired NTU Proessor acts as the tutor to the students in this course. He is available for consultation through email.
Please note that this course, as well as the other ePrep courses provided by NTU, is now also available at SF@NS LXP, the SkillsFuture@National Service Learning eXperience Platform.
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.
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.