Business Ethics

January 25, 2001

College of Business & Management
University of Maryland
Fall 1997 Shady Grove
Room 0102 (New Building)


This course surveys applied topics relating to business ethics. On our first meeting, we provide a conceptual framework for thinking about and discussing these topics. This framework has three parts or “themes”: (1) Corporate Social Responsibility; (2) Relationship of Law and Ethics; and (3) Individual Ethical Decision-Making. Thereafter, class time will be used to explore applied topics with reference to these three themes.

The course employs a number of instructional formats, including (1) lectures (primarily day 1); (2) student group presentations; (3) role playing exercises; (4) videos; (5) guest speakers; (6) a class field trip (potentially); and (7) a social responsibility project.

The course will meet on four Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On each day there will be a one-hour lunch break. Several restaurants are within a few minutes drive, or you may choose to bring a sack lunch.

There is a required reading packet on sale at the Maryland Book Exchange in College Park. Packet should be available for purchase on the Shady Grove Campus on August 26, 27, and 28. The packet also can be ordered by telephone and credit card and the Book Exchange will mail the packet to you. Please note that there are readings that are to be read in preparation for our initial class.


Class Participation (25%)
Attendance and active participation are essential to learning in this course, and the instructors will keep detailed notes of each. We expect you to attend the entirety of each class and to draw from the reading material in your class participation.

Group Presentation (20%)-
Each student will be assigned to a group that will have responsibility to present on a particular applied topic. The size of your group will depend on the ultimate size of the class. Each group presentation is to last about seventy-five minutes. The instructors will determine grades on the presentations with input from students who are not giving the presentations (peer evaluations).

Each group will introduce its topic, identify the important issues and suggest alternative ways of dealing with the uncertainty raised by the topic. Ideally, the group will address the three themes identified above: (1) corporate social responsibility; (2) the interplay between law and ethics; and (3) individual ethical decision making. Group presentations should be thorough and effective. Find ways to involve the entire class. Groups are encouraged to be use creative presentation techniques such as: mock trials; role-plays; debates; or case studies that involve the entire audience.

Role Play In-Class Exercise (5%)
Each student will be assigned to a group who will have responsibility to present and lead a discussion on one of the five “role plays” found at the end of your Readings Packet. You should read all five-role plays prior to the day they are presented and discussed. Sufficient class time will be provided for your group to prepare its role playing exercise (you need not meet with this role-playing group outside of class). Each role-play should last 15-20 minutes followed by 10-15 minutes of class discussion.

Social Responsibility Project (50%)
Each student is to do a Social Responsibility Project (SRP). The SRP has two components: (1) social responsibilities audit (SRA); and (2) a community service experience (CSE). A 12-15 page written report will follow completion of the project.

SRA: Ideally the SRA will be done with regard to the firm for which you are currently working. If that is not feasible, you may choose to audit an arm of the University of Maryland. Begin by informing yourself of what your firm does to make the world a better place, other than to sell its goods and services. For example, what social policies does it follow regarding employee issues, community development, environmental waste; etc, etc, etc? During the audit, think about ways that your firm might more effectively meet its social goals.

Volunteer at least eight hours of your time working for an eleemosynary agency or organization of your choice. Perhaps this agency or organization is one, with which your firm already has or potentially could have meaningful contact. While working for the eleemosynary agency, think about ways you personally and your firm could help the agency meet its goals more effectively.

Written Report: The written report should: (1) present your SRA; (2) describe your CSE; and (3) suggest a plan for how your firm might cooperate with and help your chosen eleemosynary agency meet its goals (If you don’t think this cooperation would be possible, explain why not). It would seem that each of these three components should take about one third of your written report (although there may good reasons as to why the space allocation would be otherwise). The written report will account for 50%- of your grade. You must mail two copies of the report to Professor Daniel T. Ostas, College of Business and Management, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742. It must be post-marked by December 10. (No faxes or email please).


September 20
Discuss Syllabus // Assign Groups
12:00–1:00 LUNCH
1:00–2:30 CSR (con’t)
2:30–4:30 LAW & ETHICS

October 4, October 25, November 14

Whistleblowing +(guest speaker) + video
Global + (speaker) + video
Banking & Investment + (speaker) + video
Intellectual Property–non-computer
Cloning & Bio-Tech–Patents
Computer Ethics including the Internet
Ethics & Professions

Role Plays
Negotiation Game (if needed)
Prison Visit (if possible)

School: University of Maryland: College of Business & Management
Professor: Steve Loeb, Dan Ostas
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