MERRIMACK COLLEGE
FRANCIS E. GIRARD SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE

Management 360A – Managing Corporate Ethics

Instructor: Dr. Gina Vega
Tel (978) 837 5000 x 4338
Home (978) 521 7601
Office: O’Reilly 402 (hours are posted and by appointment)
email: gvega@merrimack.edu

Required Text:
Johnson, Craig E. Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2001.

Please keep current on business/social/ethics/public policy issues by reading a newspaper such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or The Boston Globe and a business magazine such as Fortune on a regular basis. Additional readings and video will be assigned on a periodic basis.

Course Description:

This is a course in applied ethical leadership. It will aid you in understanding the ethical conflicts you are likely to confront both in the business world and in your own communities, and will guide you in developing a foundation for your own managerial ethical system. Through directed readings, analysis, and classroom conversation and together with our community contacts, we will explore the meaning of socially responsible leadership, the various conflicting sets of values managers face in an increasingly global and diverse business context, and the manner in which different companies manage their ethical obligations and responsibilities.

You will participate in a service learning project that will permit you to apply the theories learned in class, your personal skills, and your sense of social responsibility to a community need, making stakeholder theory come alive on a very personal level. Thoughtful consideration and discussion of these experiences will assist you in learning about ethical concepts, while the service you provide will improve the quality of life of those who are touched by your actions.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, you will have accomplished the following:

1. You will understand the ethical and social responsibility issues involved in accountability to the various organizational stakeholders, including owners, employees, customers, stockholders, governmental agencies, suppliers, and society.

2. You will have found a way to examine your philosophy of personal conduct in organizational roles such that it supports integrity in balancing ethical, economic, and social values.

3. You will understand the factors that have an impact on typical management issues and problems associated both with local and broader business and community relations, contrasting socio economic systems, and competition.

4. You will be able to answer the question, “What does ethical leadership mean?”

Course Requirements:

Readings:

Weekly reading assignments from the text and from handouts will be required. Selections will be provided from the popular press, from books related to the subject material (e.g. selections from Lying, Sissela Bok and A Passion for Planning, Gina Vega), and from scholarly Journals. Please do the readings as they are assigned, before the class at which we will be discussing them. You are responsible for being prepared for class, as in class discussions are designed to add to not substitute for your own reading. Some of the readings are short, others are a bit longer. I offer my personal guarantee that most of these readings will be engaging. If you do not find the readings engaging or compelling, do them anyway!

Service:

Service learning is distinct from other forms of outreach and experiential education because it attributes equal weight to both service and learning goals. It is curriculum based, meaning that the service work is profoundly connected to and enhanced by a proposed course of study. The service performed is done as a way of learning about concepts in a course or discipline. Likewise, the learning that occurs in the course or discipline is intended to improve students’ ability to respond meaningfully to important real world concerns and problems such as those evident at the service site. (Virginia Tech Service Learning Handbook, www.majbill.vt.edu/sl/fachand.html).

The elderly are often overlooked as a business stakeholder group, despite their growing numbers. As of the most recent census (2000), the population over 65 Americans now accounts for more than 21.7 million people, half of whom are living in non family households (such as assisted living communities, senior housing, etc.). This represents 12.5% of the total population, up from 11.3% in 1980. In Massachusetts, people over 65 are 13.5% of the population; in Essex County, this means 99,836 people. Elderly people often feel left out, isolated, and lonely for contact with family and friends (young and old) who are far away. It has been shown that the more connected a person feels, the better they can maintain their health and the happier they will be.

The service learning project that this class will conduct is designed to help elderly members of our community connect with the larger world. We will provide computers and training in their use for email and Internet surfing to elderly residents in assisted living communities and senior centers in Lawrence, North Andover, Haverhill, and Methuen to help people reconnect to distant relationships and to feel part of the important changes that are occurring through business advances.

Students, working in teams, will design a program of training for residents of one of the centers in the communities listed above and identified by the Stevens Service Learning Center, and will teach the residents how to use basic email, how to get on to the Internet and how to find sites of interest. The centers will be responsible for providing the computers, Internet connection and the commitment to maintain the connection at the end of the term.

The design and implementation of these training programs will permit students to exhibit a variety of leadership skills, to use their business computing skills, and to provide meaningful service to the local community in direct application of theories of ethical leadership behavior. I estimate 24 hours per student of direct service during this project, amounting to a total of 575 service hours from this class. If each student team can teach six individuals during the term to use email, they will have accomplished introducing more than 70 people who previously were without access to the Internet and its communication facilitating processes. More information will be provided about this project early in the term.

Writings:

You will be expected maintain a weekly Service Folio, a three-part journal consisting of an entry related to a reading of the week, a diary entry related to the service project, and a reflection entry. The reflection may relate to the connection between the reading and the service that week, it may relate to the focusing question that I will provide weekly, or it may relate to other connections to be discussed. Detailed instructions regarding this Service Folio will be provided at the first class meeting, along with formatting instructions. Service Folios will be turned in for grading at midterm and at the end of the semester.

Two 4-7 page papers will be required. These papers will be focused on one of several thematic areas, such as the multiple roles of leadership, the choice between light and shadow, the debate between bad apples and bad barrels (Trevino and Youngblood, 1990), or the expansion of ethical capacity. The first paper will be theoretical in nature; the second will be applications oriented, that is, a pragmatic method of applying the theories described in the first paper. The purpose of these
two papers is to bring to light the potential for divergence between one’s espoused theory and the theory in use (Argyris and Schon, 1974).

Several short assignments that relate to class work will be assigned over the course of the semester. All writing assignments will be graded on both content and writing quality.

Grading:

Please type or word process all written assignments, papers, projects, and homework; I will not accept handwritten work. The papers will not be accepted after their due dates for any reason other than school closure or significant, documented personal emergency (this does not include crashing computers, nonstarting cars, broken alarm clocks, or misinterpreted schedules).

Your final grade will be computed as follows:

Mid Course Journal 20%
Final Journal 20%
Paper (a) 15%
Paper (b) 15%
Service Project 10%
Homework Assignments 10%
Class participation 10%