BUSU9RB: Responsible Business

Semester:  Spring

Level:  10

Credit Value:  20

Module Coordinator:  Dr Lila Skountridaki, Management, Work & Organisation Division

Contact Hours:  30 hours

Assessment: 40% Examination, 60% Coursework (individual assignment with group work)

Module Overview:

Business organisations play a critical role in the social, political and economic domains of any society. In modern economies, business interests exert an increasingly pervasive influence on a broad range of values, norms, standards and expectations. There is no denying that business organisations are powerful, but many questions remain as to the legitimacy of such power. This module aims to explore these questions through a systematic and holistic approach to issues of business ethics and responsibility.

The module investigates the challenges which business organisations face in contemporary economies with regards to their moral and social contribution. It critically engages with practices and discourses on responsible business and social responsibility, and  explores topical ethical issues facing businesses and employers. The module also engages constructively with the dynamics of community development through alternative modes of economic organisation, and considers factors which enable the growth and development of economic and social agents within work organisations. Students will reflect upon conceptual material informing ethical inquiry, and critically assess contemporary examples of (un)ethical business models and activities.

Learning outcomes:

The module aims to enable students to understand, evaluate, apply and critically reflect upon various dimensions of contemporary business practice, including:

  • Perspectives on CSR (definitions and scope).
  • Business and its environment (ethical challenges of doing business in a globalised economy, and issues of corporate power, lobbying and transparency).
  • The ‘dark side’ of organisational life (ethical dilemmas in management practice).
  • Factors influencing sustainable development (matters of governance, economic and social participation and inclusion).
  • Meaningful work and organisational life (managing values in organisations).  

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Use relevant concepts in the business ethics field to explore the complex social, economic and political dimensions of ethical issues in organisations.
  • Critically assess discourse and practice of social responsibility and ethical behaviour in a business and managerial context.

Reading Lists:

Griseri, P. and Seppala, N. (2010) Business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Andover: South-Western/Cengage.

Hoffman, W.M., Frederick, R.E. and Schwartz, M.S. (2014) Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality (5th edition). Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.


This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.

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