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Business Relations

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This course will focus on developing the analytical skills needed for philosophical thought about important moral issues that arise within a business context. The first part of this course will focus on understanding the nature of morality, and we shall discuss normative theories of ethics, theories of justice, the nature of capitalism and the rise of corporations. Next, we apply these theories to practical problems arising in the workplace, such as personnel policies, the right to privacy, the obligation to provide safe working conditions, and overall employee satisfaction. We also address the moral challenges facing an employee, including loyalty to the employer, abuses of power, whistle blowing and job discrimination.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: 1. Students will improve critical thinking by developing their skills for explaining, critically examining, and responding to theories, uses and claims in the area of business ethics. 2. Students will improve writing skills by explaining, exploring and critically examining theories, issues and arguments in the area of business ethics. 3. Students will improve communication skills by explaining orally ethical issues and arguments that arise in a business context. 4. Students will develop an openness to having their beliefs challenged, will learn to hear and comprehend the views of others, and to entertain objections to their own view.

William H. Shaw, Business Ethics
Thomson Wadsworth, 8th edition, 2014
ISBN: 1133943071


Exams: 50%. There will be two major exams, one during the semester and one during finals week. The exams will focus on the material we go over in class, which will be based on the readings. There will be a review session the week prior to each exam

Writing Assignments: 50%. There will be six short writing assignments, which are based on the cases at the end of each chapter in our textbook. After reading through the case, you should answer all the questions. The specific cases to be read are listed on the reading schedule on the syllabus. The assignments must be typed. Incomplete, handwritten, or otherwise unacceptable assignments will not receive credit. Your lowest grade on the writing assignments will be dropped at the end of the term.

The writing assignments must be submitted via SafeAssign on our course Blackboard site. I will not accept hardcopies or emailed assignments. The due dates are listed on the reading schedule and those due dates are final.

Class Participation and Attendance: Attendance will be taken at the start of each class by means of a sign-in sheet. You are allowed two absences without penalty.

Please be aware of the NY State Education Law, which provides that: 1. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of their religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements. 2. It shall be the responsibility of the faculty to make available to each student who is absent form school, because of religious beliefs an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements, which they may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. 3. Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of their rights.

To do well in this course, you are expected to attend class, do the readings, take the exams, and complete all of the writing assignments.

You are strongly encouraged to participate in class discussions, and to bring questions or comments on the readings. I will go over all of the reading material in lecture.

Your final grade for this course will be calculated according to the percentages listed above and will not be based on a curve. Be aware that I do not offer or accept additional extra credit assignments.

Excessive lateness will not be tolerated. Eating and drinking during class is permitted if done quietly, but try to be courteous to those around you. Cell phones must be turned off and put away during class.

If you have a disability or there is some reason you may not be able to complete your course work, please let me know as soon as possible.

If you miss an exam without notice, it is your responsibility to contact me about making it up. However, if I have already given back the exams, you will not be permitted to make it up.

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site: If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits that violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation.

In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations, students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services, please provide me with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with me immediately.

Reading Schedule:
If there are any changes to this schedule, I will let you know in advance. It is expected that you will have completed the reading by the date listed. All of the readings are from our textbook Business Ethics. Due dates for the writing assignments are final.

August 28—Introduction to the course
September 4—Chapter 1—“The Nature of Morality”
September 11—Chapter 1—Continued; DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 1.1
September 18— Chapter 2—“Normative Theories of Ethics”


October 2— Chapter 2—Continued; DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 2.1
October 9— Chapter 3—“Justice and Economic Distribution.”
October 16— Chapter 3—Continued; DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 3.3
October 23— Chapter 4—“The Nature of Capitalism”
October 30—Chapter 4—Continued; DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 4.1 MIDTERM REVIEW
November 6—MIDTERM
November 13—Chapter 5—“Corporations”
November 20— Chapter 5—Continued; DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 5.3
December 4—Chapter 11—“Job Discrimination”
December 11—Chapter 11—“Job Discrimination” DUE: Writing Assignment: Case 11.1
December 18—FINAL EXAM…...

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