MGMT 321: International Business
International Business Ethics
Instructor: Jacqueline Jung
Office hours: By appointment-please send email for time.
Telephone: +39 334 795 0351
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an exploration of international business ethics. Forward-thinking business leaders are recognizing the importance of how a company is perceived by an increasingly sophisticated and active consumer. There is a direct relation between a company fulfilling its responsibilities to that consumer and to the world at large and its survival in a competitive environment.
We will work on different cases and current material from organizations in the field, the media and the law to examine how companies can most effectively retune themselves in the modern climate. To this end, activities will include discussing examples of proper corporate behavior, examining modern business practices, researching cases where unethical behavior created a challenge for business, and looking at the many advantages of establishing ethical guidelines and operating a socially responsible business. Some of these advantages are listed below. In order to fully understand international business ethics and how they affect every aspect of commercial activity, the advantages listed below will be discussed during every class, in other words-what is the issue and how could it have been avoided if ethical corporate practices had been in place?
Advantages of Good Corporate guidelines and practices:
- Marketplace Advantage: Customers and investors cite corporate practices and values as primary considerations in their decision-making.
- Superior Employee Performance: Companies with sound business practices and established values report improved employee morale, reduced employee turnover and increased productivity.
- Reputation Management: Once damaged by scandal or unethical behavior, a company’s reputation may never recover - resulting in lost revenue, low employee morale and increased governmental and public scrutiny. Emphasizing responsible business conduct is the surest means of preserving a company’s intangible assets.
- Powerful Legal and Financial Incentives: International regulatory developments provide strong legal and financial incentives to corporations that establish standards of conduct and provide ethics education and training to employees. (material from the International Business Ethics website) http://www.business-ethics.org/primer.asp
Each student is expected to read the assigned material beforehand, and be prepared to participate actively in class discussions. The instructor will ask students to paraphrase the materials assigned for presentation to the class. The class will be divided into sections-the first portion of the class will be spent paraphrasing and then discussing the readings, then the professor will lecture, after which there will be a half hour of computer research and a 20 minute break. After the break the students will present their research and ideas and the class will discuss.
In addition, there will be an ongoing project that will incorporate the ideas presented and allow the students to initiate their own solutions to problems.
Project theme: Take a case from the past where business behaved unethically and reformulate the approach of the company to create a different and better outcome. What were the constraints? What were the unexpected and expected problems? What is necessary to ensure better cooperation in future? How does legislation affect the outcomes?
1. Understand the international milieu in which companies must operate.
2. Read between the lines of media, reports, and emails and generally understand court decisions and international treaty requirements.
3. Learn what companies must do to be good corporate citizens and how to argue a point persuasively in order to influence future colleagues. Develop a good business model.
4. Improve awareness and skills for work in an international environment.
Seminar class with active student participation: Instructor provides examples of situations from both study and personal experience to enhance the materials.
Students respond to questions and share thoughts on issues and experiences discussed.
In-class presentation and discussion of readings: Assigned reading will be presented and discussed in class. Students will take turns presenting an abstract of the readings with instructor providing additional insight as required.
Project Presentation: Students will choose a project to be presented in class. This project will allow students to try their hand at developing innovative solutions to ethical vs. maximization of profit dilemmas. Students first present their ideas to the class, where they will be discussed and refined. The project will be assessed at various stages until the final presentation.
REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS
- Kline, John M. (2005), Ethics for International Business-Decision Making in a Global Political Economy, 1st edition, New York and London, Routledge. (EIB)
- Mitchell, Charles (2003), International Business Ethics-Combining Ethics and Profits in Global Business, 1st edition, California: World Trade Press. (IBE)
OPTIONAL COURSE MATERIALS
- Black, Maggie (2002), Non-Nonsense Guide to International Development, Oxford: The new Internationalist Publications.
- Rothlin, S. (2004), Becoming a Top-Notch Player, 18 Rules of International Business Ethics, Beijing: Renmin University.
- De George, R.T. (20060, Business Ethics, 6th edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- Enderle, G. (1999), International Business Ethics, Challenges and Approaches, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press.
- Boatright, J.R. (2007), Ethics and the Conduct of Business, 6th edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Journal of International Business Ethics (JIBE), American Scholars Press, 3 issues of which are available in the library. Harvard Business Review, The Economist, various UN publications, the Guardian, The New York Times and Washington Post along with Slate, Newsweek and the International newspapers and journals. The instructor will inform the students where to find the article online to be printed if necessary only. Other materials which are not online and deemed necessary will either be distributed to the students during class or made available to them in the library.
NGOs: https://www.internationalbusinessethics.org, http://businessethicsnetwork.org/, http://stopcorporateabuse.org/, www.whistleblowers.org, http://www.ibfan.org/, www.savethechildren.org, www.ashoka.org, www.change.org, www.wwf.org, etc.
GRADES AND DISTRIBUTION: The final course grade will be based on:
Mid-term exam 25%
Final exam 30%
Class Participation 20%
A 93-100 A- 90–92
B+ 88-89 B 83-87 B- 80-82
C+ 78-79 C 73-77 C- 70-72
F below 60
ABSENCES: Because this class meets only once a week, only one unexcused absence is allowed. Two unexcused absences will lower your grade. In case of absence or for extra credit work , see professor.
September 3: What is International Business Ethics?
- Introduction and overview of the course.
- E-mail list
- Student introductions
- Discussion of business climate and students’ experience
READING: IBE pp. 1-41, EIB 1-26, Info sent to students by instructor
September 10: Roles of key players in the world regulatory system.
- Discussion of the world regulatory system.
- The World Trade Organization
- The United Nations agencies and organizations
- International treaties and agreements
- Other forces affecting business: the EU, the US and NGOs
- Multinational companies-who are they regulated by?
IBE pp. 13-24, EIB 27-46. Info sent to students by instructor
September 17: Legal system and regulatory reform, Human Rights and business
- The values of different cultures and international business ethics
- Human rights, trust and the business relationship
- Acceptance of untrustworthiness and unwillingness to get involved
- How to bring changes in fatalistic environment?
IBE pp. 150-164, EIB Chapter 4 (pp 47-83).
September 24: Corruption-the biggest problem of all?
- How corruption begins
- Examples of how corruption strangles opportunity
- How corruption can end
IBE pp. 76-87, EIB pp. 145-175. You may also want to look at the following websites:
October 1: Examples of unethical business practices
- The Corporate Hall of Shame 2010
- Marketing of dangerous products
- Marketing to children
- Cultural expectations and whistleblowing
- Italian model-Berlusconi
- Protections for whistleblowers
IBE pp. TBA, EIB 207-227. Info sent to students by instructor
October 8: Environmental protection
1. Global warming, weather patterns and how they affect countries
2. Clear-cutting and extinction
3. Fighting for clean air and water
4. The dangers of plastics, the Pacific garbage island
6. International environmental talks and treaties
Project proposals presented and discussed
October 15: Midterm Exam
October 19-28 Fall Semester Break
EIB 85-143. Info sent to students by instructor
October 29: Labor and Production Standards/Product and Export Controls
- Respect for workers’ health and safe working conditions
- Unsafe use of materials
- Respect for consumers; healthy and safe products
- Melamine, BPA, lead, banned pesticide use, fertilizer, etc.
IBE pp. TBA, EIB 227-237. Info sent to students by instructor
November 5: Intellectual Property Rights and the biotech market
- What is IPR?
- Biotechnology and GMO issues
- Farmer’s rights and seeds
- Multinational companies and biotechnology
IBE pp. 64-109, EIB 177-206. Info sent to students by instructor
November 12: Development of an Ethics Framework
1. Discrimination of all kinds
2. Social elite vs. meritocracy. Destruction of the middle class and destabilization
3. Brain drain from societies with no opportunities and problems in receiving societies-too many brains?
4. Ethics framework considerations
IBE pp. 110-132, EIB 239-256. Info sent to students by instructor
November 19: Business Guidance and Control Mechanisms
- National and international law
- Business codes and monitoring mechanisms
- Investment, divestment and shareholder activism
- Consumer boycotts and certification schemes
November 21-25 Thanksgiving Recess
IBE pp. 34-63, 156-171, EIB 257-264. Info sent to students by instructor
November 26: Advantages of IBE and Good Corporate Citizenship
- Political initiatives and good personal citizenship
- How the Citizens United decision is affecting corporate responsibility in the US
- Advantages of IBE and good corporate citizenship
December 3: Final Presentations of projects and review
December 10: Final Exam