Ethics in Global Business


Pamela Robinson

Introduction and Aims

Ethical issues have become increasingly important in business education. The subject became one of critical significance following the recent corporate scandals, the controversial behaviour of multinational corporations [MNCs] in developing countries and their often reluctant response to societal pressures to adopt a more responsible stance towards the environment.

This module will focus on the ethical issues that affect MNCs and other firms. Its general objective is to enhance the students' capacity to recognise ethical dilemmas which such organisations face. Using examples from the business world, the module will develop the students' ability to handle the ethical decisions they are likely to encounter in their personal and professional life.

Objectives and Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and understanding of ethical issues related to the contemporary power and influence of MNCs;
  • identify and analyse ethical issues in the light of changing systems of corporate governance
  • critically appraise the different understanding of ethics in business found among major world economies (comparative ethics);
  • demonstrate a critical knowledge and understanding of the political and economic forces which are drivers of corporate social responsibility;
  • identify and critically analyse ethical issues involved in responding to stakeholder expectations
  • explain and evaluate alternative ways of how business people can handle important ethical dilemmas as responsible actors in modern society


  • Individual assignment of 3,000 words (80%)
  • Group presentation and associated 2,000 word report (20%)