Ethics & Accountability

Instructor: Wayne Visser

As a result of these changes, we have seen increasing calls for improved business ethics and greater accountability by business, partly, due to rising consciousness of customers and civil society about social and environmental issues of concern, also due to direct response to the financial scandals that have rocked the world, from Enron to Lehman Brothers, which reveal a culture of greed and exploitation in shareholder-driven companies. This is in line with Ubiquity University’s integral perspective, in which the thousands of year old Ethics discipline associated with philosophy and religion, has only been applied to business in the past two centuries, and has only been formalized as a management practice in the past two decades. In this course, we will be going into some depth on what business ethics means and how companies are practicing it, from the adoption of ethics codes to the appointment of ethics compliance officers. We will also study bribery and corruption and look at the ethical scandals that have shocked the public and catalyzed the global financial crisis. The course will investigate the trend of transparency, including non-financial or sustainability reporting and whistleblowing practices like Wikileaks. Finally, various stakeholder accountability mechanisms will be explored, such as auditable labour codes and environmental standards.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Reflect on how human values translate into business practices and the role of religion, culture and ideologies in shaping these.
  2. Assess ethical dilemmas and demonstrate the application of ethics theories to real-world situations.
  3. Analyze corporate non-financial or sustainability reports and evaluate the level of business accountability they reveal.
  4. Identify various accountability mechanisms and critique their effectiveness.
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