UoPeople Online Syllabus Repository (OSR)

General Studies

PHIL 1404 Ethics and Social Responsibility

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PHIL 1404: ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY


Prerequisites: None.


Course Description: This course intends to teach how ethics is involved in determining the value and meaning of individual and collective actions across a variety of business contexts. Being based on an open access edition of Business Ethics, a Creative Commons book made available to the general public by 2012 Book Archive initiative, this course reflects a case study approach to teaching ethics as a philosophical subject that can be relevant to making career choices, job-related decisions and evaluative judgments. Therefore, it is hoped that in this course you will find applications and illustrations of Business Ethics concepts in relation to real-life ethical dilemmas, business world topics, and specific case studies that call for independent thinking and ethical argumentation. As an online resource, the textbook that this course is based upon is periodically updated with links to current discussions and events, which ensures its continued relevance.

The approach of Ethics and Social Responsibility adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory business ethics course that relates ethical theories of philosophy to the questions typically found in the economic world. In addition to a comprehensive coverage of key theories of ethics, business situations in which they are regularly applied, and representative case studies that can be found in reading materials, student assignments for this course are organized around engaging questions, discussions that help students apply the ethical theories, and moral issues that advance learners toward the understanding of business ethics in meaningful ways.

Although the text of the original course book was reorganized to suit the needs of this course, different chapters of the course book are organized around topics that are introduced sequentially, to enable a comprehensive, workshop-like acquisition of ethical reasoning skills. The course is designed to acquaint students with: (1) What Business Ethics is, (2) Different theories of ethics as tools for decision making, (3) Critical perspectives on ethical decisions, (4) Workplace related ethical issues, and (5) Various tenets of corporate social responsibility.

In this course, each unit will also contain additional readings that will be specified either in the Reading Assignments or in Learning Journal Assignments. Likewise, the Self-Quiz questions that are found at the end of each unit are aimed at expanding the understanding of ethical issues and social responsibility topics that are covered by the reading materials. By contrast, the Graded Quiz and Final Exam questions will test the knowledge of the most important aspects of the required textbook materials.


Required Textbook and Materials: UoPeople courses use open educational resources (OER) and other materials specifically donated to the University with free permissions for educational use. Therefore, students are not required to purchase any textbooks or sign up for any websites that have a cost associated with them. The main required textbooks for this course are listed below, and can be readily accessed using the provided links. There may be additional required/recommended readings, supplemental materials, or other resources and websites necessary for lessons; these will be provided for you in the course's General Information and Forums area, and throughout the term via the weekly course Unit areas and the Learning Guides.

Brusseau, J. (2012). Business Ethics. New York, NY: 2012 Book Archive Project. (Click title for PDF download of full textbook) or read in HTML here: http://jsmith.cis.byuh.edu/books/business-ethics/


Software Requirements/Installation: No special requirements.


Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Define business ethics; understand different ethical theories, and their relevance to business-world situations.
  2. Explain the differences between various philosophical theories of ethics in relation to specific case studies.
  3. Examine numerous ethical dilemmas that employees, managers and corporations face across various contexts.
  4. Acquire an ability to make philosophically informed ethical decisions that business organizations require.
  5. Apply business ethics concepts to the analysis of case studies that demonstrate the complexity of ethical decision making.

Course Schedule and Topics: This course will cover the following topics in eight learning sessions, with one Unit per week. The Final Exam will take place during Week/Unit 9 (UoPeople time).

Week 1: Unit 1 - Introduction, Business Ethics & Economic Relevance

Week 2: Unit 2 - Theories of Ethics, Decision Making, Rights & Duties

Week 3: Unit 3 - Cultural Relativism, Applied Ethics & Ethical Complexity

Week 4: Unit 4 - Employee’s Ethics, Workplace Dilemmas & Ethical Obligations

Week 5: Unit 5 - Manager’s Ethics, Management Values & Corporate Culture

Week 6: Unit 6 - Discrimination, Harassment & Affirmative Action

Week 7: Unit 7 - Advertising Ethics, Consumer Protection, & Social Responsibility

Week 8: Unit 8 - Environmental Protection, Animal Rights, & Labor Unions

Week 9: Unit 9 - Course Review and Final Exam


Learning Guide: The following is an outline of how this course will be conducted, with suggested best practices for students.

Unit 1: Introduction, Business Ethics & Economic Relevance

  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Unit 2: Theories of Ethics, Decision Making, Rights & Duties

  • Peer assess Unit 1 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Unit 3: Cultural Relativism, Applied Ethics & Ethical Complexity

  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Take the Graded Quiz

Unit 4: Employee’s Ethics, Workplace Dilemmas & Ethical Obligations

  • Peer assess Unit 3 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Unit 5: Manager’s Ethics, Management Values & Corporate Culture

  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Take the Graded Quiz

Unit 6: Discrimination, Harassment & Affirmative Action

  • Peer-assess Unit 5 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz

Unit 7: Advertising Ethics, Consumer Protection, & Social Responsibility

  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Take the Graded Quiz

Unit 8: Environmental Protection, Animal Rights, & Labor Unions

  • Peer assess Unit 7 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Make entries to the Learning Journal
  • Take the Self-Quiz
  • Read the Unit 9 Learning Guide carefully for instructions on the Final Exam

Unit 9: Course Review and Final Exam

  • Read the Learning Guide and take the Review Quiz, if you haven't already done so
  • Prepare for, take, and submit the Final Exam
  • The Final Exam will take place during the Thursday and Sunday of Week/Unit 9 (UoPeople time); exact dates, times, and other details will be provided accordingly by your instructor

Course Requirements:

Discussion Assignments & Response Posts/Ratings
Some units in this course require that you complete a Discussion Assignment. You are required to develop and post a substantive response to the Discussion Assignment in the Discussion Forum. A substantive response is one that fully answers the question that has been posed by the instructor. In addition, you must extend the discussion by responding to at least three (3) of your peers’ postings in the Discussion Forum and by rating their posts. Instructions for proper posting and rating (out of a 10 point scale) are provided inside the Discussion Forum for each week. Discussion Forums are only active for each current and relevant learning week, so it is not possible to contribute to the forum once the learning week has come to an end. Failure to participate in the Discussion Assignment by posting in the Discussion Forum and responding to peers as required may result in failure of the course.

Written Assignments & Assessment Forms
Some units in this course require that you complete a Written Assignment. You are required to submit your assignments by the indicated deadlines and, in addition, to peer assess three (3) of your classmates’ assignments according to the instructions found in the Assessment Form, which is provided to you during the following week. During this peer assessment period, you are expected to provide details in the feedback section of the Assessment Form, indicating why you awarded the grade that you did to your peer. Please note that each assignment grade is comprised of a combination of your submission (90%) and your peer assessments (10%). Failure to submit Written Assignments and/or Assessment Forms may result in failure of the course.

Learning Journals
Your instructor may choose to assign specific topics and/or relevant questions as a weekly Learning Journal entry for you to complete, but you are still encouraged to also use it to document your activities, record questions/problems you may have encountered, reflect on the learning process, and draft answers for other course assignments. The Learning Journal must be updated on a weekly basis, because its entries will be assessed by your instructor directly as a part of your final grade. The Learning Journal will only be seen by your instructor.

Quizzes
This course will contain three types of quizzes – the Self-Quiz, the Graded Quiz, and the Review Quiz. These quizzes may contain multiple choice, true/false, or short answer questions. The results of the Self-Quiz will not count towards your final grade. However, it is highly recommended that you complete the Self-Quiz to ensure that you have adequately understood the course materials. Along with the Reading Assignments, the results of the Self-Quiz should be used as part of an iterative learning process, to thoroughly cover and test your understanding of course material. You should use the results of your Self-Quiz as a guide to go back and review relevant sections of the Reading Assignments. Likewise, the Review Quiz will not count towards your final grade, but should also be used to assist you in a comprehensive review and full understanding of all course material, in preparation for your Final Exam. Lastly, the results of the Graded Quiz will count towards your final grade. Specific instructions on the format and content of the Graded Quiz will be provided by your instructor.

Final Exam
The Final Exam will take place during the Thursday and Sunday of Week/Unit 9, following the completion of eight units of work. The format of the Final Exam is similar to that of the quizzes, and may contain a combination of different question types. You will have one attempt to take the exam, and it will be graded electronically. Specific instructions on how to prepare for and take the exam will be provided during Week/Unit 8.

Course Forum
The Course Forum is the place to raise issues and questions relating to the course. It is regularly monitored by the instructors, and is a good place to meet fellow students taking the same course. While it is not required to participate in the Course Forum, it is highly recommended.


Course Policies:

Grading Components and Weights
Each graded component of the course will contribute some percentage to the final grading scale, as indicated here:

Discussion Assignments 10%
Written Assignments 20%
Learning Journals 10%
Graded Quizzes 30%
Final Exam 30%
TOTAL 100%


Grading Scale
This course will follow the standard 100-point grading scale defined by the University of the People, as indicated here:

Letter Grade
Grade Scale Grade Points
A+ 98-100 4.00
A 93-97 4.00
A- 90-92 3.67
B+ 88-89 3.33
B 83-87 3.00
B- 80-82 2.67
C+ 78-79 2.33
C 73-77 2.00
C- 70-72 1.67
D+ 68-69 1.33
D 63-67 1.00
D- 60-62 0.67
F Under 60 0.00


Grade Appeal

If you believe that the final grade you received for a course is erroneous, unjust, or unfair, please contact your course instructor. This must be done within seven days of the posted final grade. For more information on this topic, please review the Grade Appeal Procedure in the University Catalog.

Participation
Non-participation is characterized by lack of any assignment submissions, inadequate contributions to the Discussion Forums, and/or lack of peer feedback to Discussion/Written Assignments. Also, please note the following important points about course participation:

  • Assignments must be submitted on or before the specified deadline. A course timeline is provided in the course schedule, and the instructor will specify deadlines for each assignment.
  • Any student showing non-participation for two weeks (consecutive or non-consecutive) is likely to automatically fail the course.
  • Occasionally there may be a legitimate reason for submitting an assignment late. Most of the time, late assignments will not be accepted and there will be no make-up assignments.
  • All students are obligated to inform their instructor in advance of any known absences which may result in their non-participation.

Academic Honesty and Integrity
When you submit any work that requires research and writing, it is essential to cite and reference all source material. Failure to properly acknowledge your sources is known as “plagiarism” – which is effectively passing off an individual’s words or ideas as your own. University of the People adheres to a strict policy of academic honesty and integrity. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in sanctions by the University, including dismissal from the University or course failure. For more information on this topic, please review the Academic Integrity Policy in the University Catalog.

Any materials cited in this course should be referenced using the style guidelines established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA format is widely used in colleges and universities across the world and is one of several style and citation formats required for publication in professional and academic journals. Purdue University’s Online Writing LAB (OWL) is a free website that provides excellent information and resources for understanding and using the APA format and style. The OWL website can be accessed here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html

Code of Conduct
University of the People expects that students conduct themselves in a respectful, collaborative, and honest manner at all times. Harassment, threatening behavior, or deliberate embarrassment of others will not be permitted. Any conduct that interferes with the quality of the educational experience is not allowed and may result in disciplinary action, such as course failure, probation, suspension, or dismissal. For more information on this topic, please review the Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog.