MGMT20134 Business Ethics and Sustainability Table of Contents Introduction 2 Learning objectives 2 Overview 3 What is Ethics? 3 Descriptive Ethics 4 Normative Ethics 4 Metaethics (Analytical ethics) 4 Morality 5 Moral Responsibility 6 Morality and Law 6 Ethics, Morality and Values 7 Leadership and Management as a Profession 8 Guided Readings 9 Journal Readings 10 Introduction Following the Global Financial Crisis at the end of the 2000s, many people openly questioned the lack of ethical standards within the business community, particularly the financial sector. Some went so far as to blame leaders and managers with MBA qualifications, highlighting that ethical practice is considered a duty of professionals and that many had failed their obligations to society. Unfortunately, research has clearly shown that the majority of business schools, in Australia and worldwide, do not specifically address the ethical aspects of being a manager, leader or an employee in sufficient depth. Consequentially many managers and leaders do not understand or simply ignore the ethical implications of decisions exposing both themselves and their organisations to significant financial and reputational risk. There is an even more worrying view that the activity of business is amoral in nature as it only deals with economic transactions resulting from the exchange of goods and services. This perspective view can be dismissed based one important aspect of assigning moral responsibility-causality. We hold that a person and an organisation should be held morally responsible when they undertake actions freely and knowingly, and when we can establish a relationship between their actions and the resulting consequences. Clearly when we make decisions as leaders and managers we take into account matters of cost, benefit, implications to market share and to company reputation. So too should we be taking our ethical duties and responsibilities seriously as virtually all decision contexts have direct ethical dimension which in turn affects cost, profitability and reputation. This introductory unit seeks to establish the foundations by which concepts of ethical decision-making social responsibility and sustainability can be explored. Without an examination of morality and various dimensions of ethics we cannot have an informed discussion regarding when an individual should be held accountable for their actions, whether they have duties as professionals, whether an organisation can be held accountable for its actions and why we should be concerned with doing good as well as being profitable or delivering high quality services. Learning objectives This unit has the following learning objectives: 1. To define the concepts of ethics morality, Corporate social responsibility and sustainability 2. To be able to distinguish the three dimensions of ethics so as to describe, analyse and understand individual and collective (cross cultural) behaviour 3. Understand the characteristics of a moral standard 4. Understand the relationship between ethics, morality and values 5. To recognise the conditions under which individuals and organisations would be held morally accountable for their actions 6. To understand the concept of a profession, the characteristics of professionalism and whether management and leadership can be considered as a profession. Overview Noted scholar and Professor of management at McGill University, Henry Mintzberg conducted landmark studies of managers and leaders in the 1970s and replicated these studies again in the 2000s. He found that managerial work was, and still is, characterised by brevity, variety and fragmentation. This means that managers and leaders tend to break up their tasks spend short periods of time on each and not necessarily attend to them in a cohesive and structured manner. He also found that despite decision making being a critical component of a managerâ€™s role they are not reflective thinkers but tend to be reactive and make decisions with insufficient information. Child (1988; 2005) found another characteristic of managerial decision making that generates cause for concern when discussing â€œgoodâ€ quality decision making. He found that when confronted with the need to reach a decision, managers tend to look to the first solution that appears that satisfy the minimum decision criteria, rather than take a considered approach and consider a variety of options thus increasing the likelihood of an optimal solution. Child termed this phenomenon â€œsaticifingâ€. The financial crisis of the late 2000s, the collapse of Lehman Bros, the toxic loans of American banks, the collapse of Enron, World Com and as a result Arthur Anderson, HIH and One-Tel in Australia, can in part be explained by poor decision making. But are there other issues that also need to be considered? Did managers in these organisations also act unethically? In order to answer these questions we need to understand what ethics is and when people should be held accountable for their actions. Business Ethics, Sustainability and the MBA MGMT 20134 Business Ethics and Sustainability is one of four â€œfoundationâ€ courses in the CQU MBA program. This course provides important knowledge and skills that assist managers and leaders in almost every facet of their work. Orme and Ashton (2003) argue that ethics is a foundation competency and that individuals cannot be expected to follow ethical rules unless they actually understand them. They cite Foy (2002) who states that ethics is not a methodology or a strategy one can apply without grounding in basic theory, principles and concepts. Orme and Ashton (2003) state that ethics needs to be explained and that practical and experiential exercises need to be included in order for people to understand the moral dimensions of issues.Research undertaken by the European Foundation for Management Development with recruiters of graduate MBAs, found that employers throughout the world are seeking managers and leaders with high degrees of integrity and professionalism. In a survey of Australian, Malaysian and Singaporean employers, Segon and Booth (2013) found that skills such as ethical decision making were ranked as just as important as interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and leadership. The objective of studying ethics in a business context is to enhance the quality of business decision-making. By including ethical concepts as â€œfiltersâ€ managers and leaders can identify the degree of risk associated with a particular strategy for both the organisation and themselves. Having a sound ethical foundation will assist your development as a manager and a leader. Kouzes and Posner (2010) found that employees admire and will follow managers and leaders who act with integrity and behavioural consistency. Thus ethical perspectives are also considered in MGMT 20131 Organisational Governance and Leadership and MGMT 20129 People and Organisations. Similarly ethical approaches to managing change and the communication with stakeholders are also vital. As noted in the introduction to this course, the absence or the inability of managers to consider ethics in the financial, economic and operational decision making was cited as a major factor in the GFC. Thus key courses in the CQU MBA such as ECON 20039 Economics for Managers, ACCT20077 Accounting for Management Decision Making and MGMT 20130 Operations Management are informed by this course in terms of improving decision making by identifying the ethical dimensions and impact on a range of stakeholders. Lastly the strategic objective of any business is to achieve economic sustainability. Corporate reputation plays a major factor in assisting businesses and organisations in achieving this key objective. By including this course and other foundation courses such as Business Communications and Critical Thinking & Managerial Decision Making, the MBA at CQU directly addresses Mintzberg’s criticism of the lack of reflective thinking and Childâ€™s â€œsatisficingâ€ phenomena by assisting managers to develop understand t
he basis for and thus establish defendable positions for their decisions and actions. In some cases this may result in us reappraising our own values, beliefs and perception of what is right, wrong, fair and just in the business and in society. What is Ethics? According to Preston (1996, p 16) ethics is concerned with what is right, fair, just or good; about what we ought to do, not just what is the case or what is most acceptable or expedient. Ferrell Fraedrich and Ferrell (2015) suggest that it is the study of the general nature of morals and of specific moral choices; moral philosophy; the study of rules or standards governing conduct of the members of a profession. DeGeorge (2010) suggests that ethics is concerned with the goods worth seeking in life, and with the rules that ought to govern human behaviour and social interaction. Similar themes emerge in other definitions including Velasquez, (1998) the study of what is good or right for human beings, what goals people ought to pursue and what actions they ought to perform, and Buchholz (1989) who describes it as the actions and practices directed towards improving the welfare of people and attaining a good life. The concept of â€œoughtâ€ is critical in an understanding of ethics because the study of ethics is multifaceted including the study of morality, the legitimacy of moral claims and basis of justification of decisions. We can approach the study of ethics from three different perspectives- what is important to recognise is that we need to be objective and seek to describe and understand an ethical position before making a judgement about it. Descriptive Ethics This consists of studying and describing the morality of people in a culture. It compares and contrasts the different beliefs, values or practices of people. This is a necessary aspect of the study of ethics because it provides the information that can then be analysed further as part of the next two forms of ethics: normative and metaethics. Normative Ethics In normative ethics we attempt to explain and justify a coherent moral system- typically the set of principles or rules that or basic moral values found in a society. According to DeGeorge (2010) the purpose of normative ethics is threefold: a. It attempts to form into a related whole the various norms, rules and values of a societyâ€™s morality. It attempts to present these as consistently and as coherently as possible- including a hierarchy of the importance of the principles or moral rules. b. It seeks to establish the basic principles from which a societyâ€™s particular norms can be determined c. It seeks so justify the basic principle of morality. Metaethics (Analytical ethics) Metaethics is the study of normative ethics and also referred to as analytical ethics because it seeks to analyse the meaning of morality. As DeGeorge (2010) puts it, metaethics is the study of moral reasoning. It is related to linguistics because it seeks to determine the meaning of words and concepts such as good, bad, etc. To consider what good actually means is different from whether things or actions are actually good. In business we are expected to analyse decision from an economic, marketing and strategic perspectives etc. We incorporate decision-making models to assess the likely impacts of our decision on a firmâ€™s profitability or an organisationâ€™s ability to deliver its services in an economic and effective manner. The importance of the three dimensions of ethics should be apparent as these analytical approaches parallel the business ones. Consider the decisions to establish a presence on a foreign country. Analysing a countryâ€™s culture, values and business practices from descriptive, normative and meta-ethical perspectives can greatly assist a business to understand the differences between etiquette and ethics of a culture, where they align and differ from our own, what is permissible and what is not and importantly, why! Moreover these concepts can be applied to all other courses in the MBA. As Buchholz (1989); Matten and Moon (2005) and Segon and Booth (2010) suggest a major problem with business education is that it fails to consider the ethical aspects of its content. Academics presenting courses in strategy, economic and marketing rarely question whether the application of the content has ethical or moral implications in addition to the economic. The answer is obvious- of course they do! As practising leaders and managers we follow organisational policies and procedures as part of performance management, financial management and corporate governanceâ€”these are examples of normative ethics that seek to clarify the behaviours that we ought to demonstrate in our organisations. Morality Many people dislike discussing issues of morality within the context business activity. Perhaps one of the most well know articles criticising the idea of the moral dimension of business was by Milton Friedman who advocated that the sole social (moral) responsibility was to maximize profits. The problem with this perspective is it fails to acknowledge that the activity of business generates not only good consequences, but also bad ones and that in some cases leaders and managers knowingly commit to an action that will cause harm It is important to understand what we mean by morality and the fact that other individuals, groups and cultures may have different interpretations of morality. Velasquez (2006) defines morality, as the standards that an individual or a group has about what is right and wrong or good and evil, whilst Buchholz (1989) defines morality simply as the difference between right and wrong. Moral standards can be described as the norms about the kind of actions believed to be right and wrong and the values placed on the objects that are considered to be morally good or morally bad. These definitions should immediately demonstrate a link to descriptive, normative and meta-ethical considerations. However Buchholz (1989) highlights some problems with the study and application of morality when it comes to how we as individuals approach the issue. He suggests that we tend to operate at two levels, on a personal level in which we wish to judge and act in accordance to our conscience and the third person level in which we wish to judge the actions of others from an objective point of view, but do not wish to know or cannot know the subjective state of the one performing the action. The other problem that should be apparent is the distinction between what we believe or perceive to be morally right and what actually is morally right. This is the distinction between what one believes to be right and wrong, and what is actually right and wrong. An action is subjectively right if the person believes the action is moral where as an action is objectively right if the action is in conformity with the moral law (Buchholz, 1989). Velasquez (2006, p6) states that â€œmoral standards can be described as the norms or principles about the kinds of actions believed to be morally right and wrong, as well as the values placed in the kinds of objects believed to be morally good and morally badâ€. Velasquez (2006, p. 9) highlights five characteristics of moral standards: 1. Involved with serious benefits or injuries 2. Not established by law or legislation 3. Should be preferred to other values including self interest 4. Based on impartial considerations 5. Associated with special emotion and vocabulary We should be able to recognize that this distinction between subjective and objective morality has many implications for individuals and businesses, in particular when dealing with overseas contexts where interpretations of values and ethics may be different. Are these different interpretations examples of subjective or objective morality? Principles According to Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell (2015) principles are specific and pervasive boundaries for behaviour that must not be violated. We can think of principles as statements that seek to guide behaviour. In many cases principles inform the development of rules and regulations. For example we would
consider concepts such as freedom, justice and fairness as principles. In Australia and in many other countries, we have developed anti-discrimination laws to insure that people are treated fairly and justly. Within the business world many organisations use principles as part of their mission or vision statements. In a similar content these can be used to develop internal rules and regulations (policies and procedures) that then guide or prescribe actions and permissible and non-permissible action. Moral Responsibility Holding an individual accountable for their actions is the basic concept of moral responsibility. French (in White 1998) suggests that people are considered to be rational entities that can be held responsible and accountable for their actions. Actions committed knowingly and freely are considered moral in nature and can therefore attract either praise or blame (Buchholz, 1989). We accept that whilst a person has moral responsibility, there might be mitigating factors that can affect the extent of this responsibility and accountability. These could include a physical or psychological impairment that affects their ability to make informed choices, their ability to understand the context and consequences of their decisions and the seriousness of the action. Morality and Law Buchholz (1989) suggests that law is the minimum moral standard of a society. In other words it is the formal (written) basic standard of behaviour expected of individuals in a society. DeGeorge highlights hat morality and law share concerns over issues of societal importance and have certain principles, obligations and criteria of evidence in common. â€œLaw is the publicâ€™s agency for translating morality into explicit social guidelines and practices and stipulating punishment for offences (2010 p4). But how do we determine whether a moral code has been breached- is it possible to act morally but illegality or act legally by immorally? Ethics, Morality and Values As we have seen the concepts of ethics and morality are inextricably linked. Similarly we cannot conduct a discussion about ethics and morality without addressing the concept of values. The term â€œvaluesâ€ has different meanings in different contexts. For example from an economic perspective the term refers to a concept of measurement- we value something because it is worth something to us. Organisations often use the term to refer to characteristics that they wish employees to emulate- most often found in mission statements. For our purposes we use the term values to refer to basic beliefs that inform our concept of right and wrong. They might refer to a set of principles by which we make judgements or a set of beliefs such as Confucianism and Buddhism, or religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. We should also note that most societies have some form of basic values that underpin their ethics. These may be very prominent and directly link government, the legal system with the values such as in some Islamic countries that identify Islam as the official religion with both a civil and Sharia legal systems; whilst other countries claim to be secular, yet have clear evidence of the influence of religious beliefs- Australia is a case in point. Whilst it has no official religion, it is predominantly based on Judeo- Christian beliefs and many of its laws and practices can be traced to the teaching of the old and new testaments. Some argue that values or principles that inform our behaviours are established by: â€¢ religion â€¢ an issue of ethical relativism â€¢ a function of the society that we are examining â€¢ our parents and upbringing â€¢ schools and universities â€¢ peers and friends. It is likely that our values are in fact informed by all of these influences to varying degrees. The MBA seeks to develop you as a manager and leader. One of the most popular management development approaches is Daniel Golemanâ€™s Emotional Intelligence Model that identifies a range of competencies that leads to superior performance. This is known as the input based competency approach to management. This school of thought originated in the United David McClellandâ€™s seminal 1973 article â€œMeasuring for Competenceâ€ and was further developed by Richard Boyatzis in the early 1980s who sought to establish what distinguishes competent managers, i.e. superior performing managers from those that are classified as good, but not outstanding. The input approach emphasises that in order for managers and leaders to cope with a diverse range of situations and people, they must be able to adapt their behaviours through diagnosis of problems and people. This requires conceptual understanding of the subject matter, the context and the limitations of the manager themselves. This later point emphasises the importance of self-awareness in the competency movement and why we have promoted refection in key MBA courses at CQU. This model can equally be applied to the study and development of ethical capability. In order to become a capable ethical manager, we must understand ethics, morality CSR and sustainability conceptually. We need to develop the skills that enable us to act and make decisions in an ethical manner and we need to be genuine in our endeavours. The later clearly links to the concept of intent discussed earlier. An analysis of the conceptual knowledge of ethics and morality will enhance our understanding. By analysing our own values and ethical positions and why we hold them we will be better able to understand the ethical positions of others, even if we may not agree with them we can at least understand why they hold a particular position. Corporate Social Responsibility. Earlier in this discussion we talked about holding an individual morally responsible for their actions. In many ways not dissimilar issues and challenges arise when we consider whether we can hold an organisation morally responsible for their actions. Whilst we will consider some of the philosophical and economic arguments around this issue, one of the later topics will directly address the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. One of the most noted scholars in the business ethics field, Prakash Sethi (1975) describes CSR as raising the behaviour of organisations to a level that is consistent with the prevailing social norms, values, and expectations of its performance. The European Commission (2001, p 13) describe it as an integration of social and environmental concerns in business operations and an interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. McAlister et al. (2005, p 4) define social responsibility as â€œthe adoption by a business of a strategic focus for fulfilling the economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities expected of it by its stakeholdersâ€. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been variously described as an organisationâ€™s obligation to maximize its positive and minimize its negative effects, as a member or citizen of a society, with concern for that societyâ€™s needs and wants in the long term (Lantos (2001). Essentially the debate about CSR is whether an organisation has an obligation or duty to do more than just make a return to its shareholders, within the confines of the law. So CSR issues might include: â€¢ Should an organisation donate part of its profits to charity? â€¢ Should an organisation seek to keep employees on during difficult times? â€¢ Should organisations establish themselves or work in with countries that violate human rights? â€¢ Should organisations invest in other organisations who are involved in the manufacture of dangerous goods, such as drug companies, tobacco companies and military equipment manufacturers? Ferns, Emelianova and Prakash Sethi (2008) as well as Jones, Bowd, and Tench, (2009) note that CSR terms include: corporate philanthropy, corporate citizenship, business ethics, stakeholder theory, community involvement, corporate responsibility, socially responsible investment, sustainability, triple-bottom line, corporate accountability and corporate s
ocial performance. What should be apparent even in this brief overview is that these questions and the whole CSR debate seems to only apply to private and or shareholder profit maximizing firms? As former GE CEO Jack Welch said to an audience of business students at Duke University in the early 2000s â€œOnly a profitable firm can be socially responsible!â€ Clearly this view of CSR seems to exclude a major sector of all economies- the public and not for profit sectors. In many cases the not-for-profits are at the heart of CSR and Sustainability activities. One could also advance that the whole public sector ethos is one of service to the community-in some cases as a result of market failure- which is the inability of the private sector to provide goods and services at a profitable level, or in some cases certain sectors in which is deemed undesirable to have the profit motive as an organisations raison dâ€™etre. In many countries, including Australia, we refer to the government sector as the â€œpublic or civilâ€ service- emphasising its role to meet the needs of the community and broader society. Sustainability. Sustainability, like CSR, is a term that has come to mean different things to different people. Formany itâ€™s a concept that is related to the natural environment and it conjures up issues such as climate change, recycling, and biodiversity. However as McDonald (2015) states, whilst initially referring to environmental issues, the idea of sustainability has broadened and now incorporates activities that: â€¢ Extend the longevity of organisations, i.e. business or economic sustainability â€¢ Sustain and renew the biosphere and protect all living species â€¢ Enhance societyâ€™s ability to maintain itself and solve its major problems â€¢ Maintain appropriate levels of welfare for present and future generations. In this course we embrace these broader perspectives of sustainability and will examine the concept in greater detail in later units. However we must recognize an important fact that cannot be denied. The earth is finite and thus all the natural resources that exist on the planet are also finite. The major problem we have with the method by which we allocate goods and services- the free market- is that it typically only takes into account the supply that enters the market and not the actual reserves. Noted Canadian commentator and environmentalist David Suzuki gave an example of the north atlantic cod being overfished to almost extinction, yet the market price stayed relatively constant because supply to the market was maintained at a constant level. As David Suzuki noted it is in the interests of business that they manage resources in the most sustainable way possible and to seek to develop renewable resources and processes so as to enhance future development. Leadership and Management as a Profession Most managers and leaders refer to themselves as professionals and claim to act professionally. In fact most people use the terms to describe their paid employment. Consider the following examples: â€¢ a professional footballer, â€¢ a professional cleaner, â€¢ a professional financial advisor, etc. Most of you probably answered â€œYesâ€ to the question in exercise 4- am I a professional. But what do we mean by the terms â€œProfessionâ€ and â€œProfessionalâ€ and what do we lay claim to when we tell others that we are a professional? DeGeorge (1999), May (1989) and Koehn (1994) all note the confusion that exists regarding the terms of profession and professional and how these are its differentiated from a trade, skilled occupation, craft or a career. Today most people who earn a salary typically refer to themselves as professionals; however the concept is far more substantive than simply being paid for a task. Guilds, Masters, Apprentices and Professions. The origin of the word profession comes from the verb â€œto profess.â€ Originally this was linked to the taking of religious vows- to profess a belief or a faith. Clearly the link of professions to religious orders no longer applies. A stronger link can be made to the medieval period when guilds or associations represented the interests of highly skilled artisans and craftsmen. These groups included artists, musicians and â€œingenious buildersâ€ (the origin of the engineering concept). A feature of these people were that their skills and abilities required a long apprenticeship- not everyone could do what they did- play an instrument, paint a portrait or build bridges and civil constructions that were sturdy and safe. The guilds were the associations that established the standards and the means by which people became masters and controlled entry to the practice. These guilds were the forerunners of todayâ€™s modern concept of a profession. Watkins (1999) puts forward a view that the professions can be differentiated from other groups in society because of specific characteristics of its members. These characteristics include: â€¢ the possession of specialized skills, â€¢ the attainment of expert knowledge, usually based on mastery acquired through intellectual and practical training, and â€¢ the existence of professional body or association that is charged with the maintenance of the profession including ensuring that members abide by appropriate standards. â€¢ A more recent perspective by Khurana, Nohria and Penrice (2005) suggest four criteria for calling an occupation a bona fide profession including: â€¢ a common body of knowledge resting on a well-developed, widely accepted theoretical base; â€¢ a system for certifying that individuals possess such knowledge before being licensed or otherwise allowed to practice; â€¢ a commitment to use specialized knowledge for the public good, and a renunciation of the goal of profit-maximization, in return for professional autonomy and monopoly power; and â€¢ a code of ethics, with provisions for monitoring individual compliance with the code and a system of sanctions for enforcing it. We can summarise these views to establish the basic characteristics of a true profession and thus what a member of a profession must demonstrate: 1. A high degree of expert knowledge acquired typically at a University, 2. An association with a registration system that allows the professional to practice, a code of ethics that commits the individual to high standards of behaviour both in work and personal life, 3. The professional is bound to act in the interest of the client and only within the boundary of their expertise. 4. That the professional is committed to continually develop and share the knowledge base. So what we can identify is that most occupations may call themselves professions, but they tend to have only some of the characteristics of a true profession. For example if we consider â€œprofessional footballersâ€ we note that they must be registered players before they can take to the field, they are represented by a players association and they have high degrees of skill and typically are very well remunerated. However, one does not have to spend years learning the rules of Rugby, Football or Australian rules. Whilst it can be considered as highly skilful, it is not expert knowledge. The problems faced by footballers on the pitch or ground are not overly complex or abstract as those faced by true professionals. Thus we can conclude that footballers do not belong to a true profession, although they may be called upon by their clubs to act in a professional manner. So is management a true profession? Management and leadership do have many of the characteristics of a profession. Firstly most positions in organisations require a university degree or postgraduate program such as an MBA. One can argue that this represents a substantial body of expert knowledge consistent with a profession. Associations clearly exist such as the Australian Institute of Management, The Hong Kong Management Association, The Singapore Institute of Management and many others worldwide. These associations typically have c
odes of ethics and practice that members are requested to follow. However, one does not need a degree to occupy a management or leadership position. Nor is there an accrediting body that licences individuals to practice management. Clearly management and leadership are not true professions however like many other occupations they seek to professionalise by focusing on furthering education and qualifications often focusing on specialist aspects and the use of codes of ethics and codes of practice are designed to insure that mangers and leaders behave in a way that advances the interests of clients and organisations and the general community. The Duty of Managers and Leaders As noted in the introduction, following the Global Financial Crisis many criticisms were made of the behaviour of managers and in particular those with MBAs who were seen as partially responsible for the crisis by subordinating the interests of society to hose of profit maximization. In response a number of US Business Schools have introduced MBA or Management Oaths. Amongst the most well-known is the movement initiated at Harvard in the US by a group of MBA Graduates. Two versions of the oath exist. The one presented here is the more concise version. OATH â€“ SHORT VERSION As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face difficult choices. Therefore, I promise: â€¢ I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner. â€¢ I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers, and the society in which we operate. â€¢ I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves. â€¢ I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise. â€¢ I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly. â€¢ I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society. â€¢ I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide. â€¢ I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath. This oath I make freely, and upon my honor. ________________________________________ Source: http://mbaoath.org. You will note that the oath refers to management as a profession and it also addresses issues of responsibility in terms of economic, social and sustainability. As you undertake this course and work through your MBA studies or other Masters programs, keep in mind the importance of acting within the bounds of your expertise, treating others with respect and behaving in a manner that befits a true professional. Required Reading The following text readings are largely introductory chapters that cover the definitions of ethics, morality and scope the concepts of CSR, Sustainability and Professionalism. The first two introductory chapters of the principal text provide an overview of business ethics and its relationship to related concepts of corporate governance and stakeholder relationships, social responsibility that will be addressed later in the course. Additional Reading Richard DeGeorge is one of the pioneers of Business Ethics, not only in the United States, but a major contributor worldwide. His text is now in its 10th edition and previous editions are easily accessed with similar content. These introductory chapters provide an overview of ethics, morality and the relationship to business activity. Note that in Chapter 2 on morality, De George also discusses Relativism, an important concept that is of great relevance to our subsequent unit on culture and on Global ethics. Journal Readings This article will give you an understanding of why theCQU School of Business and Law took the decision to include a course in Business Ethics and Sustainability as a foundation course of the MBA. It also highlights that educationally the argument that ethics should be imbedded as themes throughout others courses cannot be supported and there is no logical reason why any other course should also be similarly embedded. This article presents the philosopher Thomas Aquinas’ psychological theory of action as guide for understanding decision making in management. It provides a description of Aquinas’ views on the structure of the moral act it provides a discussion on how this can be applied to business decision-making. This important article by Harvard Scholars Khurana and Nohria raises many of the issues outlined in the final sections of these course notes. They argue that management should strive to become a true profession. As you read this article consider the challenges and problems that we canvassed regarding whether management can ever be a true profession.