I. Course Prefix/Number: PHL 107
Course Name: Business Ethics
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
Course investigates moral issues which arise in the conduct of business, marketing and advertising. Of value for business students and consumers. Topics include corporate responsibility and social justice, conflicts of interest, environmental issues, problems of discrimination, and the rights of employees and consumers.
IV. Learning Objectives
After completing this class, students will be able to do the following:
- Define the basic vocabulary needed to discuss ethical theories and be able to state the problems that ethical theories address.
- Explain and compare at least four conflicting ethical theories and the arguments that support these theories.
- Explain and compare at least three conflicting theories of social justice that address issues of property, profit, distributive justice, and the responsibilities of corporations.
- Apply ethical theories to concrete situations and particular situations that arise in business. Issues may include insider trading, racial and gender discrimination in hiring, the rights of employees and consumers, environmental responsibility, and human rights in the global context.
- Use the ethical theory with which they agree to defend their own positions on contemporary business ethics issues both orally and in writing.
- Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
(This is a sample outline of topics. In your outline of topics, please specify the dates when you will cover specific topics and other important dates such as exams and paper deadlines.)
- Introduction to ethical theories
- Moral relativism
- The ethic of care
- Morality and religion
- Social justice and capitalism
- Traditional theories of property and profit including Smith
- The Marxist challenge to traditional theories
- Modern theories of property and profit
- Nozick’s libertarianism and Friedman
- Rawlsian liberalism, Stiglitz and Krugman
- New issues in property: intellectual property
- Moral responsibility and corporations
- Stockholders versus stakeholders
- Moral responsibilities of employees
- Insider trading
- Discrimination in hiring
- Diversity and affirmative action
- Sexual harassment
- The rights of employees
- Health and safety
- The rights of consumers
- Environmental issues
- Government regulation
- The debate over growth
- Cultural differences and international business
- Social justice and globalization
- Legacies of colonialism
- Human rights today
- Multinational corporations
- The role of global agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank
- The current economic crisis and the new issues that it reveals
VII. Methods of Instruction
- Lectures and discussion
- Small group work
- Student presentations and debates
- Guest speakers
- Field trips may be required
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
(Please include information here about all expectations you have for your students regarding behavior, work, etc. The following are sample topics you may wish to cover. Please be aware that you must require students in this course to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester. These may be assigned in a variety of ways including journals, response papers, field trip projects, etc.)
- Standards for written work
- Final Project
- Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern
IX. Instructional Materials
A text such as Ethical Issues in Business edited by Donaldson, Werhane, and Cording or Ethical Challenges to Business-As-Usual edited by Collins-Chobanian should be chosen. Appropriate texts will contain case studies as well as traditional philosophical selections.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
(In this section, please present the percentages or point breakdown of their final grade. The writing assignments should count for at least 40% of the final grade. An example follows.)
- Quizzes/Exams……40 points
- Essays……40 points
- Final project with oral presentation……10 points
- Attendance and participation………10 points
- Grading scale: 90-100, A…….80-89, B………70-79, C……….60-69……..D
XI. Other Course Information
- Office and office hours:
- Email and website:
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.