Business and Professional Ethics - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Assignment (30%) , Essay (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as PHI230 Business and Professional Ethics.

This unit provides students with an introduction to some of the main ethical issues raised by the activities of businesses and corporations as well as an introduction to some central topics in professional ethics. In the first part of the unit we examine the roles and responsibilities of corporations in relation to society and the environment. We ask whether corporations have moral responsibilities to stakeholders other than shareholders and examine competing accounts of economic justice related to this question. Other topics in this section include business and the environment and the ethics of advertising and marketing. The second part of the unit includes a discussion of ethical issues that arise in the context of relations between industry and the professions, focusing on justice in health research and conflicts of interest in medicine. Other topics in this section include ethics and globalisation, the influence of corporations on government, affirmative action, and whistleblowing. This unit is relevant to students in accounting and business as well as those in the humanities and social sciences.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate good general knowledge of the major issues in contemporary business and professional ethics
  2. understand the major ethical concepts and theories that inform the business and professional ethics literature
  3. analyse and critically evaluate theories and arguments in the relevant literature
  4. relate ethical concepts and theories to relevant case studies and current events
  5. develop your own view or perspective, through consideration and analysis of views and arguments presented in the unit
  6. develop your skills in clarity of thought, clarity of written expression, and written argumentation.
  • Assignment (30%)
  • Essay (40%)
  • Open Book Exam — Take-home exam (20%)
  • Participation (10%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PHI230 — Business and Professional Ethics

You must complete some Level 1 studies before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: Ultimate Values, Business and the Professions
2Ethics and the Nature of Moral Reasoning
3The Social Responsibility of Business: The Narrow View
4The Social Responsibility of Business: Stakeholder Theory and Economic Justice
5Ethical Issues in Advertising
6Business and the Environment
7Discrimination and Affirmative Action
8Corporate Influence on Government
9Justice and Globalisation
10Industry Relations with the Professions
11Professional Morality and Codes of Conduct

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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