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PHILOS 2N03 Business Ethics

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2017

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Matthew Grellette

Email: grellemj@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 308

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23462


Office Hours: Wednesday 4-5pm

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

This course is designed to show that persons engaged in the practice of business cannot avoid considering and engaging with ethical issues. It will begin by explaining how the practice of business is embedded in an ethical context. It will then provide a set of theoretical tools which allow persons involved in business to engage with ethical issues in a fruitful and efficient manner. Finally, it will explore how a number of specific business relationships and domains produce unique ethical challenges.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


This course uses Avenue to Learn to post the course outline and news, as well as to collect assignments.


1. Business Ethics, 4th Edn., Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten

Method of Assessment:


Cold Calls………………………………….5%


Mid Term…..……….……..………… . . . ..25%

Essay….……………………. . . . . . . . . . . ..30%

Exam………..…… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35%

Cold Calls:

During each class, I will call on students to answer a single question concerning the content of that class’s readings. Each student will be called on at least once. The students will be graded on the basis of her demonstrated preparation for the day’s lecture. The student will receive a check-plus (100), check (75), check-minus (50), or failure to respond (0) for this portion of the grade.

Response Papers:

Students are required to hand in 8 response papers (300 words each) over the course of the term. These should seek to discuss the day’s readings and raise a critical point or question concerning it’s content. These must be handed in at the beginning of the class to which they pertain. No more than one response may be handed in per class. More detail will be provided in class.


Students will write an in-class mid-term test on May 17th, at 6:00pm, in ABB/270. The mid-term will be 1.5 hours long. This test will cover all of the material covered up to this point in the term.


Students will be assigned a set of essay questions, of which they must answer only one. These questions will be posted online after the exam on May 17th. The essay must be submitted through Avenue to Learn, by Wednesday, May 31st at the beginning of class. The length of the paper is 2000 words. More detail will be provided in class.

Final Exam:

The final exam deals with all of the material covered after the mid-term. The exam will be held on the final day of class: June 14th, 2016 at 6pm in ABB/270.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Work:

Late assignments will be penalized 5 marks out of 100 per day late. Missed assignments will be dealt with via the MSAF procedures (described in this course outline).

Overly Long Work:

Assignments will be deducted 5% of the assignment grade for every 100 words they go over the assignment word limit.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule:

Class 1 Course Introduction: What is Business Ethics

May 1 Ch. 1


Class 2 Framing Business Ethics

May 3 Ch. 2


Class 3 Evaluating Business Ethics (i)

May 8 Ch. 3


Class 4 Evaluating Business Ethics (ii)

May 10 Ch. 3


Class 5 Making Decisions in Business Ethics

May 15 Ch. 4


Class 6 Test - IN CLASS (ABB/270 - 6:00pm)

May 17


Class 7 Shareholders

May 24 Ch. 6


Class 8 Employees

May 20 Ch. 7


Class 9 Consumers

May 31 Ch. 8


Class 10 Suppliers and Competitors

June 5 Ch. 9


Class 11 Civil Society

June 7 Ch. 10


Class 12 Government and Regulation

June 12 Ch. 11


Class 13 Exam - IN CLASS (ABB/270 - 6:00pm)

June 14

Other Course Information:

Course Modification:

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of students to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes. Announcements will be made in class and by using the course email distribution list.