Business Ethics

subject to changes

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to business ethics. It introduces the student to various ethical and philosophical theories and ethical issues that arise within an entrepreneurial and free market-based context from the perspective of various stake holders e.g. consumers, employees, managers, shareholders and the environment.

Topics include the environmental impacts of economic activity, responsibilities to consumers, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, and ethical issues related to advertising, marketing, and personnel decisions. Students will also discuss whether ethical concerns are given adequate consideration in business, the place of ethics in the market, and corporate accountability, as well as various theories of wealth (re)distribution.

Course Objectives

Students will be able

  • to describe and apply traditional and contemporary ethical models and theories such as consequentialist, nonconsequentialist, and utilitarian approaches to decision making.
  • to identify, describe, and analyze ethical and moral concerns in a free market-based socity.
  • to analyze and evaluate behavior and policies with respect to ethical issues that arise in business and economic life.
  • to analyze and evaluate organizations with respect to institutional and systemic ethical issues.
  • to evaluate the influence of ethic theory and practice on organizational design and development.

Course Materials


The course will mostly follow:

Shaw, W.H., 2017. Business ethics. 9th ed. Cengage Learning. Buy at amazon

The required and recommended readings are indicated below. The required chapters from the textbook are indicated as “BE: Chapter”.

Further Literature Recommendations:

Occasionally we may rely on material from other texts.

Behavioral Ethics

  • Biasucci, C. and Prentice, R., 2020. Behavioral Ethics in Practice: Why We Sometimes Make the Wrong Decisions. Routledge.
  • Conrad, C.A., 2018. Business ethics-a philosophical and behavioral approach. Springer.
  • Lütge, C., Rusch, H., and Uhl, M. eds., 2014. Experimental ethics: Toward an empirical moral philosophy. Springer.
  • Seppala, N., 2020. Absolute Essentials of Business Behavioural Ethics. Routledge.
  • Sunstein, C.R., 2016. The ethics of influence: Government in the age of behavioral science. Cambridge University Press.


  • Becker, C.U., 2018. Business ethics: Methods and application. Routledge.
  • Brooks, L.J. and Dunn, P., 2020. Business and Professional Ethics. Cengage Learning.
  • Crane, A., Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press. (new edition in 2019)
  • Francis, R.D. and Murfey, G., 2016. Global business ethics: responsible decision making in an international context. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Ghillyer, A., 2018. Business ethics now. McGraw-Hill.
  • Gilbert, J., 2016. Ethics for managers: philosophical foundations and business realities. Routledge.
  • Lutge, C. and Uhl, M., 2021. Business Ethics: An Economically Informed Perspective. Oxford University Press.
  • Moriarty, J., 2022. Business ethics. Routledge.
  • Scharding, T., 2018. This is Business Ethics: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Schwartz, M.S., 2017. Business ethics: An ethical decision-making approach. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Stanwick, P.A. and Stanwick, S.D., 2020. Absolute Essentials of Business Ethics. Routledge.
  • Velasquez, M.G., 2018. Business ethics: Concepts and cases. Pearson.
  • Wernaart, B., 2021. Ethics and Business: A Global Introduction. Routledge.

Economics & Society

  • Arrow, K.J., Monroe, K.R. and Lampros, N.M., 2016. On Ethics and Economics: Conversations with Kenneth J. Arrow. Routledge.
  • Beckerman, W., 2017. Economics as applied ethics: Fact and value in economic policy. Springer.
  • Brennan, G. and Eusepi, G., 2009. The economics of ethics and the ethics of economics. Edward Elgar.
  • Chiotis, V., 2020. The Morality of Economic Behaviour: Economics as Ethics. Routledge.
  • Dutt, A. and Wilber, C., 2010. Economics and ethics: An introduction. Springer.
  • Graafland, J., 2022. Ethics and economics. Routledge.
  • Holzmann, R., 2019. Wirtschaftsethik. SpringerGabler.
  • Johnson, C., Lusch, R. and Schmidtz, D., 2019. Commercial Society: A Primer on Ethics and Economics. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Mir, K., 2018. Ethics and Economic Theory. Routledge.
  • Peil, J. and van Staveren, I. eds., 2009. Handbook of economics and ethics. Edward Elgar.
  • Wight, J.B., 2020. Ethics in economics. Stanford University Press.
  • White, M.D. ed., 2019. The Oxford handbook of ethics and economics. Oxford University Press.
  • Zak, P.J., 2010. Moral markets: The critical role of values in the economy. Princeton University Press.


  • Breakenridge, D.K., 2021. Answers for Ethical Marketers: A Guide to Good Practice in Business Communication. Routledge.
  • Eagle, L. and Dahl, S. eds., 2015. Marketing ethics & society. Sage.
  • Murphy, P.E., Laczniak, G.R. and Harris, F., 2017. Ethics in marketing: International cases and perspectives. Routledge.

Course Requirements:

Students must read the assigned chapters of the textbook(s) before each session. Reading the economic and political press will also be helpful.

Covid Pandemic in-person on Campus Policy

This semester Touro College Berlin will offer hybrid learning, which means students can come to campus or study online.

If you want to participate in a session in-person on campus, you will have to notify me by 12pm (noon) the day prior to the respective class session. You can decide for each week separately how you want to participate in the class.

If no student notifies me by 12pm (noon) the day prior to a class session, I will not be on campus and join the class session from my home office.

The first session will be remote via zoom only.

Instructor Information:

Prof. Dr. Dennis A. V. Dittrich
Twitter: @davdittrich

You can always contact me via email or twitter. For meetings appointments can be arranged through the my webpage at:

I have also set up a discord server with a channel for our class. You can join it here!

Updated information, links to the literature, additional materials, etc. can be found on my webpage as well.

Grading Guidelines:

Grading ComponentWeight
Homework Assignments75%

Written homework assignments must be submitted as a PDF by 10am on the day of the class. Late submission will lead to a penalty on the grade for the assignments.


A typical 3 credit course requires 150 hours of your time. The table below identifies how I expect those 150 hours will be allocated. While you do not receive direct marks for reading, reading will affect your class participation mark (your ability to participate in class discussions and activities) and your final exam mark.

Class Time (3 hours / week)45 hours
Reading (3 hours / week)45 hours
Preparation, Assignments, and Review (4 hours / week)60 hours

Topics and Reading Assignments

Session 1

Introduction: Why ethics matters

  • Wight, J.B., 2020. Ethics in economics. Stanford University Press. Chapter 1.


Session 2

The Nature of Morality

  • BE: 1


Session 3

Normative Theories of Ethics

  • BR: 2
  • [Recommended] Wight, J.B., 2020. Ethics in economics. Stanford University Press. Chapter 2-3.


Session 4

Justice and Economic Distribution

  • BE: 3
  • [Recommended] Wight, J.B., 2020. Ethics in economics. Stanford University Press. Chapter 4-6, 10, 11.


Session 5

The Nature of Capitalism

  • BE: 4


Session 6

Market and Morality

  • Wight, J.B., 2020. Ethics in economics. Stanford University Press. Chapter 7.
  • Conrad, C.A., 2018. Business ethics-A philosophical and behavioral approach. Springer. Chapter 5.


Session 7


  • BE: 5


Session 8


  • BE: 6


Session 9

The Environment

  • BE: 7


Session 10

The Workplace

  • BE: 8


Session 11

The Workplace cont’d

  • BE: 9


Moral Choices Facing Employees

  • BE: 10


Session 12

Job Discrimination

  • BE 11

Session 13

Behavioral Business Ethics / Experimental Ethics

  • tba

Topics and reading assignments are subject to changes.

Homework Assignments

You will find the homework assignments for download in a pCloud folder: here.

Upload you solutions to this pCloud folder [Click Here!] Please use PDF or plain text for your uploads.

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