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MBA8000 Business Ethics and Sustainability

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Management and Marketing
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Gerard Betros
Moderator: Ian Eddington

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at


We only need to reflect on the impact of the global financial crisis and climate change to appreciate that the need for ethical and sustainable management practices has never been greater. Being sustainable means that managers can no longer just focus on the “bottom line”, it demands consideration of a myriad of factors to ensure that “good” social and environmental outcomes are also achieved. This requires managers to reflect on their business practices and think critically about their behaviour as managers and accept responsibility for the impact of their decisions (and non-decisions). This course is designed to provide students with the tools to understand the consequence of their business decisions and investigate alternative forms of organizing that better, more ethical, outcomes.


The fundamental role of business is to benefit society through the provision of value-adding products and services. Unfortunately, we are becoming increasingly aware of business activities that not only fail to benefit society, but cause it enormous harm. Whilst some harmful activities are intentional, many aren't, but are the consequence of unforeseen outcomes. Studying ethics can never make deliberately malicious people behave better, but it can help the well-intentioned make decisions that are less harmful to society. We adopt an optimistic perspective, arguing that by and large, people are fundamentally well-intentioned and do their best with the knowledge they have, and when they know "better", they do better. This course is about helping people know better by raising their moral imagination so they can consider a variety of possibilities of moral consequences to their decisions and develop the ability to imagine a wide range of possible issues, consequences and solutions. This challenging study first introduces students to various ethical frameworks, which it then applies to various business contexts, enabling them to better understand the complexity of ethical decision-making in today's global business environment. Ethics is a most engaging and highly stimulating area of investigation and this course only serves to introduce you to the field in anticipation that wanting to "know better" will be the life-long pursuit of USQ business graduates.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate applied knowledge of business ethics and practice sufficient to comprehend and address complex ethical dilemmas
  2. identify complex organizational problems utilizing a comprehensive ethical framework and provide solutions that are both creative and practical to facilitate more ethical business behaviour
  3. evaluate, synthesise and critically review existing business ethical frameworks with other evidence to provide alternative, more ethical, solutions to real-world problems
  4. demonstrate reflective practice about the impact of unethical business behaviour and apply your enhanced learning to different business contexts
  5. demonstrate an understanding of complex sustainable dilemmas and the need for the morally responsible leadership to create a more socially-just and environmentally-friendly world
  6. communicate professionally and effectively in both oral and written communication to various audiences to achieve targeted outcomes.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introducing and framing business ethics and sustainability 5.00
2. Evaluating business ethics 15.00
3. Making decisions in business ethics 10.00
4. Managing business ethics 5.00
5. The capitalistic environment 20.00
6. Shareholders and business ethics 10.00
7. Employees and business ethics 10.00
8. Consumers and business ethics 10.00
9. Suppliers, competitors and business ethics 10.00
10. Government regulation and business ethics 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Crane, A & Matten, D 2010, Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Beauchamp, T, Bowie, N, & Arnold, D 2009, Ethical theory and business, 8th edn, Pearson, London.
  • Boatright, J 2009, Ethics and the conduct of business, 6th edn, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
  • Buchholz, RA 2009, Rethinking capitalism: community and responsibility in business, Routledge, New York.
  • Schweickart, D 2002, After capitalism, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland.
  • Whyte, WF & Whyte, KK 1991, Making mondragon: the growth and dynamics of the worker cooperative complex, 2nd revised edn, ILR Press, Ithaca, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 100.00
Private Study 24.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSESSMENT 1 (REPORT) 100 20 13 Mar 2012
ASSESSMENT 2 (ESSAY) 100 40 07 May 2012
2-HOUR EXAM (SHORT ANSWER) 100 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed to bring only writing instruments into the examination room. Students whose first language is not English, may take an appropriate unmarked paper-based translation dictionary into the examination room. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and, if found to contain annotations or markings that could give the candidate an unfair advantage, may be removed from the candidate's possession until the appropriate disciplinary action is completed.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments: Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at