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MGT2204 Business Ethics and Governance

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Business Ethics and Governance
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Management and Enterprise
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 080300 - Business and Management
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Gerard Betros

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


In order to create and maintain a civil society, it is incumbent upon those with power to act responsibly for the betterment of the community. Businesses are becoming increasingly powerful but their role in the creation and maintenance of a civil society is under increasing scrutiny. Every day, we hear of the harm that businesses inflict upon stakeholder groups and the environment. This course seeks to address these problems by enhancing students’ moral imagination and providing them with the ethical frameworks by which they can determine the benefit and harm that may result from their business decisions. On completing this course, students will have an enhanced awareness of the harm that can result from immoral business practices and the role that governance plays in ensuring that businesses make decisions that benefit all of society.


This course aims to develop students' understanding of the ethical dimensions of managerial decision making and of issues relating to the governance of organisations. Topics include normative and descriptive ethical theories, the capitalist economic environment and its impact on ethical business behaviour, managing ethical behaviour within organizations, as well as ethical issues arising in the contexts of shareholders, workers, consumers and government. It challenges students to think creatively to resolve ethical dilemmas and reflect critically and constructively about how we organise to conduct business activities. This course is specifically designed to promote cultural learning and Werhane's (1998) notion of moral imagination, which is less concerned with whether one has, or sticks to, a set of moral values, but with whether one has a "sense of the variety of possibilities and moral consequences of their decisions, the ability to imagine a wide range of possible issues, consequences and solutions".


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

  1. define the terms business ethics and corporate governance and explain the components of business ethics management
  2. think critically and constructively about the application of normative and descriptive ethical theories to resolve dilemmas and make considered ethical decisions across a range of institutional and global contexts
  3. use initiative, creativity and judgement to evaluate the merits of contrasting organisational types to determine their ethical outcomes for shareholders and workers
  4. examine ethical issues related to corporate governance and to the following organisational stakeholders, namely shareholders, employees, consumers and government
  5. communicate clearly and concisely at an advanced level to prepare a professional document that contains recommendations relating to initiating and implementing an ethics program for an organisation.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to key terms 5.00
2. The business ethics framework 10.00
3. Normative and descriptive ethical theories 30.00
4. Ethical decision making 5.00
5. Managing business ethics 10.00
6. Stakeholders and business ethics. 40.00

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 2016, Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, 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.
Bowie, NE & Werhane, PH 2005, Management ethics, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Massachusetts.
Clegg, S & Rhodes, C 2006, Management ethics: contemporary contexts, Routledge, London.
Gentilin, D 2017, The origins of ethical failures: lessons for leaders, Routledge, New York.
Homann, K, Koslowski, P & Luetge, C 2007, Globalisation and business ethics, Ashgate, Aldershot, England.
Singer, AE 2007, Business ethics and strategy, Ashgate, Aldershot, England.
Smith, JD (ed.) 2008, Normative theory and business ethics, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland.
Trevino, LK & Nelson, KA 2016, Managing business ethics: straight talk about how to do it right, 7th edn, John Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Directed Study 60.00
Online Participation 26.00
Private Study 29.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 10 19 Mar 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 20 24 Apr 2019
ASSIGNMENT 3 100 20 16 May 2019
EXAMINATION 100 50 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This is a restricted examination. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Online: 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.

    On-campus: It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are:
    1. writing materials. These must be non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination.
    2. an unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary). A student whose first language is not English may take a translation dictionary into the examination room. A translation dictionary with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  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:
    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