GRA 6038 Applied Business Ethics


GRA 6038 Applied Business Ethics

Responsible for the course
Øyvind Kvalnes

Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

This course explores ethical challenges in business, and presents conceptual tools to handle dilemmas and polarities in the workplace.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge:
The student will become familiar with the basic concepts of business ethics, and their links to core business objectives and strategies. They will learn about the triple-bottom line of business, the responsibility towards owners, society and the environment. Communication culture is a key element in working with ethics in a business community, and the students will gain knowledge about ways to enhance dialogue about ethics in the workplace. They will also learn about the current debate concerning Homo Economicus and alternative conceptions of human nature and moral psychology.

Acquired skills:
Dilemma training will be a core activity in the course. The purpose of the training will be to prepare the students for the dilemmas they will encounter in future employment situations. They will learn to provide justification for their choices, and to analyze disagreement about moral issues. Through familiarity with ethical theories, concepts and principles, they will become better equipped to navigate in business environments where dilemmas are commonplace.

Acquired competence:
The students will be able to view their own professional education and practice in the light of possible effects on society and the environment. They will gain insight into the requirements necessary to establish sustainable business, and recognize ethics as an integral part of any high level professional competence. The course will encourage them to acknowledge that the triple-bottom line of business has personal ramifications, shaping the individual's responsibilities at work.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading
Crane, Andrew, Dirk Matten. 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. 4th ed. Oxford University Press
Øyvind Kvalnes. 2015. Moral Reasoning at Work. Palgrave Macmillan. Selected chapters. Free copy available online

Collection of articles:
A compendium of scientific articles will be made available before the course starts.

During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination

Recommended reading

Course outline
Business Ethics: Tools, Concepts and Principles
Dilemma Training
Homo Economicus and Moral Psychology
Corporate Social Responsibility
Countering Corruption
Ethics in the Professions: Coping with Conflict of Interest
Communication, Reputation and Identity
Ethics and Investment

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

The course will consist of four 3-hour plenary sessions, four 3-hour group sessions and two 6-hour dilemma workshops. The plenary and group sessions will present the main concepts and ideas, and provide the students with cases to discuss. In the group sessions the students will be devided into 4 groups, while in the dilemma workshops they will be devided into 8 groups. Each student can participate in 12 hours of plenary teaching, 12 hours of group teaching and 12 hours of dilemma workshop activities.

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

Coursework requirements

A 24-hour take-home examination concludes the course. The examination will require the students to analyze a case through the use of theories, concepts and principles from the curriculum.

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Take home examination 100% Individual

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Examination code(s)
GRA 60382 take-home examination accounts for 100% of the final grade in GRA 6038.

Examination support materials
Not applicable
Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honour code. Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and are values that are integral to BI's honour code system. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with the honour code system, to which the faculty is deeply committed. Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for academic misconduct. Issues of academic integrity are taken seriously by everyone associated with the programmes at BI and are at the heart of the honour code. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask. The learning platform itslearning is used in the teaching of all courses at BI. All students are expected to make use of itslearning.