SPÅ 2901 Business Communication in English - Intercultural and Ethical Awareness (Written)

SPÅ 2901 Business Communication in English - Intercultural and Ethical Awareness (Written)

Course code: 
SPÅ 2901
Communication and Culture
Course coordinator: 
Mark Brown
Course name in Norwegian: 
Business Communication in English - Intercultural and Ethical Awareness (Written)
Product category: 
Bachelor of Business Administration - Programme Courses
2018 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This course is relevant for people who plan to do business internationally and who would like more insight into the ethics of business.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The course looks at intercultural communication and how culture impacts on business relationships. Focus will be put on Norway and its most important trading partners. In addition, it gives participants the opportunity to analyze business dilemmas from an ethical perspective. The overall objective is to enable course participants to develop the English skills needed to communicate effectively in the international business environment.

Acquired knowledge
Students will be able to define in appropriate English intercultural terminology related to the business cultures on the syllabus and basic guidelines for ethical reasoning related to the dilemmas on the syllabus.

Learning outcomes - Skills

Students will be able to contrast and analyze cultural differences by applying the relevant theoretical frameworks within a business context. Furthermore, they will be able to provide ethical justification for decisions taken in business settings. In both cases the responses will be written in an appropriate, professional letter/report/essay-writing style.

Learning Outcome - Reflection

Students will demonstrate an understanding of intercultural awareness and ethical reflection, for instance by showing sensitivity, insight, balanced judgement, professionalism and/or appropriate register in their written application of course-related material.

Course content

1. Intercultural Communication: Business Cultures

Introduces concepts and terminology used in the analysis of business cultures. The focus is primarily on the American, British, Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Norwegian business cultures, and on how the intercultural terminology can be applied

2. Ethical Dilemmas

This component focuses on business issues with an ethical dimension.

Learning process and requirements to students

The course consists of 25 hours of classroom teaching in addition to a practice mid-term exam during the latter stages of the course. . The mid-term trial exam will give the students the opportunity to see where they stand (they will be given feedback for improvement and a grade). In order to manage the requirements of the course it is essential that students attend the weekly sessions or, in the case of distance learning students, participate actively in web discussions. Individual teachers will set written assignments for appraisal and feedback. 

The classroom teaching will be a mixture of lectures, small group discussions and analyses based on central concepts of intercultural and ethical awareness. Through the use of cultural scenarios, role-plays, presentations and ethical dilemmas, students will develop their reasoning skills and contextualize them in the writing of business letters, reports and essays 

Online activities will also be made available in the form of short quizzes to test knowledge of basic concepts in both content and language. Open-ended discussion will also be made available to groups online to promote their skills of analysis and application of theoretical frameworks within intercultural communication and ethical reasoning. In addition, students will be encouraged to submit two pieces of formal writing together with a self-assessment checklist during the course of the semester. 

When course is delivered online, lecturer, in cooperation with the Academic Servises Network, will organize an appropriate combination of digital teaching and lectures. Online students are also offered a study guide to contribute to progression and overview. Total recommended time spent for completing the course also applies here.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

One English-English dictionary of any kind and one bilingual dictionary (in one volume or two) may be used at the written examination.


Higher Education Entrance Qualification

Required prerequisite knowledge

English from upper secondary school or equivalent.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Support materials: 
  • Bilingual dictionary
  • Monolingual dictionary, English-English
5 Hour(s)
The exam consists of two main parts:
Section 1- Intercultural communication (weighted 70% of the total grade). Candidates can choose between two essay questions.

Section 2 - Analysis of ethical business issues (weighted 30%) based on one of the three ethical dilemmas in the syllabus. The candidates will be asked to write a letter or a report.

A passing grade in each of the tasks is required to pass. (See Grading Guidelines in itslearning for this course).
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Examination every semester
Exam organisation: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
25 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
42 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
13 Hour(s)
Writing assignments & checklist assessment
Group work / Assignments
30 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
50 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
10 Hour(s)
Contextualization of feedback
Student's own work with learning resources
25 Hour(s)
Examination preparation
5 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.