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


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

Responsible for the course
Derek Matthews, Mark Brown

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

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

Learning outcome
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
1. basic guidelines for ethical reasoning related to the dilemmas on the syllabus

Acquired 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.

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.

English from upper secondary school or equivalent.

Compulsory reading
Brown, Mark and Peter Cleaverley. 2010. Three ethical dilemmas for discussion and writing practice : student handbook. BI Forlag

Collection of articles:
Brown, Mark and Matthews, Derek, ed. 2015. Collection of Articles I for SPÅ 2901 Business Communication in English: Intercultural and Ethical Awareness. Handelshøyskolen BI
Matthews, Derek. 2015. Collection of Articles II for SPÅ 2901 Business Communication in English: Intercultural and Ethical Awareness. Handelshøyskolen BI

Obligatory audio slides. Published on Itslearning. approx 25 pages in total

Recommended reading
En engelsk-engelsk ordbok, for eksempel: Collins Cobuild, Longman, Webster's, Oxford eller Advanced Learner's dictionary
En tospråklig ordbok

The Economist, Newsweek or Time

Course outline
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.

Computer-based tools
Students are encouraged to use the Internet during the course, as well as participate in discussion groups and assigned tasks on BI’s learning platform: It’s Learning.

Learning process and workload
The course consists of 28 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.

Use of hours
Classroom learning
Preparation for class & trial exam
Writing assignments & checklist assessment
Online multiple choice tasks (content and language) and discussion groups
Self-study and study groups (offline)
Contextualization of feedback
Examination preparation
Total use of hours recommended

In course delivery as online courses or evening classes, will lecturer, in collaboration with the Academic Services Network and evening studies, organize an appropriate combination of digital and class room teaching. Online students are also offered a study guide, which will help progression and overview. Total recommended amount of time for completion of the course also applies here.

A five (5) hour individual written exam concludes the course

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).

Examination code(s)
SPÅ 29011 - Written exam accounts for 100% of the final grade in the course SPÅ 2901 Business Communication in English: Intercultural and Ethical Awareness, 7.5 credits

Examination support materials
One English-English dictionary of any kind and one bilingual dictionary (in one volume or two) may be used at the written examination.
Examination support materials at written examiniations are explained under examination information in the student portal @BI. Please note use of dictionary. https://at.bi.no/EN/Pages/Exa_Hjelpemidler-til-eksamen.aspx

Re-sit examination
A re-sit examination is held in every term.

Additional information