(not currently an active class)

Course Description : Business ethics is the moral analysis of business activity and practices. In business ethics, we consider business actions and decisions in the light of moral principles and values, and ask whether ethical motives in business activity would make business better and more successful. Today's managers must necessarily concern themselves with ethical issues, because unethical behavior creates legal risks and damage to businesses as well as employees and consumers. There is no course prerequisite.

Course Format: This course utilizes Moodle and employs many different formats, including lecture presentations by the instructor, podcasts, power points, news and movie clips, directed group discussion, in-class activities, including ethical dilemma case studies and debates.

Course Objectives: This course has four general goals

(1) to expose students to the important moral issues that arise in various business contexts;

(2) to provide students with an understanding of the moral, social, and economic environments within which heose problems occur;

(3) to introduce students to the ethical and other concepts that are relevant for resolving those problems; and

(4) to assist students in developing the necessary reasoning and analytical skills for doing so.

Student Learning Outcomes: Students taking this course will learn to

(1) Identify the moral questions that business activity specifically creates;

(2) Distinguish between ethical and other types of values;

(3) Recognize ethical considerations and values relevant to business activity;

(4) Evaluate common beliefs about ethics - especially common beliefs about the role of ethics in business;

(5) Reflect on the nature of business, realize alternative models for conducting business;

(6) Apply moral reasoning to specific situations and defend the conclusions of that reasoning;

(7) Evaluate the ethics of particular business decisions and general practices in business; and

(8) Appreciate the role of ethics in business and social life.


Instructor: Shawn Newman, J.D. online (Faculty Page at SMU)

Office Hours: available before class by appointment or via email at

Required Resources:

SMU E-mail account: You must have an active SMU email account as I send articles of interest, quizzes and exams via email.

Book: Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases, 8th Edition by William H. Shaw (2014). ISBN -10:1133943071; ISBN-13: 9781133943075

Supplemental materials: You will also see that I have additional readings listed per week and on the forum from a variety of sources to help you understand the subject matter.

On Line Resources: You will find helpful summaries and powerpoints for this class on my website by clicking on this link Business Law Resources: You may also cut and paste this link into your favorite browser. You will see a link to the book chapter summary Power Points which will be useful for exam preparations.


General Class Policy : Re-dos; Incompletes; Attendance; Participation; Other see:Professor Newman Class Policies



Student Responsibilities and Grade determination method:

Written Essays/Case Studies: (35% of final grade) Three written pieces, 3-5 pages in length, analyzing ethics and values in business. Topics to be assigned by the professor.

Moodle Activities (20% of final grade): Various kinds of online assignments - participation in forums, tests, collaborative assignments. See below for details, instructions and deadlines for each week.

Case Analysis/Debate (10% of final grade): Each student will participate in one pre-arranged, in-class debate, as a member of an affirmative or negative debate team. Teams will be assigned early on in the courses. Grading protocol will be provided in advance.

Examinations (35% of final grade): Quizzes on the reading assignments during the semester are worth 25% of the final course grade. Final exam will be worth 10% of the final grade and consist of essay type questions on the course material.