ETH400 - Contemporary Ethics Issues

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-03 13:00:33.362
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:00.499

Subject Title
Contemporary Ethics Issues

Subject Description
Every day of our personal and business lives we are confronted with numerous choices about what is right and what is wrong and, therefore, how to conduct ourselves. This subject introduces the student to the basic principles of decision making, with a focus on ethical considerations. While one focus of the course is business decisions, an examination of personal values and ethics form the foundation of the course. The course contains theories and concepts, however the student will concentrate on applying ethical concepts and principles to everyday, real-life issues and problems.

Credit Status
This subject is a required subject credit in the Diploma Program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Discuss common terminology related to the study of ethics and to understand that exercising ethics is a skill on which they can improve and to apply such skill to their everyday life decisions.

2. Discuss ethical issues faced by an individual and an organization, including corporate social responsibilities, and selected recent major corporate cases involving ethical actions.

3. Distinguish between values and principles and give examples; to discuss whether values ever change, to describe how even the Golden Rule can lead to conflicts in its applications, and to discuss reasons for and give examples of the need to rank values.

4. Give examples of how cultures and sub-cultures influence standards and values and discuss whether law determines what is morally right or morally wrong, and discuss the relationship of law and morality.

5. Discuss the different approaches, such as the 3-Question approach, the 5-Question approach, and the Moral Standards approach, that can be used for the ethical evaluation of an action.

6. Discuss the concept and the relationship of justification, rationalization and excuse and give examples.

7. Discuss and list a set of all-purpose procedures, including the "Gut Test", for the decision making process and to define alternatives.

8. Discuss how our training and habits influence our responses to situations.

9. Define character, virtues, integrity and honour, and give examples and describe character development and how it can be enhanced.

10. Describe the various leadership roles and the role of leadership in supporting development of good character and the tasks of leadership with regard to an organization's values.

11. Describe how ethical decision making affects international business operations and the environment.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

  • Why study ethics?
  • Ethical theory and business
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Meaning and value of work
  • Moral rights in the workplace
  • Employee responsibilities
  • Marketing ethics:  Advertising, Target Market
  • Business' environmental responsibilities
  • Diversity and discrimination
  • International business and globalization

Mode of Instruction
A combination of teaching methods will be utilized which may include lectures, case studies, discussions, group and individual work.

This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities.

Prescribed Texts
Title:           Business Ethics, A Managerial Approach
Author:       Andrew Wicks, Edward Freeman, Patricial Werhane, Kirsten Martin
Publisher:   Pearson
Edition:       Custom Publication for Seneca College
ISBN(13):   978-0-558-79675-4
ISBN(10):   0-558-79675-3

Online (effective Fall 2014)
Title:            Canadian Business & Society:  Ethics and Responsibilities
Author:         Sexty
Publisher:     McGraw-Hill Ryerson Higher Education
Edition:        4th
ISBN:           9781259087547

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Assignments are due on the dates specified. Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your instructor prior to the assignment due date so that an appropriate course of action can be established. Late assignments may be subject to a penalty of up to 10% per week and will not generally be accepted beyond two weeks from the due date.

In cases of cheating or plagiarism, the College Academic Policy will prevail. Please ensure that all assignments and reports are properly documented.

Students are referred to the following website for Seneca College Library style guides, Academic Honesty Policy and Copyright guidelines: http:/

Dates for evaluations are specified in the weekly schedule addendum to this outline. The evaluation process may include, but is not limited to, tests, exams, assignments or presentations. Any absences or missed submissions due to medical or other reasons must be supported by medical or other appropriate documentation within one (1) week of the due date. The faculty and program area must be notified immediately in the event of a missed evaluation. Upon acceptance of the documentation, the weighting of the missed deliverable will normally be applied to the final exam.

English Competency
The ability to communicate effectively is essential for success in business. Therefore, you must demonstrate English competency in this course in both oral and written work. Ensure your written work includes correct sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. Always spell check, edit and proofread your work.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Mid-Term Test 30%
Ethics Challenge Assignment
(to be handed in)
Student Presentation 10%
Final Exam 40%

Assignment 1 - Research 20%
Assignment 2 - Group 20%
Virtual Debate/ Participation/Discussions 20%
Exams - Mid and Final 40%

For online delivery: All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodations.  Students must achieve a final grade of 55% in order to pass the course.

Please retain this course outline document for future educational and/or employment use.

Program Manager:
Emiliano Introcaso

Approved by: Chair - Business Studies Danielle Mercier