Course meeting times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 90 minutes / session
15.270 Ethical Practice: Leading Through Professionalism, Social Responsibility, and System Design introduces seminar participants to aspects of ethics in business, with a focus on general management. Over 13 sessions, students explore both the philosophy driving business ethics and the daily challenges that managers face; they also engage on the subject with guest faculty and business and other professional practitioners. Individual sessions take the form of moderated discussion, with occasional short lectures from the instructor.
“Ethical Practice” walks participants through three ever-wider circles of ethical complexity:
- Individual, professional commitments
- The rights and responsibilities of corporations
- The social, ethical underpinnings of business as an activity. We seek to define terms central to each of these circles, culminating in a brief historical assessment of business and capital in the early twenty-first century.
Students will be graded on the following
|Participation in class discussions||40%|
|The writing of three team papers||30%|
|A final, individual paper in which students reflect on the evolution of their views during the half-semester||30%|
Course Outline and Key Dates
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1||Wealth, values, and human nature|
|Personal and Professional Practice|
|3||A question of character|
|5||Reports from the field: Professional panel discussion|
|Corporate Social Responsibility|
|6||Definitions and strategies||Team paper 1 due|
|7||Clash of values||Team Paper 2 due|
|8||Constructing the global marketplace|
|9||Corporate culture and individual responsibility||Team Paper 3 due|
|The Purpose of a Corporation|
|11||A new corporate life?|
|12||A critique of capital|
|13||Next steps||Final paper due|
Students will submit:
- Three team essays: In all three cases, the topic will correlate with the subject of one of our classes.
- Individual writing assignment: The three team papers will serve as the springboard for your final, longer paper. This assignment represents 30% of your grade.
For details, see the Assignments section.