Shanghai 2012: IMBA at Jiao Tong University: Values, Ethics and Business Decisions
International MBA - Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University - Oct 2012
Course Objectives & Description
With this course, you will embark in a journey where you will discover unsuspected aspects of the environment in which business is taking place. You will be invited to better know yourself, to see others differently, and you will develop your ability to turn ethical dilemmas into opportunities rather than traps.
The main objective is to prepare you to deal with some of the toughest choices you will face in your career: business ethical dilemmas.
Business ethical dilemmas occur in stressful contexts. In these decision-making situations, denying the ethical dimension is a weak and risky expedient, while focusing on self-justification will often prove insufficient. As ethical issues have become increasingly manifest and pervasive in the business world, being aware, being prepared, and being able to decode how ethics combines with business, for better or for worse, is becoming a must for present and future leaders.
A selection of key business ethical issues will be discussed in details, based on real cases and on carefully selected academic papers. A rigorous decision-making framework, with tools and typical strategies will be proposed, discussed and illustrated, at the individual and at the corporate levels. Relying on what I like to call "Ethical Rationality", we will focus on a rational approach to the trade-offs between ethical values and business values. Issues of reputation, credibility and communication will be specifically addressed.
Increased awareness, personal commitment, and practice of the proposed methodology, will empower you to better act in situations involving ethical issues.
The course necessitates reading, thinking and writing prior to class. It features lectures, videos, case studies and active discussions of crucial management issues. It requires an active involvement of participants, who must be prepared to think and work outside their zone of comfort.
Classes take place in 100 South Building from 8.30 to 12.00
For each class, i.e. including the first, an assignment is proposed on the website and can be handed in when arriving in class. These assignments build on required readings and help the work (individual or in group) during the class. I will correct and give feedback to all assignments handed in but only the best 8 assignments will count for the final grade. Each assignment is graded over 5 points thus contributing to a total of 40 points. To know more about grading of assignments, you are invited to read "Grading of Assignments - IMBA at Jiao Tong".
During the last class, students in groups of maximum 3 students, composed of no more than two Chinese or two international students present a company that truly inspires them because it genuinely tries to combines a profitable business activity with the respect of ethical values such as environmental sustainability, social justice or individual values. This work is graded over 30 points. It is complemented with two other preparatory works.
Before October 5, 2012, 6pm, each participant shall have registered on the website WeDreamBusiness.Org and posted an interesting comment about one of the company that is presented there (an interesting comment is a comment you would be interested to read). The quality of the comment will be rewarded over 5 points on an individual basis.
Before October 7, 2012, 6pm, each group should send the professor a document indicating the name of the company you have selected, why you selected it, why it makes you dream and the names of the students involved in the group project. This document will enter into the grade of the project for 10 points on a group basis (all participants have the same grade).
Each student will receive a participation grade over 15 points.
In this manner, the final grade will be calculated on the basis of 100 points.
There is no exam.
To know more about Groups’ Presentation, please read "Guidelines to Groups’ Presentations - IMBA at Shanghai Jiao Tong University".
Paticipation to the classes are mandatory in order to hand in the assignments of the relevant session. Note that the system allows you to miss 1 class without grading cost.
Note on Plagiarism
It is an excellent idea to read what others have written on a particular subject while doing an assignment. It can even be perfectly appropriate to include some sentences or ideas in your assignment, quoting with exactitude the words, author and dated source of the reference. However, copying and pasting a sentence from the internet in an assignment amounts to plagiarism. There are interesting philosophical discussions about the ethics of plagiarism but, in this course, plagiarism is not accepted and will be sanctioned.
The 2011 Class
The 2012 Class
For me, the most essential thing I learned during this course was that running an ethical business is not only possible in this cruel and money-oriented world, but can also be profitable and can give your life some more meaning. Seeing all the examples of the companies acting unethically, taking a different perspective on their actions and then comparing that with the companies from other students’ presentations got me motivated in case of supporting the ‘whiter ones’.
I also realized how biased I am when it comes to create my own opinion. Sometimes it requires a lot from me to take a different look at someone’s actions or try to feel like managers or CEOs of companies. What’s more, I learned how biased are other people. After years of working for a company they stop thinking about ethical issues, even if they try to do something positive, ethical, their perspective is so disturbed
Now I feel like I am more respectful for other people’s opinions. Making everyone speak in the class is a beautiful idea, I never realized how different and interesting points of view some people have.
About my future career, I really believe this class will have a huge influence on it. Listening to stories about teaching big companies I could see how important it is to be honest with yourself and to be able to look in the mirror every day, not being ashamed of your acts. I don’t want to end up working for a company that doesn’t try to make a world a better place. And when I think about starting something on my own, I realize that it makes me feel good to imagine my company doing CSR, sharing some profits or doing any other activity not focused on maximizing my profit only, but mostly focused on helping other people.
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