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I. Course Description
Students will examine the various ethical and moral issues arising in contemporary economic activities that affect society and the world. Values, both historical and contemporary, that shape the economic environment will be explored as well as personal values that influence human behavior in all social systems. This course treats ethics in the context of leadership decision-making, recognizing the importance of making sound ethical judgments in a complex world.
The first question to address in this course, is what is “ethics” and what is “morality”? One key distinction is that morality focuses more on social norms and institutional conventions of the immediate culture and society. Ethics, on the other hand, is more universalistic with deeper philosophical roots and more transcendent impact on thought and behavior. Ethics is an examination of various sets of values that people hold. Ethics examines individuals, their dilemmas, decisions and behaviors broadly over situation, society and culture.
Ethical leadership is on one hand highly personal – the development of moral beliefs is built from family upbringing, religion, and defining moments that emerge from a person’s own choices in life. On the other hand, ethics are largely affected by social influences arising from societal codes and norms. To be an ethical leader is to draw from one’s own set of moral beliefs, recognizing the social context of these beliefs, and at the same time appreciating and embracing the reality that each person brings to the present moment a uniquely constructed set of moral assumptions and values.
Ethics is a branch of philosophy known as moral philosophy. Any philosophy attempts to answer basic questions about essential matters of human life and experience. Ethics is also fundamentally practical, in other words, we consider ethics to be a matter of application and practice. Integrating the philosophy of ethics, the concepts and topics of ethics, with the complicated and risky decisions that have real consequences on others, and the ongoing development of ourselves as moral agents, are central to this course.
II. Course Learning Outcomes
By the completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to:
To define ethical leadership;
To understand and recognize the major philosophical theories of ethics and morality;
To recognize the assumptions that underlie ethical decisions;
To appreciate the ethical dimension of organizational situations and dilemmas, as well as decisions and behaviors;
To reflect on one’s own ethical values;
Demonstrate progress in narrowing the gap between your espoused theories of ethics and your actual practice as an ethical leader;
To reflect on one’s own experiences in organizational life that have posed ethical dilemmas;
To integrate analytical and critical thinking with action in real time and in real situations;
To develop a personal model of ethical leadership and decision making.
Final Reflection Paper (Individual)
You are encouraged to incorporate the following suggestion in your paper. Do not feel limited to this suggestion but try to address it in some manner.
Reflective Journal Framework
1. What I have experienced in class (readings, discussions and guest speakers, as well as in the field (site visits):
2. What I think and feel about the readings, discussions and speakers and visits:
3. What I learned from the readings class discussion, and speakers; as well as in the field:
4. How I can use this learning in the future: Asking the Right Questions is the key to being a moral professional – NOT simplistically seeking to find “the right” answers; therefore:
What are the 10 key questions moral professionals should ask of themselves, of others, and about their environments? (This section is part of your Final Reflective Paper.)
Chapters 1, 2 MPL, Chapter 1: What Professions and Professionals Are MPL, Chapter 2: What Morality Is
MPL, Chapter 3: What Professional Ethics Is MPL, Chapter 5: Moral Theories
MPL, Chapter 6: Moral Analysis and Case Solving MPL, Chapter 7: Integrity
MPL, Chapter 8: Respect for Persons
MPL, Chapter 12: Responsibility Reading: Page 297, Harrison Bergeron
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