Business and Professional Ethics
RPH 350/ ECO 350
Spring 2014
Tue/Thur 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Paul Custodio Bube, Ph.D.
Office Hours: Lyon 321
MWF: 10:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
TR: 9:30-11:00 a.m.
or by appointment
Phone: 870-307-7351

E-mail: Click on Mailbox to e-mail professor Mailbox

Nature and Purpose of the Course:

This is a course in Applied Ethics, that is, a course which examines how ethical theories can be applied to concrete situations and issues.  As a course in the Religion and Philosophy Department, this class will emphasize critical reasoning and analysis in the study of ethical theory and issues.  The aim of this course is to introduce students to basic concepts and theories in philosophical ethics and to apply those concepts and theories to concrete issues and cases in the areas of business. Other professions, such as the medical professions, may be explored, depending upon the background and interests of the students.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to

      1. Define key terms associated with business and professional ethics;

      2. Analyze and evaluate various ethical theories as they relate to business issues;

      3. Apply ethical theories and concepts to concrete issues and cases in the areas of business;

      4. Research and evaluate the ethical culture and stance of a specific corporation in light of the ethical concepts and theories covered in the course. 


Business Ethics Concepts and Cases (seventh edition, 2012) by Manuel Velasquez


Grades will be based upon five exams; at least one case analysis presentation (done with a partner), a 4000-5000 word social responsibility analysis of a Fortune 500 company. [All written work should be printed double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with one-inch margins. I do not mind students going over the suggested word limit as long as what they write is pertinent to the assignment.]

Attendance & Participation
Case Analyses/Presentations
Social Responsibility Analysis or Approved Ethical Issue Analysis and Presentation (Serves as Final)

Grading Scale: A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-69; F=0-59

Collaboration: One's ethical reflection about real life issues does not usually occur in isolation from others.  If we are facing dilemmas in our workplace, in our personal life, or in our social setting, we generally talk about these dilemmas with others.  For that reason, I hope that students would collaborate with each other as they study for exams and prepare written work and projects for the course. In some cases collaboration will be required, such as with the assigned presentation. However, I do expect that each student will write his or her own final drafts of essays, as well as take his or her own exams. For example, talking together about how to approach an essay, exchanging ideas, etc., is encouraged, but each student will write his or her own work in his or her own words and pledge them.

All graded work in this class is to be pledged in accordance with the Lyon College Honor Code.

Case Analyses/Presentations involve four-five students working together on an assigned case study. Each analysis should explain to the rest of the class the important ethical issues raised by the case in light of the chapter that the case is related to. Students are encouraged to find updated information pertaining to the case (all the cases in the text are actual). The presentation should take approximately 40 minutes, not including time for interaction with the rest of the class. There is no one set format--students may want to provide a pro/con debate on issues raised by the case, provide a straightforward explanation of what the case entails ethically, or perhaps dramatize an aspect of the case in order to explicate key ethical issues and concepts. See the Guidelines for Case Analysis/Presentation at

The essay analyzing the social responsibility of a Fortune 500 company is also fairly open-ended. However, students should read a sample Social & Environmental Assessment Report from the Ben & Jerry's website at in order to get an idea of what a social responsibility analysis might look like. In addition, ethical issues raised by practices, investments, etc., of one's chosen company, should be related to relevant concepts and discussions from our book and the class. Students may want to choose a Fortune 500 company early, since when a company is chosen, no one else may do her/his analysis on that company. If the student chooses to analyze a significant bioethics issue, she/he needs to negotiate the topic with me. Whatever topic a student chooses -- business or bioethical -- students must clear the topic with the professor no later than fall break. Click here for more specifics about the assignment.

Lyon College Policy on Attendance:

Page 115 of the Lyon Catalog states: Students are expected to attend all class periods for the courses in which they are enrolled. They are responsible for conferring with individual professors regarding any missed assignments. Faculty members are to notify the Registrar when a student misses the equivalent of one, two, three, and four weeks of class periods in a single course. Under this policy, there is no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, except that a student may make up work missed during an excused absence. A reminder of the college’s attendance policy will be issued to the student at one week, a second reminder at two weeks, a warning at three weeks, and notification of administrative withdrawal and the assigning of an “F” grade at four weeks. Students who are administratively withdrawn from more than one course will be placed on probation or suspended (see Academic Probation and Academic Suspension).

Every student is expected to attend all classes and turn in all assignments on time. Good attendance is worth 5% of the attendance/participation grade (Good attendance is having no unexcused absences. Normally, an absence is excused only in advance of the absence, and always at the professor's discretion.) Good attendance will, of course, also enhance the student's ability to succeed in the course, whereas multiple absences will almost always cause a student to do poorly on exams. Late assignments will be graded down five points for each day late.

CELL PHONES, COMPUTERS, AND OTHER ELECTRONICS: Cell phones should either be turned off or put on silent or vibrate in class. They should be put away and not visible. Texting during class is not permitted. If you are awaiting an emergency call, then you should sit near the class entrance, and when your phone vibrates, you should quietly exit and take your call in the hallway out of earshot of the class. Students may use computers in class to keep notes only (unless directed by the professor). Listening to iPods or other mp3 or similar players is prohibited in class. Violation of these requirements will adversely affect your participation/attendance grade for the class.


Although this is a cross-listed course with Economics and Business, I would like you to create electronically (e.g., a folder on your I-drive) a portfolio in which you save your papers from this class and any other papers you may do in RPH courses. This will not be graded, but in the event you do take other RPH courses, Dr. Beck and I would like to be able to ‘see’ your progress and I hope you would want to reflect upon your work. Because RPH classes are so ‘holistic’ in their approach to human affairs, we both hope that what you write will be connected to your other academic work and to the choices you make in other dimensions of your lives. Those of you who are considering majoring and minoring in RPH are required to keep a portfolio. Making this a requirement in every class means that those of you who have not yet decided whether to major or minor will have the portfolios on-line and accessible, making it very easy to declare a major or minor (see catalog for requirements).


Please note: Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Academic Services at 307-7332.

Last day to drop with no record of the course is January 28
 Last day to drop with a W is March 24   




      (Readings should be completed before the first date they are assigned.)

What is Professional Ethics?

      Jan. 14-16 I will be out of town the first two days of classes. Go to class to watch "The Corporation" -- the documentary will take up both class days.

Ethics and Business

      Jan. 21

      Read pp. 1-37 in Velasquez

      Jan. 23 Read pp. 45-71 in Velasquez
      Jan. 28 Discussion of Slavery in the Chocolate Industry ( pp. 64-67)


Ethical Principles in Business

      Jan. 30

      Read pp. 73-105 in Velasquez

      Feb. 4-6 Read pp. 105-148
      Feb. 11 Discussion of Traidos Bank & Roche's Drug Trials in China ( pp. 143-145)

Feb. 11: First Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (log on to Educator after class on Feb. 6 to take the exam; students should study the terminology found in the glossaries and be prepared to discuss cases)

The Business System

      Feb. 13 Read pp. 149-172 in Velasquez
      Feb. 18 Read pp. 172-195 in Velasquez
      Feb. 20 Case Analysis/Presentation on "The GM Bailout" (pp. 190-193)

Ethics in the Marketplace

      Feb. 25 Read pp.197-215 in Velasquez
      Feb. 27 Read pp. 215-239 in Velasquez
      Mar. 4 Go over handout of ethical arguments for different market systems (this was distributed in class and the file "Economic Systems Chart" can be downloaded from Educator under the Course Materials link).
      Mar. 6 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Intel's 'Rebates' and Other Ways It 'Helped' Customers" (pp. 230-234)

Mar. 6: Second Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (log on to Educator to take the exam)

Ethics and the Environment

      Mar. 10-14 Spring Break
      Mar. 18 Read pp. 241-301 in Velasquez
      Mar. 20 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Gas or Grouse?" (pp. 297-301)

Mar. 22: Third Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)

Ethics of Consumer Production and Marketing

      Mar. 25 Read pp. 303-319 in Velasquez
      Mar. 27 Read pp. 319-343 in Velasquez
      Apr. 1 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Reducing Debts at Credit Solutions of America" (pp. 339-343)

Ethics of Job Discrimination

Apr. 13 Fourth Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)

The Individual in the Organization

      Apr. 15 Go over requirements for and questions about final papers
      Apr. 17 Read pp. 399-421 in Velasquez
        April 18-21 is Easter Holiday
      Apr. 22 Read pp. 421-457
      Apr. 24 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Death at Massey Energy Company" (pp. 450-455)

Apr. 26: Fifth Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)

      April 29, May 1, and Final Exam Date: Each student will be assigned a time to teach their SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY presentation.


        © 2012-2014 Paul Custodio Bube