Business and Professional Ethics
RPH 350/ ECO 350
Fall 2015
Tue/Thur 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Paul Custodio Bube, Ph.D.
Office Hours: Lyon 321
MWF 10:00 a.m.-noon
TR 8:30-9:20 a.m.
or by appointment
Phone: 870-307-7351

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


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


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.  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.

Student Learning Outcomes:

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. 


Students need attend all classes, to complete reading assignments before class time on the day for which they are assigned, and to participate in class discussions. There will be five exams; at least one case analysis presentation (done with a partner), and 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.] The following chart lists the weighting of each area assessd:

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



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 lives, or in our social settings, 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.


Honor Code:

It is important for students to keep in mind that all graded work in this class is to be pledged in accordance with the Lyon College Honor Code. On electronic exams, there will be a place for students to click that they are pledging their work. On all other assignments, students should type or write "Pledged" on the assignment, followed by their name and student ID number. (For example, "Pledged, Harry Potter 7311980.")

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.  

Case Analyses/Presentations involve 2-4 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.

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).


Lyon College Policies:

ATTENDANCE: Page 119 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).

Title IX:  Lyon encourages anyone experiencing harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct to talk to Clarinda Foote, Title IX Coordinator, or Patrick Mulick, Dean of Students and Title IX Investigator, about what happened so they can get the support they need and Lyon can respond appropriately.  Lyon is legally obligated to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, and therefore we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of a report, unless made to a confidential resource (Chaplain, Counselor, or Nurse). As a faculty member, I am required to report possible Title IX violations and must provide our Title IX coordinator with all relevant details.  I cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality.

ADA: Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities must contact the Dean of the Faculty at (870) 307-7332. 


Last day to drop with no record of the course is August 31
 Last day to drop with a W is October 21   




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

What is Professional Ethics?

      Aug. 18 Review Syllabus
      Aug. 20 Watch part of documentary "The Corporation"

Ethics and Business

      Aug. 25

      Read pp. 1-37 in Velasquez

      Aug. 27 Read pp. 45-71 in Velasquez
      Sep. 1 Discussion of Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (pp. 64-67)


Ethical Principles in Business

      Sep. 3

      Read pp. 73-105 in Velasquez

      Sep. 8 Read pp. 105-148
      Sep. 10 Discussion of Traidos Bank & Roche's Drug Trials in China (pp. 143-145)

Sep. 12 First Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (The exam will be available in Educator after class on Sep. 10 to take the exam; students should study the terminology found in the glossaries and be prepared to discuss cases)


The Business System

      Sep. 15 Read pp. 149-172 in Velasquez
      Sep. 17 Read pp. 172-195 in Velasquez
      Sep. 22 Case Analysis/Presentation on "The GM Bailout" (pp. 190-193)

Ethics in the Marketplace

      Sep. 24 Read pp. 197-215 in Velasquez
      Sep. 29 Read pp. 215-239 in Velasquez
      Oct. 1 Go over handout of ethical arguments for different market systems (this will be distributed in class and the file "Economic Systems Chart" can be downloaded from Educator under the Course Materials link).
      Oct. 6 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Intel's 'Rebates' and Other Ways It 'Helped' Customers" (pp. 230-234)

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

Ethics and the Environment

      Oct. 8 & 15 Read pp. 241-301 in Velasquez (and possible handout)
      Oct. 12-13 Fall Break
      Oct. 15 Continue discussion of Environment
      Oct. 20 Service Day -- classes are dismissed so that students can participate
      Oct. 22 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Gas or Grouse?" (pp. 297-301)

Oct. 24: Third Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)

Ethics of Consumer Production and Marketing

      Oct. 27 Read pp. 303-319 in Velasquez
      Oct. 29 Read pp. 319-343 in Velasquez
      Nov. 5 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Reducing Debts at Credit Solutions of America" (pp. 339-343)

Ethics of Job Discrimination

Nov. 18: Fourth Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)

The Individual in the Organization

      Nov. 19 Read pp. 399-421 in Velasquez
      Nov. 24 Read pp. 421-457
      Nov. 25-29 Thanksgiving Break

      Dec. 1 Case Analysis/Presentation on "Death at Massey Energy Company" (pp. 450-455)

Dec 2:  Fifth Exam due by 11:59 p.m. (Log onto Educator to take the exam)


    Dec. 3 (class time) and Dec. 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m.   Each student will be assigned a time to teach their SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY presentation that will serve as their final.


      © 2012-2015 Paul Custodio Bube