Module description: International Business Ethics I

Name of Module

International Business Ethics I

Credit points

5 ECTS credits


Lecture (2 hours/week) and Tutorial (1 hour/week): 5 ECTS

Mandatory assistance



Module Coordinator

Prof. Dr. Matthias S. Fifka


After the corporate scandals at the beginning of the new millennium and the recent financial crisis, the call for an ethical management of businesses, especially multinational corporations, has increased dramatically.

In this course, we will look at the broad area of business ethics. As a theoretical foundation, ethical theories will be considered and concepts like sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and corporate citizenship will be analyzed.

Moreover, in the age of globalization, business increasingly takes place in an environment, where political and cultural boundaries that challenge corporate values are constantly crossed. Businesses are constantly confronted with issues such as environmental depletion, poverty, child labor, bribery and corruption, ethnic and religious discrimination, censorship and privacy issues, fair trade and consumer boycotts, just to mention a few.

Thus, we will address, e.g., the challenges that organizations are confronted with when trying to do business ethically, what it takes to be a good corporate citizen, and how companies can deal with stakeholder demands.

Learning objectives and skills

In this lecture, students…

  • acquire basic knowledge on ethics and business ethics;
  • understand important ethical theories and apply them to practical examples;
  • understand important concepts such as corporate social responsibility and sustainability;
  • learn how to address the challenges that organizations are confronted with when trying to do business ethically;
  • critically reflect what it takes to be a good corporate citizen
  • develop strategies to deal with stakeholder demands
  • learn how to implement corporate governance in an organization



Integration in curriculum

Second semester (summer term)

Module compatibility

  • Master program “Development Economics and International Studies”: Compulsory module
  • Master program “Middle Eastern Studies”: Minor subject Economics

Method of examination

Written exam (60 minutes)

Grading procedure

Written exam (100 %)

Module frequency

Every summer semester

Resit examinations

Failed exams can be retaken twice


  • Attendance: 45 hours
  • Self-study: 105 hours


1 semester

Teaching and examination language


Recommended Reading

  • Austin, J.; Stevenson, H. & Wei- Skillern, J. (2006) “Social and commercial entrepreneurship: same, different, or both?” Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, 30 (1): 1-22.
  • Enderle, G. (2000) “Business Ethics in the Intercultural and Global Context: A conceptual framework”, Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik / Journal for Business, Economics & Ethics, 1(3): 263-285.
  • Fifka, M. & Loza Adaui, C. (2015) “Managing stakeholders for the sake of business and society”, in O’Riordan, L.; Zmuda, P. & Heinemann, S. (Eds.) New Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility. Locating the Missing Link, Springer Gabler: Wiesbaden, pp. 71-88.
  • Friedman, M. (1970) “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.” The New York Times Magazine.
  • Garriga, E. and Melé, D. (2004) “Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory”, Journal of Business Ethics, 53: 51-71
  • Grant, C. (1991) “Friedman fallacies”, Journal of Business Ethics, 10: 907-914.
  • Trevino, L.K. and Brown, M.E. (2004) “Managing to be Ethical: Debunking Five Business Ethics Myths”, Academy of Management Executive, 18 (2): 69-81.

Case Studies

  • Bigus, P. (2012) “Greenpeace’s Unfriend Coal Campaign and Facebook”, Richard Ivey School of Business.
  • Bodrock, P. (2005) “The Shakedown”, Harvard Business Review
  • Crane A. & Matten, D. (2010) Producing Toy’s – Child’s Play? In Crane A. & Matten, D. “Business ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization”, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 99.
  • Eccles, R.G.; Serafeim, G. & Andrews, P. (2013) “Mandatory environmental, social, and governance disclosure in the European Union”, Harvard Business School.

Last modified

October 2017