SM9650 - Business Ethics for International Management

What will I learn on this module?

You will develop an understanding of moral philosophy and be able to apply these intellectual frameworks in the context of various contemporary issues in international business. In doing so, you will be able to identify the taken for granted assumptions and logics which shape practices in international business and critically evaluate their veracity. This will enable you to better apply you own independent critical thought in situations where conflicts arise and therefore require a degree of negotiation, for example in issues such as executive pay, philanthropy, workplace rights, climate change, privacy or modern slavery.

Whether developing organisational policy, representing the organisation in the media or making agreements with a range of multinational organisational stakeholders, you will be required to anticipate and plan for objections and to identify weaknesses and contradictions in your own arguments, thereby enabling you to better manage ethical conflict at work. .

How will I learn on this module?

This module will require both serious thinking and serious talking, in a research rich intellectual environment. Lectures on key topics will supplement weekly required readings and their subject matter will be put to use in seminars which will focus on specific issues and events in international business. The module design is informed by an understanding of ethical education as being developmental; it is not a pick and mix, hence the order in which material is presented is important for your learning. The module is structured in four distinct themes, the second and subsequent of which draw from and builds upon earlier material. Because of this, attendance is absolutely critical to the achievement of your learning outcomes. The summative assessment is a 3000 word, multiple choice assignment on a specific ethical issue in international business. You will use the structural, conceptual and theoretical material considered during the module in doing this and the assignment thereby provides a significant opportunity for enhancing your learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning is supported by a Teaching and Learning Plan that includes directed learning and outlines the content of weekly lectures and seminars. All readings and other supporting materials are provided through the Blackboard E-Learning portal and tutors will engage with you through the discussion board in addition to weekly lectures and seminars. This module will require a significant amount of [guided] independent learning which will develop greater understanding of theory which will be of relevance to the focus of your assignment. The rationale for offering a choice of assignment topic is so to allow the student to engage deeply with one specific area of the syllabus. The weekly readings will be supplemented by guidance on further reading on each topic, which will facilitate this.

Tutors will provide ongoing formative feedback in seminars, especially in relation to your understanding of conceptual and theoretical material. Seminars will require you to engage in ethical debate which may become animated and expose significant differences in ethical commitments between participants. The role of the tutor in this context is to encourage understanding of both the presuppositions that inform such disputes and empirical evidence relevant to them. Tutors will not enter the disputes or encourage any particular view.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Demonstrate an understanding of ethical concepts and theories in the context of international business (MLO1).

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• Be able to identify presuppositions in ethical claims and evaluations (MLO2).

• Ability to anticipate the principal arguments and issues that are prevalent in different international business contexts (MLO3)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• A demonstrable commitment to moral coherence and accountability for decisions and stances (MLO4).
• An appreciation of the diverse and complex nature of decision making in international business (MLO5).

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will be in the form of a 3000 word essay (weighted at 100% of your overall mark). The student will select from one of 3 prescribed questions. Each question will be based in on a dimension, or intellectual approach, to business ethics. Each question will incorporate an applied contemporary issue to analyses. All MLOs will be addresses in this assessment.

The objective is for the student to effectively synthesis the intellectual content within an applied context and thereby analyse their own normative presuppositions, values and virtues; enabling them to better reflect upon the coherence of their own moral agency.

Formative assessment will occur within the context of seminars in a dialogical form i.e. tutors will question students’ theses, arguments, use of evidence, presuppositions and interpretations in order to test their coherence and boundaries.





Module abstract

Ethical dilemmas are everywhere in international businesses, particularly in emerging economies which tend to have less well-developed
laws, regulations and codes of conduct. This module will enable you to better understand: ‘What is right and wrong in the context of
international business?’ and in doing so develop your sense of our own moral agency.

By learning to identify and anticipate presuppositions, theses, arguments, use of evidence and interpretations involved in ethical dialogue, you
will be better able to participate in it. You’ll also be better equipped to analyse the coherence of your own moral and business commitments.
The module is research-rich in its use of classic approaches to ethics in the context of contemporary debates, and is supported by a
comprehensive electronic learning platform. Designed by a world top 50 university for business ethics, it enhances your ability to engage in
policy level debate as well as your employability.

Course info

UCAS Code N180

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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