HR9694 - Ethics in Business

What will I learn on this module?

After undertaking this module, you will be able to identify the normative presuppositions involved in ethical dialogue and use this in your analysis of ethical issues. This will enable you to better understand conflicts over such issues as executive pay, prompt payment, workplace rights, privacy, positive discrimination and many others. When developing organisation policy, representing the organisation in the media, negotiating agreements and otherwise undertaking work with an ethical dimension, this will enable you to anticipate and plan for objections, to identify weaknesses and contradictions in your interlocutors’ arguments and your own and thereby enable you to better manage ethical conflict at work. Through this process you will also improve your internal ethical dialogue. Clarifying your own normative presuppositions, values and virtues and better understanding their implications and exclusions will enable you to reflect upon the coherence of your own moral agency.

How will I learn on this module?

This module will involve you engaging in serious thinking and discussion in a research rich intellectual environment. Lectures on key topics will supplement weekly necessary readings and their subject matter will be applied in seminars through debate, role-play, facilitated discussion and simulations making extensive use of online resources. We will make particular use of dramatic narratives that have focussed attention on ethical issues in the workplace by considering plays, novels and films that exemplify conceptual and theoretical material.

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 three distinct themes, the second and subsequent of which draw from and builds upon earlier material. For this reason, attendance at sessions and engagement with the necessary readings is absolutely critical to the achievement of your learning outcomes. For the summative assessment you will examine on a workplace ethical issue. 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?

Support will be provided to you by a member of academic staff who will facilitate your learning and support you through the led sessions whilst directing you to appropriate activities you should be engaging in during your independent study time. They are also available upon request to support you outside of formal session time by responding to questions or concerns that you might have either via email or via individually pre-arranged appointments and/or drop-in sessions.
Tutor-led, tutor-guided and learner-led activities are organised in groups of around 20 working in smaller teams. This approach provides a closer, more personal academic support.
Academic support is also provided through the provision of a range of University learning support services. A wide range of online support materials are also available thought the virtual learning environment. These materials include recordings also an electronic reading list.

To support you in your academic progress, you will receive both formative and summative feedback/feed-forward on your work through the course of the module. Regular formative feedback on class activities provides you with the necessary guidance to scaffold your knowledge and understanding of key issues to enable your success in the final summative assessment. Summative feedback/feed-forward will be provided on your work after it has been assessed and graded. You should use all feedback that you receive to identify areas of strength and areas for future study and improvement.

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:
MLO1 Demonstrate understanding of ethical concepts and theories in the context of business and management

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO2 Be able to identify presuppositions in ethical claims and evaluations
MLO3 Ability to anticipate the principal arguments and issues that will attend particular business contexts

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO4 A demonstrable commitment to moral coherence and accountability for decisions and stances

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Throughout the module you should actively participate in scheduled and self-directed activities and should engage in discussions, teamwork and feedback exercises to challenge your own thinking and that of your peers.

Face-to-face sessions will provide you with the opportunity to self-assess your knowledge and understanding through applying the different aspects/topics examined. You will work through small groups activities which will enable you to secure on-going feedback from your peers.

Summative Assessment:
The summative assessment for this module provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your learning in a context of your choice.

The assessment a 3000-word assignment.





Module abstract

Ethical judgments pervade business - whether praise for philanthropy, condemnation of environmental impact or debate about diversity. This module focuses on the underlying structures of such ethical dialogue – it enables us to better understand: ‘What is right and wrong in the context of business?’ 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 will also be better able to analyse the coherence of your own moral and organisational 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. It has been designed by a world top 50 university for business ethics and your participation will enhance your ability to engage in policy level debate and hence your employability

Course info

UCAS Code PN91

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Arts

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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