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Business Ethics: An Introduction to Ethics for Business Leaders

Identify the role that business ethics plays within a working environment with Dublin City University.

887 enrolled on this course

Business woman standing with her arms crossed in front of a glass paneled office.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Get an introduction to the study of business ethics within a working environment

This informative course will take you through the main themes and concepts of ethics within a business context.

You’ll study business ethics according to four main topics: What is ethics? What are the main ethical approaches? What is the perspective of the individual within an organisation? And what is the role of the leader and the relationship between business and society?

Discover the main ethical theories that can be applied to business

You’ll get an in-depth insight into what ethics is, and will explore the main ethical theories that can be applied to businesses and organisations.

You’ll then take the perspective of the individual within a business, and will explore what ‘responsibility’ means within a business context. You’ll then cover the main misbehaviours that can happen within a business and ways in which to avoid them.

Reflect on the ethical decision making process within a business environment

You’ll then take a look at the role of managers and leaders within a business organisation, and will reflect on different theories on what the purpose of a business is. You’ll gain an insight into the decision-making process of a business, and will challenge the perception of what a leader’s role is.

Finally, you’ll reflect on the relationship between a business and wider society. You’ll explore the relevance of cultural diversity for business ethics, and will then identify why the UN Sustainable Development Goals are important for a business.

Learn from ethics experts at the Dublin City University Business School

You’ll be studying throughout with Dr. Marta Rocchi, an Assistant Professor in Corporate Governance and Business ethics at the DCU Business School.


  • Week 1

    Philosophical Frameworks for Business Ethics

    • Welcome

      This activity provides you with two videos introducing you to the course and introducing you to what is in store for Topic 1. This activity also features a "Meet and Greet".

    • Introduction to Ethics

      This activity explores ethics in depth with insightful articles and discussion steps.

    • Ethical Theories

      This activity provides discussion and analysis on some of the key ethical theories.

    • Business Ethics: A Guide to Human Excellence in Business

      In this activity, we explore ethics in a business context. There is also a thought-provoking article on ethics and human excellence.

    • What have you learned?

      In this activity, we review and summarise our learning.

  • Week 2

    Individual Ethics in Business

    • Welcome

      This activity comprises an introduction to Topic 2 video and also introduces us to a discussion on dilemmas.

    • Responsibility in Business

      This activity explores in detail our responsibilities in business and also discusses the modifiers of responsibility. There is also an interesting exploration on Milgram's experiment.

    • Ethical issues in Business

      This activity explores some of the most common ethical issues that arise in business. There are a number of case studies explored in this activity.

    • What have you learned?

      This activity features a review article discussing what this Topic has explored and taught us as learners.

  • Week 3

    Managerial Ethics in Business and Leadership Theory

    • Welcome

      This activity features an introductory video to the topic and also explores the dilemmas of a team leader.

    • The Purpose of Business

      This activity explores the different theories on the purpose of business. We will explore topics such as Shareholder Approach, Stakeholder Approach, Creating Shared Value and Common Good Approach.

    • Ethics and Managerial Decision-making

      In this activity, we explore ethics and managerial decision-making. There is also a discussion on the "Holistic Approach," alongside an interesting case study for you to explore.

    • Leaders and their Virtues

      This activity explores leadership theories. There is also an opportunity to test your knowledge with a quiz step.

    • What have you learned?

      In this activity, we review and summarise our learning.

  • Week 4

    Sustainable Business and Cultural Diversity

    • Welcome

      This activity features a video introducing you to Topic 4 and also a discussion on what is Corporate Social Responsibility.

    • Corporate Social Responsibility and Citizenship

      This activity analyses Corporate Social Responsibility and Citizenship. At the end of this activity, there is an opportunity for you to explore a CSR report of a company of your choice.

    • Cultural Diversity, Business Ethics and International Standards for Business

      This activity explores different approaches to cultural diversity. There is also a discussion on if you were the Secretary General of the United Nations.

    • Sustainability and Business Ethics

      This activity explores what sustainability means for you as an individual and also looks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There is a chance to test your knowledge at the end of this activity with a quiz step.

    • What have you learned?

      In this activity, we review and reflect on the course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Define ethics and describe the main ethical theories applicable to business
  • Define what “responsibility” means in the business context
  • Identify the main misbehaviours in the context of business
  • Reflect on the purpose of business according to different approaches
  • Describe the decision-making process
  • Reflect on leadership and moral character
  • Reflect on the relationship between business and society
  • Describe what is cultural diversity and its relevance for business ethics
  • Explain what the Sustainable Development Goals are and why they are important for business

Who is the course for?

This course is suited to those who are wanting to see how ethics are an integral part of any business.

This could be students aged 16+ who are wanting to study business and management or business and ethics at university, as well as those who are already working and are wanting to understand more about the subject.

Who will you learn with?

Assistant Professor in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics, Dublin City University Business School

Who developed the course?

Dublin City University

Dublin City University is a young, dynamic and ambitious Irish university with a distinctive mission to transform lives and societies through education, research and innovation.

Endorsers and supporters

supported by

DCU Business School

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