BMO-54306 Business & Innovation Ethics


Credits 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. V Blok
Lecturer(s)dr. V Blok
Examiner(s)dr. V Blok

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Bachelor degree in the social sciences.


The economic crisis has revealed that ' respected' business models like risky investments and lending practices are not as ethical as we thought, while corporate scandals like Enron in the US and Royal Ahold in Europe clearly showed that the ethical behaviour of companies is questionable. Whereas the public trust in business leaders was already low in Northern Europe (36% in 2009), it declined significantly in the US after the banking crisis (38% in 2009) (Edelman 2009). Most thoughtful people acknowledge nowadays that we are in need of more ethical behaviour in business. Actually, many companies are nowadays emphasising their responsibility - not only in avoiding fraud or injustice, but also in promoting quality of life and sustainable use of resources in the societies they operate in.
The main question for business professionals nowadays is how ethics can be integrated in decision-making processes in business life. To prepare future entrepreneurs and business professionals in management, marketing, finance and economics for the ethical issues in these fields, this course on business and innovation ethics is developed. In order to prepare students for ethical decision making in their future career, students do not only learn about the ethical values and principles that operate in business during this course, but also how to reflect and evaluate complex ethical issues and how to make ethical decisions. Recent research on 6 specific topics will be discussed:
- Personal and Corporate values and responses to ethical issues in business and innovation: corporate social responsibility;
- Philosophical foundations and (limits to) legitimacy of Corporate Social Responsibility;
- Ethical decision making in the professional context;
- Tools and techniques of business ethics management;
- Ethical issues in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR);
- Responsible Innovation and Innovation ethics.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- define values and Explain personal responses to ethical issues in business and innovation, and the factors influencing these responses;
- analyse and apply theoretical models of CSR, License to Operate and Social Contract;
- analyse and apply theoretical models of organizational justice;
- reflect on the complexity of responsibility in the context of business practices [zie ten bos 11];
- describe the ethical decision making process and apply decision making models to ethical issues;
- understand and explain managerial roles and other drivers/barriers in ethical decision making;
- understand and apply tools and techniques of business ethics management;
- reflect on the role and limitations of standards, audits and reports in CSR practices;
- describe and explain different (alternative) models of IPR;
- reflect on ethical issues in IPR;
- define and explain theoretical models of responsible innovation and innovation ethics;
- analyse ethical issues in corporate innovation processes and apply strategies to enhance responsible innovation.


- literature study;
- lectures;
- paper assignment;
- case studies


- written exam (50%);
- individual paper (50%).
Both components require a minimum mark of 5.50 to pass the course.


To be announced.