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Ethics, business, and management


Over the past few years, ethics has taken on growing importance in management teaching. A big part of the reason for this can be found in the numerous financial scandals and dubious governance practices, not to mention outright corruption, involving large companies and the widespread media coverage they have attracted. However, the ethical dimension of companies and management cannot be reduced to this “spectacular” dimension, where the distinction between “right” and “wrong” is very obvious. Ethics also refers to that permanent morass within which we are forced to reflect on the appropriateness of our individual and collective actions, on whether they are just or unjust, on their intentional or unintentional consequences, and on the latitude of individuals – such as an executive or employee – and businesses to defend or emulate a specific conception of what counts as “ethical conduct.” In order to encourage such reflections and discussions in our courses, we propose a series of cases that can be classified according to three main themes: (1) cases that emphasize the ethical dimension of management practices and of “day-to-day” organizational life and that are mainly experienced at the individual level; (2) cases that, in contrast, explore the systemic aspect of ethical questions and are therefore broader in scope, extending to a whole industry, sector or economic system; and, finally (3) cases that delve into the multiple aspects of the auditing, governance or international finance practices that triggered the scandals mentioned above. Depending on what aspect of ethics you want to focus on in class, you’re sure to find the case you need here!


1. The ethical dimension of management practices and "day-to-day" organizational life 

    2. Ethics at the systemic rather than individual level

   3. Ethics, audits, governance and international finance



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