2022-2023 / GEST3753-1

Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility


24h Th

Nombre de crédits

 Master en droit, à finalité (Droit économique et social, mineure gestion)4 crédits 
 Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en droit4 crédits 
 Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité4 crédits 
 Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité (Management des organisations et des systèmes en transition)4 crédits 
 Master en ingénieur de gestion, à finalité4 crédits 
 Cours supplémentaires destinés aux étudiants d'échange - Erasmus5 crédits 


Virginie Xhauflair

Langue(s) de l'unité d'enseignement

Langue anglaise

Organisation et évaluation

Enseignement au premier quadrimestre, examen en janvier


Horaire en ligne

Unités d'enseignement prérequises et corequises

Les unités prérequises ou corequises sont présentées au sein de chaque programme

Contenus de l'unité d'enseignement

Each day, news spotlights intolerable, deviant and unfair organizational behaviors. In response to numerous scandals and controversies, managers cannot ignore the « ethical phenomenon » anymore. Notions such as corporate social responsibility, conscious capitalism, shared value, etc. confirm this tendency. Business ethics management practices demonstrate the extent to which ethics is taken seriously by current managers. The implementation of particular management tools (certification, standardization, ethical codes, etc.) does remind us of the sometimes concrete and material embodiment of the ethical question. Finally, close examination of workers experiences and practices highlight how philosophical and political considerations are very often connected to technical ones.
The purpose of this course is to allow students to capture the fourfold nature (discursive, philosophical, organizational and political) of the ethical phenomenon. It is indeed crucial for each decision-maker to understand this complexity, grasp the role he/she is playing in this global world as well as the sociological dynamics which (s)he will experience. By paying attention to firms responsibilities, businesses regulations and decision-making practices, students will also learn how to deal with inescapable philosophical debates and assumptions.
Detailed course outline:

  • Introduction to the course 
  • Unit 1: Corporate Scandals, Ethical Turn and New Discourses - Ethics as a discursive phenomenon
  • Unit 2: Ethics, Ethical Theories & Worlds- Ethics as a Philosophical Phenomenon
  • Unit 3: Business Ethics Management - Ethics as an Organizational Equipment
  • Unit 4: Influence and Power in the Workplace - Ethics as a Political Engagement

Acquis d'apprentissage (objectifs d'apprentissage) de l'unité d'enseignement

From an analytical point of view, this course aims to

  • introduce students with core Business Ethics' concepts
  • capture the fourfold nature of the ethical phenomenon: discursive, philosophical, organizational and political
  • support students' ability to perceive and address the ethical nature of everyday business and social life
  • support the development of investigative, reflexive and analytical competencies
From a managerial point of view, this course aims to
  • shed new lights on decision-making and conflict-management
  • familiarize students withmulti-disciplinary thinking, especially regarding the ethical phenomenon
  • support students' ability to perceive and address the ethical nature of everyday business (and social) life
From a pedagogical point of view, this course aims to sensitize students with proactive and interactive teaching/learning methods
At the end of this course, students can expect to have developed problem-making, empirical research, ethical reasoning and debating skills.
Learning outcomes of the course:
This course contributes to the following Intended Learning Outcomes :
  • ILO-4 : To acquire the capacity to research autonomously and methodically the information needed to solve a complex, transversal management problem, 
  • ILO-5 : Integrate autonomously researched information, tools, knowledge and context to build and propose, either individually or as part of a team, original, creative and viable solutions to concrete complex management problems, whether real or simulated, taking into account, when necessary, the human, social and legal context.
  • ILO-7: Being capable of professional team work
  • ILO-9 : Developing a critical sense (arguing)
  • ILO-10 : Developing a transversal, global vision 
  • ILO-14: Faced with a management problem, suggesting solutions that are ethical and socially responsible and that respect the principles of good governance.

Savoirs et compétences prérequis

none required

Activités d'apprentissage prévues et méthodes d'enseignement

Due to the size of the group, this course will be taught through virtual means (e-learning sessions and online classes). 
The teaching of this course will rely on virtual lectures, required readings, and virtual cases discussions. In order to better anchor the BE & CSR issues within the daily business practices, we will also organize short virtual conferences with experts and practitioners, which students are strongly encouraged to attend. 

Mode d'enseignement (présentiel, à distance, hybride)

This course is delivered through virtual lectures (e-learning) as well as live online discussions of case studies. It is fully taught in English. 
During virtual cases sessions, students will have the opportunity to be confronted with concrete examples of controversial Business Ethics and CSR issues related to real companies and organizations. The participants will be divided in several groups to facilitate the cases discussions. Each group will choose the controversial case to be debated, through a voting procedure.
Attendance to the live online cases sessions is mandatory.

Lectures recommandées ou obligatoires et notes de cours

For units 1, 2 and 4, the course content is complemented by scientific articles. Such articles should be read and studied by students to take the written exam.

  • Articles related to Unit 1 (Discourses): Students should be able to define fundamental concepts (shareholder value, shared value, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development) as well as compare discourses with each other.
  • Article related to Unit 2 (Ethical Theories): Students should be able to define, make use and apply the content of the different "worlds" developed by the authors (Boltanski and Thévenot, 1999)
  • Article related to Unit 4 (Ethical Theories): Students should be able to define, make use and apply the content of the "influence theory" by the authors (Bourgeois and Nizet, 1995)

Modalités d'évaluation et critères

Examen(s) en session

Toutes sessions confondues

- En présentiel

évaluation écrite ( QCM, questions ouvertes )

Explications complémentaires:

Students will be evaluated based on one final written exam - multiple choice questions on theoritical content, and open questions on practical cases (100%); a penalty will be applied if students miss the mandatory virtual cases (-1 point on the final grade per unjustified absence)

The final exam will be organized online, on the ecampus platform provided by the ULiège.
The exam will last 3 hours, and will be composed of multiple choice questions, and open questions related to a case study which will be made available at the start of the exam. 




Remarques organisationnelles

Virtual lectures will be used to teach the course content. The videos will be available on the Lol@ platform. Students will be informed when new course content is availble on the platform. The pace of the course will depend on the group which the student belongs to. 
The course will start during the week of September 14, with the publication of an introductory video on Lol@. 
Students will be divided into groups for the 2 virtual cases sessions. The sessions are already scheduled, and students will be informed about their groups as soon as possible. 
More detailed information is provided in the pedagogical contract available on Lol@. 


Teacher: Virginie Xhauflair - v.xhauflair@uliege.be 
Teaching assistant: Mr Romain David - r.david@uliege.be 

Association d'un ou plusieurs MOOCs