OBE 117 | Syllabus

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Fall 2001                                                                                           Professor Jerry D. Estenson


College of Business Administration


OBE 117 - Business and Society

Monday and Wednesday 12:00 - 1:15PM


OFFICE:                            Tahoe – 2048
OFFICE HOURS:               Monday 10:30 - 11:30 AM and 3:00 - 4:00PM

                                          Wednesday 10:30 - 11:30AM
OFFICE PHONE                Good Choice:  278-6781 (CSUS) 
EMAIL:                               CSUS Office 278-6781 (Phone and Fax)

                                          Personal Voice Mail 557-5738

                                          Personal Fax: 967-6410

                                          University Email estenson@csus.edu

                                          Private Email jestenso@ns.net

WEBSITE:                          www.csus.edu/indiv/e/estenson

Basic Text:

Donaldson, Thomas & Werhane, Patricia. (1999) Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach 6th Edition. Englewood Cliff: Prentice Hall.

Additional articles, models, and extracts maybe provided during the course.




The dividing line between the public and private good is becoming increasingly distinct. There are questions being raised regarding the viability of the American experiment with Democracy. The plans of the Great Society are being dismantled. The concepts of job and loyalty are being reshaped thus creating a major reconstruction of relationships between individuals and the organizations. There are also questions being raised about America’s ability to compete in the global market place. It is within this context that we will set about to make sense of: social concerns about business activities; corporate, government, and individual responsibilities; decision making by public and private leaders; property rights, and individual rights. These issues will be explored from the perspective of the individual, business, other organizations, a society, and the world community. This journey will assist you in developing an understanding of the environment in which business goes about conducting its affairs. By course end you will:

Have searched for the meaning of: Morality, Ethics, Truth, Leadership, Community, Progress, Humanity, Justice, Liberty, Dignity, Ethical Relativism, and Profit within the context of capitalistic society.


Understand how a free society responds to the policies and practices of businesses.


Analyze the effects of government policy on the operation of a business.


Have been exposed to the thinking of both classic and contemporary thinkers writing on the subjects of morality, ethics, economics, and capitalism.

There are multiple objectives for this course, central of which is to help you develop an understanding of your role as citizen, student, client, customer, worker, manager, or executive in a public, private, or not-for-profit organization. Your new understanding should include: an appreciation of the complexity of the issues facing executives who must make decisions. This perspective will provide a view of the ramifications of the decisions made by private and public sector executives and public policy makers. Last you will have several opportunities to present your analysis and perspective on very difficult and sensitive issues. Through the process of research, reflection, discussion, and experimentation, you will be better equipped to participate in a society undergoing major changes.




Class Participation and Case Presentation

The foundation of this course is class discussion. Through an on going dialogue between students and with the instructor an atmosphere of mutual learning, creativity, and revitalization can take place. The questions raised in this type of course have no easy answers and therefore simulate new thinking. For this type of learning experience to work it is imperative that you come to class having read the material, analyzed the case, and thought about the subject matter. To reward this effort fifteen percent of your graded will be based on your preparation for and involvement in the class.


Each week you will be evaluated on class participation and the level of your involvement will be basis for point assignment. To maximize points you should be CONSISTENTLY informed participant. The OCCASIONALLY informed participation will receive less points while the NON PARTICIPATION or those engaging in SEMICOHERENT rambling receive no points. Those who miss more than three class will loose 10 points per class miss after the three class grace period.


Case Analysis

Prepare your case analysis individually using the format discussed in class. As the course progresses the level of analysis for each case will become more complex and the models used for analysis will also become more intricate. The written portion of the case should be no more than two double spaced pages in length. If you use quantitative analysis in your section three it can be attached as an addendum. Your written case will be maintained in a course case book. Cases will be turned in each week on Wednesday. If you submit a case late you will loose 10% of the value of the case for each class after the due date.


Each week we will discuss assigned cases. You will be called on, at random, to present your analysis of the case. Your preparation and participation will be graded using the following factors: articulation of your position, listening ability, ability to relate outside experience to the issues being discussed, ability to provoke discussion, outside research brought to class, focus on topic under discussion, and depth of though on the subjects. The combination of your presentation in class and the written content of your case analysis shall be the basis for assignment points.


Written Issue Brief

You will be scan the current global environment to determine an emerging issue management must pay attention in order to be competitive. After you have found the issue you will prepare a analytical double spaced typed paper no longer than ten pages in length. The paper will rely on your research and will be presented in manner set forth by the instructor.


Your brief will be presented to class during the last week of the semester. The written brief will be graded on content (your thinking about the subject), depth (the amount of research used to support your position), appearance (tightly written, type free, syntax well constructed), and the linkage to theory and models discussed in class or found during research to your concept. Papers are due on the date set forth in the Class Schedule. Paper will marked down ten percent of total possible value for each class period after due date.


This paper can be prepared by a team of no more than five individuals. Each team member will receive the same score of the project. The instructor will not act as arbiter of effort and rewards.



The first week of class you will receive a list of terms, the understanding of which are critical to the exploration of the role of business in a society. You will take each term and find a technical definition. The source of your definition can be from the assigned texts, the dictionary of philosophy, or the writings of recognized experts in the field. You must provide the source of your definitions. In addition you will add you own working definition of terms. This assignment will be done by teams. The team will consist of no more than five individuals. The instructor will assist the team in resolving internal tension.



The following is offered to assist you in preparing documents in a manner which will receive maximum attention from the reader:

  1. Staple all unbound papers of more than one page in the left corner.
  2. Include your name, paper title, course title, section number, word count and date on a cover sheet. This is necessary for case studies and issues brief.
  3. For your case book use an inexpensive paper three (3) ring binder. Make sure your name, course title, and section number are on the cover.
  4. Type all papers on high quality paper.
  5. Use a left justification on all papers.
  6. Use an APA style guide for format and citation.
  7. Carefully cite all outside resources. Plagiarism is a serious offense and where identified will result in an F grade.
  8. Turn in all assignment on due date.
  9. Keep a file copy of ALL paper turned in.
  10. Use 12 Point fonts on all papers.




Three Schedule Exams(100 points per exam) 300 Points

One Issue Brief 150 Points

80% written 20% Oral Class Presentations of Case Studie

s (10 cases, 35 points per case)

350 Points

Glossary of Terms

100 Points
Class Participation 100 Points
TOTAL 1,000 Points




A = 1,000-940 C+ = 799-780
A- = 939-900 C = 779-740
B+ = 899-880 C- = 739-700
B = 879-840 D+ = 699-680
B- = 839-800 D = 679-640




27 August 2001

Class Overview Introduction of Topics and Goals for the Class Introduction to Ethical Reasoning Donaldson and Werhane pp. 1 - 12

ASSIGNMENT: Get Books and Show up. Read Text pages 1 - 20 Work on glossary of Terms
Case Study Tips


3 September 2001

Introduction to Ethical Reasoning Sen 12 - 20

ASSIGNMENT: Prepare Individual Glossary of Terms


10 September 2001


Truth Telling Kant pp. 27 - 32 Carr pp. 33 - 38 Betz pp. 39 - 42 Crampton & Dees pp. 43 - 62

ASSIGNMENT: Case: Italian Tax Mores pp. 25 - 26 Glossary of Terms Due Wednesday


17 September 2001

Virtues and Virtuous Mangers Solomon pp. 81 - 92 Jackall pp. 93 - 110

ASSIGNMENT Case: Run, Inc. pp. 63 - 80


24 September 2001

PROPERTY, PROFIT AND JUSTICE Traditional Theories of Property and Profit Locke pp. 128 - 132 Marx pp. 133 -137 Carnegie pp. 142 - 147 Donaldson pp. 131 - 177

ASSIGNMENT Cases: Plasma International pp. 119 EXAM ONE - Wednesday (Page 1 - 177)


1 October 2001

Property and Profit (Modern) Friedman pp. 154 - 158 Frank pp. 159 - 174 Bird & Waters pp. 175 -188

ASSIGNMENT Case: Merck pp. 148 - 153


8 October 2001

Justice Rawls pp. 190 - 199 Nozick pp. 200 - 206 Walzer pp. 207- 225 Donaldson pp. 222 - 250

ASSIGNMENT Case: The Oil Rig pp. 189


15 October 2001

CORPORATIONS, PERSON, AND MORALITY The Moral Responsibility of Corporations Freeman pp. 234 - 246 Goodpaster 257 - 270 Dalton, Metzger, Hill pp. 271 - 277 McCoy pp. 278 - 284

ASSIGNMENT Case: H. B. Fuller pp. 234 - 245


22 October 2001

Employee Rights Bok pp. 297 - 303 Werhane & Radin pp. 304 - 313 Epstein pp. 314 - 322 Kanter pp. 323 - 324

ASSIGNMENT Case: The Air Brake Scandal pp. 285 - 296


29 October 2001

Diversity Schwartz. Pp. 340 - 350 McIntosh pp. 351 - 359 Dodds, Frost, Pargetter, & Prior pp. 360 - 372 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Ethical Relativism Bowie. pp. 380 - 384 United Nations pp. 385 - 388



5 November 2001

Business Values Away From Home De George pp. 418- 430 Donaldson pp. 431 - 441

ASSIGNMENT Cases: Levi Strauss pp. 392 -417


12 November 2001

Marketing Crisp pp. 448- 455 Lysonski, Singer, & Kayes pp. 456-465 Brenkert pp. 466 - 478

ASSIGNMENT Case: Joe Camel pp. 446- 447


19 November 2001

Strategy Peter Senge pp. 497 - 518 Newton pp. 519 - 525 Paine pp. 526 - 538

ASSIGNMENT Case: Sears pp. 479- 496


26 November 2001

Environment Simon pp. 565- 573 Partridge pp. 574- 591 Hellman pp. 592 - 594 Kelman pp. 595 - 602

ASSIGNMENT Case: Shell and Nigerian Oil pp. 539- 564


3 December 2001

Your View of the Future

ASSIGNMENT Present Issue Briefs


Friday December 14 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM



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