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Sample ECON 240 Syllabus



Economics 240 – Fall 2009

Tom Will


Office:             Buttrick G-29b

e-mail:             twill@agnesscott.edu

Office Phone: X5485

Office Hours:  Tuesday 3:20 – 4:00; Wednesday 1:00 – 2:00; or by appointment

Class Times:    TTH 11:00-12:15, Buttrick G-26


Course Description:

This course is designed to investigate the broad spectrum of business ethics issues that managers face today and will face in the future. Today’s managers are confronted with exceedingly difficult challenges in balancing their economic, legal, and ethical responsibilities to the variety of stakeholder groups with which they interact. Different positions regarding the notion of business responsibility towards society are examined, and the nature of such responsibility is investigated. This course addresses these challenges from both an individual and a managerial perspective. Attention is also given to the impact of corporate ethical orientation on economic and financial performance. 



§      Carroll, Archie & Buchholtz, Ann. Business & Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management (7th edition), South-Western Cengage Publishing.


Assignments & Grading:

            Exam 1                                                                                    27%

            Exam 2                                                                                    27%

            Exam 3                                                                                    27%

            Quizzes (3% each)                                                                    9%

            Participation in class discussions                                               10%


Assignments & Grading Breakdown:


Exams: The three exams will cover any and all material discussed in class or contained in readings. Each exam is weighted equally, and the latter two are not cumulative. Exams will be approximately 60% multiple choice and 40% short essays. In the past, each exam has consisted of 20 multiple choice questions weighted 3 points each (for 60%), and 2 essay answers (you choose from three essay questions) weighted 20 points each (for 40%).

My advice on how to succeed on the exams: I write my exams based on what happens in class. If a term or a topic is not mentioned or discussed in class, it will not appear on the exam. Thus, your classroom engagement is critical to succeeding in this course. At the same time, the readings matter as well. The textbook is my blueprint in structuring my lectures and our classroom discussions. I will add material, examples, exercises, and points of view where I deem appropriate, but I will never stray terribly far from the text’s roadmap. Your best tactical approach to success in this course is to read the chapters prior to the day we discuss them in class—I am confident that this will help you understand the significance, relevance, and context of what occurs in class, and will greatly aid your retention of what is said in class. 


Quizzes: Brief five-minute quizzes will be randomly administered to provide an incentive for students to keep up with the readings. Quizzes will be given during the first five minutes of class. A total of four (4) quizzes will be given during the semester, three (3) of which will count toward your final course grade. You will be allowed to drop your lowest quiz grade.


These quizzes are not designed to be tricky or terribly difficult. Rather, they are designed merely to monitor, provide an incentive for, and reward reading. It is my intent that if you have given the chapter an honest and reasonably thorough reading, you will do reasonably well on the quizzes even if you do not ‘study’.


If you arrive at class after a quiz has been handed out to the other students, you will not be administered that quiz—period and end of story. Arrive on time, and this will not be an issue for you.


Participation: Students are expected to complete readings prior to the day for which they are assigned. The success of this course depends upon—and the small size of the class invites—your active engagement in class discussions. Accordingly, each student will earn a participation grade. I base my assessment of participation on both the quality and the quantity of comments you make. It is not sufficient to just show up and be a passive recipient of information. If you attend every class but never make a comment or raise a pertinent question, your participation grade will not exceed 50%. It goes up from there, with roughly one solid comment/question per week earning you approximately 80-85%, and several solid comments/questions per week earning a 90-100%.


Attendance and Lateness: Attendance is expected and assumed. However, where attendance is a problem, deductions in final grades will ensue. Should life exigencies necessitate more than one or two absences, please do discuss your situation with me. Otherwise, deductions associated with absences are enumerated below.

If you are 5 or more minutes late to class, you will be counted as absent. This is non-negotiable, so be very aware of it up-front. When you stroll into class late, you interrupt your classmates who were on time. It is discourteous, unprofessional, and I will not tolerate it.


4 absences or less: no official deduction (although the more you’re present, the more you

can participate)

            5 absences: 3% deduction from final grade

            6 absences: 7% deduction from final grade  

7 absences: 12% deduction from final grade

8 absences or more: 20% deduction from final grade


Agnes Scott College seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, please contact Machamma Quinichett in the Office of Academic Advising (X6150) to make complete the registration process. Once registered, please contact me so we can discuss the specific accommodations needed for this course.


Syllabus Caveat: The course syllabus provides a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary. If changes to the syllabus or course expectations are considered necessary or appropriate, the change will be announced in class and posted on blackboard.  Students are responsible for all announcements made in class or posted on blackboard.


Course Evaluations: Agnes Scott has moved to an online course evaluation system. Near the end of the semester you will be notified by e- mail and provided with a link to follow to complete the evaluations on line outside of class. I want you to know that your feedback on the course is extremely valuable to me, the department, and the administration. I take your comments very seriously and use them to improve the course the next time I teach it. Please do fill out a course evaluation when you receive the e-mailed link at the end of the semester. Thanks!





Th        8/27     Course Description and Introduction


T          9/1       Ch. 1: The Business & Society Relationship

Th        9/3       Ch. 2: Corporate Citizenship: Social Responsibility, Responsiveness, Performance


T          9/8       Case 1 – Wal-Mart: The Main Street Merchant of Doom

Th        9/10     Ch. 3: The Stakeholder Approach


T          9/15     Cases 2, 3, 4 (all are “The Body Shop” cases)

Th        9/17     Ch. 7: Business Ethics Fundamentals

T          9/22     Article (linked on Moodle): Anand, Ashforth, & Joshi, 2005, “Business as

Usual: The Acceptance and Perpetuation of Corruption in Organizations,” Academy of Management Executive, Vol 18, no. 3., pgs 9-23.

Th        9/24     Ch. 8: Personal & Organizational Ethics


T          9/29     Case 13 – Does Cheating in Golf Predict Cheating in Business?

Th        10/1     Exam I


T          10/6     Ch. 9:  Business Ethics & technology

Th        10/8     Case 19 – Toxic Tacos: The Case of Genetically Modified Food


T          10/13   Ch. 10:            Ethical Issues in the Global Arena

Th        10/15   Fall Break Enjoy!   


T          10/20   Ch. 11: Business, Government, & Regulation; Case 26 – The Ethics of Earmarks

Th        10/22   Ch. 13: Consumers: Information Issues & Responses


T          10/27   Ch. 14: Consumers: Product & Service Issues

Th        10/29   Case 31 – McDonald’s: The Coffee Spill Heard ‘Round the World


T          11/3     Exam II

Th        11/5     Ch. 15: The Natural Environment as Stakeholder


T          11/10   Ch. 17: Employee Stakeholders & Workplace Issues

Th        11/12   Ch. 18: Employees: Privacy, Safety & Health


T          11/17   Case 38 – Wal-Mart & its Associates: Efficient or Neglectful Employer?

Th        11/19   Ch. 19: Employment Discrimination and Affirmative Action


T          11/24   Case 44 – Is Hiring on the Basis of “Looks” Unfair or Discriminatory?

Th        11/26   Thanksgiving


T          12/1     Ch. 4: Corporate Governance: Foundational Issues

Th        12/3     Ch. 4 continued; course wrap-up 


Thursday – Tuesday December 10 – 15:    Exam III (this exam is not cumulative)