PHIL 337 (Business Ethics) is a three-credit, senior level, applied ethics course that focuses on the ethics of enterprise, exchange, corporate responsibility, work, consumption, and trade. This course has no prerequisites and is not available for challenge. For more information on Athabasca University’s philosophy courses, visit their philosophy home page.
Business Ethics is made up of eight units, but the only assignments are one short essay worth thirty percent, one long essay weighing thirty percent, and a final examination worth forty percent. The eight units within this course cover a lot of concepts of business ethics, such as hiring, firing, corporate responsibility in society, the ethics of leadership, globalization of business, utilitarianism, and the ethics of advertising and consumer desire. Students will learn what truly constitutes as good business and what responsible critique of business practice looks like. To receive credit for this course, students must achieve a minimum composite course grade of at least a “D” or fifty percent.
Shannon Steinke is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Management program at Athabasca University with a major in Human Resources and is halfway through her second year of studies. She introduces herself, stating “I originally enrolled in AU for a Bachelor of Arts in 2007. I worked on that for a while but let it lapse when I joined the military in 2009. After hearing about some of the educational opportunities the military offers, I decided to get back to my studies. I switched to the Bachelor of Management program in 2016.”
When asked to explain the structure of PHIL 337, Shannon states “The course has two assignments and a final exam. One assignment is short essays and the other is a long critical essay, about 2000 words each. The readings for this course a fairly short, but discussion with your tutor is almost necessary as the idea is to critically evaluate the readings. The skills learned in PHIL 252 (Critical Thinking) can be useful in completing these assignments. The final examination is essay style.”
For more information on PHIL 252, read my Critical Thinking Course Exam article.
As for enjoying the course, Shannon explains that “The course is very interesting. It addresses the ethics of common business issues such as advertising. I personally find it a bit of a mind bender, but abstract thinking is not necessarily my strong suit.”
Shannon would recommend PHIL 337 even though she found it difficult. She states “I think it is interesting and addresses common issues that you see every day in the world around you.”
As for any tips or tricks to completing this course, Shannon explains that “The most useful thing would be to talk to your tutor after each unit. The course is based on applying different ethical principles to essays. There are often no ‘right’ answers so discussion is useful to make sure you’re on the right track and to help you understand the concepts.”
When asked how discussions with her tutor was for this course, she explains that “Communication with my tutor has been great. He answers my email withing a couple of days and he gave me a huge amount of feedback on my first assignment.”
Whether PHIL 337 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or the topics mentioned above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning a lot of interesting material surrounding the topic of business ethics.