Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

In the Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (BE) stream, students take up three fundamental questions:

  • The first of these explores what types of BE program corporations have and why they have developed such programs (e.g., stakeholder pressure, niche markets, regulatory pressure, etc.). Students explore this question not only at at the level of individual firms, but also with regard to different economic sectors and national contexts.  A key part of this analysis entails the interplay between corporations and civil society movements (e.g., environmental NGOs, worker rights NGOs, fair trade movements, etc.) which seek to influence the behaviour of corporations with respect to environmental sustainability, labour and human rights, local development aspirations, etc. In this way students are able to investigate how the BE program functions in relationship to the larger national and global political economy.
  • The second question that students explore in this field relates to how we evaluate corporate behaviour in general and the BE program in particular. This involves the development of ethical standards (and democratic principles) for evaluating corporate behaviour and the application of such standards in complex circumstances.
  • The third question that students examine in this field is the actual impact of the BE program and, more specifically, what can be done to promote greater corporate responsibility.Again, such analysis occurs not only at the level of individual firms, but also examines sectoral, national and international initiatives. Such initiatives can be led by any of several different actors, including corporations themselves, NGOs, local communities and international organizations.
  • Six credits chosen from:
    • AP/SOSC 2571 9.00,
    • AP/PHIL 2070 3.00, AP/PHIL 2060 3.00,
    • AP/PHIL 2075 3.00, AP/PHIL 3020 3.00,
    • AP/PHIL 3110 3.00, or AP/PHIL 3510 3.00;
  • AP/SOSC 3040 6.00;

Note: Successful completion of SOSC 2340 (SOSC 2349) is a prerequisite for enrolling in SOSC 3040.

For the Honours program:

AP/SOSC 4044 6.00.

Note: Successful completion of SOSC 2340 (SOSC 2349) is a prerequisite for enrolling in SOSC 4044.