Syllabus Summer 2019

San José State University

College of Humanities & the Arts/Philosophy Department

BUS3/PHIL 186 Professional & Business Ethics, Summer 2019

Course and Contact Information

Instructor: Lisa Bernasconi


Class Days/Time: Monday, July 8 to Friday, August 9, 2019

Prerequisites: Passage of the Writing Skills Test (WST) or ENGL/LLD 100A with a C or better (C- not accepted), completion of Core General Education and upper division standing are prerequisites to all SJSU studies courses. Completion of, or co-registration in, 100W is strongly recommended.

SJSU Studies Category: Area S: Self, Society & Equality in the U.S.

Course Format


Faculty Web Page and MYSJSU Messaging

Course materials such as syllabus, readings, notes, assignment instructions, etc. can be found on my faculty web page at   You are responsible for regularly checking with the messaging system through MySJSU at  Make sure that your email address is up to date with MySJSU.  This is the only email I will use to communicate with you.

Course Description

Interdisciplinary study of types of ethical problems which arise within the contexts of business occupations and professions. Major ethical theories, critique of economic and criminal justice. Focus is on issues of justice and equality in the U.S. Case studies.

GE Learning Outcomes (GELO)

GELO 1: Students will be able to describe how identities (i.e. religious, gender, ethnic, racial, class, sexual orientation, disability, and/or age) are shaped by cultural and societal influences within contexts of equality and inequality.

Course will include discussion of the expectations of workers vs. the reality of civil liberties in the workplace.

GELO 2: Students will be able to describe historical, social, political, and economic processes producing diversity, equality, and structured inequalities in the U.S.

Course will include discussion of the civil rights movement and the problems of working women before, during and after World War II

GELO 3: Students will be able to describe social actions which have led to greater equality and social justice in the U.S. (i.e. religious, gender, ethnic, racial, class, sexual orientation, disability, and/or age).

Course will include discussion of the labor movement in the U.S., as well as discussion of the concepts of protected classes under the law, affirmative action, and comparable worth

GELO 4: Students will be able to recognize and appreciate constructive interactions between people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic groups within the U.S.

Course will include discussion of cooperation of Pilipino-American and Mexican-American labor leaders in the struggle for farm worker rights.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLO)

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to recognize, analyze, and articulate solutions to ethical issues that arise in business. Specifically, you will be able to:

CLO 1. comprehend the major methods of ethical reasoning, apply these methods to specific business situations, and draw conclusions for action.

CLO 2. identify the major stakeholders of business and how they may be affected by ethical or unethical behavior.

CLO 3. demonstrate familiarity with various ethical issues that arise in business, such as insider trading, misuse of corporate resources, conflicts of interest, and sexual and racial harassment.

CLO 4. distinguish among societal, organizational, and individual-level causes of unethical behavior in business.

CLO 5. know how well-managed companies structure their ethics and compliance function.

Textbook (optional)

William H. Shaw & Vincent Barry, Moral Issues in Business, any of the last 4 editions

Course Requirements and Assignments

  • 2 short writing assignments per week
  • 1 interview paper
  • 4 film responses

“Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of 45 hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.”

Final Evaluation (The interview)

On Thursday, August 8, you will submit an interview/analysis assignment.

You will interview a working person about

  • the ethical issues that person faces at work or sees others face
  • how those issues are resolved
  • whether your subject believes the issue was handled fairly for all concerned

The interview description should be about one to two pages. Include an additional page showing how this issue relates to one of the topics from this semester.

Grading Information

  • The short writing assignments will be graded  to A (F=0, D=70, C=80, B=90, A=100).
  • The film responses will be graded from F to A (F=0, D=70, C=80, B=90, A=100).
  • The interview/final evaluation paper will be graded pass/fail.

Your grades will be determined by your demonstrated understanding of the concepts involved, the clarity of your arguments, and your attention to details of grammar and spelling.

Determination of Grades

A 95 to 100; A- 90 to 94; B+ 87 to 89; B 84 to 86; B- 80 to 83; C+ 77 to 79; C 74 to 76; C- 70 to 73; D 60 to 69; F 0 to 59

  • There will be no extra credit assigned
  • Late assignments will be accepted at the discretion of the instructor and may be subject to penalty.

 University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs’ Syllabus Information web page at”