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Unit outline_

IBUS6005: Ethical International Business Decisions

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

In order to succeed in international business, both corporations and individuals need broad decision-making abilities. Business decision-making tools yield more coherent and justifiable results when used with an understanding of the ethical, social and environmental aspects of the process. This applies to various situations in the international business setting including business relations with government, customers, employees, and NGOs. This unit is designed to look at these non-financial elements in the decisions made within the international business context. Upon completion of this unit, students will have enhanced skills and knowledge relevant to the understanding of ethical issues and ethical decisions making in international business organisations.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit International Business
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Julian James,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Written exam
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Assignment group assignment Team case studies
Case study
10% Multiple weeks 2 - 3 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Participation Class participation
Class participation in discussions and cases, attendance
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO2 LO1 LO6 LO5
Assignment Reflective journal 1
10% Week 06 800 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO1
Assignment News item analysis
Opinion piece
30% Week 09 1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO6 LO1 LO3
Assignment Reflective journal 2
10% Week 12 800 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO1 LO3
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Team case studies: In groups of 5, students will be presented with cases to be solved in a workshop session during the class or tutorial. Each case will have a set of questions with regards to the ethical challenges presented in the case. Teams will need to upload their responses at the end of the class. Case responses in week 4 and week 7 will be marked (these weeks may be subject to change).
  • Class participation: Ethical reasoning and decision-making needs practice in a diverse environment. Therefore, participation in class-discussions, quizzes, cases, etc. is a critical part of this unit. Students are expected to attend and participate in a minimum of 10 out of 12 classes.
  • Reflective journals 1 and 2: The reflections are critical statements that aim at integrating the student’s learning progress in this course (classes, readings, interactions with other students and associated experiences) and range from reflecting on personal ethical evolution to critically reflecting on specific international business problems
  • News item analysis: Based on a newspaper article provided in class, students will analyse the issues raised in the article. The article will be related to an actual topic of debate affecting the international business community. Students are to research the issue and write a short opinion piece on the ethical issue(s) presented in (or related to issues raised in) the article. Students are required to address the issue(s) from multiple perspectives to present a convincing point-of-view.
  • Final exam: The final exam is designed to test the students' in-depth understanding and ability to apply all unit content to real cases.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Standard late penalties apply

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction - Foundations of Business Ethics Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6
Week 02 The ethical challenges of International Business Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 03 Schools of thought: consequentialism Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Schools of thought: deontology Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Schools of thought: virtue ethics Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Situational and individual influencing factors on ethical decision-making Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Social Contracts: IB and societal justice Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Rights-based approaches: Do IBs have human rights obligations? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 How ethical is 'Ethics Management'? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Environmental Ethics: does business have a moral responsibility to the environment? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Ethics of technology and innovation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Review - Contributing to a 'better future' Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance and participation: An important part of studying ethics is to discuss complex cases in a group of people with differing opinions. Participation in in-class case studies represents 10% of the total mark. Students are expected to attend and participate in all lectures and tutorials.
  • Lecture recordings: Although some lectures may be recorded the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no prescribed textbook for this unit. A link to the weekly readings can be found on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify and analyse ethical dilemmas in international business contexts
  • LO2. use effectively a broad range of analytical, critical, creative, and system-thinking skills to make moral decisions when confronted with ethical dilemmas
  • LO3. theorise towards reasoned solutions to ethical questions in international business settings
  • LO4. communicate a point of view on ethical dilemmas both orally and in writing to a professional standard
  • LO5. work collaboratively within small teams and manage the dynamics within these teams
  • LO6. discuss constructively ethical dilemmas with people from diverse backgrounds with inclusiveness, open-mindedness, and integrity.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

More information can be found on Canvas.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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