Marc Le Menestrel
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UPF - BSM: Rationality and Ethical Values in Management


In practice, what does it mean to be rational when you do business? Are ethical values just irrelevant? If not, how do they combine with the creation of business value? How do they influence individual and company decisions?

In this course, you will embark in a journey where you will learn how to rationally analyze unsuspected aspects of managerial life. To this end, the course focuses on three main objectives:

- Analyze the global context in which social, political, environmental and ethical issues have become of major importance to business; thus calling for new approaches to understand the role of business;

- Prepare participants to analyze rationally the specific trade-offs between the creation of business value and ethical values (“business ethical dilemmas”); with the aim of avoiding the many traps these trade-offs create;

- Inspire participants to create, seize and nurture new opportunities towards a mutually beneficial relationship between business, people, society and the environment; with the aim of helping participants to accomplish themselves during their future career.

Description and Method

Topics will cover some key dimensions of management (strategy, marketing, finance, operations, human resources, communication, etc), using case-studies (mostly based on real situations) and carefully selected academic papers.

A rigorous decision-making framework, with tools and typical strategies will be proposed, discussed and illustrated, at the individual and at the corporate levels. For future Ph.D. students, links with state-of-the-art research on ethical values in the management sciences will be identified and discussed.

The course requires an active involvement of participants, who must be prepared to think and work outside their zone of comfort.

The course relies on inductive teaching methods. It necessitates reading, thinking and writing prior to class. It features lectures, videos, case studies and active discussions of crucial management issues. Critical and emotional thinking are given specific attention in order to complement analytical thinking.


For this course your final grade will integrate two components:

Preparation & Class participation: 60%

In preparation of each session, a question has to be answered in writing. This assignment (300 to 500 words) should demonstrate that you have read the required material and that you have enriched your opinion about the issue through a genuine questioning and thinking. This preparation has to be printed and shall be handed in at the end of the session. Feedback with evaluation will be given at the start of every session.

Presence, punctuality, attention, engagement, contribution, self-analysis and respect have shown to be key aspects for a successful participation in these interactive classes.

For the final grade, note that I will take into account only your 12 best assignments.

WeDReamBusiness.Org Project: 40%

The WeDReamBusiness.Org website is a gallery of companies that make business students dream because they successfully combine profits with human values, social justice or environmental sustainability. Alone or in pairs, your task is to select a company that make you dream in the sens that it genuinely inspires you. You then upload its description following the guidelines of the website. This work will be presented in sessions 16 and 17.

There will be no exam.

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