Marc Le Menestrel
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UPF: International Business Policy: An Ethical Perspective

Instructor: Marc Le Menestrel (Lectures & Seminars); Veronica Lassus (Seminars)

Office : Jaume Building 1 E 34
Phone : 93 542 27 23

Lectures (Both groups together): Monday 19.00-20.30, Room 40.S02

Tutorials: Monday 18.00-19.00 in my office


Group 101 Wednesday 15.30-17.00, Room 13.103 (Marc Le Menestrel)

Group 201 Wednesday 17.00-18.30, Room 13.108 (Veronica Lassus)

Group 102 Wednesday 17.00-18.30, Room 13.103 (Marc Le Menestrel)

Group 202 Wednesday 18.30-20.00, Room 13.108 (Veronica Lassus)

Group 103 Wednesday 18:30-20:00, Room 13.103 (Marc Le Menestrel)

Presentation of the course

The course addresses international business policy in an ethical perspective.

In recent years ethical issues have become increasingly manifest and pervading in the business world. In the future, managers will have to deal with ethical dilemmas in the course of their career. The course introduces participants to international business issues and provides them with tools to effectively address business ethical dilemmas. Teaching is systematically illustrated with examples of real business ethical dilemmas,

The global context in which social and environmental issues have become a major issue for international business is analysed. The specific trade-off pertaining to the relation between business value on one hand and human, social and environmental values on the other hand is structured. An ethical framework based on different ethical traditions – including philosophical, institutional and cultural – is proposed and coupled with the theory of rationality used in economics and management sciences. Tools and strategies to analyse business ethical dilemmas are presented, with a specific attention to issues of reputation, credibility and communication. In this manner, participants shall develop their knowledge of environmental, social and personal values and their understanding of the place and role of business in society. This increased awareness, coupled with the methodology, constitutes a basis for efficient and responsible management, as participants will be better prepared to think, act and communicate in situations involving tough ethical issues.

Description and Method

The course is built on preparation and required readings prior to class, lectures, videos, case studies, active discussions of business ethical and group work and presentations. All required readings can be found on the course website. The readings and assignments required for a particular session must be completed BEFORE coming to class that day. For those who want to go further, optional readings are also proposed and can help the understanding of the issues.

There are two types of classes: Lectures (all students at the same time) and Seminars (1 group of 3 subgroups and 1 group of 2 subgoups).


Students receive a grade for each class.

At the beginning of each of the Lectures, one or two questions will have to be answered in writing. Answers should demonstrate that the students have read the required material and thought about it. This also ensures that each student is able to have a discussion on the issue at stake. Each theory session assignment is graded over 5 points. To know more about grades, you are invited to read "Grading of Lectures’ assignments" and also the excellent methodology written by Estève Giraud who has taught seminars during a few years: Essay methodology for critical thinking and writing.

My experience is that students take 3 to 5 sessions and extremeley bad grades to grasp that this course is different. You are invited to think by yourself, not just repeat what the professor says. This requires time and courage for those who have renounced to do so during their university courses. It can even be painful. On the other hand, this course represents a great experience for most students attending it (read the feedback in the forum here to get a sense of what you can learn). As for myself and Veronica, you can be ensured we bring all our passion and vocation for teaching in this course. Often, we bring in fact much more than the most passive students!

For each of the Seminars, an assignment is proposed on the website and has to be handed in when arriving in class. These assignments build on required readings and help the work (individual or in group) during the class. Each assignment is graded over 5 points.

Overall, grades are adjusted so that the group presentation amounts to 25% of the grade.

The course (Theory and Seminar) is presential. You have to be there to have a grade. There is no way you can be graded without coming to class!

To know more about Groups’ Presentations, please read "Guidelines to Groups’ Presentations".

There is no exam.

Participation to the theory and practice sessions is mandatory in order to hand in the assignments of the relevant session. I will take out your worst grade when making the final calculation. Groups Presentations can’t be missed.

If you want to change seminar group, please use the forum of the first seminar to find a substitute. Once you have a pair of students willing to switch, write a email to me to validate the change.

I welcome proposal for improvement of the present syllabus and will not respond to any question whose answer is provided here.

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