In the Social Impact Core Curriculum, NYU Stern undergraduate students:
Become more aware of multiple stakeholder perspectives on important business issues;
Develop a more nuanced understanding of the many relationships between corporations, governments, NGO’s, market economies and civil society;
Begin the process of developing professional ethics in harmony with their own personal values; and,
Learn to articulate, defend, and reflect critically on a point of view.
Professional Responsibility and Leadership is an interdisciplinary capstone course that builds on prior coursework within the Social Impact Core Curriculum as well as other coursework both at Stern and in other NYU colleges.
In this course, students have the opportunity to pursue the following learning objectives: 1) to become more familiar with the variety of ethical dilemmas that can arise in the course of business practice; 2) to understand the different values and principles that can inform and guide decisions in such ambiguous situations; and 3) to gain experience articulating and defending courses of action that are coherent with their own values.
The basic format of the course is a discussion seminar. Each class session may include a variety of activities, including: discussion, in-class reading and writing, role-playing, and other participatory exercises. These various activities will be designed and facilitated by the instructor in order to allow students to engage in reflective dialogue with each other.
The overarching themes of this dialogue include: 1) the relationship between business and society on a global, national and local basis; 2) the foundations of personal and professional business ethics; and 3) the exercise of leadership in organizations.
These themes are developed in reference to a series of cases that have been either drawn from recent news reports on business practice or drafted specifically for this course by NYU Stern faculty. These cases will typically be provided in class by the instructor to the students, then read and interpreted collectively.
The course readings provide lenses through which to view and interpret the cases. Drawn primarily from classic works of philosophy, literature, psychology, legal studies and theology, these readings inform the class discussions and allow students to synthesize the case material and exercise reflective judgment about how they would act in similar situations. These readings are posted on Blackboard, and students are expected to come to class having read them and reflected on their meaning with respect to the topics addressed in that class session.
The course proceeds cumulatively so that all themes, cases and readings inform subsequent discussions.
Students will complete two 5-7 page papers (typed in 12-point font and double spaced with 1” margins) that analyze specific issues introduced in the course, synthesize these issues in reference to the cases and the readings, and present reflective judgments about ethical action in business and organizational contexts. Specific topics for these papers will be assigned in class. The first paper is due on November 17, 2010. The second paper is due on December 16, 2010. Papers will be graded for both content and quality of writing; the grading breakdown appears below.
All students are required to turn their papers in using the Assignments tab in Blackboard. Integrated in Blackboard is an online plagiarism prevention and detection software – Turnitin – that enables faculty to compare the content of submitted assignments to data on the Internet, commercial databases, and previous papers submitted to the system. Additional information about expectations regarding academic integrity appears below.
NYU Stern Grading Policies
NYU Stern Grading Policies
At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate differential mastery of the subject matter. Assigning grades that reward excellence and reflect differences in performance is important to ensuring the integrity of our curriculum. In core courses, our faculty have adopted a standard of rigor for teaching where:
25-35% of students can expect to receive an A for excellent work
50-70% of students can expect to receive a B for good or very good work
5-15% of students can expect to receive a C or less for adequate or below work
Note that while we use these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course (as well as each individual grade) will depend upon how well each student actually performs in this course. Please see www.stern.nyu.edu/undergraduate/grading "Teaching and Grading at the NYU Stern Undergraduate College” for more information.
In line with Grading Guidelines for the NYU Stern Undergraduate College, the process of assigning of grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. This means that students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it. If a student feels that an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have that grade re-evaluated may be submitted. Students should submit such requests in writing to the professor within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why he or she believes that an error in grading has been made.
Grade Breakdown and Evaluation Criteria
Class Discussion 40%
Written Assignments 60%
Class discussion will be graded using the following rubric:
A student receiving a 6 comes to class prepared; contributes readily to the conversation but doesn’t dominate it; makes thoughtful contributions that advance the conversation; shows interest in and respect for others’ views; participates actively in small groups.
A student receiving a 5 comes to class prepared; makes thoughtful comments when called upon; contributes occasionally without prompting; shows interest in and respect for other’ views; participates actively in small groups.
A student receiving a 4 comes to class prepared, but does not voluntarily contribute to discussions and gives only minimal answers when called upon. Such students show interest in the discussion, listening attentively and taking notes. They may also participate fully in small group discussions.
A student receiving a 3 participates in discussion, but in a problematic way. Such students may talk too much, make rambling or tangential contributions, interrupt others with digressive questions, or bluff when unprepared. Such students also participate actively in small groups.
A student receiving a 2 does not come to class prepared; does not contribute to discussion voluntarily or when called upon; and does not participate in small group discussions. Such students may listen attentively but fail to contribute due to lack of preparation.
A student receiving a 1 disrupts class discussion, whether actively by being negative or rude to others, or passively by appearing distracted, bored or sleepy.
A group of professional writing coaches has been hired to provide students with feedback to improve their writing skills. In the two weeks prior to each paper deadline, students will have the option of presenting a draft to a coach for feedback and guidance. Students interesting in this optional feedback will need to contact Kristy McCadden, Associate Director for Social Impact Programming at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will help to make the necessary arrangements.
Once the papers are submitted via Blackboard, a writing coach assigned specifically to each section of the course will read and evaluate them in terms of the following criteria:
Structure: Introduction engages the audience; body logically and concisely advances the argument; closing ties together and synthesizes main point. In general, ideas are easy to distinguish and follow.
Coherence: Paper addresses different ideas in distinct paragraphs with meaningful transitions; within each paragraph, ideas are underscored with supporting details.
Style: The writer establishes a clear, consistent and recognizable voice; prose is concise, avoiding jargon or overblown wording.
Syntax and Grammar: Sentences are grammatically complete and without error. Pronouns, subjects, verbs, tenses, and singulars/plurals all agree. All words are spelled properly.
Coaches will forward their written comments directly to the instructor, who will take them into consideration while evaluating the paper contents. Whatever topic the paper might address, the instructor will evaluate the extent to which the paper shows evidence of practical reasoning that integrates three distinct, though interrelated forms of thought:
Analytic, i.e., making sense of particular phenomena in terms of general concepts, abstract rules or principles;
Dialectical, i.e., critically synthesizing distinct models or systems by calling into question basic assumptions and creating alternative ways to frame issues; and
Reflective judgment, i.e., imagining alternative versions of ‘the good life’, and exploring their meaning in reference to personal identity, including ethical values, cultural heritage and historical contexts.
The instructor will make additional comments on the paper’s content, assign a grade, and then return the paper with all content- and structure-related comments to the student. As a general rule of thumb, the formal, structural elements of the paper will make up one-third of the grade, and the content will make up two-thirds of the grade.
There will be one plenary session (course number C40.1012) held on TBD
The PRL Plenary is a separate, Pass/Fail class and attendance is mandatory to pass this session. An excused absence can only be granted in cases of serious illness or grave family emergencies, and must be documented. Attendance will be taken through a card swipe process outside of Paulson Auditorium. Out of respect for the plenary speakers and your fellow classmates, please plan to arrive early to swipe in. Card swiping will begin at TBD
Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. All students are expected to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct. A student’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
A duty to acknowledge the work and efforts of others when submitting work as one’s own. Ideas, data, direct quotations, paraphrasing, creative expression, or any other incorporation of the work of others must be clearly referenced.
A duty to exercise the utmost integrity when preparing for and completing examinations, including an obligation to report any observed violations.
Students whose class performance may be affected due to a disability should notify the professor early in the semester so that arrangements can be made, in consultation with the Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities, to accommodate their needs.
Laptops, cell phones, smartphones, recorders, & other electronic devices may not be used in class unless advance permission is given by the instructor.
Attendance is required. Absences will be excused only in the case of documented serious illness, family emergency, religious observance, or civic obligation. If you will miss class for religious observance or civic obligation, you must inform your instructor no later than the first week of class. Recruiting activities are not acceptable reasons for absence from class.
Students are expected to arrive to class on time and stay to the end of the class period. Students may enter class late or leave class early only if given permission by the instructor and if it can be done without disrupting the class. (Note that instructors are not obliged to admit late students or readmit students who leave class or may choose to admit them only at specific times.)
Late assignments will either not be accepted or will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency. Instructors will make exceptions to this policy for reasons of religious observance or civic obligation only when the assignment cannot reasonably be completed prior to the due date and the student makes arrangements for late submission with the instructor in advance.
Date: OCTOBER 25, 2010
Objective: To introduce the course themes and to initiate the process of articulating and reflecting on personal ethical values
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUSINESS AND SOCIETY
Objective: To frame the relationship between business and society in terms of a basic tension between market mechanisms and moral judgments as means of determining value.
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith (1776);
Unto this Last– Essay 1, “The Roots of Honour” – John Ruskin (1860)
Cases: Monday, 9:01AM - by Ronald H. Smithies
Objective: To explore how specific types of market imperfection give rise to particular ethical dilemmas for organizations and consumers.
"Economic Theories of Regulation: Normative vs. Positive" by Linda Edwards and Franklin Edwards
"Making an Ethical Decision" - by Terry Halbert and Elaine Ingulli
Market failure handout
Cases: The Price of Lobster Thermidor – Anonymous (The Economist)
Cases: FACEBOOK - a verbal case study
THE FOUNDATIONS OF PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Date: NOVENBER 1, 2010
Objective: To introduce and reflect on alternative (e.g., natural, cultural and theological) conceptualizations of the origins of ethical value.
Cases: Students are invited to present and discuss a code of conduct from the field that they intend to enter following graduation.
PAPER #1 DUE: NOVEMBER 17, 2010
Date: NOVENBER 15, 2010
Objective: Whistle Blowing & Loyalty; Local hierarchies create local loyalties. These can be beneficial or they can work against the interests of the individuals or the entire firm. How should firms and individuals act in order to reduce information asymmetry within the firm.
“How Ex-Accountant Added Up To Trouble for Humbled Xerox" by James Bandler
"The Return of Qui Tam" by Priscilla Budeiri
"Ace" Greenberg Memos - handout
Cases: "Travel & Entertainment"
Objective: Trade Secrets; To consider the extent to which people can maintain their integrity as they seek to balance competing interests while remaining loyal to the firm and to colleagues.
"Protecting Trade Secrets: Using 'Inevitable Misappropriation' and The Exit Interview" by Michael Carlinsky
"Nicomachaean Ethics, Book 1 (excerpts) - Aristotle.
"Stockbrokers's Story" by Bruce Buchanan.
"Corporate Spies: The Pizza Plot" by Adam Penenberg
Date: NOVENBER 22, 2010
Objective: To reflect on the standards of truth and disclosure that pertain to different personal and professional contexts.
Readings: “The Conflict Between the Right and the Expedient”from De Officiis, Book 3, Chapters XII-XX – Cicero (44 BC)
Readings: "Familiar Refrain: Consultant's Advice on Diversity was Anything but Diverse" by Doug Blackmon
Today’s Analyst Wears Two Hats(Wall Street Journal);
It Takes a Village– Alibi Agency
"Is Business Bluffing Ethical" by Albert Carr
Objective: To consider how specific ethical values are institutionalized in the form of laws.
"When the Company Becomes a Cop" by Linda Himelstein
"Living with Organizational Sentencing Guidelines" by Jeffery Kaplan
"Corporate Crime: Government Seeks Tougher Sentences" by Sue Reisinger