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06060329 - 06200209 - Business Ethics and Crisis Management (FC)

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Crédits ECTS 3
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Patrick O’SULLIVAN (Business Ethics)
By the end of this course students will be expected to have developed a critical awareness of the complex range of ethical issues which can and regularly do arise in the conduct of contemporary international business. The emphasis throughout is on critical reflection rather than on the construction of formulaic answers or recipes for dealing with moral issues in business.
Thus students will be expected to have developed their own ability at critical reflection on a range of social issues and ethical dilemmas affecting international business, informing this reflection through an awareness of the leading moral philosophers and manifesting an ability to see beyond merely ideological rationalisations to develop an authentic rational assessment of the issues. In particular students will be expected to have developed through discussion and reflection their own moral standpoints on such issues as the ultimate scope of company social responsibility, sustainability, corruption, insider trading, truth and deception in advertising, child labour, whistleblowing etc.

Caroline COULOMBE (Crisis Management)
This course aims at showing students the importance of crisis management within modern European corporations and industries. Students will become familiar with crisis and will be provided with helpful concepts and methods to apprehend the emergence, the amplification and the dynamics of crisis phenomenon.


Patrick O’SULLIVAN (Business Ethics)

1. Basic concepts and logic of the subject; Business Ethics as a form of critical social theory; introduction to the ideas of company social responsibility and corporate citizenship and debates on these.

2. Brief introduction of moral philosophies which are particularly relevant to business ethical evaluations.

3. Sustainability and the three pillars of sustainable development.

4. Stakeholder theory; the European Social Model and a comparison of North American, European and Asian approaches to the subject.

5. Critical analysis of the moral dimensions of a selected range of micro ethical issues that relate to the financial sector in the contemporary period in particular.

6. Critical analysis of the moral dimensions of a range of other micro ethical issues such as bribery and corruption, whistle blowing, ethics of marketing etc or as class discussion requires.

Caroline COULOMBE (Crisis Management)

We will talk about the phenomenon of business crisis. We explore it under the angle of its birth and its amplification as well as its consequences on the strategy and on the structure of the company. We also go through, with many examples, the various types of crises that can touch an organization.
- Mechanisms of amplification of the events
- Consequences of a crisis on the strategy and the organization, and its sociological and psychological effects
- Role of the media and other stakeholders
- Types of major crisis
- How the culture and the structure of the company contribute to the crisis

Reaction to crises is not improvised. Managers must limit its effects to a precise perimeter so that the company can continue to function. We will conjointly see the installation of the first emergency actions, the relations with the stakeholders (authorities, emergency teams, victims, families, media, competitors, shareholders, etc), and the installation of a crisis cell.
- Levels of intervention in a crisis
- Management of the relations with the stakeholders
- Creation, management, and operation of a crisis cell

PART 3 – CRISIS SIMULATION – Half a day + debrief

Contrôles des connaissances

Patrick O’SULLIVAN (Business Ethics)

80% for a critical essay to be submitted within 3 weeks of the end of the course
20% for a group presentation in class on the second day of the course

Caroline COULOMBE (Crisis Management)

Individual participation – 20%
Individual assignment: scenario and chronology writing – 35%
Business case analysis done in class in teams – 30 %
Team simulation – 15%


Patrick O’SULLIVAN (Business Ethics)

Students may wish to prepare themselves for this course by engaging in selected reading from:

CRANE A and MATTEN D (2010) 3rd ed, “Business Ethics”, Oxford University Press. Chs 1 2 and 3 give a very good introduction to the scope and main themes of business ethics and these are also worth reading before the first sessions. Chapter 1 is available free online as a pdf file at

O’SULLIVAN P, SMITH M and ESPOSITO M (2012) “Business Ethics: a critical approach integrating ethics across the business world” Routledge, London. Chapters 1, 2 and 24 are directly relevant while the rest of the work looks at ethics in action in various specific fields of business or of management activit

Further reading:

BEAUCHAMP T (2004) 5th ed. “Case studies in  Business Society and Ethics”, Pearson, London. This is a good collection of case studies to whet the appetite

DONALDSON T et alii (2002) 7th ed. “Ethical issues in Business: a philosophical approach”, Pearson Prentice Hall, Harlow

ECONOMIST, “The Good Company: A Special Look At Corporate Social Responsibility”, in The Economist January 22nd-28th 2005.

FISHER C and LOVELL A (2009)  3rd ed. “Business Ethics and Values”,  Prentice Hall, Harlow. This is a very good comprehensive textbook as well.

HARTMAN L (2005) 3rd international edition “Perspectives in Business Ethics” Mc Graw Hill, Maidenhead. In particular this collection contains the article by Milton Friedman “The Social Responsibility of Business is to increase profits” and the seminal article also of Albert CARR “Is Business Bluffing ethical?”

Caroline COULOMBE (Crisis Management)
Sent prior to class. For more references, ask C Coulombe..

Informations complémentaires


(Business Ethics)
The course will alternate between lecture periods followed by interactive class discussion on topics raised in the lecture; and will usually round off with discussion on some case study or other materials. Shorter case studies may be presented to the students on the day; while for longer case studies students will be expected to read and reflect on these outside of class in self-study time. Below is a list of major themes to be covered but this does not necessarily correspond exactly to the timetabled sessions other than in terms of sequence of coverage as these are of varying length.

Caroline COULOMBE (Crisis Management)4
Formal presentations
Case studies
Corporate witnesses

Renseignements pratiques

iaelyon School of management
Université Jean Moulin
6 cours Albert Thomas
BP 8242
69355 Lyon cedex 08

Tél. : (33) 04 78 78 70 66Site web

Equipe pédagogique


Pignet-Fall Lorella


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Mise à jour : 18 février 2015