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Ethics: Behavioral Ethics

The focus of this course is the study of ethics in a business context. It combines ethical philosophy with empirical and case studies to understand (un)ethical behavior in a business context and apply and evaluate ethical arguments to dilemma situations.
Course code
Course type
BSc Course General Studies
Weekly Hours
FS 2021
Dr. Julian Conrads
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The behavioral sciences have reached the field of business ethics. In contrast to the normative question of how individuals should decide and behave in business contexts, research in behavioral business ethics is mainly interested in why and how people actually make ethical decisions. Specifically, it often aims at understanding personal and situational factors that may cause a gap between an actor’s willingness to behave ethically, and his or her actual behavior. To pursue its research objectives, behavioral ethics draws on behavioral psychology, experimental economics, cognitive science, and related fields.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to essential questions, methodologies, and research results of behavioral business ethics. Based on both classic readings and topical research papers, we will discuss various approaches and findings and explore their implications for a modern understanding of business decisions and business ethics. The list of topics we cover is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it gives you a valuable impression of what behavioral business ethics is about.

Date Time
Friday, 29.01.2021 11:30 - 15:15
Tuesday, 02.02.2021 15:30 - 18:45
Thursday, 11.02.2021 15:30 - 18:45
Friday, 12.02.2021 08:00 - 11:15
Wednesday, 17.02.2021 15:30 - 18:45
Wednesday, 24.02.2021 15:30 - 18:45
Thursday, 04.03.2021 13:00 - 14:30
The course will be given in lecture format. Interactive discussion, reflective reasoning methods and role plays will be given in the lecture.

A reading list of papers will be provided.

The grading will consist of a
  • term paper (35%)
  • and an exam (65 %).

Students can work on a term paper in groups. Groups will be partially randomly assigned. The term paper has to be submitted during the lecture period, i.e., before the exam.

Students work individually on the exam. The exam covers the topics and papers discussed during the lecture.

Depending on the size of the class, active participation might also be incorporated in the final grade.

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