MBA 776  Business Ethics and Society


Andrew Gustafson, Ph.D.

COBA 423  phone: 402-669-9846   email:


In this course we will consider the relationships between business and society, considering the ethical questions and implications involved.  My goal is to help you become more immersed in the local business community through off-campus visits and explorations of various business-community partnerships in Omaha.  An important part of this class is the service learning component, by which we become more aware both of inequities in society, and practically develop an awareness and even relationships to help us begin to nurture business practices which are socially alert.  We will also hold a number of our classes off-site at various locations around the city, bringing us into the businesses themselves


Objectives: In this course you will integrate readings, service experiences, classroom activities, discussions, and writings to:
1. Further your conceptual understanding of basic business/society concepts and ideas, e.g., corporate social responsibility, social innovation, etc., and apply them to relevant social issues, i.e., economic justice, poverty, underemployment
2. Foster a paradigm or worldview that includes sensitivity to the least advantaged,
3. Foster your comprehension, analytic, and reflection skills,
4. Achieve greater self-knowledge about your personal values and your business values

5. Become aware of the ways in which business can have positive impact on society and culture

6. Become aware of the socially responsible activities going on in Omaha’s Business Community


Books for MBA 776

Management Ethics by Norman Bowie and Patricia Werhane (Wiley) ISBN# 978-06-31214731

Business Ethics:  Perspectives on Corporate Responsibility by Pelton and True (Houghton Mifflin) ISBN#0-618-52861



  1. Attend/Participate 3 hours classtime per week, 1 hour online learning (always 4 hours per week total)
  2. Participate in weekly online discussion of topic (2 thoughtful paragraph + postings per person per week on the readings, first one by Saturday P.M.)
  3. Leadership: Provide questions, prompting, leadership for E-group discussion on week’s topic
    1. 3 people per week will do this
    2. These people will provide questions on blackboard on Thursday so others can respond.
  4. Class Overview/Summary paper (My reflections on this business ethics class) 2-3p
  5. Final Paper (7-10pg) On particular business ethics topic with 5+ actual sources and 10+ further research sources (where you would suggest we go to learn more about the topic).
  6. Term Group Project Presentation: Variable content, but must be on the topic of business ethics as it relates to a. culture and society in Omaha b. philanthropy c. Ethics in Business in General (multi-issue)  d. particular professional ethical issues (accounting ethics) e. interviewing business leaders For presentation, you should use powerpoint or photostory to create this project/presentation.  2-3 per group max.
    1. Note On Photos: regardless of what format you use for your presentation, I want you to downsize your photo pixel size so that each picture is not more than 150kb.  I recommend that you use bimplite for this reduction.  Its quite easy to use, and you can downsize entire folders full of photos at once with its easy features. 


Tentative Schedule

1. February 7 Meet on Campus  in our regular COBA classroom

Opening, intros

Speaker at 7: Keith Bawolek, EDI developer for Midtown Crossings Project  for Mutual of Omaha --

                        Please Read “History of Business Ethics” at:



2. February 14  Class on Campus

            Read: Is there a case for Business Virtue? (Handout)

            Also Read: “Framework for Ethical Decision Making” at

            Also: “Can Ethics Be Taught?” at

            Also: “Profitable Business Contributing to the Good of Society”


3. February 21  Omaha Chamber President David Brown, Rob Maglinger, Young Professionals

 BE: 37-47; ME: Chapter 1, and look at the Chamber site and view  View O! video and O! Public Art Project video


4. February 28  Aksarben, Omaha Foundation

                        Read: BE: 1-21, ME: Chapter 2,


March 6 SRING BREAK!!!!!!


5. March 13 Mr. Wayne Sensor, CEO, Allegiant Healthcare

                        Read BE: 22-36; ME Chapter 3, and also “Business Ethics in Healthcare”


March 20 Easter Break!!


6. March 27 First National Bank of Omaha  Nick Baxter, General Counsel and Kevin Langin 

Read: BE: 51-66; ME Chapter 4 and “Business Ethics In Banking” by C.F. Green


7. April 3   Northrop Grumman with retired Lieutenant General  Robert Hinson , Corporate Lead Executive and Sector Vice President and Deputy General

Manager  Command and Control Systems Division Northrop Grumman Mission Systems

            BE: 66-79; ME Chapter 5


8. April 10  Jay Noddle, Noddle Companies –and check out Aksarben Village Project

            BE: 81-89; ME Chapter 6, TBA


9. April 17  Blue Cross Blue Shield and UP

            BE: 91-99; ME Chapter 7, TBA


10. April 24  Conagra

ME Chapter 8, TBA


11. May 1st  Gallup with Jane Miller, COO

            Work on your Projects.



ON CHEATING: Plagiarism and cheating of any kind defeats the learning process. They are grounds for severe disciplinary action. Read the student handbook so you know the repercussions for cheating.  I consider the following to be examples of cheating:
a. Not citing your sources when writing journals or papers.
b. Copying material from other sources and representing it as your own work by not putting quotes around other’s words, etc.

Read the student handbook for more details. If you know that someone is cheating but do not take steps to try to stop it, you are also helping to defeat the learning process. Document what you know and talk to someone who can help you decide what to do. The College’s academic honesty policy is at