Academic Programs 

  Accountability: Business and Non-Profit Ethics in a World of Globalization   (ET-535)
Winter/Spring 2005

This course explores practical and theological issues involved in making ethical decisions in business and daily life. We will open up the larger socio-economic issues in the U.S. and world political economy through reading several recent and provocative books, while focusing on how faith and ethics can inform decision-making in the day-to-day world of organizations. Case materials, including student experiences, will be used together with readings in theology, economics and ethics. 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesdays 7:00-9:20 p.m. beginning January 25

Worth Loomis
Professor of Faith and Public Life

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500

Michael Rion
Adjunct Professor of Ethics and former president of Hartford Seminary

Contact Information:

(860) 509-9500

NOTE: An E-mail address and Internet Access are required for this course.

Course Objectives

1.  To know of the central two-theme emphasis of the religions of “the People of the Book” (Jews, Christians, Muslims): a) community and b) social justice.

2.      To explore three levels of ethics, in the U.S. in particular, but also elsewhere:

a) the political-economic system (culture)
b) the organization (corporation/agency)
c) the individual as citizen and decision maker

3.         To explore:            

a) Characteristics of “Just Communities” in a globalized world, in the U.S., but also elsewhere.

b) Ethical Issues in a globalized world, U.S., & Hartford, but also elsewhere.

Learning Goals

1.   To enable students to resolve practical issues of ethics in organization life and daily life more thoughtfully, faithfully, and competently.  This requires good critical and creative thinking skills, and the ability to carry reasoned discourse through to a conclusion.

2.  To learn some of the limitations of the free market as a provider of work and a method of allocating goods and services; and to explore the checks, balances, and safety nets needed in order make societies more just.

3.  To see what system changes, if any, the class might propose for the globalized world, for our city, our corporations and non-profit organizations, and our government.


Course Requirements

1.      Class Participation:  Students are expected to arrive on time, and to participate actively in class discussions and small group work. If you must miss all or part of a class or need to be late with an assignment, please discuss it with us, ahead of time if possible.

2.      Final Paper Topic: By Class 4, February 15, students should have picked an ethical topic which particularly interests them and on which they plan to write their final integrating paper.  Please hand-in a one paragraph description of your topic for approval.

3.      Clippings File: You must keep and turn in a “Clippings File” of material you cut out or copy with reference to the approved ethical topic you have chosen for your final integrating paper.  Before turning your Clipping File in, organize it chronologically, or chronologically by subject, and staple or paste the clippings to three hole paper, inserted in a three hole report cover.  Please submit your file no later than class 12, April 19.

4.      Required Readings:   Students are expected to read all of the required books and articles by the scheduled dates.  If you normally do not follow business news, please read the Wall Street Journal regularly for at least one month.  If you normally do not follow the “religious press”, please read one of the following weekly papers each week for at least one month: Christian Century(Prot.),  Christianity Today(Evan.),  Connecticut Jewish Ledger,  National Catholic Reporter, or several issues of the following monthlies:  Christian Social Action(Meth.),  Commonweal(RC),  First Things(NonDenom.),  Islamic Horizons,  Sojourners(Evan.), all available in the Seminary Library.  Please clip or make copies of articles, etc., from these and other sources for your “Clippings File”.  The Library is open M-Th: 9a-9p; Fr: 9a-5p; Sat: 8:30a-3p.

5.      Written Assignments:   Each week, before 10pm on Tuesday, students must send an e-mail message to   The message should not be longer than 2-5 sentences and should include a comment on the reading, plus a question you would like to see discussed in the next evening’s class.  Complete the written assignments (two 2-page papers and one 10-page final integrating paper), turning them in on the class dates shown.  The final integrating paper (which will count for 40% of your grade) should follow the “Guidelines for a M.A.Paper” which will be passed out to each student. Your paper should be 9-12 double-spaced pages of text, adequately footnoted, and representative of graduate level work.  It must contain references to books and sources (such as your “Clippings File”) other than the required reading.  Please let us know your topic by February 15(Class 4). An outline is due March 29 (Class 9) and the final paper is due by Tuesday, May 24.    

Some possible topics for your final paper are:

a) An Ethics Code - If your institution does not have an adequate Ethics Code, clip examples of ethics violations that other institutions might have avoided with an Ethics Code, survey ethics codes of various institutions similar to yours, analyze them, and draft a code.  (we have examples)

b) System Changes I Recommend - (for my institution, or my community, or my life).  Besides writing about the changes you propose and the reasons for them be sure to write about your trade-offs—what you have to give up to pay for the gains you propose. 

c) Globalization and its Discontents – Lots of possible topics.  How about proposing to start an NGO whose mission would be to fix the worst evil of globalization, which is “?”.

d) Any practical ethical issue that we mutually agree on, such as “Characteristics of a Just Community in 2005 (or later) America,” or “Ethical Issues and Possible Remedies of 2005 Hartford,” or “Responsible Ethical Decisions Regarding [tough  dilemmas in your own organization].” 

6.   Student Presentations:  A sign-up sheet will be circulated during the first class for the 5 minute presentations which will start off each discussion of the assigned readings and on the papers due (if any) that day.  Please mark your first three choices on the sign-up sheet. Using the wisdom of Solomon [the original one, not the author of one of our texts!], Worth and Mike will hand back the final assignments at the start of the second class.  Each student will be assigned one or more presentations. 

7.    Grades:  Your letter grade will be based 40% on the final paper, 10% on your clippings file, 25% on the e-mail messages and the two 2-page papers, and 25% on class presentations and your class participation.


Required Reading 

Childs, James M. Jr.           
Ethics in Business – Faith at Work
;    Minneapolis, MN,   Augsburg Press, 1995 

Friedman, Thomas L.       
The Lexus and the Olive Tree        New York, NY,
     Anchor Books, 2000   

Ignatieff, Michael.           
The Needs of Strangers:  An Essay on Privacy, Solidarity  and the
Politics of Being Human           New York, NY, Picador, 2001                           

Rion, Michael                
The Responsible Manager
      West Hartford, CT,    Resources for Ethics and Management, 1996               

Solomon, Robert C.      
Ethics and Excellence – Cooperation and Integrity in Business           New York, NY Oxford University Press, 1992                             


Other Reading

Additional books and readings will be on the Reserve Bookshelf in the Seminary library during the Spring Term.  The Library is open M-Th: 9a-9p; Fr: 9a-5p; Sat: 8:30a-3p.

We will also provide a Course Packet with selected readings from the following two books, also on Library Reserve:

Mosher, Lucinda Allen.  Religion and Society:  The Role of Compassion, Selfless Service and Social Justice in Five Major Faith Traditions

Stackhouse, Max L. et. al.  On Moral Business:  Classical and Contemporary Resources for Ethics in Economic Life.


Course Sequence and Assignments

JANUARY 25  Assignment     COURSE OVERVIEW                                             Class 1

CLASSWORK: Introductions, Overview of the Course, Video excerpts from “Other People’s Money” and discussion of course themes. Sign up for the reading and paper presentations.


FEBRUARY 1 Assignment     GLOBAL CONTEXT                                                Class 2

READ:   Friedman “The Lexus and the Olive Tree”  pp.  29-111, 167-193. 108 pages (page numbers from updated 2000 paperback version)

CLASSWORK:  Discuss the realities of globalization, where Friedman has it right, where you disagree.  Also discuss ethical issues related to globalization raised in the past week’s commercial or religious press –always good issues to be raised for discussion.


FEBRUARY 8  Assignment    GLOBAL CONTEXT                                                Class 3

READ:  Friedman, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,”  pp.  193-247, 367-405.  92 pages

CLASSWORK:   Discuss Friedman further.  Continue to discuss ethical issues related to globalization raised in the press.


FEBRUARY 15   Assignment   THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES                       Class 4

READ:  Course packet excerpts from Mosher and On Moral Business regarding Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives on faith, economics and responsible living.  89 pages.

CLASSWORK: Discussion of religious perspectives on faith, ethics and economics. 



READ:  Course packet excerpts from On Moral Business for Class 5.  40 pages.

CLASSWORK:  Discuss the relationship between religion, culture and the development of the modern capitalist economy.  Discuss case topics for Class 12 and develop plans.


MARCH 1   Assignment     THE NEEDS OF STRANGERS                                    Class 6

READ:  Ignatieff, pages 9-142.  133 pages.

CLASSWORK: Discuss Ignatieff’s ideas about solidarity in light of the issues and ideas raised in the preceding classes.



READ:    Childs “Ethics in Business” pp. 1-27, Course packet excerpts from On Moral Business for class 7.  63 pages.

WRITE:  Write paper on “My Calling- Past, Present, Future” 2 page, double spaced

CLASSWORK: Turn in your paper. Discuss business and non-profit management as religious vocations.


MARCH 15     Assignment    BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS                             Class 8

READ:  Solomon, Chapters 1,2,6,7,8,9,11,13,15,16, and choose one from chapters 18-24 that interests you most.   116 pages plus the extra chapter

CLASSWORK: Discuss how it is that organizations can be “ethical,” the ways managers can strengthen ethical conduct in organizations and the challenges they face.  Discuss organization ethics issues in recent weeks in the press.


MARCH 22                   NO CLASSES THIS WEEK




READ:  Course packet of readings to be provided well ahead of time.

WRITE:  Develop a three page outline of your final paper, bring two copies.

CLASSWORK:  View video tape of Frances Hesselbein (Girl Scouts) and General Dave Palmer (West Point).  Discuss the distinctive opportunities and challenges for ethics in nonprofit and public organizations .    Small group discussions of outlines.


APRIL 5    Assignment      ETHICAL DECISION MAKING                                 Class 10


READ:  Rion, “The Responsible Manager,”  pp. v-129.  134 pages

WRITE:  Write a 2 page double-spaced analysis/reflection of one of Rion’s six cases.


CLASSWORK:   Discussion of cases and ethical decision-making theory and practice.



APRIL 12     Assignment      ETHICAL DECISION MAKING                          Class 11


READ:   Childs, “Ethics in Business – Faith at Work” pp. 28-148. 120 pages

WRITE:  Revise your case analysis/reflection in light of Childs reading.

CLASSWORK:   Turn in and discuss papers.  Discuss the role of faith in ethical decision making.


APRIL 19    Assignment      CASE APPLICATIONS                                         Class 12

READ:    To be determined with class


CLASSWORK:   Discussion of one or more cases from the news that we will select earlier in the term.  Purpose is to bring together all the resources of the course to assessing one or more important issues.  



APRIL 26    Assignment              LAST CLASS                                                       Class 13

No Assignment.  Work on your Final Paper

Some conclusions about the future of ethics in the US and the world.


MAY 16   Turn in Final Paper at Reception Desk in Envelope marked Worth Loomis. 


Sign-Up Sheet for Class Presentations



Presentation Topic









Theological readings – Jewish tradition



Theological readings –Christian tradition



Theological readings- Islamic tradition



Religion and the modern economy



Ignatieff, Needs of Strangers



Management as a vocation



Business organizations



Non profit and public organizations



Rion decision making approach



Childs decision making approach



Case Application



Case Application


Write your name down for three different Presentations.  Mark your preferences 1,2,3 - if you care. 


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500