Business Ethics Course

## Business Ethics for IT

Lecturer: Dr. Roland Alton

Given at University of Applied Sciences

## Lesson 1 - March 3

* Introduction *


We are talking about value sets, lifestyles and the economy.

Where are our beliefs and values come from: (german only)

            English: recommended book: Jennings M.: Business Ethics (2012), Unit 1 p10-17

We go through the Nine Ethify Values as an example for a value set:

We look at how to measure wealth und happiness.

How happy is a country?


Task 1 until March 10: Analyse your ecological footprint e.g. here

Task 2 until March 10: Analyse how 3 companies behave. Choose one of the platforms:



ETHICS BY DESIGN: Wisdom in seven minutes (choose 3 from small videos in the middle)


Task 3 until March 31: Choose either

- a book from the literature list 

- an article from one of the issues of Ökologisch Wirtschaften (german)

- a web portal on ethics such as

- any suitable book dealing with ethics or responsibility in the library, e.g. from shelfs WBB112, WBB114, WAA501, WAA772

- a documentary on ethical issues, here is a first list:

Read/view parts of the chosen media and write a summary of about 2 pages as a blog entry on (login literature | literature)

Try to answer the following questions:

- Which values did the author have in mind?

- How can you apply such values in enterprises or organisations?

- Is there a typical ethical dilemma situation? How is it solved?


Points (100 maximum)

20 book summary

60 semester project

10 final presentation

10 additional engagement shown (blog, social media meme, inviting a guest, organising a field trip, ...)

Presence rule: skipping one lesson is ok, maximum 2, for each skipped lesson minus 7 points.


##  Lesson 2 - March 10

Applying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in companies and organisations:


Your semester project: you choose either A or B or C or D.

There will be ongoing coaching through the semester, results to be presented on May 5:

A) Work out a case study of a company (min 5 pages). Find out, how serious they are about CSR. Apply one of the aforementioned methods (ISO 26000, Gemeinwohlbilanz, EthiCheck) or Vorwaerts or CSR Leitbild der WKO (last both available in german only)

Structure of the report

- company and its environment

- stakeholder

- running projects

- communication about sustainability and resposibility

- how do they deal with the Corona pandemia (2020)

- chosen method (ISO,...)

- describe process of evaluation

- results

- outlook

B) Write a paper on "Conflict of Interests"

focus on a specific sector (such as software development or data privacy), collect some cases and discuss them, total 8-10 pages

Read here about typical COIs:

COI case studies (from various sectors):


"Forum Informatiker für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung": (german)

"Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility":

Recommended book: Michael Hopkins: Corporate Social Responsibility & International Development WBB114.

Is there a Global Environmental Justice Movement? Written by Joan Martinez Alier, Leah Temper, Daniela Del Bene, and Arnim Scheidel. In: Colloquium Paper No. 16

Growth Critique in the 1970s Crisis and Today: Malthusianism, Social Mechanics, and Labor Discipline. Written by Markantonatou, M. New Political Science, 38(1), 23-43, 2016

The proximity of nations to a socially sustainable steady-state economy.  Written by O'Neill, D.W.,Journal of Cleaner Production 108, Part A, 1213-1231. 2015

What should be held steady in a steady-state economy? Interpreting Daly's definition at the national level. Written by O'Neill, D.W., Journal of Industrial Ecology 19 (4), 552-563. 2015;jsessionid=8090212F97BEBB3B9927439343C93AFF.f03t04

C) Programming:  Create a tool for evaluating companies (similar to ethicheck, holidaycheck or You may choose one of the following value sets and methods:

ISO 26000 prototype available here: (ask RAS for code, based on ZendFramework), next step: offer as a check with, offer list of companies, probably offer as alternative to

Economy of Common Good (Gemeinwohlbilanz) with matrix

SD-KPI standard (copyright situation needs to be cleared)

// D) Visualize and discuss in a short paper the historical development of the relation of

// government debt (use government debt to GDP by GDP), money supply (M2)

// Select USA, EU, Austria, Germany and one more country. Here you can export all data:

// Done in 2015, see

// E) Extend Ethicheck (requires know-how with Drupal modules) or the Ethify Mozilla Add-On done, deprecated

F) Visualize World Happyness Report or use any othe open data source

Watch out for Events (Spielboden, Saumarkt, ...) that offer talks on Ethical issues or show movies.

## Evening Lessons

Mon 09 MAR 2020 19:00 Naturschau Dornbirn Expert Talk: „Neben uns die Sintflut. Klimawandelanpassung im internationalen Kontext“

Tue 10 MAR 2020 18:00 Spielboden Dornbirn Human Vision Film Festival "Wir retten die Welt"

## Lesson 3 - March 17

Here are some more details of the methods when evaluating a company / organisation as a semester project in this course:

Case Study with The Economy of the Good (Gemeinwohlökonomie) (A)

When applying this method, _you_ fill out the questionnaires for the company, ideally in close co-operation with a person in the company whom you may ask some details, which are not public available e.g. in a CSR report. Aspects you can not find out may assigned an average value.

Quick Test (german) German documents:

Calculator (german):

English documents are here:

Calculator sheet:

Case Study with ISO 26000 (A)

A hard copy can be obtained in the library. You may also find copies on the web (usage violates the ISO copyright). Here is a practical guide, including tables for evaluation: You may strip down the number of questions, as one of your former colleague has done with an online query tool:

Writing a paper (B)

When looking at dilemma situations, you should apply various viewpoints and angles. A common method in social sciences is to analyze cases and argue with dialectic, see With dialectic, you create a thesis, react with an anti-thesis and try to resolve the issue by a synthesis.

### Further input on some CSR aspects


Wilkinson & Picket have written a book: "Spirit Level" - the web site has many more resources.

1. Browse through the PowerPoint slides (linked on that page).

2. Watch the TEDx talk of Wilkinson:

3. Short reading: How is unequality defined?

4. (optional) Joseph Stiglitz talk at Google on Un-Equality:


Criticism on CSR Reports

Harmonization of GRI envisaged (german):

## Lesson 4 - March 24

Present book summaries (those who already did it, please publish as blog and/or upload in ilias)

Ethics in Media

Journalism, Mass Media, Wikileaks, Social Media campaigns for a better world, Adbusters

Portals that look behind the curtain of media (mostly in Austria) (checking facts) until 2017 (Comedy with TV voice over) (Reporters without borders)


What is the difference between investigative journalism and fact check?

An Ethics Case Study on Broken Heart on Facebook

Hacker Ethics

Ethics in IT

Copyright and Moral Right

Text: Grenzfurthner/Schneider: Hacking the Spaces - Hackerspaces heute lesen

Hackerspace in Dornbirn 2007-2011:

Code of ethics:

Guy Fawkes Maske: (yearly ceremony in Vienna)


## Lesson 5 - March 31

Present book summaries


Unconditional Basic Income (Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen) -

work on your company evaluation

## Lesson 6 - April 21

The Concept of Basic Income

Wikipedia with international examples:

Movie Grundeinkommen (Schweiz / Bodensee)

Movie "Free Lunch Society" (Trailer)

Helicopter Money:

The Mechanics of Money

Elektrischer Reporter

Overview slides from runtux:

The role of the FED

Distributed Money - the rise and fall of the FairCoin project and the ecosystem.

Joseph Stiglitz on Problems of the GDP:

Joseph Stiglitz presenting his book "Freefall"

Bernard Lietaer: Why money needs to change now!


## Lesson 7 - April 28

Presentation of case studies (for those who are already done)

Coachings on demand

We will be walking to Radetzkystrasse 3 to visit Suedwind Agentur  at 12h00 (leaving FHV at 11:30).

Some more topics, we probably will not have time to dive into:

The Occupy Movement

The OCCCU money (FHV students' project)

The Debt Crisis makes us dependent on banks:

Money as Debt Documentary:  (minutes ~3-10)


Lanegengger TALENTE

Das Experiment von Wörgl



## Lesson 8 - May 5

Presentation of case studies and evaluation services.

Additional Material

Recommended Audio Course from MIT on Business Ethics: