Business Ethics

Certificate of Achievement

High School

Session 1: Welcome to the World of Taxes

Students learn about the United States income tax system, and examine the Internal Revenue Service’s basis for requiring all citizens to pay taxes. Students will learn to identify the ethical decisions that all taxpayers face. (Financial Literacy)

Session 2: Choose your Professional Attitude

Students learn that maintaining a positive attitude in the face of negativity or apathy from other employees is part of a good work ethic. (Work Readiness)

Session 3: You’re the Boss

Students will investigate the leadership role entrepreneurs must take as they hire employees to operate their new business ventures. They will explore the significance of ethics when faced with challenging employee issues. Entrepreneurs have the right to protect their company, but they also have to consider the lives of the employees that work for them. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 4: Ethics Under Pressure

Students answer ethics questions and compare their responses to a national poll, sponsored by Junior Achievement and Deloitte. Then students engage in role-playing scenarios to practice ethical decision-making in situations where there is pressure to act unethically. (Work Readiness)

Session 5: Balancing Profits and Safety

Students make decisions based on the right of workers to safety and the right of businesses to profits. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 6: Understanding Insider Trading

Students examine ethical issues related to competition. They learn why insider trading is illegal. (Financial Literacy)

Session 7: Debt Management and Mismanagement

Students learn the consequences of mismanaging personal debt. They consider various tools for debt management, understand the effects of filing for bankruptcy, and determine ethical solutions to credit over-extension. (Financial Literacy)

Session 8: Budget Benders

Students learn the challenges inherent in effective budgeting. They utilize basic math skills to analyze and diagnose fiscal problems; students suggest actions to correct the problems. (Financial Literacy)

Session 9: What’s Wrong with That?

Students examine the accounting practices of businesses and learn why ethical standards are important for business people. (Financial Literacy)

Session 10: Giving Back—Corporate Philanthropy and Social Investing

Students discuss corporate philanthropy and social investing. They decide whether their student companies will devote a portion of their retained earnings to the community, the amount of that portion, and on what basis it will be allocated. (Financial Literacy)

Session 11: The Customer Service Game

Students examine customer service. They consider attitudes and behaviors that build customer trust. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 12: My New School Store

Students create a school store and brainstorm a product list. They will be presented with ethical issues surrounding the store’s products, pricing policies, and employee and customer theft. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 13: Company Policies into Action

Students discover that written policies alone do not guarantee the ethical conduct of company employees. The interpersonal skills of leaders, who are truly committed to business ethics, are required. Students learn the importance of ethical behavior in a company’s culture: the way a company conducts its everyday business. Companies and their employees should always strive to do the right thing. Ethics should be communicated in a company’s mission statement, including vision, values, brand, code of conduct, training programs, and orientation for new employees. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Middle School

Session 1: Pirate or Profit

Students evaluate potential entrepreneurial products and services based on established ethical standards. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 2: Money or Ethics: What Drives a Business?

Students will explore ethical dilemmas entrepreneurs could face when starting and operating new business ventures. This session focuses on putting ethics first regardless of the outcome it has on a business. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 3: Credit Where Credit is Due

Students examine the concept of intellectual property rights. They realize that everyone is a stakeholder in maintaining a fair, honest system in which the creative rights of artists, designers, entertainers, and thinkers are protected by law. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 4: The Ethics of Exports

Taking on the roles of business leaders, stockholders, employees, residents of importing countries, and corporate ethics officers, students will discuss and weigh the ethics of export options. (Financial Literacy)

Session 5: Investing in Education

Students explore and examine influences that impact their decisions about education. They learn how these choices affect their future opportunities. Students recognize how community stakeholders contribute to their education and eventual success. (Work Readiness)

Session 6: Education?—A Matter of Perspective

Groups take the roles of high school students, parents, employers, and guidance counselors to examine society’s competing pressures on young people to get jobs or concentrate on continuing their education. An economist and an ethicist add insight to the discussion. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 7: Moving Out—When Businesses Move to Another Country

Students learn that many companies reduce their labor costs by moving production operations to foreign countries. They examine the economic pros and cons behind such practices, and then analyze those decisions in light of ethical considerations. (Work Readiness; Financial Literacy)

Session 8: Ethics in International Negotiations

The worldwide marketplace offers many investment opportunities as developing countries seek to build the infrastructure needed to grow their economies. Strong economics, plus good ethics combine to achieve sound and fair economic development. Because of the disparities in wealth and power between prosperous and developing countries, there is the need for strong ethics awareness. (Financial Literacy)

Session 9: Understanding Child Labor

Students will debate the ethical and economic issues surrounding the child labor used to produce some U.S. imports. Students will role-play the points of view of those involved. (Financial Literacy)

Session 10: Win-Win Global Trade Game

Typically, countries that negotiate trade pacts do so because their general populations will gain short and long-term benefits. These benefits mean better products and better prices, both positive effects. However, in public discourse and the media, students also will hear global trade spoken of in negative terms. This happens because there can also be short-term and long-term harm to specific groups. Often, the primary goal of business is to reduce costs and improve profits, which may present a disadvantage to some workers. This lesson examines these concerns and ways they can be addressed to minimize their impact. (Financial Literacy)

Session 11: Bringing Character to Work

Students will explore the importance of making ethical decisions, as individuals and as employees. While some situations or actions can be resolved by determining what is legal or illegal, personal traits that define character help people to choose to behave ethically. Character traits that help people make ethical decisions develop over time and define their behavior toward themselves and others. By looking at character traits, students will analyze ethical situations and decisions that might have to be made during a first job. (Work Readiness)

Session 12: Written in Stone—Policies and Codes in Business

The beliefs of a company can be expressed in many ways, including written ethics policies, codes of conduct, and statements of core values. Similar to the way in which certain traits identify an individual’s character, these written policies clearly define the expected behaviors for all employees and guide how they should make business decisions. Standards of conduct are the framework for how all employees should decide what is the right thing to do. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 13: Ethical Job Hunting

Students learn the importance of marketing themselves accurately and truthfully during a job search. (Work Readiness)

Session 14: Temptation Junction

This activity introduces the area of professional ethics and how various careers and professions have unique core values and ethics mandates. As students begin to consider career choices in light of ethics as well as economics, the question emerges, “How can I prepare myself to be an ethical and exemplary professional as I participate in our economy?” (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 15: Demand vs. Doing What is Right

Students review the role of entrepreneurs in designing new products or services. They learn to evaluate new products from an ethical, as well as an economic, perspective by applying guidelines for ethical decision making. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 16: Why Choose a Not-for-Profit Enterprise?

This activity introduces the not-for-profit (NFP) sector as a specific class of enterprise. NFPs are valuable resources and operate by many of the same principles as business, particularly in upholding high ethical standards. Many NFPs are dedicated to the advancement and protection of people, their communities, and the environments in which they work. (Entrepreneurship; Financial Literacy)

Session 17: Buyer Beware

Students learn that statistical analysis of marketing data can sometimes be used inappropriately in advertising. Businesses have an ethical obligation to offer fair and accurate analyses of the products and services they market. Buyers are accountable for understanding the ways in which statistical data may be used in marketing; they should be able to recognize when such data are misused. (Financial Literacy)

Session 18: Wise Consumer Skills

Numbers and incomplete data often are used to give weight and credibility to communication meant to persuade. Individuals or groups attempting to persuade people to their point of view often will present their issues using their own logic and supporting data. Ethics is always a matter of “the bigger picture” or the “whole picture.” As students develop their critical thinking skills and their math skills, they come to examine the logical processes used with persuasive communication. Ethics reasoning combined with math skills will expand students’ ability to “take the numbers outside the box” and place them within a larger, more appropriate framework. (Financial Literacy)

Elementary School

Session 1: Having Money When You Need It

Students will examine the ethical responsibility of spending money on need-based goods and services before want-based goods and services. (Financial Literacy)

Session 2: To Borrow or Not To Borrow

They will view borrowing money from the perspective of the borrower, the lender, and address the impact borrowing may have on others who were not directly involved. (Financial Literacy)

Session 3: Get the Word Out—Ethically

Students learn that the successful creation of a product or service ultimately depends on the consumer and although making a profit is important for a business, the desire for profit should not override the goal of customer satisfaction. (Entrepreneurship)

Session 4: Developing Your Work Ethic

Students will develop an understanding of a good and strong work ethic. Students will learn to recognize their own work ethic, and realize that it may change or be tested from situation to situation. (Work Readiness)

Session 5: The Ethics of Saving for a Rainy Day

Students explore wants, needs, and savings as they practice three goals of ethical spending and saving through a scenario exercise. (Financial Literacy)

Session 6: Balancing Business and the Environment

Students learn that most businesses strive to be good corporate citizens and make every effort to protect the environment. However, sometimes businesses deplete natural resources and the environment is damaged. Harming the environment or using up natural resources is not only an environmental issue, it is bad for business. Students will consider the role businesses play in environmental stewardship and in preventing and resolving environmental problems. (Entrepreneurship; Financial Literacy)

Session 7: Reasonable and Fair Pricing

What is a fair price and how is it determined? How do companies price their products? Students examine the dual role of competition and consumers in pricing products. Through a pricing game, students discover that competition helps keep prices low. (Entrepreneurship; Financial Literacy)

Session 8: Ethical Decisions during Unexpected Events

Students look at how various unexpected events can affect their business. Their response to those events can have positive or negative consequences. They learn to distinguish between ethical and unethical business decisions by asking themselves questions that guide the decision-making process. (Work Readiness; Entrepreneurship)

Session 9: Ethical Customer Service and Being Ethical Customers

Much of the success of free enterprise relies on advertising and marketing. Observing the power of creative promotions to make products appealing, students will examine the ethics obligations of merchants to follow through and deliver on the expectations their advertising creates. Students also will look at ways that consumers can take unfair advantage of merchants. (Entrepreneurship; Financial Literacy)