Legal and Ethical Decision Making
Charles Hartmann Class Time: 6:05 – 9:25 T, Th
Professor of Law Room: 148 RIKE
260A Rike Hall Office Hours: 4:00 - 6:00p.m T,Th
775-2375 (voice-mail) Other times by appointment
The title of this course is meant to convey a different emphasis than the traditional legal
environment or public policy courses. In this course, an interdisciplinary approach is taken to
the study of the legal, ethical, political, and regulatory environment in which the business
community functions in the United States. The topics include elements of law, ethics,
economics, management, marketing, political economy, and international business. In this
course, the term “regulation” includes issues of external regulation through law and market
forces and internal regulation through ethics and social responsibility concerns. Specific
topics include: environmental protection, labor – management relations, product liability, the
regulatory role of administration agencies, and some specifics about the legal forms of business
organizations. Global business and comparative international topics are integrated within each
topic area and in a separate section dealing with international law and ethics.
On Line Assignments and Readings
Class assignments are available on line at the instructor’s webpage:
Readings associated with the daily assignments and team reports are available at
University Libraries Course Reserves: http://www.libraries.wright.edu.
CLICK ON Course Reserves
Course Name: MBA740
Password: mba740 (all lower case, no space)
To develop an advanced theoretical and interdisciplinary understanding of the context, scope and
purpose of government regulation of U.S. Business
To develop a critical, analytical understanding of the role of government in comparative economic
To increase understanding of the domestic and international ethical and legal dimensions of business
To develop an in-depth understanding of the impact of U.S. administrative agencies and the federal
To develop an understanding of legal forms of U.S. business organizations and the regulation of
To develop in-depth understanding about positive employee relations
To increase understanding about product liability and public policy
To develop an understanding of environmental protection
To demonstrate graduate-level research, communication and collaboration skills in papers on public
Texts: 1) McAdams, Tony (2004) Law, Business And Society, 7th Edition, Irwin Press,
Homewood, Illinois. (required).
2) Harr, Jonathan, A Civil Action (1996) New York: Vintage Books, a Division of
Random House, Inc. (required).
Note: This book will be the subject of a 2-3 page written report. It is
recommended that you begin reading the book at the start of the class.
Course Format: This course is not presented in a traditional lecture format. The class meetings consist
of a dialogue between the instructor and students and frequently between students working on the
same or different teams. The primary objective is to encourage critical thought about the issues
covered in class, to facilitate an environment for an analytical approach to problem solving, and to
cause students to form opinions about some of the important policy questions which impact business in
this country and abroad.
The author, of the primary textbook, states,
“…our primary purpose is to provoke student thought. To that end, heavy emphasis is placed
on analysis, …retention of rules of law per se is not of primary importance. (The) questions
asked are considered more important than the answers. (The) student is acquainted with
existing policy, …not merely for purposes of understanding and retention, but also to provoke
inquiry as to the desirability of the policies. Then, an attempt is made to explore the desired
managerial role in shaping government policy and regulation of business.”
1. Regular attendance is required. The participation credit will be negatively affected by missing
class. The instructor does not attempt to evaluate justifications for missing class.
2. Regular participation in class discussion is required. The amount and quality of a student’s
participation in class discussion is relevant in assigning a course grade. Participation credit
toward the final grade is based on the content and frequency of the oral contribution.
Participation should be relevant to the topic being discussed and should provide evidence that
the student has read the assigned materials and knows how to integrate the materials into the
class discussions. Students are asked to engage in insightful and critical analysis of the issues
raised by the assigned readings and the specific questions raised in class. Participation credit is
recorded by the instructor after each class meeting. Teams will determine which members
have the primary responsibility for presenting the team reports. Students will receive instructor
feedback concerning their level of participation when examinations are returned. The feedback
will inform the student whether their level of participation is on target for the full participation
3. Active participation and contribution to a team effort is required. Students will form teams of
3-5 members for the purpose of preparing written assignments and presentations of conclusions
in class. A portion of each student’s grade will be based on the quality of the team’s written
assignments. It is anticipated that the teams will need to meet to prepare the reports. At the
end of the quarter, team members will be asked to evaluate this process.
4. Written assignments will be evaluated on content and writing style. The format of the writing
is important as well as its professional tone, clarity of expression, proper spelling, grammar,
punctuation, and proper citations.
1. Approximately 36% of the course grade is based on written team assignments (80 points). The
remaining portion of the grade will be based on individual participation in class (20 points) on
a written reaction to the “A Civil Action” textbook (20 points) and on three examinations; #1
(20 points), #2 (40 points), #3 (40 points).
2. Seven written team reports will be due. Team reports must be turned in before class on the day
they are due. Late reports will not be graded.
3. Examinations will consist of essay questions, identification of terms in the textbook and
multiple choice questions written by authors of the book.
Summary of Grading: Total Points = 220
A) Team Assignments
B) Individual Writing Assignment (20 points)
Topic Points Date See page 9 of the syllabus: Due Aug 17
1. Culture 15 7/27 C) Exams (100 points)
#1 - 20 points – (Chapters 1 and Ethics
2. Bubba 10 7/27 #2 - 40 points – (Chapters 6, 8, 9)
Smith #3 – 40 points – (Chapters 14,16, 17 and
3. Transatlantic 10 7/29
4. Tobacco 15 8/3 D) Class Participation
20 points – See page 3, item 2, of the syllabus for
5.Corporate 10 8/5 a discussion of how participation is evaluated.
6. Labor-Mgmt. 10 8/12 E) Point Totals % Letter Grade
Relations 200 – above (86 – above) A
180 - 199 (78 – 85) B
160 - 179 (69 – 77) C
7. Product 10 8/17 159 and lower (68 – lower) D
Total: 80 points
MBA 740 – Summer 2004
Date Topic Assignments
July 20 * Syllabus Distributed
Class #1 * Teams Formed
Video: “The Commanding Heights” (Part One) The
Battle Between Government and the Marketplace that
is Remaking the World.
July 22 Capitalism and the Role of Government Assignment #1
* Foundations of Capitalism (Chapter One)
Class #2 * Mixed Economy
* The Economic Future in the U.S.
* Too Much Capitalism?
Self-Regulation of Business: Ethics Handouts
(1) Theories of
* Ethical Theory Normative Ethics
-Teleological Theories (2) Morrison Article
- Deontological Theories (3) Bubba Smith Case
July 27 Discussion of Team Report (Culture) Assignment #8
Class #3 Discussion of Team Report (Bubba Smith) Assignment #4
July 29 Examination #1(20 Points) Chapter 1 and Ethics
International Ethics and Law
* The International Environment Assignment #5
Class #4 * Intercultural Ethics
* Foundations of International Law
* Regulation of International Trade
* Government Defenses
Discussion of Team Report (Transatlantic)
Aug 3 Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory Process:
* Introduction to Administrative Agencies
Class #5 * Summary of Administrative Process (Chapter 8)
* The FDA and Tobacco Dr.James Walker
* The Federal Process Evaluated Professor (Emeritus)
* Deregulation or Reregulation? of Political Science
will join the class.
Discussion of Team Report (Tobacco) Assignment #2
Aug 5 Business Organizations and Securities Regulation Assignment #9
* Forms of Business Organizations
Class #6 - Partnerships, Corporations and
* Operations of the Organizations
- Piercing the Veil
- Limited Liability
Regulation of Securities
- Primary and Secondary Markets
- Federal Laws: The 1933 and 1934 Acts
- Insider Trading
- Short Swing Profits
- State Regulation
- International Regulation
Discussion of Team Report (Corporate Liability)
Aug 10 Examination #2 (40 Points) (Chapters 6, 8, 9)
Class #7 Environmental Protection
* The Global Picture Assignment #11
* U.S. Laws
* Other Remedies & Business Responses (Chapter 17)
Video: “The Next Industrial Revolution”
Aug 12 Labor-Management Regulation
Chapter 14 and Handouts
Class #8 * History of the Labor Movement
* Current Labor Law Dr. Ann Wendt,
* Union Elections Professor Department of
* Work Stoppages Management will
* Employees Rights conduct the class.
* Public Sector Unions
Regulation of Products and Product Liability
* Negligence Theory Assignment #15
- Express (Chapter 16)
Class #9 - Magnuson – Moss Warranty Act
* Strict Liability
* Product Liability and Public Policy
Discussion of Team Report (Product Liability)
See Syllabus Page 9
“A Civil Action” report due and discussion
Video: “The Commanding Heights”: (Part Three)
Chapters 14,16, 17 and Commanding Heights video.
Summary of Class Meetings – MBA 740
Class # Date Topics and Assignments
1 7/20 Intro. to course and “The Commanding Heights” Video (part one)
2 7/22 Assignment #1 and Ethics Handout.
3 7/27 Team Writing Assignment #4 & #8
4 7/29 Examination #1 (Chap. 1) and Ethics Materials
Assignment #5 (Chap. 6) and Team Writing Assmt. #6
5 8/3 Assignment #7(Chap8) and Team Writing Assmt #2
6 8/5 Assignment #9 (Chapter 9) and Team Writing Assmt. #10
7 8/10 Examination #2 (Chapters 6,8,9)
Assignment #11 (Chapter 17)
Video “The Next Industrial Revolution”
8 8/12 Chapter 14 – Handouts from Professor Wendt,
9 8/17 Assignment #15 (Chapter 16) and Team Writing Assmt. #16
“A Civil Action” papers due
10 8/19 Video: “The Commanding Heights” (part three)
Examination #3 (Chap 17,14,16 and videos)
Description of “A Civil Action” Papers,
You will be reading and reacting to A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, an important regulatory
law book which has achieved national prominence as a best seller and a movie. It is rare that
a book dealing with regulation of the natural environment has reached such a mass
One of the purposes of asking you to read and react to this book is to test its suitability as an
instructional tool in a college of business. By choosing the book it is obvious that the
instructor may have some preconceptions about this question. Those preconceptions may be
tested by how you react to the assignment. A written analysis, including the following
elements will be due on the date indicated on your syllabus.
1. The premise of the author and how it relates to the study of government regulation as it
relates to the protection of the natural environment.
2. Your evaluation of the author’s clarity of expression and the readability of the work for a
graduate school audience,
3. Your perception of the balance of the work, for example, does it contain a bias or slanted
view of the material which might cause you to question its suitability as a course reading?
4. The lessons the reader learns about the legal issues involved in the protection of the
5. The lessons the reader learns about the management mistakes made by the companies
involved in the disputes.
6. Your analysis of why Schlictmann did not win his suit against the defendant corporations.
7. Using other resources (such as www.civil-action.com) analyze the corporate responses to
Harr’s book. On balance, did they receive a fair treatment in the book?
8. Other relevant comments about the work and the usefulness of the assignment in
introducing graduate students to the study of the regulation of the natural environment.
Other Sources: Identified by students in this class include:
Kennedy, Dan “Jonathan Harr talks about his Heart Breaking Legal Thriller”
Vare, Robert “Jonathan Harr on Writing ‘ACivil Action’
Team Composition and Organization
Composition of Teams
Each team should consist of three-five members who are self-selected. As teams may meet out of class, it may be
useful to select members based on common times of availability.
Team operating procedures
One of the lessons of self-managed work teams is that such teams need to be empowered to maintain themselves. For
that reason, you will build your own team, rather then being arbitrarily assigned to them. Also any team has the
authority to discharge any team member for non-performance, by a unanimous (other than the dischargee, of course)
vote. This is not to be done lightly, since such a discharge may mean a failing grade for the course. Prior to such a
discharge, the team should meet with the member and try to resolve the situation. If that fails, all parties will meet
with the instructor to again try to reach a resolution. If that is also ineffective, the team can then discharge the team
member, in writing, signed by all team members.
Names of team members
NOTE: PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL (CHARLES.HARTMANN@WRIGHT.EDU)
LISTING THE NAMES OF YOUR TEAM MEMBERS AND THEIR EMAIL
ADDRESSES AFTER THE FIRST CLASS.