Summer University Course

The Rise of Social Media and its Impact on Business Ethics
Fraser Hodges, Save the Children Denmark


This is a 100–level introductory course with no prerequisites.

Course description

This course turns traditional business ethics analysis on its head.  We look at the conventional models for assessing stakeholders and ethics in business together with common analysis tools.  We then look at how social media has made companies much more susceptible to the impacts of poor ethical decisions (perceived or real).  We investigate and debate whether societies’ value judgements have changed from being based on right and wrong, to being based on latest trends, loudest voice, or most effective campaign.  The course uses real case studies of good and poor corporate ethical decisions, including contemporary cases the students find and research themselves during the week.


  • What is Business Ethics?
  • Unethical behaviour and employee rights inside organizations
  • Ethical behaviour and issues impacting external stakeholders
  • Social norms, individual and organizational values that shape behaviour
  • Theoretical frameworks - Egoism, utilitarianism, duties, rights, justice
  • The process of ethical decision-making and the role of a manager

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students can: 

  • Identify and explore different ethical issues that might emerge in business
  • Differentiate between what is right and what is expected
  • Assess the factors that might influence individual and organizational behaviour
  • Identify and recommend alternative options for action in case of an ethical dilemma


Students planning to obtain ECTS credits for the course will analyse a chosen case and present it in class.  Grading will be based on the analysis/presentation (50%) and other class work/participation during the week.

Reading materials

Crane, A., Matten, D., Glozer, S., and Spence, L.J. (2019). Business Ethics. Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalisation. 5th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fraser Hodges has 30 years of international management experience in the Automotive and Oil & gas industries.  Today, he is Head of Project Finance at Save the Children Denmark overseeing the global distribution of €100m annually to ensure children survive, learn, and are protected.  With an engineering degree from Oxford and an MBA from INSEAD he is also a visiting professor at IBS Budapest in Economics, Strategy, and Business Ethics.