PhD Course Descriptions

LGST9200 - Ethics in Business and Economics (Course Syllabus)

The seminar explores the growing academic literature in business ethics. It also provides participants an opportunity to investigate an ethical issue of their choosing in some depth, using their field of specialty as context. The seminar assumes no previous exposure to business ethics. Different business ethics theories and frameworks for investigating issues will be discussed, including corporate social responsibility, corporate moral agency, theories of values, and corporate governance. In turn, these theories will be applied to a range of issues, both domestic and international. Such issues include: corruption in host countries, the management of values in modern corporations, the ethical status of the corporation, ethics in sophisticated financial transactions (such as leveraged derivative transactions), and gender discrimination in the context of cultural differences. Literature not only from business ethics, but from professional and applied ethics, law, and organizational behavior will be discussed. Often, guest speakers will address the seminar. At the discretion of the class, special topics of interest to the class will be examined. Students will be expected to write and present a major paper dealing with a current issue within their major field. The course is open to students across fields, and provides integration of ideas across multiple business disciplines.

LGST9210 - Foundations of Business Law (Course Syllabus)

This course will introduce students to basic jurisprudential discussions and debates that relate to understanding business in society. Topics will include a general overview of the nature of law and its relationship to ethics; history of legal thought, business in society; theories of contract, torts, and property; criminal law as it applies to business situations; and theories of the business enterprise and its regulation. Selected topics will also be chosen in accordance with the interest of participants in the seminar.

LGST9410 - Theories of Business Enterprise (Course Syllabus)

What is a business firm? How did various forms of business, including the corporation, arise historically? How do contemporary economic and financial theories explain how business firms evolve, grow, and die? What are the legal underpinnings of the forms of business enterprise, ranging from sole proprietorships to partnerships to family-owned enterprises to multinational corporate groups? How do business firms relate to politics and government, as well as religion? What about the environment? This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to pursuing answers to these questions. Students will gain perspective on the nature of business enterprises from different points of view that will be useful in further research, as well as having practical application. Ubiquitous economic concepts such as agency costs, principal-agent relationships, transaction costs, and influence costs will be studied. Different legal structures of firms will also be introduced, including new hybrid organizations such as benefit corporations, which seek to meld non-profit and profit objectives. In the course, we will read high-profile U.S. Supreme Court cases such as Citizens United and Hobby Lobby and debate appropriate boundaries (or not) between business and politics, as well as business and religion. Business ethics and the nature of any social responsibilities owed by business and business people will be topics too.