Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Task

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Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics

Task Description


In this activity, students will work together in small groups to analyze a business case study focused on social responsibility and ethics and create a short (2-3-minute) presentation summarizing their findings. For their post-activity assessment, students will watch all group presentations and use the online discussion board to respond to/ask questions about their peers’ presentations.

Introduction to Business and Marketing (S23): Research the concept of social responsibility and ethics as important components of business. Then, attend a local business-sponsored community event or explore case studies illustrating the social responsibilities of today’s businesses. Write a reflection paper summarizing observations; specifically, evaluate how businesses benefit from engaging in responsible business practices, including benefits to the community, the environment, the marketplace, and the business/workplace itself.

Virtual Enterprise International (S7.2): Research benefits and consequences resulting from the practice of business ethics.

Advertising and Public Relations (S25): Summarize legal opinions and/or applicable legislation (such as “bait and switch” and use of nutritional labels) and industry self-regulation (including ethical considerations and social responsibility) applicable to the advertising and public relations industry.

Entrepreneurship (S7): Examine different examples of business codes of ethics. Synthesize principles from the research, highlighting ethical problems typical for entrepreneurs such as conflicts of interests, bribes, and patent/copyright infringement. Create a written code of ethics for the proposed business.

Hospitality Management (S22): Define the concept of ethics in business. Examine case studies of ethical and unethical behavior and discuss the ramifications of those behaviors on both businesses and the public. Create a Code of Ethics for a team of employees as would a manager in a hospitality-related business.

Accounting II (S14): Investigate codes of ethics from professional organizations in accounting, personal finance, and banking and GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and examine areas of commonality. Synthesize principles from the codes investigated including separation of duties to create a personal code of ethics.

Accounting II: Examine real-world situations that involve ethical dilemmas and the application of correct professional conduct as highlighted in recent news articles. Craft an argumentative essay making a claim about the importance of ethics and professional standards for persons working in the accounting pathway, citing examples from case studies to argue for the relevance of professional codes of conduct.

 Content Understandings

Extending Understandings

Upon successful completion of these tasks students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Apply their knowledge and understanding of corporate social responsibility to a specific, real-life business case study;
  • Interpret and explain the elements and decisions of their assigned case study and then synthesize that information;
  • Collaborate with their peers to succinctly and clearly present their findings to their classmates and instructor using an online presentation tool;
  • Select their presentation-medium from a teacher-provided list to challenge their technological literacy and understanding;
  • Demonstrate their ability to use technology to deliver a brief presentation to their classmates;
  • Assess their peers’ findings and thoughtfully communicate their questions and feedback to encourage further reflection and discussion.

To move students towards deeper understanding, they should be given opportunities to:

  • Justify why the business in their case study made particular decisions and took specific actions;
  • Apply the decision-making process of the selected business to a school or community project;
  • Synthesize their peers’ findings to draw connections across presentations and case studies.

Support Strategies

If students are struggling to access this task, additional supports and strategies could be employed as students are engaging with the task.

Key Terms

Sentence Frames

Scaffolded Questions

Social responsibility




Code of ethics





A business fails to exercise ______________ when they don’t know and/or adhere to workplace laws, trade policies and regulations, and ethics that typically govern business operations.


When marketers design advertising or develop products, they should follow a ________________ to ensure they are conducting themselves professionally and appropriately.


If a society or community puts legal, moral, and/or economic pressure on Company X to combat their disregard for consumer rights, the society or community is practicing _____________.

What are two categories of social responsibility? And in what ways can a business contribute to public interest?



How can a business use a code of ethics to help guide their decision-making?




What role does consumerism play in corporate social responsibility and ethics?


Additional Resources

Videos and Articles

Online Presentation Platforms:



This activity will follow a lesson on social responsibility and business ethics. During the lesson, the instructor will introduce key terms and concepts, as well as use a real-life case study to illustrate social responsibility and business ethics in action. In this activity, students will work together to apply what they learned during the lesson to a real-life case study assigned by the instructor.

Activity Steps:

  1. Students will be divided into small groups of 3-5 students (depending on class size).
    1. Each group will communicate via discussion board and/or email to discuss their findings and coordinate their presentations. The instructor will be responsible for setting up the small group discussion boards and/or email groups.
  2. The instructor will assign each group a case study to read and analyze (links to case studies listed at the end of activity instructions):
    1. SunPower: Focused on the Future of Solar Power
    2. DeBeers’s Diamond Dilemma
    3. BP and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster of 2010
    4. Nike Considered: Getting Traction on Sustainability
    5. Management Principles and the Washington, DC Public Schools (A): Choosing a Chancellor
  3. Each group will prepare a 2-3-minute presentation on their case study. They will need to narrate the presentation using either the narrative voiceover feature in PowerPoint, the video proposal feature in Adobe Spark, or a similar virtual presentation platform of the instructor’s choosing. In planning the short presentation, students need to include the following:
    1. Select one individual to act as the “spokesperson” to narrate the presentation;
    2. Address what programs their business implemented as part of their social responsibility plan and discuss how these programs were (or possibly were not) beneficial;
    3. Discuss how the business’s social responsibility plans/efforts affect various stakeholders (e.g., employees, supplies, consumers, shareholders, etc.).
  4. Each group will upload their presentation to the online discussion board.

Post-Activity Homework

  1. As part of their homework or post-activity reflection, students will watch all group presentations and use the online discussion board to respond to/ask questions about their peers’ presentations.
    1. At least two comments and/or questions per student required.
    2. Responses/questions should address the efficacy of the business’s social responsibility programs/efforts.
  2. The instructor should monitor the discussion board to ensure all students are engaging in discussion in a sustained and respectful way and redirect or guide discussion if needed.


Links to Case Studies:

(All case studies are accessed through MIT Sloan School’s MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources (MSTIR). All materials featured on their site carry a creative commons license and can be downloaded, copies, and distributed free of charge by anyone worldwide.)

SunPower: Focused on the Future of Solar Power (Henderson, R.M., Conkling, J., & Roberts, S. (2007, July, 25). “SunPower: Focused on the Future of Solar Power.” MIT Sloan Management. Retrieved from

DeBeers’s Diamond Dilemma (McAdams, D. & Reavis, C. (2008, Jan, 7). “DeBeers’s Diamond Dilemma.” MIT Sloan Management. Retrieved from

BP and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster of 2010 (Ingersoll, C., Locke, R.M., & Reavis, C. (2012, April 3), “BP and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster of 2010.” MIT Sloan Management. Retrieved from

Nike Considered: Getting Traction on Sustainability (Henderson, R., Locke, R.M., Lyddy, C., & Reavis, C. (2009, Jan. 21). “Nike Considered: Getting Traction on Sustainability.” MIT Sloan Management. Retrieved from

Management Principles and the Washington, DC Public Schools (A): Choosing a Chancellor (Hafrey, L. & Reavis, C. (2011, Sept. 6). “Management Principles and the Washington, DC Public Schools (A): Choosing a Chancellor.” MIT Sloan Management. Retrieved from


If teachers would like to select their own case studies, they may find additional resources below:

MIT Management Sloan School Case Studies (MIT Sloan School of Management. (2020). Case Studies. Retrieved from

Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. (2020). Business Ethics Cases. Retrieved from

Note: These case studies are shorter and may be well-suited for less-advanced classes. They’re also good resources for teacher modeling and demonstrations.

MBA Research + Curriculum’s Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace Series (MBA Research & Curriculum Center. (2020, Feb. 14). Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace. [Video]. YouTube.

Note: These case studies are delivered via video and provide a good alternative to written case studies.