Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Stefano Zamagni

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SECS-P/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Law and Economics (cod. 9221)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course reviews in a critical way the three major steps concerning the entrance of ethical discourse into the economics of the enterprise. With the advent of the modern corporation, the shareholder value principle gets the center of the stage: the responsible enterprise is the one that succeeds in maximizing the value for the shareholders within the bounds fixed by law. The second step, starting at the end of the sixties, sees the advent of buisiness ethics: the responsible enterprise is the one that aims at harmonizing the interests of the various classes of stakeholders. This is the "good business is good ethics" principle. Finally, at the end of the XX century a major change occurs: the corporate civil responsibility, according to which "good ethics is good business". This is the content of the "new" business ethics. At the end of the course the student will master the hot debate about a sustainable model of market economy.

Course contents

1. What is business ethics. Is business ethics relevant to the management of organizations? Oragnizational rationality and inter-organizational conflicts: the demand of ethics.

2. The ethical code as the Constitutional charter of the organization. Why to respect the ethical code. The introduction of ethical codes in the organizations: performance, reputation, control. Corruption in the enterprises. The problem of strategic coordination in complex organizations.

3. The enterprise in transition. The enterprise as a commodity and the enterprise as a community. The enterprise in the post- tayloristic era. From management to leadership.

4. The responsible enterprise as a moral agent. The social responsibility of the enterprise: the stakeholder theory. The myth of the shareholder value. The ethical foundation of the social responsibility of the enterprise: utilitarianism, deontologism, ethics of virtues.

5. The economic impact and the ethical challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The "Platform Kapitalismus" and the "sharing economy". The decoupling between capitalism and democracy. The ethics of virtues as a resource of the business world.

6. The civil responsibility of the enterprise. A new vision of the enterprise. The paradox of M. Polanyi. B-corps e creazione di valore condiviso. New finance and ethical behaviour.

7. The new role of the enterprise in the post-Covid-19 era.


A. Ablela, J. Capizzi, Etica e business, Soveria Mannelli, Rubettino, 2016.

AA.VV., Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics, OUP, 2017

R. Baldwin, La grande convergenza, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2018

D. Baron, "A Positive Theory of Moral Management", Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2009, 18.

P. Bianchi, 4.0. La nuova rivoluzione industriale, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018

G. Brenkert, T. Beauchamp, The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics, OUP, 2010

L. Bruni, S. Zamagni, L'economia civile, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016

A. Carr, Is business bluffing Ethical?, "Harvard Business Review", XI, 1968

P. Collier, The future of capitalism, New York, Allen, 2018

J. Eckhout, The profit paradox. How thriving firms threaten the future of work, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2021

A. Fabris (a cura di), Etiche applicate, Roma, Carocci, 2018

B.M.R. Ferrarese, Promesse mancate, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018

M. O'Hara, Something for Nothing, Norton Co., New York, 2016

K. Pistor, The code of capital. How the law creates wealth and inequality, Princeton, PUP, 2019.

M. Porter, M. Kramer, "Creating Shared Value", Harvard Business Review, 2011

L. Sacconi (a cura di), La responsabilità sociale d'impresa, Roma, ABI, 2005

A. Sen, "Does Business Ethics Make Economic Sense?", Business Ethics Quarterly, 1993, 3

Z. Teachout, Corruption in America, Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press, 2014.

S. Zamagni, Impresa responsabile e mercato civile Bologna, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2013

S. Zamagni, Responsabili. Come civilizzare il mercato, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019

S. Zamagni, Diseguali, San Sepolcro, Aboca, 2020

Teaching methods

In class lectures and discussions

Assessment methods

The student must prepare a 8000-8500 thousnad words paper on one of the themes dealt with by the teacher and send it at the end of the course to the email of the teacher, who will answer personally with the evaluation of the text and the grade.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Zamagni