PHIL 531 (01) - Topics in Professional and Business Ethics

Professional & Business Ethics

Durham   Liberal Arts :: Philosophy
Credits: 4.0
Term: Spring 2023 - Full Term (01/24/2023 - 05/08/2023)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Class Size:   35  
CRN: 54772
Content variable. Examines a topic or topics related to ethical issues in professional and business situations. Some variations of the course will look in-depth at a specific issue, such as consumer behavior, medical ethics, discrimination, or the theory of the film. Alternatively, the course may examine, from one or more ethical perspectives, a wide range of issues related to business activity, workplace culture, regulation, and economic practices.
Section Comments: Ethics in Professional Sports
Registration Approval Required. Contact Instructor or Academic Department for permission then register through Webcat.
Attributes: Humanities(Disc)
Instructors: Nina Windgaetter

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
1/24/2023 5/8/2023 TR 11:10am - 12:30pm HS 201
Additional Course Details: 

Special Topic:  Ethics of Professional Sports 

This course in the Topics of Professional and Business Ethics covers the ethics of professional sports.  Professional sport organizations have many things in common with most businesses: they employ workers, are subject to laws, inhabit offices, depend on customers and suppliers, rely on shareholders and other financiers, impact and are impacted by their communities and societies, engage in marketing, keep an eye on competitors, and are covered by the media.

            At the same time, they are also unlike most industries in several respects.  Their customers are fans who are deeply emotionally invested in the teams’ and leagues’ success.  Their product is a game, arranged by executives and managers, orchestrated by coaches, and performed by players, some of whom are international superstars but others of whom are unknown by all but the most ardent of fans.  Their market is (for the most successful leagues) primarily in broadcasting rights, but they also make money in markets for consumer goods like jerseys and sports paraphernalia, licensing deals for other companies’ products, event hosting for games where tickets and concessions are sold, and even corporate sponsorship.  Finances and ownership of leagues are tightly regulated by governments, international organizations, and the leagues themselves.  And whole areas of media are devoted to sports, leagues, and even individual teams and players.

            This class will take the broader questions of business ethics and apply them to specific issues and cases involving professional sports.  It will be heavily discussion based, and students will be expected to show up to class having done and thought about the preparation materials.  Our goal is to learn more about broad issues such as what it means to be, supervise, or own the contract of an employee; how laws and rules ought to structure organizational behavior; and what businesses and community members owe to stakeholders such as shareholders, customers, suppliers, communities, societies, and competitors.  At the same time, we’ll examine narrower issues such as what it means to be a fan; what teams owe fans and fans owe teams; whether and to what extent winning and making money matter; how important player health is and what ought to be done about it; issues of sports’ inequalities in terms of race and gender; and other questions voted on by students.


Simon, Robert et al. "Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport." 4th ed., Westview Press, 2015.