New York University Stern School of Business Administration

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New York University

Stern School of Business Administration

B02.3101 - Professional Responsibility

Fall, 2002 Professor Larry Zicklin

Time: Monday: 9:00 AM - 10:20 AM Tel#: 476-9200 fax-476 9209

Class Room: KMEC 3-90 email:

Office Hours: Tuesday -10:30-12:00

(or by Appointment)


The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to a broad range of “non-market” issues encountered by managers and business professionals, and to help the student develop a set of analytical perspectives for making judgments when such issues arise. In economics many of these issues can be described as market failures. To a limited extent, we will illustrate how the legal system is used to redress such failures of the market economy. We will also examine the role of ethical norms and reasoning in resolving such issues in managerial life, and in establishing standards of professional responsibility. More directly, the student in this course will exercise professional judgment through discussion and analysis. Most such exercises will require the analysis of one or more cases, as indicated on the attached schedule of class assignments. In addition, we will study writings in the fields of ethical reasoning, professional responsibility, and the law. In this particular section of Professional Responsibility we will emphasize the FINANCIAL SERVICES industry, as this is where your instructor has spent his career and where many of the students will be spending theirs. In addition, we cannot ignore the events of the past year and we will devote considerable time reviewing the cases that have been so prominent in the news. We will, however, do them in greater detail. Finally, it is reasonable to expect that more news of ethical violations will occur during the semester and we will investigate those that seem relevant to the syllabus. Our semester will be devoted to teaching the most difficult of business subjects. That is the matter of judgement. No matter how many tools you acquire, the application of good judgement will make all the difference in your career. During these weeks we spend together, there will be an attempt to sensitize you to the seductions that money, power and ego create. That slippery slope often overrides good judgement. If you doubt it, consider the following comment in Business Week from Joseph Berardino, former CEO of Andersen Worldwide who reputedly earned an estimated $3 million a year: “I paid the price, I lost my job. I lost my firm. I’ve got less money today than I had as the newly elected CEO. I lost my partner capital. I lost my retirement. I don’t have any stock options. I may never work again.”

Preparation for Class

The student’s primary obligation in this course is to prepare for class discussion by thorough reading and analysis of assigned materials. There will be lots of readings but they are normally only a few pages in length. Case discussions and in-class activities are an essential part of the course. Sessions #2 through #14 each have a number of study questions. Students are responsible for mentally preparing answers to all these questions before coming to class. The instructor will call on students to provide their answers orally, as a basis for further discussion.

Written Study Question Analyses

Each student should perform a written analysis for 3 study questions over the course of the term. That is, for 3 sessions of his or her choosing the student should write out his or her analysis for any one of the assigned study questions. These analyses should be 3-5 pages in length. The student can submit more than 3 written analyses, but only the top 3 grades will count.

Term Project

Students are responsible for a term paper, described on the attached page. In the event the student has not had enough business experience to have been involved in such a situation, the instructor will make a case available. Specific questions will be asked of the student in this situation. It is preferable for the student to seriously attempt to bring his/her own experiences to bear with the instructor’s case to be used only as a last resort.


The weights for the student’s overall grade are:

Class Participation 20%;

Written Study Question Analysis 40%;

Term Project 40%.


All cases and readings for this course are found in:

Cases and Readings in Professional Responsibility: Markets, Ethics, and Law

2002-03 Edition available in the NYU Professional Bookstore. Note that the edition for the current academic year, 2002-03, is different from prior editions.

Note on Class Schedule
Due to a religious holiday, the class on Monday, September 16th is cancelled. I have provided alternative dates of Wednesday September 18th and Thursday September 26th at 9:00 AM. If necessary, I will conduct both classes to accommodate student schedule. If not, perhaps everybody will be able to make one class. I will be talking with you on September 9th. As you might expect, the subject for the make up class will be Truth and Disclosure (Module #1) Room 3-90


The purpose of this paper is to allow the student to apply principles of professional responsibility to an actual, specific business situation. The student will describe a situation with which he or she has first-hand familiarity. The student may have been a major or minor actor in the situation, or may have merely witnessed the situation. In any event, the requirements are that the situation raises ethical or legal issues and that the student was there. It would not be appropriate to analyze a situation if you were not in a position to observe it directly.

The paper should have the following major sections:

I. Situation

Provide a description of the situation or practice; this description must be detailed and rich enough to allow the reader to get a clear sense of the issues and circumstances (2-4 pages).

II. Analysis

Apply some method or methods of ethical (or perhaps legal) reasoning to the situation and examine the results of this application. Are the results logical, beneficial, counter intuitive, or in any other way problematic? Here the student should apply, wherever appropriate, concepts from the course and its readings. Also, the student should cite the relevant law (2-4 pages).

III. Resolution & Conclusion

Describe how the situation was actually resolved. Discuss this resolution in light of the ethical analysis from section II (2-4 pages).

In sum, this paper should be roughly 8-12 typed, double-spaced pages.
IMPORTANT: Good performance (hence good grades) on this assignment consists of systematically and thoroughly applying relevant concepts and methods from the course to the situation, and in testing the worth of those concepts and methods in resolving the ethical issues it presents.
Session_Topic_and_Assignments_Date'>NOTE: Written Projects are due on session 10.
Project descriptions (1-page) are due on session 4.
Session Topic and Assignments Date
1. Introduction—Market Failures and Professional Dilemmas 9/9
Cases: “The Price of Lobster Thermidor”

from the Economist (Appendix II)

Read: Economic Theories of Regulation: Normative v Positive”

by Linda N. Edwards and Franklin R. Edwards (Appendix II)

“Making an Ethical Decision”

by Terry Halbert and Elaine Ingulli (Appendix I)

Study Questions

  1. Why do market failures tend to bring about law or regulation to counter their effects?

  2. What market failures or imperfections are present in the “Lobster Thermidor” case?

  3. How might ethical methodology help an executive or legislator to make more effective decisions in the presence of market imperfections?

Note: Due to a religious holiday 9/16 class will be rescheduled

Session Topic and Assignments Date
2. Truth and Disclosure (Module #1) 9/16
Cases: "Bitter Pill: How a Drug Firm Paid for University Study, Then Undermined It" (book)

by Ralph T. King, Jr.

“Desperate Air Corp.”

by Tom Dunfee (Packet)

“Today’s Analyst Often Wears Two Hats” (book)

by Roger Lowenstein

“Requiem For An Honorable Profession”

by Gretchen Morgenson (book)

Read: “Is Business Bluffing Ethical?”

by Albert Carr (book)

"Capitalism Depends on Character"

by Jean Strouse - N.Y. Times (Prometheus)

“Striking It Rich”

by John Cassidy (Prometheus)

Study Questions

  1. Would Albert Carr voice any objections to the corporate actions of Boots described in “Bitter Pill”? Why or why not? Do you agree with Carr? Why or why not?

  2. In the “Desperate Air” case, what (if any) is the problem? What alternatives does Nash have? Which one should he choose and why?

  3. Is Jean Strouse correct in asserting that Capitalism Depends on Character or is this merely another impediment to the operation of the free market?

  4. After reading the "Striking It Rich" article, how would you apportion responsibility for the market's collapse? Why?

Session Topic and Assignments Date

3. Side Deals, and Conflicts of Interest (Module #2) 9/23
Cases: “Salomon Analyst’s Upgrade For AT&T Amends Relations”

by Randall Smith and Leslie Cauley (Prometheus)

“Roger Berg”

by Ronald M. Green (book)

“Friends and Family”

by Melanie Warner (book)

“The Spin Desk: Underwriters Save IPO Stock for Officers of Potential Clients”

by Michael Siconolfi (Prometheus)

“Biotech Firm Claims Piper-Jaffrey Halted Coverage of It As Payback”

by Randall Smith and Geeta Anand (book)

"I.P.O. Plums For titans of Telecom"

by Gretchen Morgenson (Prometheus)

Read: “Neutral Omni-Partial Rule Making”

by Ronald M. Green (Appendix I)

“Introduction to Ethical Reasoning”

by Thomas Donaldson & Patricia H. Werhane (Packet)

Study Questions

  1. Using “NORM” (Neutral Omni-Partial Rule Making) and the reading on Ethical reasoning, create a policy for investment banking firms that would be fair to the public and still enable the firms to compete.

  2. Using Ethical concepts from today’s reading put yourself in the position of Roger Berg and determine your actions.

  3. Is the “Salomon Analyst” case a form of bribery? Why or why not? Would Albert Carr agree with you?

  4. Is there anything wrong with the practices described in “Friends and Family” or the “Spin Desk”? If so, are there any regulations that our readings might suggest to improve the situation?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
4. Whistle Blowing and Loyalty (Module #3) 9/30

Cases: “Inside Straight”

by Jesse Kornbluth (Packet)

“How Two Whistle Blowers Sparked Fraud Probe that Crushed Cendant”

by Emily Nelson and Joann S. Lublin (Prometheus)

“He Told. He Suffered. Now He’s a Hero”

by Kurt Eichenwald (book)

"How Ex-Accountant Added Up to Trouble for Humbled Xerox"

by James Bandler & Mark Maremont (Prometheus)

“The Man Who Paid the Price For Sizing Up Enron"

by Richard A. Oppel Jr. (book)

“Enron Employee Told Lay Last Summer of Concerns”

by Michael Schroeder and John Emshwiller (book)

"Personal Business: Blowing the Whistle: Not for the Fainthearted"

by Marci Alboher Nusbaum (Prometheus)

Read: “The Return of Qui Tam”

by Priscilla R. Budeiri (book)

Study Questions

  1. Consider the position of Arthur Ainsberg in the "Inside Straight” case, Did he handle the situation correctly? Did he have alternatives? Would you have done anything differently, and if so, why? Use readings and ethical concepts to support your position.

  2. Mark Jorgeson (Prudential), James Bingham (Xerox) Sherron Watkins (Enron) all worked at major corporations where they tried to bring truthful accounting numbers to the attention of top management and investors. What personal risk did they run? How did the outcomes of their cases differ with their approach to whistleblowing?

  3. Is the Qui Tam policy a good idea? Should corporations also use it; that is, should corporations offer rewards to employees who blow the whistle on their colleagues?

  4. Should regulators react to the firing of Chung Wu in the Personal Business Case? Why or why not? How would you react if you were a Paine Webber client?

Session Topic and Assignments Date

5. Management and Directors: Fiduciary Duties (Module #4) 10/7

Cases: “Old City Enterprises”

by Lawrence Zicklin (book)

“Internal Documents Suggest WorldCom Knew of Violations

by Yochi J. Dreazen and Deborah Solomon (Prometheus)

"Testing the Limits of the Business Judgment Rule”

by Roger Leroy Miller & Gaylord Jentz (book)

"The Adelphia Story: The sixth-largest cable company might as well have been called John Rigas & Sons. It’s rise and fall was a small-town saga of epic dimensions."

by Devin Leonard (Prometheus)

Read: “E-Practice: Counseling the Board of Directors”

by Robert G. Heim (Prometheus)

“Directors on Board Have a Duty of Loyalty”

by Robert G. Heim (Prometheus)

“Business Judgment in Turbulent Times”

by Robert G. Heim (Prometheus)

"Enron's Many Strands: Excerpts From the Report of a Special Committee Investigating Enron"

New York Times 2/3/2002 (book)

“Moral Hazard”

by Robert Pindyck and Daniel L. Rubenfeld (Appendix II)

Study Questions

  1. How would you reconcile the conflict between Privacy and Fiduciary responsibilities in the "Old City" case?

  2. How might the Controller of WorldCom defend his actions to the press? What ethical methods and concepts are you applying?

  3. Does the legal decision in the Testing the Business Judgment case (Disney) give you comfort or a severe case of embarrassment? How does it correlate with the efficient market theory?

  4. Assuming the Special Committee Report is accurate, who is responsible for what happened at Enron? Why?

The Case Project Description Is Due Today

Session Topic and Assignments Date

6. Social Responsibility to Stakeholders (Module #5) 10/14
Cases: "Enticing Third World Youth”

by Greg Winter (Prometheus)

“Needy & Company”

by Lawrence Zicklin (Prometheus)

“Curem Pharmaceutical”

by Lawrence Zicklin (Prometheus)

“Plasma International” (book)

by T.W. Zimmer and P.L. Preston

Read: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its"

by Milton Friedman (book)

“Our Schizophrenic Conception of the Business Corporation”

by William T. Allen (book)

Study Questions
1. What advice would Milton Friedman give to the CEO of Needy? Would you agree with him? If you were the CEO of Needy, how much pressure would you put on Janet to take on this new responsibility? Use ethical methods and concepts to support your position.

  1. How might Milton Friedman react to the facts in the Curem case? What alternatives might he consider?

  2. Tobacco is a legal product that provides extraordinary revenue to both the states and the Federal Government. It also offers employment to thousands of people who earn well above average wages. Given those facts, use any applicable readings, both past and present to formulate a position for the managements involved in the “Enticing Third World Youth” case.

  3. How would you resolve the dilemma posed by William Allen regarding the property conception or the social entity conception? What is the overriding purpose of the corporation?

Session Topic and Assignments Date

7. Corporate Governance 10/21

Cases: “Dayton Hudson Corporation; Conscience and Control”

by Kenneth Goodpaster and Robert C. Kennedy (Packet)

"Insiders who managed to get out just in time—Barons of Bankruptcy Parts I and II"

by Caroline Daniel (Prometheus)

Read: "Hearing on Corporate Responsibility and Ways to Protect Consumers and Investors” (Prometheus)

Testimony of Neil Minow

Editor, The Corporate Library
"What Boards Can Do to Boost Independence, Restore Trust"

by Carol Hymowitz (Prometheus)

"New York Stock Exchange Proposes Significant Governance and Disclosure Reforms (Prometheus)

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

"SEC Orders CEO and CFO Certification under Oath as to Past Exchange Act Filings" (Prometheus)

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Study Questions:

  1. To whom does management owe primary responsibility? Use both today’s and prior readings to support your opinion.

  2. In the Dayton Hudson case, what alternatives did CEO Macke have? Which one should he have chosen? Why? Use previous and/or current readings and discussions to formulate your answer.

  3. Given all you have read over the last few months concerning the trials and tribulations of corporate directors, would you agree to join a corporate Board? What about a non-profit? Why or why not?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
8. Control by Law (Module #7) 10/28
Case: Why Daiwa Bank Will Pay $340 Million Under the Sentencing Guidelines”(book)

by Jeffrey M. Kaplan

“Pollution Case Highlights Trend to Let Employees Take the Rap” by Dean Starkman (book)
Read: "Living with the Organizational Sentencing Guidelines” (book)

by Jeffrey Kaplan, Linda S. Dakin, Melinda R. Smolin

“Follow Sentencing Guidelines Compliance Measures, Court Tells

Directors” (book)

by Jeffrey M. Kaplan

"The Economy: Affirmation of Financial Results Can Involve

Lower-level Officers"

by Evan Perez WSJ (Prometheus)

"White Collar Criminal? Pack Lightly for Prison"

by Russ Mitchell (Prometheus)

Study Questions:

  1. How do you think the Corporate Sentencing Guidelines will change corporate behavior?

  2. What are the implications of the Corporate Sentencing Guidelines for the individual employee? Use your own intended career path as a basis for judgment, and be as specific as you can.

  3. Some people have characterized the Daiwa Case as the “largest late fee in history.” Do you agree or was it more than that? Support your answer with material from the readings or our class discussions.

  4. How do you judge the "fairness" of the DuPont requirement that 80 senior people had to sign on to the verification of financial results?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
9. Moral Standards Across Borders (Module #8) 11/4
Cases: “The Oil Rig” (Book)

by Joanne B. Ciulla

“Lives Held Cheap in Bangladesh Sweatshops” (Book)

by Barry Bearak

“For Cruise Workers, Life is No Love Boat” (book)

by Joshua Harris Prager

Read: “Labor Standards Clash with Global Reality”

by Leslie Kaufman & David Gonzalez (Prometheus)

“In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad Jobs at Bad Wages

Are Better than No Jobs at All” (Book)

by Paul Krugman
“Moral Minimums for Multinationals” (Book)

by Thomas Donaldson

"Why Nike Has Broken Into a Sweat" (Prometheus)

by Michael Skapinker

Study Questions

  1. Using Thomas Donaldson’s writing as background, analyze the Oil Rig and Bangladesh Sweatshop cases.
  2. Is Krugman’s argument consistent with the idea of labor rights as embodied in U. S. Labor Laws as you understand them?

  3. Do you believe Nike is sincerely interested in improving the lives of those who work on their products, or is this a public relations scheme devised to improve the corporate image?

  4. Donaldson argues for the existence of 10 basic human rights. If human rights exist what responsibilities do corporations have to see that they are respected? And how would you apply these ideas to cruise workers or Bangladesh sweatshops?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
10. Reputation and Greed 11/11
Cases: "Tyco Spent Millions for Benefit of Kozlowski, Its Former CEO"

by Mark Maremont and Laurie P. Cohen (Prometheus)

Read: "The Outrage Constraint"

by Paul Krugman (Prometheus)

"How Did Business Get So Darn Dirty?"

by Gary Strauss (Prometheus)

"Is Greed Good?"

by Matthew Bishop (Prometheus)

Study Questions

  1. What's wrong with a Board authorizing extraordinary compensation to a CEO who almost single handedly was the vision of what was thought to be a great company?

  2. Isn't our entire capitalist system built on greed? So what's the problem?

  3. Is Paul Krugman correct when he asserts that the "corporate system gives huge incentives for bad behavior?" Would anything in our readings lead to your conclusion?

  4. To what degree are accounts and law firms involved in this embarrassing history of bogus corporate behavior? What is the evidence for your conclusion?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
11. Sales Ethics in Financial Markets (Module 10) 11/18
Cases: “West Virginia CIF” (book)

by Ingo Walter

"Betrayal on Wall street"

by Shaw Tully (Prometheus)

“Responsibility Yes, But to Whom”(book)

by Larry Zicklin

“Investing: Just Who Brought These Duds to Market?”(book)

by Andrew Ross Sorkin

“Web of Safeguards Failed As Enron Fell” (book)

by Richard Stevenson and Jeff Gerth

“Congress’ Scrutiny Shifts to Wall Street and Its Enron Role”

by Leslie Wayne (book)

Read: “Investment Management: Business… or Profession and What Role Does the Law Play?” (book)

by John C. Bogle

Study Questions

  1. Analyze the “West Virginia CIF: case using any of the past readings as a reference. What would you do in Harry Neven’s position? Why?

  2. Is the recent market meltdown, described in “Who Brought Theses Duds to Market” merely “unfortunate” or are aspects of it “unfair?” Which aspects and why?

  3. In his article, “Investment Management: Business . . . or Profession,” John Bogle implies that much of the mutual fund business is driven by moral hazards and agency problems. Do you agree? Justify your position.

  4. In what ways, if any, could we determine that investment banks and brokerage firms are ethically responsible for the losses that their investors incurred from a company like Enron?

Note: Term Projects Due This Session

Session Topic and Assignments Date
12. Insider Trading (Module #11) 11/25
Cases: “Insider Trading After O”Hagen” (Prometheus)

by David M. Zornow and Keith D Krakaur

“Trading Room Ethics”(book)

by Lawrence Zicklin

“Raymond Dirks and Equity Funding of America” (book)

by Roy C. Smith

“In Praise of Fair Disclosure”(book)

by Amy Stone

"Ex-Chairman Finances; Lay Sold Shares for $100 million"

By Floyd Norms and David Barboza (book)

Read: “The Cost of Inequity” (book)

The Economist

"Whispers Inside. Thunder Outside"

by Stephen Labaton and David Leonhardt (Prometheus)

"For Well-Heeled, Stock Tips are Served with the Canapes"

by Alex Kuczynski and Andrew Ross Sorkin(Prometheus)

"Celebrities may be tip of Insider Trading Iceberg: Experts say Illegal Activity is Rampant but Limited Resources Mean that Prosecutions Remain Rare" (Prometheus)

by Alison Beard and Julie Earle

"A Closer Look at Martha Stewart's Trades" (Prometheus)

by Constance L. Hays and Patrick McGeehan

Study Questions

  1. Did the O’Hagan case break any new ground regarding the Misappropriation Theory? Why or Why not?

  2. Is Ray Dirks’ behavior consistent with the concept of fiduciary duty? Why was he reprimanded by the SEC but ultimately exonerated by the Supreme Court? Use ethical concepts and methods to support your position.

  3. Outline the procedures Teri Forman employs to move large blocks of stock in “Trading Room Ethics.” Is this insider trading? Why or why not? In Teri’s position, would you act any differently? What about the fact that many of your competitors do the same thing?

  4. What do you think happened in the Martha Stewart case? Is there anything illegal about it? Why or why not?.

  5. Given the extraordinary number of people who have access to inside information, how can any regulatory organization discover all violations and thereby enforce the law? What would you do about this problem?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
13. Patterns of Discrimination (Module #12) 12/2
Cases: “Foreign Assignment” (book)

by Thomas Dunfee and Diana Robertson

“Ideas & Trends: From Eyeglasses to Wheelchairs; Adjusting the Legal Bar for Disability “

by Leslie Kaufman (Prometheus)

“Is this the Right Time to Come Out” (book)

by Alistair D. Williamson

“The Law that Doesn’t Work for the Short, The Fat and The Ugly.”

by Allison Beard (Prometheus)

"Wall Street Highflier to Outcast: A Woman's Story"(Prometheus)

by Patrick McGeehan

Read: “EEOC Guidelines (excerpt)”
“When Fear of Firing Deters Hiring”

by Jeffrey Seglin (book)

"Wall Street’s Secret Society” (book)

by Alan Deutschman

Study Questions

  1. In the “Foreign Assignment” case, how would you judge the actions of Bill Vitam? Use ethical concepts and methods, as well as the law, to justify your position. How does the structure of the bank affect the outcome of the case? How might you change this structure to get better results?

  2. Is discrimination because of sexual orientation different from discrimination because of sex? Should similar laws and regulations be applied to both? Justify your position.

  3. If a group such as white males is over-represented in terms of demographic proportions within certain executive job categories, can a firm actively favor women or non-whites in filling future vacancies? And if so, what are the criteria?

Session Topic and Assignments Date
14. Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, Imclone, Qwest—What’s Going On?

Read: Is Jack Grubman The Worst Analyst Ever (Prometheus)

by Amy Feldman and Joan Caplin

"What’s Wrong? Venal Sins: Why the Bad Guys of the Boardroom Emerged en Masse (Prometheus)

by David Wessel

"Joe Berardino Presided Over the Biggest Accounting Scandals Ever and the Demise of a Legendary Firm. Here’s What Happened."(Prometheus)

by John A. Byrne

"Restoring Trust in Corporate America"(Prometheus)

by John A. Byrne

"Analysts' Contracts Link Pay to Deal Work"

by Charles Gasparino (Prometheus)

Study Questions

  1. Isn't it possible that Jack Grubman believed everything he ever wrote? He was just wrong. Your thoughts?

  2. Is Joe Berardino a victim or a responsible party?

  3. What were the financial pressures that created "the bubble?" Could it have been prevented?

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