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2010/2011  BA-CGCSR  Corporate Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility

English Title
Corporate Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Course Period First Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BSc in International Business
Course Coordinator
  • Therese Strand - Department of International Economics and Management
Main Category of the Course
  • International Political Economy
  • Management
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
By the end of the course, students should be able to critically evaluate selected theories within the fields of corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, and business ethics, as well as discuss how these frameworks can be applied to concrete business situations:
• Explain, combine and analytically discuss the theories, frameworks, models and concepts presented in the course.
• Critically discuss the role of business in society, in the context of globalised markets and internationally active firms.
• Identify business challenges and opportunities arising from internal corporate governance challenges and external stakeholder pressures.
• Using the concepts and frameworks discussed in the course, sketch responses to these challenges and opportunities, and reason why those responses would pass the “good business ethics” test of critical observers.
• Understand the importance of stakeholder engagement to obtain buy-in for the business responses deemed appropriate and describe how this could be achieved in practice.
To gain the highest grade in the 4-hours written closed book exam, students must be able to fully recall basic models and concepts from the curriculum and present them in a comprehensive and well-argued way. Departing from this, students can put their finding into new perspectives
Corporate Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility:
Assessment Written Exam
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship Internal examiners
Exam Period October
Aids Closed Book
Duration 4 Hours
No aids allowed other than basic language dictionaries (e.g. from mother tongue to English and vice versa and English/English)
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
Course Content

The regulatory backlash caused by corporate scandals and the financial crisis, as well as growing public and media pressure on companies to act in a ‘socially responsible’ way, have put stakeholder engagement on top of the corporate agenda. Regardless of international business managers’ individual philosophical stance on what the role of business in society should be, these pressures cannot go unmanaged and need to be addressed in a strategic manner. A thorough understanding of the corporate governance and social responsibility demands companies face today is therefore a necessary prerequisite in any international business function. The aim of this course is to familiarize students with those demands, both from an internal, as well as an external perspective, and discuss how they can be dealt with.
Comparing and contrasting competing theories, theoretical frameworks, models and concepts, the course addresses the following key themes and questions:

• The role of business in society
• What are the competing views of the role of business in society and why do they exist? Is there a universally ‘right’ and ‘ethical’ way of doing business?
• Why do ethical and governance challenges arise for internationally active companies? Why has it become increasingly important to address internal and external stakeholder demands in a coordinated, strategic manner?
• What are the conclusions that can be drawn for business policy from the theories of ethical relativism, utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics?

• An international firm’s internal stakeholders: Corporate Governance
• Who are the firm’s internal stakeholders? Why and how should relations between them be structured and managed? What are the different dimensions and mechanisms of Corporate Governance?
• How does agency theory, and how does stewardship theory propose to deal with internal stakeholders?

• An international firm’s external stakeholders: Corporate Social Responsibility
• Who are the firm’s external stakeholders? What are the different dimensions of CSR? Why and how should a firm engage with these stakeholders?
• What are stakeholder theory’s main arguments? How do these contrast with the ‘shareholder approach’ derived from agency theory and property rights theory? What does social contract theory contribute to this debate?

• The interplay between internal and external stakeholders: business challenges & opportunities and how to deal with them
• Which business challenges and opportunities arise from the demands of internal and external stakeholders? Which contextual factors matter most?
• Who within the corporation should/could address these challenges, and how? When is a proactive, when a reactive approach warranted?
• What are the main issues to be considered when implementing Corporate Governance/Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting, codes of conduct, etc.?
• How can stakeholder buy-in be achieved through effective public affairs and relations management?

Teaching Methods
The course will combine lectures, presenting the key theoretical concepts, with discussions of case studies and real-time cases. Concepts will be exemplified by case studies. Emphasis will be on two-way dialogue rather than a one-way communication from instructor to student, so the student must be prepared to answer questions in class and participate in discussions.
Throughout the course, strong emphasis will be put on the practical application of the frameworks discussed; students will be constantly challenged to reason and argue for their view of what constitutes a well-run, responsible and ethical firm.

A package of readings