English   Danish

2012/2013  BA-BLC_3CSR  Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

English Title
Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changs in course schedule may occur
Wednesdays 14.25-16.15, week 36-41, 43-48

Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Robert Strand - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management
Main Category of the Course
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
Last updated on 23-04-2012
Learning objectives
Scandinavia represents a uniquely interesting region in which to explore sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Scandinavian corporations are disproportionately well represented in the major sustainability and CSR performance indicators such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and Global 100 (Gjølberg, 2009; Strand, forthcoming) and the Scandinavian region as a whole has demonstrated strong and balanced macro economic, social, and environmental performances at the country level (Strand, 2011).
In this course we explore sustainability and CSR in Scandinavia to better understand the dynamics that could be considered contributing factors to these favorable sustainability and CSR performances. And we do so while also considering the ongoing and looming challenges regarding the potential to sustain these performances. Therefore we take a multi-level analytical approach where, for example, we focus on firm level factors by analyzing activities at Scandinavian firms including Novo Nordisk, IKEA, H&M, and Statoil; the governmental level factors by exploring initiatives such as the Danish CSR reporting act and the Norwegian White Paper on CSR and describe how this relates to institutional theory and the concept of implicit/explicit CSR (Matten & Moon, 2008); the individual level by exploring concepts such as leadership; country level factors such as differences in corporate governance and corporate ownership structures; and the interpersonal and inter-organizational level through concepts such as stakeholder theory. We also consider historical contributions to sustainability and CSR that have arisen from Scandinavia (eg. Brundtland, 1987; Rhenman, 1965; Nasi, 1995) as well as the degree to which there is such a unit of analysis as “Scandinavia” and how such a generalization may help or hinder analyses.
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize the current state of affairs in Scandinavia in sustainability and CSR
  • Develop an argument regarding what lessons in sustainability and CSR other regions of the world could draw from Scandinavia, and what is not applicable elsewhere
  • Describe marketing strategies Scandinavian firms currently employ regarding sustainability and CSR. Assess their effectiveness and develop your own recommendations
  • Describe how the notion of ethics is, or is not, related to sustainability and CSR in Scandinavia
  • Perform a stakeholder analysis of a major Scandinavian firm and assess the degree to which the firm is effectively engaging with its stakeholders
  • Describe trends in Scandinavia regarding “implicit” and “explicit” CSR and explain likely factors for these trends.
  • Describe differences between large Scandinavian corporations and large corporations from other leading economies in the world such as the U.S. in terms of typical ownership structures, corporate governance structures, and executive pay structures and be able to relate how these differences may impact sustainability and CSR performances
Written pc exam
Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility
Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility:
Type of test Written Exam
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term
Aids Closed Book
Duration 4 Hours
only English-native language dictionary is allowed
Course content

The course materials for this course include a wide variety of offerings from multiple perspectives regarding sustainability and CSR as it relates to Scandinavia.  This course is structured where students are assigned the materials prior to each session, we will discuss and debate the materials during each session as facilitated by the instructor.  Practically speaking, each session will structured that begins with a series of questions posed by the instructor about the assigned reading materials that small groups will discuss and iteratively followed by a large group discussion of each question facilitated by the instructor;  Next, the a student group assigned each week will present on the materials;  Finally, the instructor will offer offerings and summaries of the readings to conclude the session as a “wrap up” and will link that session to previous sessions (i.e. help to provide a “red thread” that will run throughout the course).  In some sessions, a special guest speaker will be invited as deemed appropriate (eg. Mads Øvlisen will be an invited speaker).
This course will be structured as a dynamic, discussion based course where excelling in the course will demand both preparation of the materials and engagement in the discussions. 

Teaching methods
Readings in preparation of each Session + Lecture + small group discussions facilitated throughout lecture + large group discussions
Student workload
Preparation 196 hours
Teaching/Classroom time 25 hours
Examination 4 hours
Expected literature
To be announced on Learn, but most likely:
• “Corporate Responsibility Progress in Scandinavia.”  Ethical Corporation Magazine.  January 2004.
• Strand, R. forthcoming.  CSR and Leadership.  In Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen (Ed.), Corporate Social Responsibility.  London, UK:  SAGE.
• Gjølberg M. 2009. Measuring the immeasurable? Constructing an index of CSR practices and CSR performance in 20 countries. Scandinavian Journal of Management. 25(1): 10–22.
• Morsing, M., Midttun, A. & Palmås, K. 2007.  Corporate social responsibility in Scandinavia – a turn towards the business case? In: May, S., Cheney, G. and Roper, J. (Eds.) The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility. London: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 98-127.
• Gjølberg M. 2010. Varieties of corporate social responsibility (CSR):  CSR meets the “Nordic Model”. Regulation & Governance. 4: 203-229.
• Midttun, A., Gjølberg, M. et al. forthcoming.  Corporate Social Responsibility in Advanced Welfare States – Evidence from the Nordic countries.
• Norwegian Storting 2009.  Corporate social responsibility in a global economy. Report No. 10 to the Storting.  Available at www.regjeringen.no.
• Vallentin, S. & Murillo, D. 2010.  Government, Governance and Collaborative Social Responsibility. In: Tencati, A. & Zsolnai, L. (Eds.) The Collaborative Enterprise. pp. 209-227.  Peter Lang Publishers: Oxford, U.K.
• Strand, R. forthcoming. The Chief Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility: a Study of its Presences in Top Management Teams.  Journal of Business Ethics.
• Porter, M. & Kramer, M. 2011.  Creating Shared Value.  Harvard Business Review. January-February. pp. 62-77.
• Grennes, T. 2003. Scandinavian Managers on Scandinavian Management.  International Journal of Value-Based Management.  16: 9-21.
• Nasi, J. 1995. A Scandinavian Approach to Stakeholder Thinking: An Analysis of Its Theoretical and Practical Uses, 1964–1980, in J. Nasi (ed.), Understanding Stakeholder Thinking (LSR-Julkaisut Oy, Helsinki), pp. 97–115.
• Strand, R. 2010. Culture & CSR: Embracing the Scandinavian Approach to CSR.  Børsen Ledelseshåndbøger Corporate Social Responsibility. April. pp. 1-14. Copenhagen, Denmark: Børsen Forum.
• Strand, R.  2010.  The Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage.  Crane & Matten blog. Available at: http://craneandmatten.blogspot.com/2010/05/scandinavian-cooperative-advantage.html
• “Swedening the Pot- An Interview with IKEA Sustainability Director Thomas Bergmark.” Grist. 27 February 2007.
• Strand, R. 2009. Corporate Responsibility in Scandinavian Supply Chain.  Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 85 (Suppl. 1). pp. 179–185.
• Morsing, M. & Oswald D. 2009. Sustainable Leadership: Management Control Systems and Organizational Culture in Novo Nordisk A/S. Corporate Governance.  9(1) 83- 99.
Last updated on 23-04-2012