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2012/2013  KAN-CBL_CSRD  Corporate Social Responsibility in Action: A Path to Sustainable Development?

English Title
Corporate Social Responsibility in Action: A Path to Sustainable Development?

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changes in course schedule may occur
Friday 08.00-10.35, week 36-41, 43-46
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, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Peter Lund Thomsen - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management
Secretary Birgitte Hertz - bhe.stu@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Supply Chain Management and Logistics
Last updated on 27-04-2012
Learning objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to
- explain key CSR concepts covered in most of the course readings
- analyze how economic, cultural and social conditions in developing countries influence how CSR approaches are operationalized on “the ground”.
- assess how the implementation of CSR policies affects the income, work and environmental conditions of local producers, workers, and communities in developing countries and countries in transition.
- critically appraise how different global production network/global value chain approaches may be used to explain the income, work, and environmental conditions of local producers, workers, and communities across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The most important qualification you need to participate is intellectual curiosity and a willingness to examine and challenge your own assumptions about what CSR is, and how it works in developing country contexts. Students returning from or intending to undertake internships or fieldwork in the broad area of business and development studies might find the “hand-on” approach of this course particularly useful.
Written Essay, Max 10 pages
Corporate Social Responsibility in Action: A Path to Sustainable Development?:
Type of test Home Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Aids Open Book, Written and Electronic Aid is permitted
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below

A max 10 pages essay, which must be based on the course literature and is graded by the course coordinator and an internal examiner according to the 7-point scale.
Course content

A lot of the management-oriented literature on CSR that is taught in business schools around the world focuses on the different management strategies that companies use to promote CSR. Much of this literature assumes that CSR policies positively influence economic, social, and environmental conditions in developing countries. However, a number of recent impact studies have shown that the gains accruing to local producers, workers, and communities from the implementation of CSR policies in global production networks can at best be described as limited. Against this background a new CSR paradigm seems to be emerging. This involves a review of buyer purchasing practices, economic, social, and environmental upgrading of supplier factories,  increased use of civil society monitoring and labor agency, joint action CSR approaches implemented in industrial districts and engagement in multi-stakeholder partnerships to enhance the positive impact of CSR policies implemented in global production networks.
In this course, we will explore whether this new CSR paradigm really constitutes a new path to sustainable development? Sustainable development is here understood as the integration of economic, social, and environmental concerns in the policy-making in public and private actors in ways that improve the incomes, labor, and living conditions of local producers and workers while reducing environmental pollution from developing country firms. We will be do this by comparing and integrating theories of global economic organization, local economic development strategies, and the adoption of particular CSR approaches in order to explain the income, work, and environmental conditions of local producers and workers in developing country export industries. In practice, we will examine how CSR policies are structured from the top-down in global production networks (using examples from the football, garment, forestry or other industries) and the bottom-up in local economic, social, and cultural contexts in developing countries, primarily in Asia but also in Africa and Latin America.

Teaching methods
Mostly, the first part of each class will be devoted to a practical, case or video-based exercise and subsequent discussion of a real-life CSR and development dilemma. The use of small group discussions is employed to promote individual learning and common points are subsequently discussed in a plenary forum. During the second part of each class this is followed by a more traditional lecture-based presentation of the potential, limits, and impacts of each CSR issue covered in that session. Students may also be asked to prepare in groups at home in order to be able to take part in a discussion of CSR dilemma cases in the next class session. Invited guest lecturers who are working directly with the topics covered in the course will also contribute to the students’ understanding of the real-world challenges faced by CSR and development practitioners.
Expected literature

To be announced on Learn, but most likely:
The course readings amount to around 800 pages, and you will be required to buy two-three course readers from Academic Books, Solbjerg Plads Campus, 2000 Frederiksberg which should be available by early September 2012. Mostly, the course readings consist of very recent literature on CSR as it applies to developing country contexts. We have indicated some of the texts that we intend to include in the course curriculum below.

Posthuma, A. and D. Nathan, 2010. Labor in Global Production Networks in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Oxfam, 2010.  Better Jobs in Better Supply Chains, Briefings for Business no. 5, Oxfam, Oxford.
Khan, F. and Lund-Thomsen, P. 2011, “CSR As Imperialism – Towards a Phenomenological Approach to CSR in the Developing World”, Journal of Change Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 73-90.
Neilson, J. and B. Pritchard, 2009. ‘Chapter One – Introduction, in Neilson, J. and B. Pritchard, Value Chain Struggles – Institutions and Governance in the Plantation Districts of South India, pp. 1-26
Barrientos, S. et al. 2003. A Gendered Approach to Codes of Conduct in African Horticulture, World Development, vol. 31, no. 9, pp. 1511-1526.
Bolwig, S. et al. 2010. Integrating Poverty and Environmental Concerns into Value-Chain Analysis: A Conceptual Framework, Development Policy Review, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 173-194.                                        
Navas- Alemán, L. 2011. The Impact of Operating in Multiple Value Chains for Upgrading: The Case of the Brazilian Furniture and Footwear Industries, World Development, vol. 39, no. 8, 1386-1397.                   
De Neve, G. 2010a. ‘Contractors Are the Real Bosses Here!’: Trajectories, Roles and Agency of Labour Contractors in the Tiruppur Garment Industry, Paper Presented at Sussex Workshop, University of Sussex, July 2010.                                                                                          
De Neve, G. 2010b. ’There You Are Like a Bird in a Cage!’ – Indian Garment Workers Critiquing Fordism and CSR, Paper Presented at the BASAS Conference, University of Warwick, April 2010.                         
Harney, A. 2008. ‘The Five Star Factory’, Chapter 7 in The China Price – The True Cost of Competitive Advantage, Penguin Press, pp. 33-55.
OECD, 2011. OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations, Recommendations for Responsible Business Conduct in a Global Context, OECD, Paris.
International Trade Center, 2010. The Impacts of Private Standards on Global Value Chains – Literature Review Series on Impacts of Private Standards, ITC, Geneva,  pp. ix-29 & 37-41.
Murphy, J.T. and S. Schindler, 2010.  Globalizing Development in Bolivia? Alternative Networks and Value-Capture Challenges in the Wood Products Industry, Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 61-85

Last updated on 27-04-2012