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2010/2011  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
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course Period Autumn
Pending schedule: Friday 8.00-10.35, week: 36-41, 44-47
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course Coordinator
Peter Lund-Thomsen - plt.ikl@cbs.dkSecretary Birgitte Hertz - bh.iba@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR

Taught under Open University-Taught under open university.
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to
- assess how the implementation of CSR policies in global production networks affects the income, work and environmental conditions of local producers, workers, and communities in developing countries and countries in transition.
- analyze how CSR policies are embedded within different economic, social, and environmental contexts in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- critically appraise and synthesize theories of global economic organization, local economic development, and CSR that may be used to explain similarities and differences in the income, work, and environmental conditions of local producers, workers, and communities across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The course is an elective course, open to all master students and it can be taken as a credit course. 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
Exam Period December/January
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.
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
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 can use in integrating CSR within the corporation and in its external stakeholder relations. 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 long-term trading relationships between buyers and suppliers, review of buyer purchasing practices, capacity building and awareness-raising at the level of local producers and workers, increased use of civil society monitoring, 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, textile, agro-industrial production 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.

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 2011. 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.

Jeppesen, S. and P. Lund-Thomsen, 2010. Introduction to Special Issue on “New Perspectives on Business, Development, and Society”, in Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 93, pp. 139-142.

Lund-Thomsen, P. and K. 2010. Nadvi, Clusters, Chains, and Compliance – CSR and Governance in the Asian Football Manufacturing Industry, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 93, pp. 201-222.

Milberg, W. and D. Winkler, 2010. Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement, Capturing the Gains Working Paper; University of Manchester, 2010/04.

Prieto-Carrón, M. and W. Larner (2010) ‘Gendering Codes of Conduct: Chiquita Bananas and Nicaraguan Women Workers’ in Higgins, V, Kitto. S. and W Larner (eds.) Calculating the socials: Standards and the Re-configuration of Governing, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 38-53.

Ruggie, J. 2008. Protect, Respect, and Remedy: A Framework for Business and Human Rights, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, United Nations, New York.

Miller, D. Et al. 2010. Back to the Future? Mature systems of Industrial Relations Approa-ches and Social Upgrading in Outsourced Apparel Supply Chains, Capturing the Gains Working Paper; University of Manchester, 2010/02.

Barrientos, S. and D. Auret, 2004. Participatory Social Auditing – A Practical Guide to Developing a Gender Sensitive Approach, IDS Working Paper 237, IDS, Brighton.

Barrientos, Stephanie W. and Sally Smith. 2005. Fair Trade and Ethical Trade – Are the Moves Towards Convergence? Sustainable Development, vol. 13, pp. 190-198. (9 p.)

Locke, Richard et al., 2007. Beyond Corporate Codes of Conduct: Work Organization and Labor Standards at Nike’s Suppliers, International Labor Review, vol. 146, no. 1-2, pp. 21-37. (17 p.)