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2012/2013  KAN-CM_U110A  Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenge and Opportunity for Business Leaders

English Title
Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenge and Opportunity for Business Leaders

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter, Fourth Quarter, Second Quarter
Changes in course schedule may occur
Tuesday 08.00-09.40, week 36
Tuesday 08.00-11.30, week 37,38,39,40,42,43
Tuesday 12.35-16.00, week 41
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course coordinator
    Jette Steen Knudsen - Department for Business and Politics
Administration: Mette Grue Nielsen(mgn.dbp@cbs.dk)
Main Category of the Course
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • International Political Economy
  • Management
  • Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Organization
  • Political Science
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 16-08-2012
Learning objectives
Students should learn to critically analyze and evaluate key drivers of a CSR agenda as well as business impact using relevant theories.
  • • Describe, classify, structure, and combine the concepts, theories, methods, and models of the course.
  • • Identify and develop relevant problems within CSR strategy on the basis of marking problems.
  • • Analyze and synthesize concrete problems within CSR strategy by applying the concepts, theories, methods, and models of the course.
  • • Evaluate and disseminate solutions to problems concerning a CSR strategy at an independent and reflected academic level.
Bachelor-degree or equivalent
Individual project exam/home assignment.
Individual project exam/home assignment. :
Type of test Home Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner No second examiner
Exam period Spring Term and Summer Term
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below

Course content

 Course content, structure and teaching
Analyze how new social and environmental demands from a variety of stakeholders pose new risks and opportunities to business leaders. Western firms operating in or sourcing from developing countries are increasingly held responsible for a range of issues such as climate change, labor rights and human rights that have previously been seen as outside a firm’s sphere of influence (Reich 1998). Today stakeholders as diverse as investors, employees, the media, NGOs and customers have strong views on how corporations should be run. One example is Nike, which owned no factories in the US but purchased shoes from factories in Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Nike came under severe criticism in the mid 1990s because Nike’s suppliers had forced workers to work extremely long shifts under dangerous conditions. As a response to the criticism, Nike issued its own code of conduct for suppliers. Another example is Wal-Mart which according to Jon Entine, a journalist with the magazine Ethical Corporation, has turned “from evil empire to jolly green giant” (Entine 2008: 36). Wal-Mart now works with suppliers on greening its supply chain including increasing the purchase of organic cotton, improving energy efficiency, etc. The course addresses the following key questions:

  • What drives the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda?
  • How should business respond: Minimizing business risk
  • How should business respond: Maximizing business opportunity
  • Limits to CSR
  • Managing CSR initiatives: Codes of conduct
  • Reporting: benefits and drawbacks
  • Institutional investors and socially responsible investments
  • The crystal ball: New CSR issues and challenges?

Key words: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability, business environment, strategy, management

Teaching methods
The course is structured around 8 different themes as outlined above. Each section will also address a practical case. Finally, we will invite experts in the field to give presentations.
Expected literature

 Recommended literature
Session 1: Introduction: Theoretical tools for understanding the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda
Session 1 provides a brief overview of the development of corporate social responsibility and focuses in particular on the impact of globalization. In session 1 we will discuss a range of theoretical frameworks for understanding these changes.
Ruth Aguilera, Deborah E. Rupp, Cythia A. Williams and Jyoti Ganapathi (2007). “Putting the “S” Back in Corporate Social Responsibility: A Multi-Level Theory of Social Change in Organizations”. In Academy of Management Review, Vol. 33, No. 3: 836-863
Dana Brown, Anne Roemer-Mahler and Antje Vetterlein (2010). “Theorising Transnational Corporations as Social Actors: An Analysis of Corporate Motivations”. Department of Business and Politics, Working Paper no. 61 (published also in Business and Politics).
Thomas Donaldson (1995). “The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation”. In Academy of Management Review, Vol. 20, No. 1: 65-91.
Milton Friedman (1970). New York Times Magazine, “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”, September 13.
The Economist(2008) special issue on CSR titled “Doing Good. Business and the Sustainability Challenge”, January.
Case (please note these are TWO separate cases – please order both):
Tesco: Delivering the Goods (A): IMD-3-1955
Tesco: Delivering the Goods (B): IMD-3-1956
Session 2: How should business respond? Minimizing business risk, maximizing business opportunity
In sessions 2-3 we will address and evaluate some influential views on why and how business should engage in CSR.
Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2002), “The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy: Competitive Context”. In Harvard Business Review.
Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2006), “Strategy and Society. In Harvard Business Review.
Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011). “Creating Shared Value”. In Harvard Business Review.
David Vogel, “The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility”, California Management Review, Washington DC, 2005.
The Economist(Schumpeter) (2011). “Oh, Mr. Porter. The new big idea from business’s greatest living guru seems a bit undercooked”, March.
CASE (you can download this from the CBS library since this week we use an article from the California Management Review): James B. Austin and Herman “Dutch” Leonhard (2008). “Can the virtuous mouse and the wealthy elephant live happily ever after?”. In California Management Review, Vol. 51, No. 1.
Session 3: Business response (continued)
Debora L. Spar and Lane T. La Mure (2003). “The Power of Activism: Assessing the Impact of NGOs on Global Business”. In California Management Review, Vol. 45, No 3, Spring.
Aneel Karnani (2011). “Doing Well by Doing Good – The Grand Illusion”. In California Management Review, Winter.
Isabelle Maignan and David A. Ralston (2002). “Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe and the U.S.: Insights from Businesses' Self-Presentations”. In Journalof International Business Studies, Vol. 33.
Dirk Matten and Jeremy Moon (2008). “Implicit” and “Explicit” CSR: A Conceptual Framework for a Comparative Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility. In Academy of Management Review, Vol. 33, No. 2: 404-424.
Case: Austin and Reavis, HBS 9-303-055, “Starbucks and Conservation International”
Go to Starbucks website. See what they have to say about fair-trade http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/csr.asp If at all possible visit a Starbucks. Look at the price list for coffee beans:

  • Which are most expensive?
  • Why the price difference?
  • What did you learn about Starbucks’ achievement of Fair Trade goals?

Session 4: Limits to CSR.
Deborah Doane (2005). “The myth of CSR: The problem with assuming that companies can do well while also doing good is that markets don’t really work that way”. In Stanford Social Innovation Review, fall, 23-29.
Timothy Devinney (2009). “Is The Socially Responsible Corporation a Myth? The Good, Bad and Ugly of Corporate Social Responsibility”. In Academy of Management Perspectives, forthcoming May
Ethan B. Kapstein (2001). “The Corporate Ethics Crusade”. In Foreign Affairs, September/October.
Robert Reich (1998). “The New Meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility”. In California Management Review, Winter, 40, 2.
Case: Stanford case (please note that we have THREE related cases:
 “Anatomy of a Corporate Campaign: Rainforest Action Network and Citigroup (A). P42A. By David P Baron et al
“Anatomy of a Corporate Campaign: Rainforest Action Network and Citigroup (B). P42B. By David P Baron et al
“Anatomy of a Corporate Campaign: Rainforest Action Network and Citigroup (C). P42C. By David P Baron et al
Session 5: Managing CSR issues: Codes of conduct.
Jette Steen Knudsen 2011. ”Company Delistings from the UN Global Compact: Limited Business Demand or Domestic Governance Failure?” Journal of Business Ethics. 103 (3): 331-349. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-0875-0.
Richard Locke, Fei Qin and Alberto Brause (2006), “Does Monitoring Improve Labor Standards? Lessons from Nike”, MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4612-06.
Richard Locke and Monica Romis (2006), “Beyond Codes of Conduct: Work Organization and Labor Standards in two Mexican Garment Factories”, Working Paper No. 4617-06, MIT.
Lynn Paine et al (2005), “Up to the Code?” Harvard Business Review, No 12, 2005.
David Vogel (2008), “Private Global Business Regulation” in Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 11, 2008:261-82. Article can be found at: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty/pdf/vogel_david.pdf
Please note that this week we have TWO related cases
Case: Wal-Mart: Nonmarket Pressure and Reputational Risk (A) P-52A 5/15/06
Case: Wal-Mart: Nonmarket Pressure and Reputational Risk (B) P-52B 5/15/06
K. Bondy, David Matten and Jeremy Moon, “The Adoption of Voluntary Codes of Conduct in MNCs”: A three country comparative study. In Business and Society Review 109(4): 449-477.
Session 6: CSR and board of directors.
Andrea Beltratti 2005, “The complementarity between Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility”, Geneva Papers, 30.
Leonhard and Rangan, “Corporate social responsibility strategy and boards of directors (boardroom briefing)”. The article can be downloaded at http://www.hbs.edu/socialenterprise/resources/corporate.html
Phil Mirvis, “Profile of Practice”, 2008 (this article will be uploaded on the electronic system)
Strandberg, “The role of the board of directors in corporate social responsibility” (report), June 2008. The report can be downloaded at: http://www.corostrandberg.com/publications_Corporate_Sustainability_Governance.html
Khurana, R. and James Weber (2007). “Tyco International – Corporate Governance”. Harvard Business School, 4-408-059.
Session 7: CSR and domestic institutions and regulation.
In sessions 7 and 8 we explore the growing interrelationship between private and government regulatory frameworks.
Dana Brown and Jette Steen Knudsen (2011), “The Emerging Spread of CSR Initiatives in Multinational Firms – How Do National Institutions and Government Policies Matter?”,  paper presented at the SASE Conference 23-25 June (Jette will upload the paper once the system is running).
Tim Buthe (2010), “Private Regulation in the Global Economy: A (P)Review”. In Business and Politics.
Campbell, J. (2007). “Why Would Corporations Behave in Socially Responsible Ways? An Institutional Theory of Corporate Social Responsibility”. In Academy of Management Review, 32: 946-967.
Maria Gjølberg (2009), “The origin of corporate social responsibility: global forces or national legacies?” In Socio-Economic Review, 7.
Gregory Jackson and Androniki Apostolakau (2010) “Corporate Social Responsibility in Western Europe: An Institutional Mirror or Substitute?” In Journal of Business Ethics, 94.
Mike Valente and Andrew Crane (2010), “Public Responsibility and Private Enterprise in Developing Countries”. In California Management Review, Vol. 52, No. 3.
Session 8: The crystal ball: New CSR issues and challenges? 
We will continue our discussion from session 7 on private regulation. We will close the course by discussing new potential CSR issues and challenges (internet censorship in China is one such possible challenge).
Internet Censorship in China:
Case: Global Corporate Social responsibility vs. Local Legal Compliance: A Case of Internet Censorship in China: 706-061-1

Novo Nordisk A/S and the Triple Bottom Line approach:
Jette Steen Knudsen will provide material for this case discussion

Last updated on 16-08-2012