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2014/2015  KAN-CCBLU3000U  Business, Government, and Society

English Title
Business, Government, and Society

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Andreas Rasche - MSC
Course Administrator: Tove Pedersen, tpe.stu@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 25-02-2014
Learning objectives
The overall aim of this course is to gain an in-depth understanding of the different factors influencing the legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of firms, particu-larly when considering the changing relationship between businesses, governments and civil society actors. After completing this course students should be able to:
  • Understand and critically evaluate the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate accountability,
  • Understand how businesses, governments, and civil society actors interact and what problems and opportunities this creates,
  • Recognize in what ways emerging legal and non-legal regulations with regard social and environmental issues impact managerial decisions,
  • Understand how business leaders can manage different types of risks (e.g., po-litical and reputational) related to responsible corporate conduct,
  • Understand how to identify and prioritise social and environmental is-sues that have a high impact on the company, and
  • Examine how firms can successfully align their behaviour in the market and non-market environment.
Business, Government, and Society:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Includes cover page but not reference list
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term, The topics for the written assignments should be released on the last day of teaching. Students then have two weeks to prepare the written assignment.
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
This course approaches corporations’ changing responsibilities in society from the perspective of how business, government, and civil society interact. The course introduces students to debates on CSR and sustainability, but also reaches beyond these discussions, as it (a) highlights the regulatory and political context shaping and constraining responsible business decisions, (b) emphasizes how business leaders can collaborate with governments and civil society actors, and (c) discusses how management can address selected problem areas such as corruption, political risk, and human rights. The course is divided into two parts.
The first part looks at why and how the relationship between businesses, governments and civil society is changing, and how this alters the way in which corporations address their responsibilities. We discuss how this changing context creates significant leadership challenges and how practitioners can adequately respond to these challenges. We explore answers to a variety of questions, such as: Can lobbying be responsible? What are the benefits and risks of signing up to initiatives promoting responsible business practices (e.g., Fairtrade and the UN Global Compact)? In how far are firms turning into political actors, and how does that change their responsibilities? What are the risks and opportunities when firms partner with governments, inter-governmental organizations, and NGOs?
Using the insights from the first part, the second part focuses on how practitioners can address particular social and environmental problem areas. We discuss especially those problem areas where businesses are increasingly interacting with governmental and/or non-governmental actors. For instance, we focus on questions like: How can labor and human rights be secured when operating global supply chains? How can firms prevent corruption if they operate in diverse cultural contexts? How can firms show responsibility when operating in environments where they are exposed to high degrees of political risk (e.g. in failed or weak states)? 

The course adopts a multi-disciplinary perspective on the discussed issue areas, blending insights from management studies, economics, and political science. Students are not expected to have specific prior knowledge of these disciplines.
Teaching methods
The course is based on interactive lecturing enabling students to explore the topics at hand jointly with teaching faculty. Further, students will work in small groups during selected lectures to analyze case studies (e.g. Siemens, IKEA, Starbucks) which provide the basis for class discussion. Lectures also include short video supplements.
Expected literature
The course builds on some of the following readings (selection): 

Scherer, A. G., & G. Palazzo (2008). Globalization and Corporate Social Responsibility. In A. Crane et al. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 413-430.

Austin, J. (2000). Strategic Collaboration Between Nonprofits and Business.Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 29(1), 69-97.

Waddock, S. (2008). Creating a New Institutional Infrastructure for Corporate Responsibility. Academy of Management Perspectives, 22(3): 87-108.

Lawrence, A.T. (2010). Managing Disputes with nonmarket Stakeholders: Wage a Fight, Withdraw, Wait, or Work It out?,California Management Review, 53, 90-113.

Moon, J., Crane, A., and Matten D. (2011). Corporations and Citizenship in New Institutions of Global Governance. In Crouch, C. and Maclean, C. (eds.) The Responsible Corporation in a Global Economy. Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press, pp. 203-224. 

Locke, R., & Romis, M. (2007). Improving Work Conditions in a Global Supply Chain. MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(2): 54-62.
Last updated on 25-02-2014