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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVI2013U  Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Business Practices and Development Economics: an Integrated Framework

English Title
Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Business Practices and Development Economics: an Integrated Framework

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Course period Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Dr. Rodrigo Mariath Zeidan, Fundação Dom Cabral
    Patricia Plackett - Department of Operations Management (OM)
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
  • Economics, macro economics and managerial economics
Last updated on 12/05/2015
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student should be able to:
  • Structure an Action-Based Plan.
  • Understand the roles of Social Enterprises and Sustainability management practices.
  • Develop critical perspectives on fundamental arguments about economic and social policies.
  • Develop an introductory grasp of complexity theory and its relevance to the development of social policies.
  • Establish a solid cost/benefit framework for the analysis of internal sustainable management practices.
Course prerequisites
No prereqiisites.

Useful background: courses in macroeconomics, economics and finance.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: For the Mid-term Assignment, students will prepare the outline and the introduction for their final assignment, which consists of an Action-Based Plan to develop a social enterprise, or managerial policy regarding sustainability, or a CSR initiative.
4-hour Written Examination:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
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 Summer Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

There has been a clear shift recently in the development economics literature from a focus on economic growth towards a more integrated framework that incorporates such concepts as well-being, sustainability, and other non-economic factors. Even though economic growth is still a necessary condition for development, local policies can increasingly rely on social entrepreneurship and sustainable business policies for improved development. This course invites graduate students to delve into different business practices that can transform the socioeconomic landscape and use recent theoretical contributions from various fields such as economics, complexity theory, and management. This course critically explores social entrepreneurship and sustainability in order to analyze its economic and social impacts.


The course is structured to provide students with a series of coherent modules. The first module introduces concepts from complexity theory and some concepts from development economics. The main idea is to incorporate novel ideas into more traditional growth theories. This course will provide a broader perspective on development using concepts from complexity theory and other disciplines to provide a solid theoretical framework. The second module introduces concepts from social entrepreneurship and explores case studies, discussing its possible impacts and shortcomings in promoting local development. Concepts from complexity theory will be introduced to the analysis of social entrepreneurship with the goal of establishing the boundaries of local development arising from social enterprises. The last module explores the role of companies in promoting sustainable ideas by transforming the socioeconomic environment: it analyzes the possibility that private firms can be promoters of change by changing internal management practices. We use a Business as Usual to a Future Sustainable Business framework and explore the role of firms in changing the international business context. One of the case studies for this module explores changes in a multinational bank that introduced a credit score system based on sustainability of the agricultural sector.


The Preliminary Assignment consists of an analysis of: Applications and Limitations of Complexity Theory in Organization Theory and Strategy (David L. Levy, 2000). The essay presents an accessible overview of the theoretical background of the course. Students should present a one-page reflection report that is to be delivered on the first class. Reports will form a basis for class discussion. For the Mid-term Assignment, students will prepare the outline and the introduction for their final assignment, which consists of an Action-Based Plan to develop one of the following: a social enterprise, a managerial policy regarding sustainability, or a CSR initiative.

   Class Schedule

Class Topic
Class 1 Determining the main indicators of development.
Class 2 Beyond Economics – Sustainability, Social Entrepreneurship and new measures of Progress.
Class 3 Looking at Data. What does it tells us about the world?
Class 4 A Primer on Complexity Theory
Class 5 Social Networks and Poverty.
Class 6 Social Entrepreneurship: Concepts and Ideas.
Class 7 Social Entrepreneurship: Cases.
Class 8 Is there a sustainability imperative?
Class 9 Sustainability: Business Cases.
Class 10 Sustainability and the Global Financial System.
Class 11 Comprehensive Review
Teaching methods
Classes usually begin with a lecture that is followed by class discussion to ensure that students are able to interpret and critique the readings. The course is fairly interactive and draws on the reading of the material and the experience brought by the students.
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


The timetable will be available on http://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/summer-university-programme/courses in end-December.

Expected literature

The course will not make use of a textbook. Instead, students will read excerpts and articles. All reading will be provided in pdf copies. The following is a provisional schedule.



Accenture (2011). Towards a New Era of Sustainability in the Banking Industry, 36 p.


Dietz, S. and Porter, C. (2009). Observing and Learning from Social Entrepreneurship: Transparency, Organizational Structure, and the Role of Leadership, 28 p.


Eccles, R. G., Krzus, M. P., Rogers, J., & Serafeim, G. (2012b). The Need for Sector‐Specific Materiality and Sustainability Reporting Standards. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 24(2), 65-71.


Goldstein, J. And Zeidan, R. (2009) Social Networks and Urban Poverty Reduction: A Critical Assessment of Programs in Brazil and the United States with Recommendations for the Future, 58 p.


Levy, D (2000). Applications and Limitations of Complexity Theory in Organization Theory and Strategy, 21 p.


Lubin, D.A. and D.C. Esty (2010) The Sustainability Imperative, Harvard Business Review, 88(5), 42-50.


Porter, M. E. & Kramer, M. R. (2011), Creating Shared Value, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 89 No. 1/2, pp. 62-77.


Robertson, J. (2009) The New Economics of Sustainable Development: A Briefing for Policy Makers, 55 p.


Scholtens, B. (2009) Corporate Social Responsibility in the International Banking Industry, Journal of Business Ethics, 86(2), 159-175, 10 p.


Seelos, C. And Mair, J. (2006) Profitable Business Models and Market Creation in the Context of Deep Poverty: A Strategy View, 16 p.


Slyke, D. And Newman, H. (2006) Venture Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship in Community Redevelopment, 25 p.


Stephen Tsai and Tzu-Tang Lan (2005). Development of a Startup Business — A Complexity Theory Perspective, 21 p.


Tremblay, C. (2010) United We Can: Resource recovery, place and social enterprise, 8 p.


Zeidan, R. (2009) Development Economics and Social Entrepreneurship: A Recursive Social Capital Accumulation Model, 10 p.


Zeidan, R., Boechat, C., Fleury, A. (2014) Developing a Sustainability Credit Score System. Journal of Business Ethics, (forthcoming) 14 p.


Zeidan, R. and Spitzcek, H. (2015) Sustainability, ESG and Firm Valuation, Working Paper, 26 p.


Case Studies:

Social Finance, Inc.

The Sandbox: Creating a Bottom-Up Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

Grameen Danone Foods Ltd., a Social Business.

Novo Nordisk: Managing Sustainability at Home and Abroad.


Last updated on 12/05/2015