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2014/2015  KAN-CFILO3000U  CSR - Managing the Social Impact of Business

English Title
CSR - Managing the Social Impact of Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Andreas Rasche - MSC
  • Steen Vallentin - MPP
The course will be presented by professor Andreas Rasche (ICM), associate professor Steen Vallentin (LPF) and associate professor Morten Sørensen Thaning (LPF)
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
Last updated on 15-08-2014
Learning objectives
After following the course, students are expected to:
  • be familiar with and able to analyze, compare and critically reflect upon the concepts, theories and perspectives relating to CSR that have been presented and discussed during the course
  • understand and be able to explain and reflect upon the most recent developments (practical and theoretical) in the field of CSR
  • be able to put the concepts, theories and perspectives of the course to use in an empirical analysis of a CSR-related topic
  • exemplify concepts and theories by relating them to present day challenges met by private businesses and other organizations
CSR - Managing the Social Impact of Business:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period April
Make-up exam/re-exam
Another examination form
Oral 20-minutes exam based on written product (synopsis), max. 5 pages
Course content and structure

The aim of the course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current developments in the broad field of CSR (corporate social responsibility). Students will be working on corporate cases and discussing topics such as globalization and global governance, global supply chains, business-NGO partnerships, organizational implementation of responsible business practices, and the value and limits of strategic approaches to CSR. Apart from viewing CSR as a global concern, the course will contextualize debates around responsible business by emphasizing country- and industry-specific concerns. Intellectually, the course provides students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the frontiers of knowledge in the field as many of the most significant recent research contributions are read and discussed.
The course is divided into an introductory session, three parts and a concluding wrap-up. The first session is used to present an outline of the course and introduce its main themes and perspectives. Part 1 gives a critical introduction to research frontiers and current developments in the broad field of CSR. Part 2 deals with the practical aspects of implementing responsibility, while part 3 provides philosophical perspectives on CSR and responsibility in general. Part 3 will operate on a more abstract level than the other two, and it will be optional for students with a more practical orientation whether or to which extent they will engage with this part of the course. The final wrap-up will summarize the contents and discussions of the course, evaluate proceedings and look forward to the exam.

Apart from the readings included in the course compendium, additional materials will be uploaded on Learn.


Teaching methods
Class time will include lectures, occasional presentations by the students and discussion groups in which students will explore theoretical perspectives and apply them to specific cases.
Expected literature

Indicative literature (incomplete):


Lecture 1: Introduction: The Changing role of business in global society
Zadek, S. (2004): "The Path to Corporate Responsibility". Harvard Business Review,vol. 81 : 125-132.

Donaldson, T. (1996): "Values in Tension: Ethics Away from Home". Harvard Business Review , vol. 74: 48-62.

Ghoshal, S. (2005): “Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices”. Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol. 4(1): 75-91.


Lecture 2: Understanding CSR
Matten, D. & Crane, A. (2005): “Corporate Citizenship: Toward an Extended Theoretical Conceptualization”. Academy of Management Review, vol. 30(1): 166-179.

Scherer, A.G. & Pallazzo, G. (2007): “Towards a Political Conception of Corporate Responsibility: Business and Society Seen From a Habermasian Perspective”. Academy of Management Review, vol. 32(4): 1096-1120.

Lecture 3: Countries, industries and institutional difference
Matten, D. & Moon, J. (2008): “‘Implicit’ and ‘Explicit’ CSR: A Conceptual Framework for a Comparative Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility”. Academy of Management Review, vol. 33(4): 404-424.

Gond, J-P,  Kang, N. & Moon, J. (2011): “The government of self-regulation: on the comparative dynamics of corporate social responsibility”. Economy and Society, vol. 40(4): 640-671.

Additional reading:
Vallentin, S (2013): “Governmentalities of CSR: Danish Government Policy as a Reflection of Political Difference”. Journal of Business Ethics …

Lecture 4: The pros and cons of strategic CSR
Frederick, W.C. (1978/1994): “From CSR 1 to CSR2: The Maturing of Business and Society Thought”. Business and Society, vol. 33(2): 150-164.
Porter, M.E. & M.R. Kramer (2011): “Creating Shared Value”. Harvard Business Review, January-February Issue: 62-78.

Karnani, A. (2011): “’Doing Well by Doing Good’: The Grand Illusion”. California Management Review, vol. 53(2): 69-86.

Additional reading:
Rivoli, P. & Waddock, S. (2011a): “First, They Ignore You ...”: The Time-Context Dynamic and Corporate Responsibility. California Management Review, vol. 53(2):

Lecture 5: Power, control, power and the limits of codified responsibility
Spence, L.J. & Vallentin, S. (forthcoming): “The Politics of Managing CSR: A Governmentality Approach “. Work-in-progress paper

Costas, J. & Kärreman, D. (2013): “

Roberts, J. (2003): “The Manufacture of Corporate Social Responsibility: Constructing Corporate Sensibility”. Organization, vol. 10(2): 249-265.
Additional reading:
Jones, C. (2003): “As if Business Ethics Were Possible, ‘Within such limits’ ...”. Organization, vol. 10(2): 223-248.


Lecture 6: Managing labor rights in global supply chains

Lecture 7: NGOs and corporations: Between confrontation and collaboration
Lawrence, A.T. (2010): "Managing Disputes With Nonmarket Stakeholders: Wage a Fight, Withdraw, Wait, or Work It out? California Management Review, vol. 53 : 90-113.

den Hond, F. & de Bakker, F.G.A. (2007): “Ideologically Motivated Activism: How Activist Groups Influence Corporate Social Change Activities”. Academy of Management Review, vol. 32(3): 901-924.

Lecture 8: Anti-Corruption and the problem of weak governance

Lecture 9: Soft Law – Implementing Standards for Responsible Behavior

Rasche, A. (2012): "The United Nations and Transnational Corporations: How the UN Global Compact Has Changed the Debate". In: Lawrence, J & Beamish, P. (eds.): Globally Responsible Leadership: Business According to the UN Global Compact (33-49). Thousand Oaks: Sage.


Lecture 10: The context of CSR: Governmentality and the competition state
Foucault, M.: The Birth of Biopolitics, [1979] 2008, pp. 1-38.

Raffnsøe / Gudmand-Høyer / Thaning: “The investigation of liberal governmentality” in The Foucault Companion, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Chapter from book manuscript, pp. 1-15.

Vallentin / Murillo: ’Governmentality and the politics of CSR’, 2011, Organization 19(6) pp. 825– 843.

Lecture 11: The concept and scope of responsibility I
Brandom, R. (1979): “Freedom and constraint by norms”, American Philosophical Quarterly, pp. 23-38.

Nietzsche, F.: ”’Guilt’, bad conscience and related matters’”, On the Genealogy of Morality, pp. 35-52. [1887] CUP 2007.

Thaning, M. S.: “Three concepts of responsibility” chapter from book manuscript 2013; pp. 1-20.

Lecture 12: The concept and scope of responsibility II
Brandom, R. (1979): “Freedom and constraint by norms”, American Philosophical Quarterly, pp. 23-38.

Pippin, R: ‘Hegel and institutional rationality’, 2009, pp. 1-20.
Weber, M. : The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, pp. 324-341

Arendt, H.: Eichmann in Jerusalem, 1963, pp. 135-151.

Lecture 13: Social responsibility, the public sphere and civil society I
Habermas: The structural transformation of the public sphere, 1998, pp. 287-315.

Christensen / Morsing / Thyssen: ’CSR as aspirational talk’, Organisation 2013, pp. 1-22.
Lecture 14: Social responsibility, the public sphere and civil society II
Sloterdijk, P.: Critique of Cynical Reason, [1983] 1988, pp. 1-15.

Sloterdijk, P.: ‘Foreword to the theory of Spheres’, 2010 pp. 1-10.

Sloterdijk, P.: Excerpt from Foam, Spheres volume III, 2013, pp. 20-35.


Lecture 15: Wrap-up

Last updated on 15-08-2014