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2015/2016  BA-BHAAV2639U  Corporate Governance

English Title
Corporate Governance

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Steffen Brenner - Department of International Economics and Management (INT)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalization and international business
  • Economics
Last updated on 16-03-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The course’s development of personal competences:
The course will develop the student’s ability to understand the basic problems related to corporate governance and evaluate the pros and cons of different governance mechanisms. The course gives the student the possibility to combine different disciplines such as economics, finance, organization, law etc. in the overall analysis of how a company is governed by the owners and influenced by other stakeholders.
The aim of this course is to gain an in-depth understanding of corporate governance and how corporate governance influences corporate performance. The course will introduce the students to corporate governance issues and teach them to analyze how different corporate governance mechanisms – like ownership and board structure, legal systems and incentives – contribute to the solution of agency problems and influence corporate economic performance. The students shall acquire skills and competences which make them able to evaluate the corporate governance structure of a given company. More precisely the participants shall be able to:
  • explain different concepts of corporate governance
  • learn how to identify and analyze corporate governance (agency) problems
  • analyze how corporate governance of a particular company influences its performance
  • analyze the role of different stakeholders: managers, employees, investors, creditors,
  • understand the role of managers, boards, shareholders, general meetings
  • Learn to appreciate how the governance, behaviour and performance of individual companies are shaped by the governance system, in which they operate
  • analyze how different governance mechanisms solve/limit the governance problems
  • identify different models of corporate governance in different countries
  • critically assess the role of Corporate Social Responsibility
Course prerequisites
Any undergraduate can take this course
4 hour written sit-in exam:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed Book: no aids
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Course content and structure

The current financial crisis has raised important questions concerning the control and responsibility of the owners and the managers especially in banks and large corporations. Many of these questions are closely related to the discussion about good corporate governance - understood as the system by which companies are directed and controlled. The course starts with a discussion about the different concepts about corporate governance. What is the role of the owners versus management? How do different stakeholders influence the company? The course will analyze governance problems as a type of agency problems, where the main problem concerns the possible conflict of interest between the owners (principal) and the manager (agent). However, in a broader perspective we will analyze the role of different stakeholders: managers, employees, different types of investors, creditors, suppliers, customers, competitors, local and central government, etc.

The different institutions in a given country play a crucial role and the course introduces students to the mechanisms of governance in different systems comparing US-UK, East Asia, Continental Europe and Scandinavia. Students learn the costs and benefits of alternative governance mechanisms – law, ownership, boards, incentives etc.

The actual organization of corporate governance in the company is also an important theme to be discussed in the class. This includes the role of managers, boards, shareholders, what makes a good board? We will also analyze the role of legislation and Corporate Governance codes of best practices now introduced in most countries. In recent years the question about Corporate Social Responsibility has gained increasing importance – how is the relation between social responsibility and corporate governance?

Teaching methods
The teaching style will be a mix of lectures, cases and class discussions.
Expected literature

Steen Thomsen and Martin Conyon (2012): Corporate Governance: Mechanisms and Systems, Mc Graw-Hill, 1st Edition.
Healy, P. And K. G. Palepu (2003): The Fall of Enron, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17, 3-26.
Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and René M. Stulz, 2011, Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis, Journal of Financial Economics, 99, 11-26.

Last updated on 16-03-2015