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2015/2016  KAN-CCMVV1555U  Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenge and Opportunity for Business Leaders - cancelled

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

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
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 MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Karin Buhmann - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management (ICM)
Kontaktinformation: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt eller Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalization and international business
  • Management
Last updated on 24-06-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: Students should obtain knowledge to allow them to demonstrate ability to critically analyze and reflect on key drivers of a CSR agenda and CSR governance 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 argued solutions to problems within CSR strategy on the basis of theory based and practical approaches to CSR governance poised between private and public interests in a globalised world
  • Analyze and synthesize concrete problems within CSR strategy and CSR governance by applying the concepts, theories, methods, and models of the course.
  • Argue and evaluate solutions to problems concerning CSR strategy at an independent and reflected academic level.
Course prerequisites
Bachelor-degree or equivalent; and at least completion of a basic course in Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Business or equivalent.
Individual project exam/home assignment.:
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) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

 Course content, structure and teaching

As Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is increasingly poised between private and public governance, a range of new challenges and opportunities arise for business managers and those who wish to become business leaders in CSR, or show leadership within an organization in regard to CSR. This course provides students with insight and analytical competences to analyze how new social and environmental demands from a variety of stakeholders pose new risks and opportunities to business managers and leaders. In the course we will deal with a range of CSR challenges and opportunities derived from social expectations, public policy needs and market opportunities which firms of all sizes are confronted with due to globalization of trade, information flows, the growth of political CSR and novel currents in CSR governance.


Western firms operating in or sourcing from developing countries are increasingly held responsible for their impact on 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. Today stakeholders as diverse as investors, employees, the media, NGOs, business relations, private customers, and national and international authorities and organisations 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. A third example concerns a shift from CSR reporting from voluntary to mandatory, reflecting efforts by authorities to stimulate firms’ awareness and self-governance as regards their impact on society, and to stimulate public accountability by providing transparency of business practices to investors, business relations and customers. Across the world, more and more firms are becoming subject to such reporting as for example the EU, individual EU states and the US introduce CSR transparency measures for large firms and/or certain sectors, especially in the extractives industries. A firm’s understanding of implicit or explicit societal expectations and needs increasingly functions to identify risks and to create opportunities.


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

  • Governing CSR

  • Limits to CSR: How much can or should we expect of firms as regards societal needs?

  • Managing CSR initiatives: Codes of conduct and Due Diligence

  • Reporting: benefits, drawbacks and processes

  • Institutional investors and socially responsible investments

  • The crystal ball: New CSR issues and challenges?

    The course requires a high level of active participation by students as we will combine theoretical lectures with practical cases, role-playing and interaction with practitioners.

Teaching methods
The course is structured around themes as outlined above.

The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, cases, student presentations and debates, role plays and guest lectures/presentations by experts in the field.

The course requires a high level of active participation by students as we will combine theoretical lectures with practical cases, role-playing and interaction with practitioners.
Student workload
Preparation 168 hours
Classes 33 hours
Exam (hours within one week exam period) 24 hours
Expected literature

Preliminary list of literature:


Textbook: Bryan Horrigan (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility In The 21st Century

Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business, Edward Elgar


Academic articles:

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


Milton Friedman (1970). New York Times Magazine, “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”, September 13.


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.


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.


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


Jette Steen Knudsen 2012. “The Growth of Private Regulation of Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains: Mission Impossible for Western Small and Medium-Sized Firms?”  Journal of Business Ethics. Forthcoming.


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.


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.

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.

Gregory Jackson and Androniki Apostolakau (2010) “Corporate Social Responsibility in Western Europe: An Institutional Mirror or Substitute?” In Journal of Business Ethics, 94.


Andreas Scherer and Guido Palazzo (2011). “The New Political Role of Business in a Globalized World: A Review of New Perspectives on CSR and its Implications for the Firm, Governance and Democracy”. In Journal of Management Studies 48(4): 899-931.

Mike Valente and Andrew Crane (2010), “Public Responsibility and Private Enterprise in Developing Countries”. In California Management Review, Vol. 52, No. 3.

Buhmann, K. (2013b) The Danish CSR reporting requirement as reflexive law: Employing CSR as a modality to promote public policy. European Business Law Review, Issue 2: 187-216

Crane, A, Palazzo, G, Spence, L & Matten, D (2014), 'Contesting the value of 'Creating Shared Value'', California Management Review, Vol 56, no. 2: 130-153

Last updated on 24-06-2015