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2016/2017  BA-BBLCV1162U  Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

English Title
Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

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
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Jeremy Moon - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Strategy
  • Cultural studies
Last updated on 19-02-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Summarize the current state of affairs in Scandinavia in sustainability and CSR.
  • Analyze sustainability and CSR activities (management practices, stakeholder engagement, organizational structures, and reporting) at a selection of major Scandinavian firms.
  • Describe the characterization of "Scandinavian management" and the role this may have have in sustainability and CSR approaches and performances in Scandinavia while also critiquing such characterizations when they risk becoming stereotypes.
  • Describe the significant degree of partnership activities in the Scandinavian region between companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governmental organizations and their relationship to sustainability and CSR.
  • Describe trends in Scandinavia regarding “implicit” and “explicit” CSR and explain likely factors for these trends.
  • Describe how the interactions between corporate strategy and considerations to sustainability and CSR - and what this has meant in a Scandinavian context.
Course prerequisites
No special requirements. The course does not assume the student has any prior knowledge in the subject matter.
Scandinavian Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 3 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed book: no aids:
  • Written sit-in-exam on CBS' computers
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

Scandinavia represents a uniquely stimulating region of the world in which to explore sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).  Scandinavian companies are disproportionately well represented in the major sustainability and CSR performance indicators including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Global 100.  The region as a whole has demonstrated superior sustainability performances with strong and balanced country-level economic, social, and environmental performances.  Scandinavian governments are actively engaged with the sustainability and CSR agendas working to combine a high level of public services and a generous welfare state with engagement by companies to develop corporate responsibility in social and environmental areas.

In this program we explore sustainability and CSR in a Scandinavian context.  We do so while also critically reflecting upon the ongoing and looming challenges to sustain these performances.   


The course materials for this course include a wide variety of offerings from multiple perspectives regarding sustainability and CSR as it relates to Scandinavia.  The structure of this course is students are assigned the materials prior to each session, we will discuss and debate the materials during each session as facilitated by the instructor.  Practically speaking, each session will structured that begins with a series of questions posed by the instructor about the assigned reading materials that small groups will discuss and iteratively followed by a large group discussion of each question facilitated by the instructor;  Next, the a student group assigned each week will present on the materials;  Finally, the instructor will offer offerings and summaries of the readings to conclude the session as a “wrap up” and will link that session to previous sessions (i.e. help to provide a “red thread” that will run throughout the course).  In some sessions, a special guest speaker will be invited as deemed appropriate.

This course will be structured as a dynamic, discussion based course where excelling in the course will demand both preparation of the materials and engagement in the discussions.

Teaching methods
Readings in preparation of each Session + Lecture + small group discussions facilitated throughout lecture + large group discussions
Student workload
Preparation 166 hours
Teaching/Classroom time 36 hours
Examination 4 hours
Expected literature

Sampling of Materials - additional materials will be added (all materials subject to change):
Friedman, Milton (1970).  The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits.  The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970.
Freeman, R. E. 2010. Managing for Stakeholders: Trade-offs or Value Creation.  Journal of Business Ethics. 96:7–9.
Morsing, M., Midtun, A., & Palmås, K. 2007. Corporate social responsibility in Scandinavia. A turn toward the business case?  In May, S., Cheney, G. & Roper, J. (Eds.), The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Osland, J. S., & Bird, A. 2000. Beyond sophisticated stereotyping: Cultural sensemaking in context. The Academy of Management Executive, 14(1), 65-77.
Porter, M. & Kramer, M. 2006.  ‘Strategy and Society - The Link Between Competitive Advantage and CSR.  Harvard Business Review.  Dec2006, Vol. 84 Issue 12, pp.78-92. 
Porter, M. & Kramer, M. 2011.  Creating Shared Value.  Harvard Business Review. January-February. pp. 62-77.
Strand, R. 2009. Corporate Responsibility in Scandinavian Supply Chains. Journal of Business Ethics. 85: 179-185.

Strand, R. 2013.  The Chief Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility: a Study of its Presence in Top Management Teams.  Journal of Business Ethics.   Vol. 112, Issue 4, pp. 721-734.
Strand, R. & Freeman, R. E. 2013. Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage: Theory and practice of stakeholder engagement in Scandinavia.  Journal of Business Ethics.

Strand, R. 2014.  Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage:  The Case of IKEA.  In: Khan, S. and W. Amann (Eds.) World Humanism: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Ethical Practices in Organizations.  Hampshire, UK:  Palgrave Macmillan.

Strand, R. forthcoming.  Strategic Leadership of Corporate Sustainability.  Journal of Business Ethics.   
Vallentin, S. & Murillo, D. 2010.  Government, Governance and Collaborative Social Responsibility. In: Tencati, A & Zsolnai, L. (Eds.) The Collaborative Enterprise. Peter Lang Publishers: Oxford, U.K). pp. 209-227.
Yaziji, M. 2004. Turning gadflies into allies. Harvard Business Review. 82(2): 110-115.
Case studies:
Case (Field)
Source: Harvard Business School
Novo Nordisk: A Commitment to Sustainability by Robert G. Eccles, Michael P. Krzus
18 pages. Publication date: Oct 03, 2011. Prod. #: 412053-PDF-ENG
Case (Field)
Source: HBS Premier Case Collection
IKEA's Global Sourcing Challenge: Indian Rugs and Child Labor (A)
by Christopher A. Bartlett, Vincent Dessain, Anders Sjoman
13 pages.  Publication date: May 03, 2006. Prod. #: 906414-PDF-ENG
Supplement (Field)
Source: Harvard Business School
IKEA's Global Sourcing Challenge: Indian Rugs and Child Labor (B)
by Christopher A. Bartlett, Vincent Dessain, Anders Sjoman
17 pages.  Publication date: May 03, 2006. Prod. #: 906415-PDF-ENG

Last updated on 19-02-2016