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2016/2017  KAN-CCBLV1602U  Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility Beyond Borders

English Title
Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility Beyond Borders

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
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Lauren McCarthy - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management (ICM)
  • Lotte Holck - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Intercultural studies
  • Organization
Last updated on 15-02-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Acquire broad knowledge about the issues and theoretical concepts relevant to critical diversity, diversity management and CSR within and outside of organisations and across geographic borders.
  • Combine and discuss these theories.
  • Critically evaluate and reflect on the theories, their application and limitations.
  • Apply the theories in an analysis of diversity and CSR related problems.
Course prerequisites
Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility beyond Borders:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based 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
Description of the exam procedure

A written exam based on a live case. A multinational company will set a global diversity dilemma to which students will have to describe, critically discuss and apply theories, in line with the learning objectives.

Course content and structure

Course Description:

Issues to do with ethnicity, gender and equality seem to be in the news more than ever, and how organisations deal with diversity challenges are under scrutiny, even when there may be questions over whose responsibility equality is.  Can CSR be used to promote an ethically diverse workforce? Are diversity management and CSR practices collapsing into one, and if so, what are the consequences? What are the different topics and target groups of diversity management and CSR in different national and regional contexts? How should a company deal with sexism in its Indian subsidiary? Should a Western company ‘interfere’ in traditional customs which disadvantage younger people at work? In this course we critically explore the dynamics and assumptions behind these kinds of questions, amongst others.

This course explores theories, issues and debates surrounding diversity and Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in and around organisations. By around organisations we mean exploring diversity outside of traditional organisational boundaries and in the communities, value chains and societies where businesses interact with people. A particular focus is on how diversity management is translated and practiced in different national cultural, social and labor market contexts. We explore comparatively different global approaches to diversity, spanning Scandinavia, North America, the global South and European regions. 

Covering different aspects of organizing diversity and CSR, in different geographic locations, this course will appeal to students studying organisations, management and diversity, human relations or corporate social responsibility.


Course Structure:

Week 1: Introductuon to Diversity Beyond Borders.

Outline of course, introduction to key terms, learning objectives and assessment introduced. Especially two predominant strands of diversity management and critical diversity research are explored and compared in historical and contemporary perspective.

Kalev, A., Dobbin, F., & Kelly, E. (2006). Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies. American Sociological Review, 71(4), 589-617.
Thomas, D. & Ely, R. (1996) Making differences matter: A new paradigm for managing diversity. Harvard Business Review, 74, 79-90. 
Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y. and Nkomo, S., 2010. Unpacking diversity, grasping inequality: Rethinking difference through critical perspectives. Organization, 17(1), pp.9-29.


Week 2: Corporate social responsibility: Business beyond borders?

An introduction to CSR, critically analysing the reach and responsibility of businesses. Current real-life

examples and approaches to diversity via CSR are introduced.



Friedman, M. 1970. The Social Responsibility of Business is to increase its profits. The New York Times Magazine. September 13, 1970. PDF available: http://umich.edu/~thecore/doc/Friedman.pdf

Porter, M.E. and Kramer, M.R. 2011. Creating Shared Value. Harvard Business Review, Jan-February, 2011.

Gond, J.P. & Moon, J. 2011. Corporate Social Responsibility in Retrospect and Prospect: Exploring the Life-Cycle of an Essentially Contested Concept in Gond, J.P. & Moon, J. (eds)  Routledge Major Work on Corporate Social Responsibility. London: Routledge.  PDF available: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/business/ICCSR/assets/researchpapers/59-2011.pdf

Grosser, K. & Moon, J. 2005. Gender Mainstreaming and Corporate Social Responsibility: Reporting Workplace Issues. Journal of Business Ethics, 62(4), pp. 327-340.


Week 3: Comparative approaches 1: Scandinavia

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences to diversity management in Scandinavia. This includes a focus on the particular history of diversity management in Scandinavia in relation to the welfare state, labor market policies and cultural heritage.



Holck, L. & Muhr, S. (Forthcoming) From affirmative to transformative diversity management – On how the logics of the welfare model obstructs ethnic diversity in the Danish workforce, Scandinavian Journal ofManagement.

Muhr, S.L. and Salem, A. (2013), “Specters of colonialism–illusionary equality and the forgetting of history in a Swedish organization”, Management & organizational History, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 62-76.

Holvino, E., & Kamp, A. (2009). Diversity management: Are we moving in the right direction? Reflections from both sides of the North Atlantic. Scandinavian Journal of Management25(4), 395-403.



Week 4: Comparative approaches 2: North America 

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences to diversity management in North America, reflecting on historical developments. 


Dobbin, F., Soohan, K. and Kalev, A. (2011), “You Can’t Always Get What You Need: Organizational Determinants of Diversity Programs”, American Sociological Review, 76(3), pp. 386–411.
Noon, M. (2007) The fatal flaws of diversity and the business case for ethnic minorities. Work, Employment and Society, 21(4), 773–784.
Shore, L.M., Randel, A.E., Chung, B.G., Dean, M.A., Ehrhart, K.H. and Singh, G. (2011), “Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model for future research”, Journal of Management, 37(4), pp. 1262-1289.

Nkomo, S. & Hoobler, J.M. (2014). A historical perspective on diversity ideologies in the United States: Reflections on human resource management research and practice. Human Resource Management Review, 24(3), pp. 245–257.


Week 5: Comparative approaches 3: Europe

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences to diversity management in Europe, reflecting on historical and institutional developments.


Tatli, A., Vassilopoulou, J., Al Ariss, A., & Özbilgin, M. (2012). The role of regulatory and temporal context in the construction of diversity discourses: The case of the UK, France and Germany. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 0959680112461092.
Boogaard, B. and Roggeband, C. (2009), “Paradoxes of intersectionality: Theorizing inequality in the Dutch Police Force through structure and agency”, Organization, 17 (1), pp. 53-75.
Ghorashi H & van Tilburg M (2006). “When is my Dutch good enough?” Experiences of refugee women with Dutch labour organizations. Journal of International Migration and Integration/Revue de l'integration et de la migration internationale, 7(1), 51-70.


Week 6: Comparative approaches 4: The global South

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches to, and differences within, diversity management in the Global South, encompassing sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia and the Middle East.

Alcadipani, R., Khan, F.R., Gantman, E. & Nkomo, S. (2012). Southern voices in organization and management knowledge. Organization, 19(2), pp.131-143.

Mama, A. (2001). Challening Subjects: Gender and Power in African Contexts. African Sociological Review/ Revue Africaine de Sociologie. 5(2), pp.63-73.
Özbilgin, M.F. and Woodward, D. (2004). ‘Belonging’ and ‘otherness’: sex equality in banking in Turkey and Britain. Gender, Work & Organization, 11(6), pp.668-688.
Cooke, F.L. & Saini, D.S. (2010).  Diversity management in India: A study of organizations in different ownership forms and industrial sectors. Human Resource Management.  49( 3), pp.477–500.


Week 7: Case studies on Critical approaches to CSR and diversity

In this session we explore the ways in which businesses in developing countries are leading initiatives that aim to empower women within business’ value chains. Discussing case studies on coca-cola, Vodafone and other global companies, we use critical theory (e.g post colonial and feminist theory) to analyze these interventions.



Prugl., E. (2014). Neoliberalising feminism. New political economy. 20(4), pp.614-631.

Khan, F.R. and Lund Thomsen, P. (2011). CSR As Imperialism: Towards a Phenomenological Approach to CSR In the Developing World. Journal of change management. 11(1), pp.73-90.

Bexell, M. (2012) Global Governance, Gains and Gender. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 14:3, 389-407, DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2012.659855


Week 8: Diversity Management and CSR: Critical Reflections and Future Directions

We conclude the course with a re-cap of the main tensions and lessons learnt regarding global diversity and CSR programmes for equality. 

Ahonen, P., Tienari, J., Merilainen, S. and Pullen, A. (2014), “Hidden contexts and invisible power relations: A Foucauldian reading of diversity research”, Human Relations, 67 (3), pp. 263-286.
Lauring, J. (2013). International diversity management: Global ideals and local responses. British Journal of Management, 24(2), 211-224.
Prieto-Carron, M., Lund-Thomsen, P., Chan, A., Muro, A. And Bhusan, C. 2006. Critical perspectives on CSR and development: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to know. International Affairs, 82(5), pp.977-987. 
Oswick, C. and Noon, M. (2014), “Discourses of diversity, equality and inclusion: trenchant formulations or transient fashions?”, British Journal of Management, 25 (1), pp. 23-39.


Week 9: Live Case Diversity Dilemma

A multinational company will present a global diversity problem they are experiencing, which will form the basis of the written exam. 


Teaching methods
Ideally each session would take 3 hours. We will use a combination of traditional lecture and interactive student seminar using active learning techniques, including student-led world cafe sessions, group feedback work, case-based role play and active debating. The sessions will balance academic theory with real-world problem case studies, and where possible, we will invite guest speakers from the regions under focus.
Student workload
Teaching 27 hours
Preparation 131 hours
Examination 48 hours
Further Information

This course is, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind globally to integrate issues of diversity across geographic locations and across disciplines, including HRM, intercultural management, CSR and organization literatures. 

Expected literature

Proposed course literature is detailed in the course structure above. It may be updated to include more recent literature nearer the course commencement.

Last updated on 15-02-2016