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2017/2018  MA-MMBAO2027U  Leading Responsible Corporations

English Title
Leading Responsible Corporations

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 3 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Part Time Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn, Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for Master of Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Jesper Rangvid - Department of Finance (FI)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
Last updated on 30-06-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The aim of this course is to gain an in-depth understanding of the different factors influencing the legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of business leaders, particularly when considering emerging regulations around social and environmental issues. The course introduces students to a variety of analytical tools and discusses in what ways these tools can enable responsible corporate conduct. After completing this course participants should be able to:
  • Understand and explain how a variety of social and environmental factors can come to be interpreted as within a firm’s “sphere of influence”,
  • Analyze the conditions and limitations for how and when social and environ-mental factors can be seen as relevant for corporate strategy,
  • Specify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative theoretical frameworks that explain the distinctive challenges involved in managing CSR,
  • Understand the changing boundaries between public and private regulation of CSR,
  • Evaluate inherent strengths and weaknesses of the concept of the business case for CSR, and
  • Analyze concrete problems within CSR strategy by applying the theoretical concepts discussed throughout the course
Leading Responsible Corporations:
Exam ECTS 3
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer and Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
A written case assignment based on a case or a subject chosen by the
teacher. The assignment must be formulated and given to the students at least nine days prior to the expiration of the deadline. It should be 15 pages long and submitted to CBSLearn. The exam is held internally, and the assignment is put forward and assessed by the relevant faculty.

Alternative examination format: The make-up/re-examination will be held as an oral examination 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.
Description of the exam procedure

In line with the learning objectives, these are expected in the assignment:


  • Provide a 'social responsibility' mapping of a firm, using the frameworks offered in the course.
  • Your mapping should address relevant fundamental issues discussed in the course , for example, challenges in bringing different stakeholder agendas and interests together, the moral limits of the market, and difficlties in prioritizing.
  • Your assignment should carry your reflections an and evaluation of the company's 'social responsibility' strategy (or the lack of such a strategy).
  • You are encouraged to use yoir own company as the case. If you are not using your own company, you can refer to a company that you have knowledge of, e. g. a previous workplace, intimate knowledge from other people or detailed desk research.
  • In your conclusion, state the lessons learned form your analysis.
  • You are also expected to demonstrate your ability to find relevant and appropriate information on the chosen issues from credible sources.


Course content and structure

This course looks at how business practitioners can show leadership for responsible and sustainable business practices. While the course gives an introduction to corporate sustainability and responsibility, it also reaches beyond some of the more traditional debates, as it (a) highlights the regulatory and political context shaping and constraining responsible business decisions and (b) emphasizes how leaders can use management and governance systems to enable responsible conduct. The course is divided into four parts, all of which discuss factors that need to be considered when leading corporations in a responsible manner.


The first part (day one) frames the theoretical and practical debate around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability. We discuss why firms engage in CSR and how they align their CSR policies with broader corporate strategy. We also look into different types of actors relevant to the CSR discussion, mostly NGOs, consumers, and investors. The second part (day two) contextualizes what we discussed during the first part by looking into a specific CSR issue: corruption. We discuss what corruption is, why (most) people see it as a problem, and what firms can do to fight corruption.


The third part (day three) explores how responsible business can be managed within firms. We first discuss the relevance of non-financial reporting and review some legal regulations. We then discuss how responsible business can be integrated into corporate governance, mostly by debating the role of Boards of Directors. Finally, we explore why firms often sign up to labels and certifications, and how such standards shape internal practices. The fourth part (day four) provides a forum to discuss another specific problem: labor rights in global supply chains. It shows that firms often struggle to manage CSR ‘beyond’ their own corporate borders. The course is designed in an interdisciplinary way blending insights from management studies, leadership, business law, and international relations.


Teaching methods
This course blends a variety of pedagogical methods. You learn through interactive lectures combined with case study discussions and group work exercises. We will also use some short video supplements to explore selected issues in more depth. It is im-portant that you read case studies prior to the lecture in which they are discussed. Please answer the case questions, which are listed in this syllabus.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is given to the student together with the grade when written exams have been evaluated.
Student workload
Lectures 24 hours
Preparation + Exam 58,5 hours
Last updated on 30-06-2017