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2018/2019  KAN-CPOLO1046U  Business Responsibilities for Human Rights

English Title
Business Responsibilities for Human Rights

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Karin Buhmann - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Business Law
  • Globalization and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 12-06-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The purpose of the course is to provide students with the theoretical and analytical tools necessary to identify when business activities are likely to impact on internationally recognized human rights and enable them to identify and formulate arguments for and against action that businesses should take as a result of their responsibilities for human rights.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
  • Explain what human rights are in a context of international law, politics, and ethics
  • Explain and reflect on why business responsibilities for human rights arise against the backdrop of the international system for protection of human rights;
  • Critically reflect on why and when businesses can be argued to have responsibilities for human rights and what those responsibilities are;
  • Identify and critically discuss human rights issues facing business conduct in a specific case by referring to and applying the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and other relevant instruments, e.g. OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Global Compact, codes of conduct, etc.;
  • Explain the meaning of key concepts in the field of business and human rights, apply them and evaluate the implications;
  • Identify and evaluate the opportunities and challenges that business responsibilities for human rights pose in a concrete case related to business conduct and formulate recommendations supported by arguments that take into account internationally recognized human rights.
Business Responsibilities for Human Rights:
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 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 Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
A new exam assignment must be answered. This applies to all students (failed, ill, or otherwise)
Course content and structure

The course will provide an introduction to the development of the main international political and legal arguments for the proposition that businesses have responsibility to respect human rights wherever they operate, regardless of the national legal context. As part of this, the course will cover the content of the major international soft and hard law instruments that frame political, legal and social expectations or requirements of business responsibilities for human rights, in particular the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

Description of the teaching methods
Lectures (including some guest lectures and student debate)
Feedback during the teaching period
We try to offer feedback in response to your questions and work whenever feasible although please appreciate that there are often time constraints. Please feel free to take full advantage of the ‘office hours’ offered by full-time staff members, although these can never be a substitute for participation in lectures and classes. We also encourage you to ask questions or make comments in class and form self-study groups to secure peer feedback on your work.

Student workload
Preparation time (readings, group work etc.) 110 hours
Lectures / class exercises / “homework cafés” / workshops etc. 28 hours
Exam (incl. preparation for the exam and actual exam period) 70 hours
Last updated on 12-06-2018