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2019/2020  KAN-CCBLO2012U  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 Mandatory offered as elective
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 and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Minna Paunova - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 26-11-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Demonstrate knowledge of theories and concepts relevant to diversity and diversity management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and their interface.
  • Combine, discuss, and apply these theories in an analysis of diversity and/or CSR-related problems within and beyond organizational and geographic borders.
  • Critically evaluate and reflect on the theories, their application and limitations.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, and observe academic conventions with respect to references, style and argumentation.
Course prerequisites
None. However, prior knowledge in diversity management and corporate social responsibility is recommended.
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-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Issues to do with ethnicity, gender and equality seem to be in the news more than ever. How organizations deal with diversity challenges is 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 (e.g., Western or Scandinavian) deal with sexism in its Indian subsidiary? Should a 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, among others.


This course explores theories, issues and debates surrounding diversity and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in and around global organizations. By “around organizations” we mean exploring diversity outside of traditional organizational 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 and Europe, North America, Asia, and the global South. 

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


Course Topics (provisional structure):

Topic 1: Introduction to diversity beyond borders

Introduction to the course. We begin exploring defining the diversity/CSR interface, and zoom into the dominant perspectives on diversity management and critical diversity research.


Topic 2:  Corporate social responsibility: Business beyond borders?

An introduction to CSR, critically analyzing the reach and responsibility of businesses. Current real-life examples and approaches to diversity via CSR are introduced.


Topic 3:  Comparative approaches: North America 
We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences to diversity management in North America, reflecting on historical developments. 


Topic 4:  Comparative approaches: Europe and Scandinavia
We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences to diversity management and CSR in Europe and Scandinavia. This includes a focus on the particular history of diversity management and CSR in Europe and Scandinavia in relation to the welfare state, labor market policies and cultural heritage.


Topic 5: New institutions for CSR

We explore the place of multi-stakeholder initiatives, standards, and new approaches to governance in CSR.


Topic 6: Comparative approaches : The global South

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches to ethical trade and global supply chains, reflecting on historical and institutional developments. 


Topic 7: Comparative approaches : The global South II

We explore the legal, moral and cultural approaches and differences in understanding of diversity and its management in the non-West.


Topic 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 programs for equality. 


Topic 9:  Live  case diversity dilemma 
A multinational company will present a global diversity and/or CSR problem they are experiencing, which will form the basis of the written exam. 


Topic 10: Case analysis and academic writing

Tips for academic writing and preparing the exam.

Description of the teaching methods
In each session, we will use a combination of traditional lectures and interactive student seminars using active learning techniques, including case-based discussion and role play, group feedback, active debating, and student-led presentations. The sessions will balance academic theory with real-world problem case studies. Feedback is given during office hours.

Student groups
Course instructors will assign students to groups for group-based work in class. Groups may also be asked to prepare small assignments at home (e.g., short presentation clarifying a concept/a reading, or analyzing a relevant case). Students are invited to also make the most of their groups for reading, discussion, and preparation before class.

Brief and full-length cases will be used extensively throughout the term. Some cases will be drawn from the public domain and posted on Canvas; others will have to be purchased from The Case Centre or Harvard Business School Publishing for a small fee (approx. 4-5 euro per case). Unless otherwise noted, students are expected to read and prepare cases ahead of class (individually or in their student groups).
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is given during office hours. Please seek information on where and when on Learn. Oral feedback is also given in class in relation to group exercises.
Student workload
Teaching 30 hours
Preparation 128 hours
Examination 48 hours
Total 206 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, international and cross-cultural management, CSR and organization literatures.

Expected literature

The course is article- and case-based. Articles are available for free through the CBS library (links will be posted on Canvas). Most cases have to be purchased through The Case Centre for a small fee. 


Recommended books/additional reading:

  • Gotsis, G., & Kortezi, Z. (2014). Critical studies in diversity management literature: A review and synthesis. Springer.
  • Karatas-Özkan, M., Nicolopoulou, K., & Özbilgin, M. F. (Eds.) (2014). Corporate social responsibility and human resource management: A diversity perspective. Cheltenham.
  • Moon, J. (2014) Corporate social responsibility: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
Last updated on 26-11-2019