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2021/2022  KAN-CCMVV4053U  Managing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Harnessing Virtual Team Work in a Digital World

English Title
Managing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Harnessing Virtual Team Work in a Digital World

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
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Kai Hockerts - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Apply the theories (e.g. Bandura's social cognitive theory, Ajzen's theory of reasoned action, and Vygotsky's theory of proxymal development) discussed in the course to the problem of effective virtual group work.
  • Explain how these theories can be applied to address more effectively complex problems such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a corporate context.
  • Specify how business can contribute to addressing global sustainability challenges drawing on corporate sustainability theories.
  • Identify best practices on sustainable management and leadership.
  • Develop a case study (3-minute video) regarding best practices in the field.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 2
Compulsory home assignments
1) Students will have to pass short individual assignments related to the online video material.

2) Moreover, students will have to prepare a short video of a case company in groups of four.
Managing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ¿ Harnessing Virtual Team Work in a Digital World:
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 Report
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
Description of the exam procedure

Your exam task will be to write a 10 page reflection paper of your group work experience. You are expected to reflect both on the result (case study) as well as the process (group work experience). You are also expected to use readings from the class syllabus as well as find additional literature on your own to support your findings.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

If business is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) virtual collaboration will be essential given the inherent global nature of most goals. However, as the Covid crisis has shown, virtual collaboration is challenging. This course will hone your virtual leadership competencies, helping you increase the effectiveness of online group collaboration. Towards this goal you will be introduced to the theories underlying effective virtual group work (such as Bandura's social cognitive theory, Ajzen's theory of reasoned action, and Vygotsky's theory of proxymal development). 


This course being part of the Social Impact and Global Management (SIGMA) alliance you will work with students from six international elite business schools in Europe and Asia (Singapore Management University, Hitotsubashi University, ESADE, University of St. Gallen, Paris Dauphine, and WU Vienna).


Addressing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) requires global cooperation. You will hone your ability to collaborate in a virtual learning environment by studying and analyzing a real-world case study. Moreover, the course will introduce students to a number of corporate sustainability theories (e.g. antagonistic assets theory, NGO partnership theory) that explain the link between SDGs and corporate performance. 


In virtual teams of four students you will select a multinational corporation and study whether, and if yes how, the firm's corporate sustainability strategy affects their competitive advantage. 


This is a blended course, combining online and face-to-face sessions. The six online models introduce students to the main issues and discuss the key readings. In addition to completing all online modules, students work in virtual cross-national, cross-institutional teams, to develop a best-practice case study on a selected company or organization. Teams receive guidance from assigned supervisors from any of the participating universities.

Description of the teaching methods
This is a blended course, combining in class sessions with the CBS faculty and online sessions delivered by teachers from partner universities (Singapore, Hitsubashi, St. Gallen, ESADE, Paris Dauphine, and WU). Assessment will consist of a set of brief assignments, a Case Study (teamwork) and on-campus in-class participation activities.

The course combines six on campus sessions delivered at CBS and six online modules delivered by the partner universities.

The online part of the course is jointly organised along with all the universities involved. In this part students will be in touch with faculty and students through discussions and collective assignments. The platform used for the virtual campus will be Coursera (private course mode). Learn more about the online part of the course as well as about the SIGMA alliance here: https:/​/​www.wu.ac.at/​en/​sigma-rbp/​syllabus.

The on campus sessions will be for CBS students only. There will be 6 in total, distributed between the end of September and early December (dates to be confirmed).
Feedback during the teaching period
In addition to the sessions with Professor Kai Hockerts (CBS) your group will be assigned a supervisor who will support your group throughout the course.
Student workload
On campus teaching (delivered by CBS faculty) 18 hours
Online teaching (delivered by SIGMA faculty via Coursera) 18 hours
Reading and course preparation 120 hours
Group work and interaction with Faculty Supervisor 15 hours
Exam (reflection Paper) 40 hours
Further Information

Dr. Kai Hockerts is Professor in Social Entrepreneurship at CBS (www.cbs.dk/staff/kho). He is widely published in academic journals and has extensive teaching experiences with multinational class rooms and blended learning. In 1990n Kai was co-founder and managing director of the social start-up oikos Bayreuth (part of the oikos network). His business experience includes two years as an environmental strategy consultant at Ecobilan S.A., Paris (F). His pri­mary research focus is on corporate sustainability and social entrepre­neur­ship. Kai holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of St. Gallen (CH). Before joining CBS he has been Adjunct Professor of Strategy at INSEAD (Fontaine­bleau).

Expected literature

Chesbrough, Henry. "Business model innovation: opportunities and barriers." Long Range Planning 43.2-3 (2010): 354-363.


Cramer, Aron; Park, Jacob; Olson, Eric; Best, E. (2017). The Future of Sustainable Business. Retrieved from: https:/​/​www.bsr.org/​en/​our-insights/​report-view/​the-future-of-sustainable-business


Derosa, Darleen M., et al. (2003): Trust and leadership in virtual teamwork: A media naturalness perspective. Human Resource Management: Published in Cooperation with the School of Business Administration, The University of Michigan and in alliance with the Socie  


Dubé, L., & Robey, D. (2009). Surviving the paradoxes of virtual teamwork. Information systems journal, 19(1), 3-30.  


GRI, UN Global Compact, P. (2017). An analysis of the goals and targets.


Hertel, G., Konradt, U., & Voss, K. (2006). Competencies for virtual teamwork: Developmentand validation of a web-based selection tool for members of distributed teams. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15(4), 477-504.  


Hockerts, Kai (2015): "How hybrid organizations turn antagonistic assets into complementarities." California Management Review 57.3 (2015): 83-106.


Liao, Chenwei (2017): "Leadership in virtual teams: A multilevel perspective." Human Resource Management Review 27(4): 648-659.


Nunamaker, Jay F.; Reinig, Bruce A.; Briggs, Robert O. (2009): Principles for effective virtual teamwork. Communications of the ACM, 52. Jg., Nr. 4, S. 113-117.    


Schulze, Julian, and Stefan Krumm, (2017) "The “virtual team player” A review and initial model of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics for virtual collaboration." Organizational Psychology Review 7.1: 66-95.


Witt, M. A; Stahl, G. K. (2016): Foundations of Responsible Leadership: Asian Versus Western Executive Responsibility Orientations toward Key Stakeholders, Journal of Business Ethics, 136(3).

Last updated on 15-02-2021