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2021/2022  KAN-CCMVV8004U  Sustainable Capitalism in the Nordics

English Title
Sustainable Capitalism in the Nordics

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 1.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Spring, Spring, Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 30
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Robert Strand - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 14-12-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve a superior grade, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Summarize the ongoing debates about the purpose of the corporation and the ideas of shareholder value (aka shareholder-primacy) vis-à-vis stakeholder view of the firm
  • Explain the concepts of sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), creating shared value, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and relate them to the ongoing debates about the purpose of the corporation
  • Summarize fundamental cultural norms and institutional factors that comprise the Nordic business context
  • Hypothesize how the Nordic region is realizing comparatively superior sustainability outcomes
  • Be able to offer a characterization of "Nordic Capitalism" vis-a-vis "American Capitalism"
Course prerequisites
his course is a special course limited to cand. merc. students returning from exchange. To qualify for the course you:

1. Enrolled in a cand.merc. programs at CBS
2. Have to have passed 28 ECTS during your exchange
3. Have to submit a motivational statement to outexchange@cbs.dk
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): 1
Compulsory home assignments
Students will be required to complete a final report summarizing their learnings from the class. The report will be comprised of 10 pages plus appendixes where required. Students may select a theme of a general case and explore it fully.
Sustainable Capitalism in the Nordics:
Exam ECTS 1,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring and Spring, Ordinary exam: Home Assignment: 22 March - 22 April 2022
Retake exam: 72-hour home assignment: 22 April – 31 April 2022
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Retake exam: 72-hour home assignment: 28 – 31 April 2022
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

We face big challenges in this world.  Climate change, poverty, health & wellbeing, access to quality education, decent work, loss of biodiversity, and growing inequalities are just a few of the interconnected sustainability challenges represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In the face of these challenges, the Nordics offer inspiration.  Nordic countries and companies are cited as global sustainability leaders, frequently topping sustainability performance indicators like the SDG Index. This immersion and discussion-based course explores sustainability in the Nordics firsthand to consider what learnings may be prosperously applied in the US.


Our inquiry focuses on the very concept of capitalism itself, and the relationship between capitalism and sustainability and democracy.  In doing so, we consider the ideas of “American shareholder capitalism” vis-à-vis “Nordic stakeholder capitalism” to compare American and Nordic policies and cultures, and their effects on sustainability practices and performances.  This course includes a significant preparation element whereby students will have completed the (in-progress) book Sustainable Vikings: What the Nordics Can Teach Us about Reimagining American Capitalism by the course instructor in advance of the immersion experience. 


The immersion experience involves morning and afternoon sessions held at the Copenhagen Business School and with site visits to relevant Nordic organizations to visit.  Site visits are always subject to change, but visits with such organizations as Carlsberg, Novo Nordisk, Coop Danmark, MAD Academy, Global Fashion Agenda, Nordic Council of Ministers, and the Danish Government can be expected.  The city of Copenhagen is also explored to consider how it aims to be the first carbon neutral capital in 2025, and therefore such elements of this program include utilizing the transportation systems of the city.

Description of the teaching methods
● 50% experiential (eg., site visits, discussions with relevant Nordic organizations and representatives)
● 35% facilitated classroom discussions
● 15% asynchronous materials

Each week, commencing Week 1 and concluding Week 10, one chapter of Sustainable Vikings: What the Nordics Can Teach Us about Reimagining American Capitalism, the (in-progress) book by course instructor Robert Strand, will be assigned for review with a (short) supplementary video on bCourses.

■ A (short) Quiz and (short) Key Takeaway Exercise will be conducted each week on bCourses to encourage thorough review of the materials and sufficient preparation.
■ The (short) Quiz and (short) Key Takeaway Exercise will be available between noon to 11.59pm midnight (Pacific) for completion on a consistent day of the week (eg. Thursdays).
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be provided feedback throughout the course.
Student workload
In classroom or online learning 25 hours
Preparation for classroom activities 5 hours
Examination 11,5 hours
Further Information

To help students get maximum value from this course, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.

Last updated on 14-12-2021