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2021/2022  KAN-CPHIO2016U  Sustainable Business: Critical and Constructive Approaches

English Title
Sustainable Business: Critical and Constructive Approaches

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Steen Vallentin - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 09-02-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After following the course, students are expected to:
  • be familiar with and able to use, compare and critically reflect upon the concepts, theories and perspectives relating to CSR and sustainability that have been presented and discussed during the course
  • understand and be able to explain and reflect upon the most recent developments (practical and theoretical) in the field of CSR and sustainability
  • be able to put the concepts, theories and perspectives of the course to use – in a qualified and nuanced manner – in an analysis of a CSR- and sustainability-related topic
  • be able to exemplify concepts, theories and perspectives by relating them to present day challenges met by private businesses and other organizations
Sustainable Business: Critical and Constructive Approaches:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The aim of the course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current developments in the broad field of CSR (corporate social responsibility). Students will be working on corporate cases and discussing topics such as globalization and global governance, global supply chains, business-NGO partnerships, organizational implementation of responsible business practices, and the value and limits of strategic approaches to CSR. Apart from viewing CSR as a global concern, the course will contextualize debates around responsible business by emphasizing country- and industry-specific concerns. Intellectually and philosophically, the course provides students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the frontiers of knowledge in the field as many of the most significant recent research contributions are read and discussed.

Apart from the readings included in the course compendium, additional materials will be uploaded on Learn.


Description of the teaching methods
Class time will include lectures, occasional presentations by the students and discussion groups in which students will explore theoretical perspectives and apply them to specific cases.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be asked to develop a short case, individually or in groups. They can choose to focus on a particular company or a particular event that they find interesting. They then have to pick four readings to underpin their analysis of the case - two from the course curriculum and two of their own choosing. They will present their case and design for the analysis in the plenary and get feedback from faculty and fellow students. They will also have opportunity to get feedback from faculty on their case analysis before presenting it.

Student workload
Lectures 33 hours
Exam 10 hours
Preparation 164 hours
Expected literature

Indicative literature (incomplete):

Christensen, L.T., Morsing, M. & Thyssen, O. (2013): CSR as aspirational talk. Organisation, 20(3), 1‐22.


Donaldson, T. (1996). Values in Tension: Ethics Away from Home. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), 48-62.


Hansen, H.K. (2011). Managing Corruption Risk. Review of International Political Economy, 18(1),  251-275.


Lawrence, A.T. (2010). Managing Disputes with nonmarket Stakeholders: Wage a Fight, Withdraw, Wait, or Work It Out?. California Management Review, 53(1), 90-113.


Locke, R., Fei, Q. & Brause, A. (2007). Does monitoring improve labor standards? Lessons from Nike. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 61, 3-31.


Matten, D. and Moon, J. (2008). “Implicit” and “explicit” CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 404-424.


Paine, L.S. (1994). Managing for Organizational Integrity. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 106-117.


Painter-Morland, M. & ten Bos, R. (2016). Should Environmental Concern Pay Off? A Heideggerian Perspective. Organization Studies, 37(4), 547-564.


Painter-Morland, M. (2011). Rethinking Responsible Agency in Corporations: Perspectives from Deleuze and Guattari. Journal of Business Ethics, 101, Supplement 1, 83-95.


Rasche, A. (2010). The Limits of Corporate Responsibility Standards. Business Ethics: A European Review, 19(3): 280–91.


Rasche, A., Morsing, M. & Moon, J. (2017). The Changing Role of Business in Global Society: CSR and Beyond, in: Rasche, A., Morsing, M. & Moon, J. (eds.) (2017). Corporate Social Responsibility – Strategy, Communication, Governance.  Cambridge University Press.


Roberts, J. (2003). The manufacture of corporate social responsibility: constructing corporate sensibility. Organization, 10(2), 249-65.


Robinson, J. (2004). Squaring the circle? Some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development. Ecological Economics, 48, 369-384.


Scherer, A.G. and Palazzo, G. (2007). Toward a political conception of corporate responsibility: Business and society seen from a Habermasian perspective. Academy of Management Review, 32, 1096-1120.


Scherer, A.G., Rasche, A., Palazzo, G. & Spicer, A. (2016). Managing for Political Corporate Social Responsibility: New Challenges and Directions for PCSR 2.0. Journal of Management Studies, 053(3), 273-298.


Vallentin, S. (2015). Instrumental and Political Currents in the CSR Debate: On the Demise and (Possible) Resurgence of ‘ethics’. In: Pullen, A. and Rhodes, C. (eds.): The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations (pp. 13-31). London: Routledge.



Last updated on 09-02-2021