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2021/2022  KAN-CSOCV1038U  Transforming the corporation

English Title
Transforming the corporation

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
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Social Sciences
Course coordinator
  • Mathias Hein Jessen - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • International political economy
  • Sociology
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 08-02-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Account for different conceptions of the corporation
  • Understand different critiques of the corporation
  • Understand the role of the corporation in the global economy
  • Analyze the corporate form and corporate power
  • Discuss different approaches to transforming the corporation
  • Critically assess the power of corporations as well as their proposed alternatives
Transforming the corporation:
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 Essay
Duration 72 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The students are provided with a number of questions from which to choose from. The students have 72 hours to write an essay answering one of the questions using the theoretical concepts and literature discussed in class. Questions and answer can be both theoretical and empirical.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The aim of this course is to make the student capable of critically analyzing and assessing the corporation, the corporate form, the role of the corporation in the global economy as well as different critiques of the corporation and proposals for transforming it.


The multinational corporation plays a dominant role in the global economy, accounting for a dominant percentage of the world's top economies, wielding massive political power and increasingly becoming agents of social development through CSR, Corporate Citizenship and the UN SDGs. Corporations are both the agents of innovation, growth, development and prosperity, as well as of inequality, poverty, whitewashing, tax evasion, climate crisis and environmental disasters. The course offers the students the tools to understand and critically assess the corporation and corporate power by focusing on critical theories of the corporation from the vantage points of law, sociology, philosophy, critical political economy and management studies.


The first part of the course introduces the corporate form, its history, the contemporary dominance of the neoclassical understanding of the corporation in ‘the theory of the firm’, ‘agency theory’ and shareholder-value primacy as well as introducing to a political theory of the corporation. The second part takes a closer look at the corporation and its role in the global economy, and the third part investigates contemporary critiques of the corporation and corporate power as well as a variety of alternatives to and proposals to transform the corporation such as cooperatively- or worker-owned corporations and workplace democracy.

Description of the teaching methods
The course consists of lectures, in-class discussions, group work, joint readings and case discussions.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will receive feedback as part of ongoing teaching, group work, small presentations, discussions and case discussions. There will be an emphasis on student discussions and ongoing feedback. Also, office hours will provide an opportunity for student feedback.
Student workload
Lectures 36 hours
Preparation 100 hours
Exam 72 hours
Expected literature

Baars, G. (2019). The corporation, law and capitalism: a radical perspective on the role of law in the global political economy. Leiden: Brill.


Baars, G. & Spicer, A. (Eds.) (2017). The Corporation: A Critical, Multi-Disciplinary Handbook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Barkan, J. (2013). Corporate Sovereignty. Law and Government under Capitalism, Minnesota University Press.


Ciepley, D. (2013). Beyond public and private: Toward a political theory of the corporation. American Political Science Review, 107(1), 139-158.


Ferreras, I. (2017). Firms as political entities: Saving democracy through economic bicameralism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Last updated on 08-02-2021