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2022/2023  KAN-CIBSO1012U  Leadership and governance at Multinational Enterprises

English Title
Leadership and governance at Multinational Enterprises

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
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 Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Steffen Brenner - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • Managerial economics
  • Globalisation and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 24-06-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The aim of this course is to provide a knowledge base in order to analyze leadership, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility challenges in the context of multinational enterprises. Using the framework this course provides will enable course participants to discuss the links between characteristics of the top executives, corporate governance and social responsibility arrangements as well as managerial choices and corporate performance of MNEs. Moreover, the course will equip students with the competencies to undertake a review of an individual company including an assessment of how leadership and corporate governance and social responsibility arrangements influence company performance.
  • Measure important traits and characteristics of top executives.
  • Analyze how leadership characteristics influence behavior and corporate performance.
  • Evaluate how different executive personalities interact with corporate governance mechanisms.
  • Analyze how corporate governance mechanisms relevant in an international environment like law, ownership, boards and compensation mitigate governance problems.
  • Identify traits and characteristics of top managers that influence the relationship between CSR and firm value.
  • Critically evaluate how MNE can mitigate opposing stakeholder demands through CSR when being active on different international markets.
Course prerequisites
The course builds on and extends a basic undergraduate understanding of management, strategy, accounting, law and finance.
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
1 out of 2 model - Students must pass one of the compulsory activities in order to attend the ordinary exam. Both activities are group tasks for up to five students.

1. Activity - CEO pay package report: You are asked to write a max. 5-page report on the pay package of a CEO of your choice. The analysis should contain qualitative and quantitative elements, including a little econometric exercise by calculating the US$-amount of over-/under-compensation for this individual. All data sets will be made available. Period of submission will be between week 43 and 47.

2. Activity - oral presentation on a firm’s governance or leadership (max. 7 to 8 minutes): analyze a firm of your choice regarding one of the following dimensions: leadership (CEO background/​characteristics), b) the board of directors, the ownership structure. Alternatively, you may present topics the instructor offers for some sessions. The outcome will be a set of presentation slides that shall be handed in before the date of presentation. Presentations will start in Lecture 3 and continue throughout the semester.

Students will not have extra opportunities to get the required number of compulsory activities approved prior to the ordinary exam. If a student has not received approval of the required number of compulsory activities or has been ill, the student cannot participate in the ordinary exam.
If a student prior to the retake is still missing approval for the required number of compulsory activities and meets the pre-conditions set out in the program regulations, an extra assignment is possible.

The extra assignment is a 10 page home assignment that will cover the required number of compulsory activities. If approved, the student will be able to attend retake.
Leadership and governance at Multinational Enterprises:
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 Written assignment
Duration 48 hours to prepare
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
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The decision-making of top executives at multinational enterprises is the focus of this course. Decisions at this level are associated with high complexity, uncertainty, and information asymmetry. Moreover, agency problems may plague the choices of MNEs' top executives. This course provides concepts from economic research, psychology, neurobiology and neuroscience to measure and predict the behavior and the leadership style of top executives in the international business context. For example, we will consider concepts related to risk aversion, overconfidence, and hubris, learn how to measure them and what behavioral consequences to expect when individual score high or low on these traits. Further, we will analyze the institutional environment that helps to make top executives internalize the interests of shareholders and stakeholders when taking important decisions. Specifically, we will consider corporate governance issue that are relevant for the international environment such as cross-border ownership, cross-listing, top executive compensation and the international market for CEOs. The main objective of this course is to equip stduents with a knowledge base such that they are able to participate in general decision-making concerning leadership and governance activities in a multinational corporation.


The format of the course is based on two elements:


Current academic literature: We will not use a textbook but a collection of academic papers that deal with specific issues of leadership and corporate governance, many of which have just been published in the recent years.


Student participation:You will actively participate in the class. In groups, you might be asked to present a paper, the solution to a case study and, if feasible, discuss a current example from the business press for which the paper is relevant.


Since this is a topic course, there does not exist one single course book covering the material in the course. Most of the required material is free to download when you are logged into the CBS network.. Some materials may be uploaded on Canvas.

Description of the teaching methods
Dialogue-based lectures and case discussions.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given in different forms:

1) Individual feedback during office hours.

2) Individual/group-level feedback during supervision meetings.

3) Peer-level feedback during presentations.
Student workload
lectures 33 hours
preparation for classes and exam 170 hours
Expected literature

Bebchuk. L.A., A. Cohen, and A. Ferrell (2008): What Matters in Corporate Governance?, Review of Economic Studies, 22, 783-827.
Bebchuk, L., A. Cohen and H. Spamann (2009): The Wages of Failure: Executive Compensation at Bear Stearns and Lehman 2000-2008. Harvard Law School Working Paper.
Bebchuk, L. and J.M. Fried (2003): Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17, 71-92.
Bertrand, M. and S. Mullainathan (2003): Enjoying the quiet life? Managerial behavior following anti-takeover legislation, Journal of Political Economy, 111, 1043-1075.
Bizjak, J., M. Lemmon, and R. Whitby (2009): Option backdating and board interlocks, Review of Financial Studies, 22, 4821-4847.
Boone, A., Field, L., Karpoff, J. and C. Raheja (2007): The determinants of corporate board size and composition: An empirical analysis, Journal of Financial Economics, 85, 65-101.
Core, J., W. Guay and D. Larcker (2008): The power of the pen and executive compensation, Journal of Financial Economics, 88, 1-25.
Coates, J.M. et al. (2010), From molecule to market: steroid hormones and financial risk-taking. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B. 365, 331–343.
Djankov, S., R. La Porta, F. Lopez-de-Silanes and A. Shleifer (2008):The Law and Economics of Self-Dealing,Journal of Financial Economics, 88, 430-465.
Dyck, A., N. Volchkova, and L. Zingales (2008): The Corporate Governance Role of the Media: Evidence from Russia, Journal of Finance,63, 1093-1135.
Fahlenbrach and Stulz (2009): Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis. (SSRN Paper)
Farber, D. (2004): Restoring Trust After Fraud: Does Corporate Governance Matter? (SSRN Working Paper)
Gibbons, R. and K.J. Murphy (1992): Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence, Journal of Political Economy,100, 468-505.
Gompers, P.A., J.L. Ishii, and A. Metrick (2003): Corporate Governance and Equity Prices, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118, 107-155.
Hall, B.J. and K.J. Murphy (2003): The Trouble with Stock Options, Journal of Economic Perspective, 17, 49-70.
Hermalin, B. and M. Weisbach (2003), Boards of directors as an endogeneously determined institution: A survey of the economic literature, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review, 9, 7-26.
Holmström, B. (1999): Managerialincentive problems: A dynamic perspective, Review of Economic Studies, 66, 169-182.
Jensen, M. and W. Meckling (1976): Theory of the firm: managerial behaviour, agency costs, and ownership structure, Journal of Financial Economics, 3, 305-360.
Karpoff, J. (2001): Public vs. private incentives in Arctic exploration: The effect of incentives and organizational structure, Journal of Political Economy, 109, 38-78.
La Porta, R., F. Lopez-de-Silanes, A. Shleifer and R. Vishny (2000): Investor protection and corporate governance,Journal of Financial Economics, 58, 3-27.
La Porta, R., F. Lopez-de-Silanes, and A. Shleifer (1999): Corporate ownership around the world, Journal of Finance, 54, 471-517.
Larcker, D. and B. Tayan (2007): Executive Compensation at Nabors Industries: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right? (SSRN Paper)
Levi, Maurice, Kai Li, and Feng Zhang. 2010. “Deal or No Deal: Hormones and the M&A Game.” Management Science, 56(9): 1462–82.
Lewellen, Katharina. "Financing decisions when managers are risk averse."Journal of Financial Economics, 82.3 (2006): 551-589.
Meulbroek, L. (1992): An empirical study of illegal insider trading, Journal of Finance, 47, 1661-1699.
Nenova, T. (2003): The value of corporate voting rights and control: A cross-country analysis, Journal of Financial Economics, 68, 325-351.
Noe, T. (1997): Insider Trading and the Problem of Corporate Agency, Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization,13,. 287-318.
Roulstone, D. (2003): The relation between insider trading restrictions and executive compensation, Journal of Accounting Research, 41, 525-551.
Sapienza, P., L. Zingales, and D. Maestripieri (2009): Gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choices are affected by testosterone. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA, 106(36), 15268–15273.
Shleifer, A. and R. Vishny (1997): A survey of Corporate Governance, Journal of Finance, 52, 737-783.
Tirole, J. (2001): Corporate Governance, Econometrica, 69, 1-35.


Last updated on 24-06-2022