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2022/2023  KAN-CSOLO1019U  Organizations and Society

English Title
Organizations and Society

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Spring, Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Jasper Hotho - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 27/01/2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify and evaluate different theories of CSR
  • Account for the development of CSR with reference to institutional and organization theory
  • Assess different actor perspectives on CSR
  • Critically reflect on how organizations address tensions in motivations for CSR and between these and wider business objectives
  • Be able to integrate their knowledge of organizations and CSR, ethical theory, institutional theory and business strategy in particular organizations and society contexts
Organizations and Society:
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 Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course focuses on organizations and society, through the lens of corporate social responsibility (CSR). 


The course opens with the framing of CSR, opening with an introduction to the concept of CSR and some core criticisms.  This includes consideration of the institutional foundations of CSR; the roles of business, society and government in the framing of CSR; and ethical, strategic, stakeholder and political approaches to CSR. 


New institutions of CSR are investigated, particularly new forms of organization (MSIs, standards, partnerships) and new practices (transparency and reporting).


Specific CSR issues are addressed in the light of this framing, and company case study will be used to provide a clear practitioner persepctive.


The course assignment will enable students to investigate CSR in the context of their chosen organization, particularly to identify the roles and interactions of ethics, strategy, stakeholder management, and political positioning.  


Description of the teaching methods
Lectures consist of different balances of formal presentation of material, class discussion and group work (including peer feedback).

Students will review course literature and on-line materials (e.g. videos of lectures and ‘positioning presentations’ concerning CSR issues, modes and rationales; CSR policies and approaches of specific organizations). This will inform class discussion and group work.

A company case study will be introduced and co-facilitated by a company representative.

Another short practitioner presentation will be made.
Lectures (including class discussion and group work; guest presentations)
Feedback during the teaching period
Each lecture opens with the opportunity for students to ask questions about their understanding of previous topics.

Usually the class is given short group-work exercises on topics related to the assignment. Feedback is provided on this.

Students are invited to discuss with me their choice of assignment, in person or by Email. Where students raise questions about the assignment relevant to the whole class, the question (anonymized) and my feedback are posted on CANVAS.

The last class includes a course review enables students to get feedback on their understandings and on their questions.
Student workload
Teaching and class preparation 166 hours
Exam 40 hours
Further Information


Please see 'Business of Society' blog for a lively commentary on issues addressed in this course.


Expected literature

·        Boswell, J. (1983). The informal social control of business in Britain: 1880–1939Business History Review, 57(2), 237-257.

·        Bryson, J. M., B. C. Crosby, and M. M. Stone. (2015). Designing and Implementing Cross-Sector Collaborations: Needed and Challenging. Public Administration Review 75 (5): 647–663. 

·        Christensen, L. T., Morsing, M., & Thyssen, O. (2013). CSR as aspirational talk. Organization, 20(3), 372-393.

·        Den Hond, F., Rehbein, K. A., de Bakker, F. G., & Lankveld, H. K. V. (2014). Playing on two chessboards: Reputation effects between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate political activity (CPA)Journal of Management Studies51(5), 790-813.

·        Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territoryJournal of Business Ethics53(1), 51-71. (

·        Hotho, J. J., & Girschik, V. (2019). Corporate engagement in humanitarian action: Concepts, challenges, and areas for International Business research. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 15(2/3), 201-218.

·        Oliver, C., & Holzinger, I. (2008). The effectiveness of strategic political management: A dynamic capabilities frameworkAcademy of Management Review33(2), 496-520. 

·        JS Knudsen & J Moon (2022) Corporate Social Responsibility and Government: The Role of Discretion for Engagement with Public Policy,Business Ethics Quarterly 32 (2) 243–271.

·        A Kourula, J Moon, M-L, Salles-Djelic, & C Wickert (2019) New Roles Of Governments in the Governance of Business Conduct: Implications for Management and Organizational ResearchOrganization Studies, 40 (8) 1101–1123 

·        • Leitheiser, E (2021) How domestic contexts shape international private governance: The case of the European Accord and American Alliance in Bangladesh, Regulation & Governance.

·        Lyon, T. P., & Montgomery, A. W. (2015). The means and end of greenwash.Organization & Environment, 28(2), 223-249.

·        Mena S and Palazzo G (2012) Input and Output Legitimacy of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives. Business Ethics Quarterly 22(3): 527–556.

·        Morsing, M., Schultz, M. (2006). Corporate social responsibility communication: stakeholder information, response and involvement strategies. Business Ethics: A European Review, 15(4), 323-338. 

·        Treviño, L., Weaver, G. R., Gibson, D., & Toffler, B. L. (1999). Managing ethics and legal compliance: What works and what hurts. California Management Review, 41, 131-151.

·        Schoeneborn, D., & Girschik, V. (2021). Managing CSR communication. In: F. Cooren & P. Stücheli-Herlach (Eds.), Handbook of Management Communication (pp. 443-458). Berlin: de Gruyter. 

·        Schoeneborn, D., & Trittin, H. (2013). Transcending transmission: Towards a constitutive perspective on CSR communication. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 18(2), 193-211.

·        Spence, L. J. (2016). Small Business Social Responsibility: Expanding Core CSR Theory.Business & Society, 55(1), 23–55.

·        Wickert, C., Scherer, A. G., & Spence, L. J. (2016). Walking and talking corporate social responsibility: Implications of firm size and organizational cost.Journal of Management Studies, 53(7), 1169-1196.


Last updated on 27/01/2023