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2023/2024  BA-BINBV2301U  Leadership in green transition

English Title
Leadership in green transition

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for BSc in International Business
Course coordinator
  • Steffen Brenner - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Leadership
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 25-01-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The aim of this course is to provide a knowledge base in order to analyze leadership challenges emerging in the context of transforming companies to a carbon-free future. Using the framework this course will enable course participants to discuss the links between corporate leadership, organizational resources, and the speed and extent to which companies master the green transition. The course will equip students with the competencies to undertake a review of an individual company including an assessment of which organizational resources need to be in place for the firm’s leadership to implement CO2-reducing strategies in a timely fashion. Specifically, we aim to equip student with the following competencies:
  • Measure important capabilities, values, beliefs, and attitudes of corporate leaders for the engagement in strategies fostering the green transition
  • Analyze how leadership characteristics influence corporate environmental policies
  • Identify organizational resources such as corporate culture and purpose that managers draw to effectively engage in “green leadership”
  • Design incentive schemes to motivate managers to engage in green transition strategies
  • Identify board characteristics that lead to developing and prioritizing green transition strategies
  • Critically evaluate how shareholders and stakeholders influence corporate leadership in green transition
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. Activity – Oral presentation on a firm’s carbon-reducing strategy and the corresponding capabilities and skills of its leadership team (including top management team and the board of directors, max. 15 minutes).

2. Activity - Oral presentation on an empirical study in the field of environmental strategies and leadership and organizations (max 15 minutes).
Leadership in green transition:
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 Report
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter and Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

This 48-hour take home case exam will test your ability to use relevant theoretical concepts and analytical approaches from the course in the analysis and discussion of a real case company.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The question of when leadership is effective in transforming companies into a carbon-free future is the focus of this course. Decisions at this level are associated with high complexity, uncertainty, and information asymmetry. This course uses multiple theoretical lenses by drawing from agency theory, resource dependency theory, upper echelon theory, leadership process theory, and stakeholder theory. We will start with the question of how to evaluate corporate strategies and the extent to which carbon emission reductions are embedded in these strategies. Next, we consider which capabilities at the leadership level are important to competently steer a company in a carbon-free future without compromising its competitive position. Further, we will analyze the organizational environment that helps to make top executives internalize the environmental concerns when taking important decisions. Specifically, we will consider the corporate purpose and culture, the set-up of the board of directors, and the set up and characteristics of shareholders and stakeholders. Moreover, we will study incentive mechanisms that positively influence the adoption of so-called green strategies. 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 of companies in their quest to transform their operations in line with carbon-free goals.


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 in green transition, 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

Flammer, C., Hong, B., & Minor, D. (2019). Corporate governance and the rise of integrating corporate social responsibility criteria in executive compensation: Effectiveness and implications for firm outcomes. Strategic Management Journal, 40(7), 1097-1122.


Flammer, C. (2021). Corporate green bonds. Journal of Financial Economics, 142(2), 499-516.


Flammer, C., Toffel, M. W., & Viswanathan, K. (2021). Shareholder activism and firms' voluntary disclosure of climate change risks. Strategic Management Journal, 42(10), 1850-1879.

Krueger,P.,Sautner,Z.,&Starks,L.T.(2020).Theimportanceofclimaterisksforinstitutional investors. The Review of Financial Studies, 33(3), 1067-1111.

Larcker, D. F., Tayan, B., & Watts, E. M. (2021). Seven Myths of ESG. European Financial Management.


Post, C., Rahman, N., & Rubow, E. (2011). Green governance: Boards of directors’ composition and environmental corporate social responsibility. Business &Society, 50(1), 189-223.


Last updated on 25-01-2023