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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVA2406U  Behavioral Corporate Governance and Strategic Management

English Title
Behavioral Corporate Governance and Strategic Management

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 2.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 30
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Ilaria Orlandi - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
The course will be co-taught with Fabian Ahrens (CBS Center of Corporate Governance).
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • Management
  • Leadership
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 08-12-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Master core terminology regarding behavioral corporate governance and strategic leadership, including most relevant actors and groups such as top management team and board of directors
  • Understand, discuss and evaluate the behavior of top-level decision makers in strategic situations to identify trends and knowledge gaps
  • Summarize, critically evaluate and present the knowledge base of scientific research on decision makers' behaviors to derive practical implications and insights
Course prerequisites
Bachelor degree or equivalent.
Behavioral Corporate Governance and Strategic Management:
Exam ECTS 2,5
Examination form Active participation

The completion of this course is based on active student participation in class. The course will be considered as passed if the students participation - based on an overall assessment - in the class activities fulfill the learning objectives of the course. The individual student’s participation is assessed by the teacher.
The student must participate in Presentation(s)
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) Assessed solely by the teacher
Exam period Summer, During the course.
Make-up exam/re-exam Oral exam based on written product
The oral part of the re-take is online.
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.
Size of written product: Max. 5 pages
Assignment type: Essay
Duration: 20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Examiner(s): If it is an internal examination, there will be a second internal examiner at the re-exam. If it is an external examination, there will be an external examiner.
Description of activities
Presentation(s): The student must participate in AT LEAST ONE: Individual or group presentations during the course on content that will be discussed during the course.

Students will join a group (see group allocation information below) and give in-depth presentations about one of the research topics of the course.

Each topic will have mandatory readings that everyone in the class is expected to read. Group presentations need to cover a list of academic top publications which will be shared two weeks before the start of the course. Including academic work beyond this list is highly encouraged. During the group presentation, student groups will summarize the knowledge on their research topic and act as discussion starters for the whole course. Each student should receive equal speaking time during the presentation and show the learning objectives in his or her presentation to pass the course.

In addition the student must participate in minimum 80 % of the scheduled classes.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course is particularly interesting and important to students who strive to work in middle and top management but also for all others interested in understanding how decisions at the top of an organization are made. Behavioral corporate governance is the study of the behavior of top executives and directors - individually, within, and across groups. We will cover a selection of different topics and strategic situations from the realm of top decision-makers to understand how decision maker's behavior affects the outcomes of such decisions, for the better or worse of the entire organization. Recurring scandals, such as Enron, Wirecard, or Silicon Valley Bank, and global crises, such as the pandemic or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, regularly show the importance of top decision makers' conduct and behavior, which can ultimately fail or thrive an organization. 


The course is structured as follows:


First session, first week (2h): Introduction and overview of the field by the course instructor. Q&A on requirements of presentation. The remainder of the week is reserved for individual and group work on the presentation - note that each group will have to self-organize!

Second to sixth session, second week (~3h each): Student group presentations on chosen topics and collective discussion of observations, learnings, practical implications, and applicability.

Description of the teaching methods
Self-guided learning under supervision and guidance of course instructors.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback on oral presentations from course instructor(s).
Student-to-student feedback as part of the discussion after oral presentations.
Student workload
Attendance during course hours 17 hours
Reading of mandatory course material 25 hours
Preparation of presentation in group 20 hours
Further readings on own presentation topic 8 hours
Further Information

2-week course than cannot be combined with any other course.

Expected literature

Core topic readings:

Westphal, J. D., & Zajac, E. J. (2013). A behavioral theory of corporate governance: Explicating the mechanisms of socially situated and socially constituted agency. Academy of Management Annals7(1), 607-661.


Daily, C.M., Dalton, D. R. and Cannella, A.A. 2003. Corporate governance: Decades of dialogue and data. Academy of Management Review, 28: 371-82.


Topic specific papers, e.g.:

Veltrop, D. B., Bezemer, P. J., Nicholson, G., & Pugliese, A. (2021). Too unsafe to monitor? How board–CEO cognitive conflict and chair leadership shape outside director monitoring. Academy of Management Journal64(1), 207-234.


Semadeni, M., Chin, M. K., & Krause, R. (2022). Pumping the brakes: Examining the impact of CEO political ideology divergence on firm responses. Academy of Management Journal65(2), 516-544.


Burke, J. J., Hoitash, R., & Hoitash, U. (2019). The heterogeneity of board-level sustainability committees and corporate social performance. Journal of Business Ethics154, 1161-1186.


Wernicke, G., Sajko, M., & Boone, C. (2022). How much influence do CEOs have on company actions and outcomes? The example of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Discoveries, 8(1), 36-55.


Last updated on 08-12-2023