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Business and Society

We live in an era in which global social and environmental problems are impending and where significant political, technological, economical, cultural and social changes prevail.

Business firms play an important role in these dynamics. An essential question that arises in this context is: what is corporations’ role and responsibility in society, particularly in a global context?
In order to understand and critically evaluate the role of business in society, the first part of this course explores changes in the context conditions of business operations. These comprise globalization processes, changing ideas and ideologies about the role of business in society and the resulting changes in the political landscape, and the recent increase in prominence of financial markets.

On the basis of such a politically and economically informed understanding of the changing context of business, the second part of this course critically analyzes the role of business firms in society. A particular focus will lie on issues such as political activities of business, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, and global governance. The third part of the course discusses different avenues for continually negotiating the role of business in society, e.g. through governments, transnational organizations, consumers, and civil society.

The course focuses on corporations’ role in society and on the specific ways in which this role changes. The main purpose is to develop an understanding of the complexity of the interaction between business and society and the impact this complexity has on corporations’ role and responsibility

  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    The course consists of a combination of lectures, seminars and group work and requires a significant portion of self-study on the part of students. Assessment for the course will be continuous and is carried throughout the different activities of the course.
    The course workload is 200 hours equivalent to 7,5 ECTS (40 hours per week equivalent to 1,5 ECTS).
    The language of instruction is English.



    Assessment for the course will be continuous and is carried throughout the different course activities. Each assessment task is weighted in relation to its importance in the overall assessment of the course. The student’s results from the different assessment tasks are added up to a total course score that will then translate into the final grade for the course.

    Assessment tasks

    The course contains the following weighted assessment tasks:
    1. Individual essay.
    2. Critical review of the literature.
    3. Respondent paper 1.
    4. Respondent paper 2.
    5. PM.

    After completion of the course, students will receive grades on a scale related to the intended learning outcomes of the course. Passing grades are A, B, C, D and E. Failing grades are Fx and F. A grade Fx can be completed for a grade E

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    See reading list in the current syllabus.

    See syllabus for reading list
    See syllabus for reading list
  • Course reports

  • Contact

    Course coordinator:
    Head of course: Anselm Schneider