Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility

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Doel vak

Academic and Research Skills:
• To understand, describe and explain key debates in corporate social
responsibility and its strategic relevance for business firms.

Knowledge of Theory + Methods and Solving Complex Problems:
• To critically analyze, reflect and evaluate on various CSR themes,
using research articles from leading academic research and hands-on
practical examples.

Professional Social Skills:
• To connect CSR themes to practice and analyze the dilemmas and
tensions of managing CSR in corporate reality, and communicate them
verbally and in writing.

Horizon Beyond Professional Area:
• Formulate and defend independent standpoint on strategically relevant
CSR-issues and be able to recognize and evaluate evolving CSR-themes
that might become strategically relevant for business firms.

Self-Reflective Professional:
• Understand and communciate personal values in thinking about the role
of business in society.

Inhoud vak

In an era of unfettered and deregulated markets, increasingly complex
and global supply chains, media presence of wide-ranging and structural
human rights violations, environmental destruction, large-scale
corruption and fraud, public trust in the world of business has been
plunging. The public is increasingly sceptical about the legitimacy of
the private sector and its contribution to societal welfare.
In response, corporations have started to approach the topic of
corporate social responsibility strategically and have developed a
portfolio of commitments, practices and procedures to ensure that their
operations are socially and environmentally sustainable and morally
sound. CSR, in essence, has become a common practice requiring strategic
attention of corporations.

This course focuses on obtaining theoretically-informed and
practically-relevant knowledge on key CSR themes, including the
conceptual boundaries of CSR, motives why business firms strategically
engage in CSR, how CSR is implemented in strategies and organizational
processes. Guest speakers will give first-hand insights about how
globally operating MNCs are strategically implementing CSR. This year,
the course will feature a real-life business assignment in which
students are asked to support a multinational corporation to
develop an implementation plan for their climate-neutral strategy,
including presentations in front of the company’s board of directors at
the end of the course. We will also take a step back and examine
critically current forms of corporate social irresponsibility and
greenwashing, i.e. cases in which corporations do not live up to their
promises made under the name of CSR.

The course aims to develop skills in critically assessing and reflecting
on the various positions on key CSR themes. In addition, the course asks
students to consider how these theoretical concepts relate to practice,
thereby stipulating the dilemmas, tensions, paradoxes and controversies
that are emblematic for CSR. This should contribute to a deeper
understanding of CSR and the strategic role of this concept within
contemporary organizations.


Lectures (1 weekly, entire group); “CSR in practice” seminar (1 weekly,
up to 6 smaller groups); CSR research seminar (1 weekly, up to 6 smaller


One individual assignment: CSR management recommendation (take-home
assignment); Multiple team-based assignments: Research paper
presentation, greenwashing video documentary, company CSR assessment;
Total Netherlands strategy implementation plan. No written exam at the
end of the course.

Vereiste voorkennis

Enrolled in MSc BA, specializations S&O (core course), IM, LCM, HRM or


Selected chapters of the book “Corporate Social Responsibility” (Wickert
& Risi, 2019; Cambridge University Press) as well as selection of
academic papers as listed in the course manual will be provided in the
course manual and/or on Canvas.

Aanbevolen voorkennis

Strategic management, organization theory

Algemene informatie

Vakcode E_BA_SCSR
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P2
Vakniveau 400
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit School of Business and Economics
Vakcoördinator dr. C.M.J. Wickert
Examinator dr. C.M.J. Wickert
Docenten dr. C.M.J. Wickert
J.B. de Roo MSc

Praktische informatie

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