Corporate Social Responsibility

ETI450 Corporate Social Responsibility

Spring 2024

  • Topics

    This course addresses key topics in corporate social responsibility (CSR) relevant for students in all profiles of the master programme. On what basis can decisions be made in situations where  shareholder and stakeholder interests conflict? How can managers, citizens and governments reason about the role of corporations in society? What should managers know about how their decisions and activities affect the behaviour of consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders? These questions will be studied from an ethical perspective and from an economic perspective.

    The course focuses on possible tensions between what is profitable in business, and what is ethical. The aim is to teach the student how to analyze and understand the strategic side of CSR (how corporate social responsibility affects profitability), and the normative side of CSR (how ought managers/corporations to act, and what is the role of corporations in society). The lectures will draw on theory and evidence from several disciplines, including ethics, economics, management, and political science. Ethically challenging phenomena such as corruption will be discussed to illustrate main points and lessons from the course.

    The course has three main parts. Part 1 looks at the implications of ethical theories and perspectives for corporate obligations. Part 2 discusses the strategic side of CSR. Part 3 critically discusses the impact and future of CSR in an increasingly globalized world.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon successful completion of the course, the student can:


    • Demonstrate knowledge of the concept and main categories of corporate social responsibility.
    • Understand and critically assess evidence on incentives for corporations to act responsibly.
    • Understand the ethical case for CSR, and the implications of different normative perspectives for CSR.
    • Analyze CSR in the context of globalization and development, and corporate political activity.
    • Understand how international initiatives and regulatory approaches in the CSR area affect corporate conduct.


    • Analyze the impact of CSR activities on the corporation and on stakeholders.
    • Apply normative reasoning to ethically challenging questions and situations.
    • Analyze the effectiveness of public policies in promoting ethical conduct among corporations.

    General competence

    • Analyze the role of business in society.

  • Teaching

    Physical lectures.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Mandatory term paper (max 5 pages).

  • Assessment

    Individual digital school exam, 4 hours.

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    Sandbu, M. E. (2011), Just Business - Arguments in Business Ethics, Boston: Prentice Hall.

    + Various articles and book chapters.

  • Permitted Support Material

    One bilingual dictionary (Category I)

    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support material


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered Spring 2024.

Course responsible

Professor Ivar Kolstad, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law.