Corporate Social Responsibility

ETI450 Corporate Social Responsibility

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    This course addresses key topics in corporate social responsibility (CSR) relevant for students in all profiles of the master programme. What should managers know about how their decisions and activities affect the behaviour of consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders? On what basis can decisions be made in situations where all shareholder and stakeholder interests cannot be met? How can managers, citizens and governments reason about the role of corporations in society? These questions will be studied from an economic perspective and from an ethical perspective.

    The course has three main parts. Part 1 provides an introduction to the meaning and origin of CSR and discusses the strategic side of CSR. Part 2 looks the implications of ethical theories and perspectives for corporate social responsibility. Part 3 critically discusses the impact and future of CSR in an increasingly globalized world.

  • Learning outcome

    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. After completing the course, the students are expected to have the following:


    • Be able to define and understand the main categories of corporate social responsibility.
    • Understand and analyze market incentives for corporations to act responsibly
    • Understand how CSR can affect demand from consumers and employee motivation
    • Discuss socially responsible investment and different ways in which investors take ethical concerns into account in their investment strategies
    • Understand the ethical case for CSR, and the implications of different normative perspectives for CSR
    • Understand how globalization affects the responsibilities of corporations and CSR policies
    • Discuss the role of business in development
    • Acquire an understanding of practices such as corruption and corporate political influence
    • Understand how international initiatives and regulatory approaches in the CSR area affect corporate conduct


    • Be able to analyze the impact of CSR activities on the corporation and on stakeholders
    • Be able to apply normative reasoning to ethically challenging questions and situations
    • Be able to analyze the effectiveness of public policies in promoting ethical conduct among corporations

    General competence:

    • Acquire an ability to analyze the role of business in society and the future of CSR.

  • Teaching

    Online lectures.

    If the situation in spring 2021 permits, some lectures may be given physically and live-streamed.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Mandatory term paper (max 5 pages).

  • Assessment

    Individual home exam, 4 hours.

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools


  • Literature



ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered Spring 2021.

Course responsible

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