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Business in Society (CK05300)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Sec: A Maja Tampe Ciencias Sociales ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Sec: B Maja Tampe Ciencias Sociales ENG


Organizations of all kinds are faced with the challenge of sustainability, often urged on by consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders. Firms in particular find it necessary to rethink their relations with society. For some, this shift offers real opportunities for new products and services, for reinventing old ones, for solving problems in new ways, and for reaping economic and reputation benefits from pursuing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies. Other organizations tackling sustainability are engaged in very real struggles in which the solutions are far from obvious. As these challenges of sustainability and stakeholder relations are increasingly central to business strategy, marketing professionals have a key role to play. Today, marketing's role goes beyond traditional marketing tasks and helps with transforming firms, markets, and the political and social environment. The Business in Society course analyzes where marketing fits in these tasks of translating real-world challenges into future business opportunities and of creating the change needed, at the pace needed, to create a sustainable world.

Course Learning Objectives

In this class, we pursue two overarching learning objectives. The first goal is to examine and understand the changing landscape of business in the 21st century and to understand the economic, social, political, and organizational drivers of sustainability and CSR. We do this by identifying the key trends in different contexts around the world to shape business practice in the years ahead and the challenges that this poses for marketing professionals. The second goal is for students to use this awareness of trends to strategize their own work after graduation, with a particular focus on the role of marketing: how you want participate in, contribute to, or possibly resist the changes around sustainability and CSR. The course will prepare you for the next step of your career, but also leave you equipped with an understanding of long-term trends in sustainability and CSR.


1. Introduction to CSR and Marketing

- Course introduction for Business in Society
- What are common definitions for sustainability and CSR?
- Why is sustainability a topic in marketing? In what ways has marketing approached sustainability challenges?

2. CSR, Strategy and Stakeholders

- Situating marketing in CSR, firm strategy, and stakeholder relations

3. Sustainability as a Differentiator

- Case study of Patagonia, of how it confronted the challenges of sustainability and incorporated it into its competitive and marketing strategy

4. Sustainability in Commodity Businesses

- Case study of Maersk Line and its approach to sustainability in the commoditized and highly competitive shipping industry

5. Marketing and Design

- Message or product: How can marketers promote the primary benefits of products and services?

6. Consumers

- To what extent are consumers driving the change of business behavior?
- What consumers might businesses have overlooked?

7. Social Media in Good and Bad Times

- Marketing has become unthinkable without social media. What are the opportunities and risks of social media?

8. CSR Dilemmas and Tradeoffs

- Sustainability poses dilemmas and tradeoffs, for example between short-term and long-term thinking, profit and societal goals: How have different firms approached these dilemmas and what has been the role of marketing?

9. Final Presentations

10. Final Presentations


Business in Society explores the strategies of businesses and organizations through cases and in-class discussion.

Assessment criteria

Classroom participation: 30%
Individual assignments: 30%
Group assignment/final presentation: 40%
Your active participation in the discussion in class is integral to the design of this course. Class participation counts for 30% of your final grade. We expect you to be fully prepared, and to have read the cases and assigned readings and to fully participate in the discussion. (Those students for whom English is not a first language and/or may have difficulty speaking up in class are encouraged to meet with one of the faculty to discuss how your participation in class can be ensured.) We have designed this class as an integrated whole and expect regular attendance. If you are forced to miss class, please 1) alert the teaching assistant and 2) write a two-page response to the discussion questions for the day you miss.


Auld, Graeme, Steven Bernstein, and Benjamin Cashore. 2008. "The New Corporate Social Responsibility.? Annual Review of Environment and Resources 33(1):413-35.
Belz, Frank-Martin and Ken Peattie. 2012. Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. Chichester: Wiley.
Doane, Deborah and Naomi Abasta-Vilaplana. 2005. "The Myth of CSR.? Stanford Social Innovation Review, 22-29.
Flammer, Caroline and Ioannis Ioannou. 2015. The Dog That Didn't Bark: Long-Term Strategies in Times of Recession. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. (
Friedman, Milton. 1970. "A Friedman Doctrine: The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.? The New York Times Magazine.
Hainmueller, Jens, Michael J. Hiscox, and Sandra Sequeira. 2014. "Consumer Demand for Fair Trade: Evidence from a Multistore Field Experiment.? Review of Economics and Statistics 97(2):242-56.
Henderson, Rebecca M. 2015. "Making the Business Case for Environmental Sustainability.? (
Ottman, Jacquelyn A. 2011. The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding. San Francisco, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler Pub.
Parmar, Bidhan L. et al. 2010. "Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art.? Academy of Management Annals 4:403-45.
Prahalad, C. K. 2005. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Pub.
Shedroff, Nathan. 2009. Design Is the Problem: The Future of Design Must Be Sustainable. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfield Media.
Slawinski, Natalie and Pratima Bansal. 2015. "Short on Time: Intertemporal Tensions in Business Sustainability.? Organization Science 26(2):531-49.

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Sec: A Maja Tampe Ciencias Sociales

Timetable Sec: A

From 2016/10/4 to 2016/11/2:
From Tuesday to Wednesday from 15:30 to 18:30. (Except: 2016/10/5, 2016/10/12, 2016/10/19, 2016/10/26 and 2016/11/1)

From 2016/11/8 to 2016/12/13:
Each Tuesday from 15:30 to 18:30. (Except: 2016/12/6)

Group Teacher Department
Sec: B Maja Tampe Ciencias Sociales

Timetable Sec: B

From 2016/10/4 to 2016/11/2:
From Tuesday to Wednesday from 8:45 to 11:45. (Except: 2016/10/5, 2016/10/12, 2016/10/19, 2016/10/26 and 2016/11/1)

From 2016/11/8 to 2016/12/13:
Each Tuesday from 8:45 to 11:45. (Except: 2016/12/6)