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Managing Ethics and Social Responsibility (19M05910)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Sec: A Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Sec: B Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Sec: C Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales ENG


Have taken the course on Business, Government and Society

Previous Knowledge

No previous knowledge required

Workload distribution

Workload will be similar to the evaluation system:

50% Final project
25% Readings and threads
25% Participation and attendance


This course is designed as a continuation of the course on Business, Government and Society taught in the Fall semester. The departure point is the understanding that companies need to re-think and re-frame their role, particularly in terms of contributing to sustainable development. This means that future managers will have to integrate social and environmental issues in their responsibilities. Our departing assumption is that learning to effectively manage social and environmental issues can produce positive results for the manager as well as for the company. Thus, the central objective of this course is to present students with tools to understand and manage social and environmental issues produced by business activities, and to turn these into opportunities to increase firm competitiveness. The central premise of the course is that sustainability and firm competitiveness are connected through innovation. To achieve that the course is designed as a funnel that mirrors the process companies must follow to understand, frame and integrate these issues in their operations, starting with a discussion of the current issues in the field so as to fully understand what we are talking about, then deciding and defining a sustainability vision based on ethics and values, translating this vision into a culture of sustainability and innovation, and finally discussing how to integrate all these pieces into a coherent narrative in order to implement a long-term responsible competitiveness or shared value strategy.

Course Learning Objectives

Different companies use different names and acronyms to refer to the management of social and environmental issues, such as sustainability, compliance, corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility or social impact, to name but a few. All these terms have two things in common: (1) these are different tools designed with the common purpose of contributing to sustainable development; and (2) these tools approach social and environmental issues as specific issues that need to be managed independently, and more often than not consider these issues from a risk management perspective. This is a limited and incomplete view of social and environmental issues, as many companies are approaching these issues from an opportunity perspective, under the assumption that sustainability can be a source of innovation and competitiveness for firms. However, in order to develop sustainable competitiveness strategies firms need to develop a clear sustainability vision, and embed these vision through a firm culture. This means integrating these issues into an ethical framework, translating this into specific company values, mapping material issues, engaging stakeholders, and doing all that from a culture of social entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship. In other words, in this course we will learn about issues such as:

- Business ethics: corporate identity, company values, codes of conduct, codes of ethics, enforcement, etc.
- Sustainability issue mapping: employee practices and rights, work-life balance, equal opportunities, diversity, climate change, energy, etc.
- Stakeholder mapping and engagement: identify and manage key stakeholders, such as clients, employees, suppliers, shareholders, governments, communities, non-profits, etc.
- Social and environmental innovation: social and environmental issues can be sources of innovation that generate value for the company as well as society (BoP, Nudges, Frugal Innovation, etc.)
- Social entrepreneurship/ intrapreneurship, bottom of the pyrami
- Trends in CSR sustainability, including strategic CSR (shared value, responsible competitiveness, blended value....)
- Metrics for sustainability
- Implementing responsible competitiveness strategies

We will look at all these different issues from a general management perspective, but we will not go deeply into technical development of any of these solutions, where our aim is to acquire a general overview so that we may understand the different topics and issues relevant to this field. Said differently, our goal is NOT to teach students how to develop a detailed technical solution in any of the particular areas described above, but rather to equip students with a general understanding so that as future managers they know what the issues are, they are acquainted with the types of tools and best practices in use, and they can therefore interpret and integrate potential social and environmental challenges into their management practices. In order to achieve these objectives, participants should have a desire for self-improvement, interest in debating central management, social and environmental issues from different points of view, as well as open mindedness and tolerance toward different ideas.


20. E1. Comprehension of the complexity of the local and global contexts
22. E3. Team management
9. B1. Knowledge acquisition, comprehension and structuring
14. G1. Strategic thinking, systemic thinking
13. B5. Learning how to learn
11. B3. Taking decisions / making judgments
16. G3. Corporate citizenship
18. T2. Teamwork and collaboration


1. Sustainability framework

Before we discuss any specifics, we need to come to a consensus on what it is we are talking about. Hence, the departure point will be to mirror the current debate around sustainability in the private sector.

2. Ethics and values

There is no universal definition of issues, map of stakeholders or topics. Each company needs to define a personal view of sustainability that is connected to the firm, and the company's ethical framework and values

3. Innovation

Sustainability is a great source of innovation, so we need to explore social and environmental innovation and whether it is different (in terms of management)

4. Sustainable innovation

Social entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship, bottom of the pyramid, frugal innovation....

5. Sustainable competitiveness

Embedding sustainability into firm strategy in order to generate value for the firm and for society


There will be two basic working units in the class: plenary and groups. Previous to each session students will have to individually read a text on the subject of the session, as well as agroup task that will include a weekly delivery. Generally each day we will read one text, article, or case study. In class we will discuss the text in plenary and listen to a presentation on the subject. Most days we will also have an additional activity such as a group exercise, discussing a specific case, looking at videos, analysing company documents or guest speakers. In addition, as a final project students will have to present an innovation sustainability project for a specific company.

Assessment criteria

The course will be evaluated based on three parameters:

1. Class participation & readings: 50%
2. Final project: 50%

Class participation will be based on general contribution to the class, which includes attendance, being focused, being on time, preparing and participating in activities and discussions, and having a positive and open attitude

Each week we will have a required reading posted on the course webside. Students will be required to read, and analyze the reading, as these will be the basis for the class discussion.

The final project will be a team exercise and will consist of a real sustainability project for a specific organization. The final project will consist of a paper prepared in groups for a specific company..


Crane. A., Palazzo, G., Spence. L., and Matten, D. 2014. Contesting the Value of "Creating Shared Value?. California Management Reviewe

Drucker, P. 1999. Managing Oneself. Harvard Business Review

ESADE Business School. 1999. Closure of Danone's factory in Ulzama

Gil, A. Mapuches persist in their "war? against ENDESA in favour of their culture. El Pais Newspaper. September 18, 1999.

Friedman, M. 1970. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to increase its profits", New York Times, pp. 87-91.

Holland, K. 2009. Is It Time To Retrain Business Schools. The New York Times. March 15, 2009.

Karnani. A. 2007. The Mirage pf Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid: How the Private Sector Can Help Alleviate Poverty. California Management Reivew

Institute for Gorvernment. Mindspace: Influencing Behaviour through Public Policy.

Layard, R. Now is Time for a Less Selfish Capitalism. Financial Times. March 11, 2009

Leavitt, H. 2007. Big Organizations are Unhealthy Environmentls for Human Beings. Academy of Manafement Learning & Education. Vol 62 No. 2

Mintzberg, H., Simons, R., and Basu, K. 2002. "Beyond selfishness?. MIT Sloan Management Review. 2002. Vol 44(1), p.66-74

Nidumolu, R. Prahalad, C.K. and _Rangaswami, M.R. 2009. Why Sustainability is Now the Key Driver of Innovation. Harvard Business Review

Porter, M., and Kramer, M. 2011. Creating Shared Value. Harvard Business Review

Prahalad, C. K., and Hammond, A. 2002. Serving the World's Poor, Profitably. Harvard Business Review

Pruzan, P. 2001. "Corporate Reputation: Image and Identity.? Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 4, 1, pp. 50-64

Robecco and Booz & Company. 2007. Responsible Investing: A Paradigm Shift, From Niche to Mainstream

Schumpeter. 2001. Oh. Mr Porter. Schumpeter. The Economist

Senge, P. Carstedt, G., and Porter. P. 2001. Innovating our way to the next industrial revolution. MIT Sloan Management Review

Thaler, R. & Sunstein C. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Penguin Group USA. Chapters 3 &16

The International Business Leaders Forum. 2005. Human Rights: It is Your Business, The Case for Corporate Engagement

Velasquez, M. 2006. TOY WARS. From Business Ethics Concepts and Cases.

Vernis. A., Vilanova. M. and Figueroa. V. 2006. Inditex: Outsourcing in Tangier. Social Enterprise Knowledge Network.

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Sec: A Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales

Timetable Sec: A

Group Teacher Department
Sec: B Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales

Timetable Sec: B

Group Teacher Department
Sec: C Marc Vilanova Pichot Ciencias Sociales

Timetable Sec: C