Skip to main content


NBS8513 : Role of Business in Society - Issues and Challenges

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Peter Edward
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aim of this module is to develop in students a critical appreciation of issues and debates concerning the changing role and responsibilities of international business in relation to business's interaction with global society and its involvement in, and impact on, major issues confronting society as a result of globalisation.

This module starts by examining the origins and history of ideas of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It then considers recent trends and developments in CSR. This enables us to position the activities of business in relation to the systemic challenge posed by the major issues confronting global society today, with specific reference to the role of business in relation to these issues now and in the future.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will typically cover the following themes
1. Introduction to the role of business in society
2. History of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – from philanthropy to politicisation
3. Current perspectives on CSR – the business case for responsibility or society’s case for business?
4. Exploring the role of business in systemic social change and responding to the future needs of society
5. Review of current issues relating to the role of business in society. Topics vary from year to year depending on what issues are topical at the time. Typical topics might include some of the following: sustainable business and sustainability; business and international development; business responses to climate change; resource limits; business in an age of scarcity and uncertainty; business and citizenship.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading271:0027:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops18:008:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
NBS8913Role of Business in Society - Issues and Challenges
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures supplement student reading to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge required to understand and analyse the relationship between international business and social issues. Lectures also equip students with a framework for student-centred inter-disciplinary learning through the elaboration of relevant theoretical perspectives not merely from management theory but also including political science, development studies and social theory.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M15Groupwork presentation
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M85Word length 2000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MStudents prepare a 1-page outline of their essay draft for peer and tutor review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative feedback is provided through debate in class on the relevance of student ideas and understanding of the course material.
A specific formative feedback session with peer review of essay plans helps students to clarify their approach to the essay.
The assessment essay tests the students individually to assess how well they have developed both their factual understanding and their skills in evaluation and critique.
Assessed presentations by groups enable the students to practice teamwork and presentation skills.

Online assessment (if needed): If practicable the format of the groupwork presentation will be changed to another format deliverable remotely (e.g. poster, voiced-over powerpoint). If that is not practicable then assessment will be 100% essay.

Reading Lists