NBS8513 : Role of Business in Society - Issues and Challenges

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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 wider social issues. The rest of the module will then focus on understanding a selection of the major issues confronting global society today, with specific reference to the role of business in relation to the issue and how this presents challenges and opportunities for responsible business 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. A series of focused reviews and student presentations of specific current issues relating to the role of business in society. Topics will vary from year to year depending on what issues are topical at the time. Typical topics might include some of the following: emerging economies and competition for resources; sustainable business and sustainability; business and international development; business responses to climate change; refocusing business in an age of scarcity and uncertainty; business and citizenship

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion126:0026:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0025:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops18:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity15:005:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00N/A
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 learning through the elaboration of relevant theoretical perspectives from a range of disciplines (not merely management theory but also including political science, development studies and social theory). Assessed presentations by groups during the final workshop session enable the students to practice teamwork and oral presentation skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation302M25Presentations will be given during the final session.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M75Word length 1500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MStudents work in groups to prepare drafts of their mini-conference presentations and then discuss these with the tutor
Written exercise2MStudents prepare a 1-page outline of their draft presentations for peer and tutor review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Presentations and group work enable students to apply their learning and framework from lectures so as to develop their critical appraisal and evaluation skills in mutual interaction.

Formative feedback is provided through extensive debate both in class and in the mini-conference on the relevance of student ideas and understanding of the course material. Specific formative guidance is given in tutor-group sessions reviewing each group's proposed mini-conference presentation.

Assessed presentations by groups during the mini-conference (final workshop) session enable the students to practice teamwork and oral presentation skills.

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.

Reading Lists