Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
11 March 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC N21712 Organisational Change Management

Module description

The objective of this module is to equip students with an understanding of key issues and debates around ecological sustainability, governance and corporate ethics and responsibility, reflecting the fact that these discourses have been gaining in importance in the business world and society at large in recent years.
The module is distinctly inter-disciplinary in nature, taking into account that issues of ethics and sustainability have been discussed in a variety of academic disciplines as well as policy and managerial fields for a long time. This module will introduce a range of theories to understand the relationship between management and corporations on the one hand, and society and nature on the other. The module will be very interactive, and students are expected to engage with the topics discussed in a critical, theoretical and comparative manner.

Module aims

The module has been designed to:

1. Provide an understanding of corporate ethics and sustainability in relation to management theories and practices;

2. Provide an insight into contemporary issues of business ethics and environmental sustainability and enable students to engage with, critique, and propose possible solutions to these problems;

3. Explore possibilities for managing organisations in more ethical and sustainable ways;

4. Develop students’ abilities to tackle theoretical and empirical problems, regarding ethical and sustainability issues in management, through class discussion, reading, case analysis, participation, and assessment.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. Understand the historical context for the rise of concerns about sustainability, ethics and corporate social responsibility;

2. Understand issues of ethical and sustainable supply chain management and the role of a variety of different stakeholders;

3. Understand and critique green and ethical management, marketing and other corporate communication approaches;

4. Critically engage with and understand a variety of different cases and examples of corporate behaviour in relation to ethics and sustainability.

Module information

During the first half of the term, the sessions will be comprised of lectures and work in small groups, in which students will discuss the core module readings and apply theories to organisational cases. During the second half of the term, students will present cases in 40 minute group presentations, each of which will be followed by class discussion, application of theory to the cases, and comparative analysis of the cases.

Attendance at all sessions throughout the term is mandatory. During the first half of the term, it will be very important to complete core, assigned readings before the sessions each week, in order to be able to understand the lectures and participate actively in the small group work. Note-taking during both lectures and group presentations is essential, as the final exam will cover material from both the lectures and the group presentations. Active participation is very much encouraged, in order for students to get the most out of this module.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is delivered over ten weeks in the Spring Term, in nine weekly sessions lasting three hours each.


  • Crane, Andrew; Matten, Dirk. (2010) Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Blowfield, Mick; Murray, Alan. (2014) Corporate responsibility, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Crane, Andrew; Matten, Dirk; Glozer, Sarah; Spence, Laura J. (2019) Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Written Exam  2,000 words essay     
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Sandra Moog, email:
Sandra Moog, Paul Kelly



External examiner

Dr Ron Kerr
University of Edinburgh
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 33 hours, 30 (90.9%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.