Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap
Tied to L1K209
Tied to L1K309
Tied to L1K709
Tied to L1K509


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module aims to provide students with:
  • a specialist knowledge and understanding of the different elements of systems of corporate governance and their interdependencies;
  • skills in the application of economic theories to aid the analysis of systems of corporate governance, both at the level of individual organisations and economic systems;
  • a critical understanding of reasons for and the impact of differences in systems of corporate governance at international level.


  • Corporate Governance and the Theory of the Firm;
  • The Board of Directors;
  • The rationale for, and impact of, Best Practice Codes for corporate governance;
  • Investors and corporate governance;
  • Insider ownership and corporate performance;
  • Executive and Board remuneration decisions;
  • The market for corporate control: theory and evidence;
  • Corporate governance and corporate finance: capital structure and investment decisions;
  • International aspects of corporate governance.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module students should:
  • have a specialist knowledge and understanding of:
  • economic theories used in the analysis of systems of corporate governance (e.g. principal-agent, transaction cost and property rights theory);
  • the different elements of systems of corporate governance both in private and public organisations;
  • the interdependencies between internal and external institutions of corporate governance (with particular reference to the financial aspects of corporate governance);
  • international differences in systems of corporate governance;
  • the development and the impact of codes of best practice in corporate governance.
  • be able to appreciate the highly complex nature of systems of corporate governance in both public and private sector organizations.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should:
  • be able to apply their understanding of corporate governance to analyse principal-agent problems in organizations and to develop and evaluate solutions to limit agency problems.
Key Skills:
  • written communication;
  • planning, organising and time management;
  • problem solving and analysis;
  • using initiative;
  • computer literacy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A combination of lectures, seminars and guided reading will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module. Summative assessment by written examination, including one compulsory pre-seen question, will test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter, their critical judgement and problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 1 per week 2 hours 18
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 1 hour 4
Revision session 1 2 hours 2
Preparation & Reading 126
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Group poster presentation. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University