Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module BUSI3241: Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI3241: Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to N201
Tied to N203
Tied to N207
Tied to N509
Tied to N510
Tied to N511
Tied to NN43
Tied to N302
Tied to N304
Tied to NN42
Tied to N204
Tied to N206
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMVA
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02
Tied to L103
Tied to L104
Tied to L105


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module provides a foundation upon which students can build their understanding of and ability to critique the role of business in society from a critical political economy perspective. It draws on a wide range of sources for the critical analysis of corporate social and environmental responsibilities and engages participants in debate about contemporary ethical issues and related business practices. It equips participants to apply a range of relevant theories and concepts to processes for managing corporate responsibilities, and critically evaluate proposals for rethinking and reforming business


  • Introducing CR: Why Corporate Responsibility?
  • Ethics, Responsibility and SustainabIlity: Theory and Practice.
  • Business in a Stakeholding Society: Unpacking the Business Impact Activity Matrix.
  • Classical Ethical Theories: Ethically Aligned Design and Decision-making.
  • Responsible Strategic Management: The ESG Imperative.
  • The Social Economy and the Zero Marginal Cost Society: Creating Shared Value.
  • Responsible Operations and HRM: People Before Profit.
  • Responsible Marketing and Supply Chain Management: Value Chain Transparency and Accountability.
  • Responsible Financial Management and Accounting: Enlightening Professions and Integrated Reporting.
  • The Future of the Corporation in a VUCA Environment and the Age of Surveillance Capitalism.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To understand and critique the role and purpose of business in society from a critical political economy perspective.
  • To understand ethical theory at a basic level and be able to apply it to analysing ethical issues relevant to business organisations.
  • To understand ethically aligned design and decision-making in a business context.
  • To understand the nature of responsibility in business organisations and apply this analysis to different stakeholder groups.
  • To understand and critique processes for managing corporate responsibility and sustainability.
  • To engage with rethinking and reforming business practices aimed at a more innovative, sustainable and inclusive economic system.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Application of ethically aligned design and decision-making in an organisational context.
  • Integration of corporate responsibility throughout an organisation.
  • Critical evaluation of relevant theories, concepts, models and initiatives aimed at promoting corporate responsibility.
  • Exploration of alternative futures and changes in business management thinking and practices required to shape a more innovative, sustainable and inclusive economic system.
Key Skills:
  • Research appropriate periodicals, websites, books, reports and social media to draw together required information.
  • Synthesise relevant information drawn from a range of sources and present it in a coherent argument.
  • Consider issues from a range of perspectives and draw upon appropriate concepts/methods for purposes of critical evaluation.
  • Think laterally and innovatively, to develop original approaches in defining and solving problems.
  • Prioritise tasks, manage and achieve results on time, working collaboratively if required, and manage constraints.
  • Construct well written/presented assignments, using the most appropriate style for their design and delivery.
  • Openly listen to and engage with alternative perspectives without prejudice, and question assumptions and unconscious biases.
  • Seek, store, retrieve, synthesise, understand and present information in ways appropriate to the task, including the use of computer applications to the level required as appropriate.

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

  • Teaching is by lectures and seminars. At least one external speaker will be invited to provide a practitioner perspective. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminars (including a group seminar presentation), and private study.
  • Formative assessment is by means of an individual assignment.
  • Summative assessment is by means of an individual assignment. The individual assignment is designed to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the complexity and interrelationship of concepts and issues and their ability to relate what they have learned to relevant literature and draw on that, with relevant examples of business practice, to support their argument and discussion.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 2 hours 8
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One individual assignment 3000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

One individual assignment and a group seminar presentation.

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