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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: School of Law Short Name: LAWM079
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: PILLAY RG Dr (Schl of Law)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability

2nd Semester


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting towards Module Mark (%)










Module Overview

This module examines the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility- now commonly referred to by its acronym CSR. It examines the concept from a historical perspective, and looks at the various meanings that have been attached to it over time. A comparison will then be made between these different conceptions of CSR as well as the different historical and political contexts in which they developed and the wider bodies of ideas of which they were part. Although international in outlook, the module will concentrate on Anglo-American corporate theory in this context. Moreover, the module will examine the potential role of CSR in development issues. The role of the newly emerging Corporate Accountability movement will also be explored.





Module Aims

This module aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the various meanings attached to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility over time and to elaborate on the meanings that are currently attached to it. It will therefore also allow the students to develop a critical understanding of the wider issues and debates surrounding CSR.


Learning Outcomes

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


·             Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


·             Demonstrate an overall knowledge of the different conceptions of CSR within the wider context of different models of the corporation and corporate governance


·             Explain the role of civil society, as represented by NGOs, in the rise of the contemporary CSR movement


·             Discuss critically the main strands of the voluminous literature on CSR


·             Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the relationship between CSR and the newly emerging Corporate Accountability movement


·             Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role of CSR as a developmental tool


·             Discuss critically, in general terms, past and contemporary issues concerning CSR


·             Research, collate and evaluate primary and secondary materials on CSR.


Module Content

·             Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


·             Historical and Theoretical Foundations of CSR


·             The Emergence of the Contemporary CSR Movement: Civil society, NGOs and the Multinational Enterprise


·             Models of CSR: Contemporary CSR and Older ‘versions’ of CSR


·             CSR and its Proponents : The Business Case for CSR


·             CSR and its Critics : From Friedman via Henderson to The Economist


·             The Corporate Accountability Movement


·             CSR and Development Issues


Methods of Teaching/Learning

8 x 3-hour seminars.  The seminars will be interactive and students will be expected to come prepared for the seminar and engage actively in discussions


Selected Texts/Journals

General reading


Bakan, J The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Constable, London , 2004)


Charkham, J Keeping Better Company: Corporate Governance Ten years On ( Oxford : OUP, 2005)


Crane, A et al (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility (OUP, Oxford , 2008)


Cook, C The Good Company – A sceptical look at Corporate Social Responsibility (The Economist, London , January 2005)


Hopkins , M The Planetary Bargain: Corporate Social Responsibility Matters (Earthscan, London 2003)


Friedman, M The Social Responsibility of Business if to Increase its Profits (The New York Times Magazine, New York, 13 September 1970)


McBarnet, D Voiculescu, A and Campbell, T (Eds) The New Corporate Accountability: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law (CUP, Cambridge , 2007)


Vogel, D The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility (Brookings Institution, Washington DC , 2006)



Selected journals


Articles of relevance to Corporate Social Responsibility will be found in many journals, including:


Company Lawyer (The)


Corporate Governance – An International Review


International Company and Commercial Law Review


Journal of Business Ethics


Journal of Corporate Citizenship


Journal of Corporate Law Studies



Selected websites


Business in the Community:


Ethical Corporation:


Global Compact:


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