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Strategic CSR

Strategic CSR

Code: CSR5LH001
Extent: 3 ECTS (81 h)
Timing: Semester 3-7
Language: English with possibility to complete assignments and/or exams in Finnish for Finnish speaking students. In case there are no non-Finnish speaking students, the course will be in Finnish.
Level: Professional specialization studies
Type: Optional; recommended to be combined with C module for Corporate Responsibility

Prerequisites

This course forms part of the C-module for Corporate Responsibility. Approved completion of the introductory course to Corporate Responsibility is a prerequisite for acceptance to this course. The basic course is for example CSR1LH001, ECO1LF001 or CSR1LK001 (Kestävä kehitys ja yhteiskuntavastuu, Yhteiskuntavastuu ja eettinen johtaminen and/or The sustainable global environment).

Learning outcomes

The course is designed to increase student’s understanding of the strategies undertaken by corporations to

  • minimize negative and maximize positive impacts to the economic, social and environmental spheres
  • mitigate risks and manage under conditions of uncertainty
  • leverage CSR concerns as a source of competitive business advantage
  • deal effectively with global CSR related issues such as resource depletion, bottom-of-the-pyramid markets and socially responsible sourcing

Upon successful completion of the course, the student

  • can skillfully identify and critically evaluate corporate responsibility  strategies
  • is able to identify and formulate alternative strategic options for a sound competitive strategy supporting CSR
  • analyse, assess, explain and differentiate between strategic and operative corporate responsibility actions and decisions
  • provide relevant background information for strategic decision making with respect to CSR topics

Course contents

The course will

  • expose students to strategies companies use to innovate, create value and build competitive advantage and give examples of employed corporate responsibility strategies
  • challenge students to think critically about the environmental and societal consequences of business decisions and about competitive CSR strategies
  • increase the student’s understanding of the macro-environmental changes shaping appropriate CSR responses
  • give the students the opportunity to quantitatively assess firm’s environmental impact and alternative investment scenarios

Cooperation with the business community

The course is implemented in close cooperation with suitable companies through assignments and/or guest lectures or company visits. The corporate assignments can and will be combined with the other courses in the C-module whenever possible.

Learning and teaching methods

Contact hours 32 h
Independent studies and group work 48 h
The assessment of one's own learning 1 h

Accreditation of prior learning (APL, in Finnish AHOT)

Accreditation of prior learning is observed on the course according to separate instructions.

Teacher with main responsibility for the course

Minna-Maari Harmaala

Course materials

Harmaala, M-M. & Jallinoja, N. 2012. Yritysvastuu ja menestyvä liiketoiminta. SanomaPro.

Other material appointed by the teacher

Assessment criteria

Students' performance is graded on the following scale: Excellent (5), Very good (4), Good (3), Satisfactory (2), Fair (1), Fail (0). The assessment criteria is presented on scale 1 to 5.

Components 1 (40% of objectives) 3 (70% of objectives) 5 (90% of objectives)
Knowledge The student can identify, list and combine the main theoretical strategic CSR concepts and issues. The student can describe the relevant strategic CSR concepts and apply them to new contexts. The student can link the key theoretical concepts to the practical tasks. The student has an understanding of how strategic CSR relates to general strategic decision making and contributes to corporate bottom line performance. The student can use and combine different theories to present her own suggestions and models. The student is aware of conflicting views on the topics. The student uses theory and specific terminology accurately. The student has a clear understanding and appreciation of how strategic CSR fits into the general strategic framework and how it contributes to corporate profitability.
Skills The student can only with difficulty and under strict supervision contribute as part of a team, in developing corporate strategic CSR. The student can provide input to strategic decision making only with serious difficulty and omissions. The student can participate in developing strategic CSR in a corporate setting, for example evaluate alternative competitive strategies or investment alternatives with strict support and supervision. The student can, as part of a team, develop corporate strategic CSR based on general criteria. The student can provide input to strategic decision making with some difficulty. The student can participate in developing strategic CSR in a corporate setting, for example evaluate alternative competitive strategies or investment alternatives with moderate support and supervision. The student can analyse a company independently and make informed development suggestions. The student can provide meaningful strategic CSR initiatives taking corporate characteristics into account. The student can provide input to strategic decision making skillfully and professionally. The student can fully participate in developing strategic CSR in a corporate setting, for example evaluate alternative competitive strategies or investment alternatives with a great degree of independence. The student can act as a team leader if required. The student can make significant contributions to corporate development projects.
Competence The student can partly work with a corporate team given strong support and supervision. The student can only with difficulty apply problem identification, analysis and solving to strategic CSR issues and projects. The student does not demonstrate aptitude or interest in developing corporate strategic CSR. The student can work with a corporate team given some content and context related support. The student shows moderate independence in her work. The student can apply problem identification, analysis and solving to strategic CSR issues and projects to an extent. The student demonstrates some aptitude and interest in developing corporate strategic CSR. The student can work very professionally with a corporate team given some content and context related support. The student shows a great degree of independence in her work. The student can skillfully apply problem identification, analysis and solving to strategic CSR issues and projects to an extent. The student demonstrates great aptitude and interest in developing corporate strategic CSR.

Assessment components and their respective weights

Active participation during contact sessions 30%
Assignments and e-learning work 70 %
The assessment of one's own learning assignment does not impact your grade. The assignment is the same for all courses/modules and your answers will be used also for course/module development. The assignment is completed on an electronic form.