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The University of Southampton

MANG3029 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business

Module Overview

This module covers the development of the concept and the meaning of the term corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable business (SB); how CSR and SB models are being implemented in today’s corporations, its impact and likely future directions. The module summarises the latest thinking of the strategic significance of CSR and SB, and how CSR and SB go to the heart of the way in which businesses make decisions and conduct their activities. In the process, the module demonstrates how CSR and SB can lead to innovation, new business opportunities and towards solutions to many of today’s long-standing business, social and environmental problems.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the relevance of stakeholder theory and the role and importance of CSR in 21st Century organisations;
  • the changing role and expectations of business in society;
  • the extent to which business can meet the challenges of sustainable development;
  • how CSR is being practiced in various organisations;
  • the strategic significance of CSR for business;
  • the role and importance of non-financial reporting.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate existing CSR initiatives, and appropriate courses of managerial action from a range of alternatives;
  • apply logical and critical analysis to complex ethical issues;
  • present convincing and well-argued cases for particular CSR-related decisions;
  • be aware of, and understand, the appropriate relevant research literature;
  • synthesise information and write and debate analytically on the subject.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • confidently present a particular course of action and justify it with reference to theoretical literature and relevant examples;
  • contribute successfully to a peer work group;


Historical context, theoretical overview of CSR, stakeholder theory and stakeholder management; Institutional theory, Cross cultural issues, partnerships with NGOs, Sustainability issues: how business is responding to the challenge of sustainable development; Role of finance-related metrics e.g. Dow Jones sustainability index, FTSE4Good. Initiatives such as UN Global Compact, Ethical Trading Initiative; Sustainable business modules, Strategic CSR – business case for CSR, reputation risk; CSR in global supply chains; Ethical investment; Trade, labour and corporate citizenship in a globalising world; Introduction to ethical theories. Application of ethics to real life business dilemmas; Applied CSR: Case studies: how companies and industries manage CSR; Standards, codes of conduct, professional bodies, guidelines; Social Reporting and accounting; Support agencies: CSR service providers. CSR and SMEs Future trends: emergence of CSR legislation, shift from corporate responsibility to corporate accountability, Career development for CSR professionals.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be primarily lecture-based, with a number of high profile visiting speakers from industry and relevant organisations. It will also involve e-learning discussion groups, open debate, case studies, group work, games and videos. You will be expected to actively participate in the learning process, using Blackboard or other facilitative media.

Follow-up work25
Preparation for scheduled sessions25
Completion of assessment task25
Wider reading or practice25
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Crane, A., Matten, A., Spence, L. (eds.) (2013). Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context. 

Rasche, A., Morsing, M., & Moon, J. (Eds) (2017). Corporate social responsibility: strategy, communication, governance. 

Crane, A., Matten, D., Glozer, S and Spence, L. (2019). Business Ethics. 



In-class activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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