CCGL9018 Global Issues

Corporate Social Responsibility

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), focusing on the interplay between corporations and their key stakeholders. Over the past several decades many factors have contributed to increased expectations for corporations to carry more social responsibilities. Asia is not an exception. At the same time, our governments have acted to reduce their roles in addressing social problems, in favor of market-based approaches.

CSR has progressed from traditional philanthropy and donation to encompass not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them. Through their stakeholder relations management and innovative business models, companies can not only develop practices to address environmental and social issues, but also identify opportunities for innovative products and technologies.

In recent decades the emergence of CSR has brought a new wave of social innovations to the marketplace. “Social enterprises” have emerged that emphasize both social and financial sustainability, and, therefore, traditional non-profit organizations, governments and corporations need to adapt themselves to embrace this social innovation. Thus, the topics of sustainability reporting, nonprofit organizations, social enterprises and other topics of interest to students will be discussed in-depth to bring this course to a more forward-looking perspective.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a heuristic understanding of economic concepts relevant to analyzing CSR issues.
  2. Understand, analyze and critically interpret cases and examples of issues in corporate social responsibility using the relevant economic concepts.
  3. Reflect upon the interactions between economic and political dimensions of corporate social responsibility issues and their moral dilemmas.
  4. Understand, analyze and critically interpret and reflect upon the relationship between issues of corporate social responsibility affecting businesses and its broader relationship with the nature of society and duties of citizenship.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 12
Preparation for tutorials 12
Reading / Self-study 60
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 60
Total: 168

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Written report 50
Class participation 10
Essay 40

Required Reading

Reading will include, but may not be limited to the following:

  • Berle, A. A., Jr. (1932). For whom corporate managers are trustees: A note. Harvard Law Review, 45(8), 1365-1372.
  • Carroll, A (1991). The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders. Business Horizons, July/August, 39-48.
  • Coase, R. (1960). The problem of social cost. The Journal of Law and Economics, 3, 1-44.
  • Dodd, E. M., Jr. (1932). For whom are corporate managers trustees? Harvard Law Review, 45(7), 1145-1163.
  • Drucker, P. F. (1999). Management challenges for the 21st century. New York: HarperBusiness.
  • Freeman, R (1984). Stakeholder management: framework and philosophy. Boston: Pitman. [Chap. 3]
  • Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The New York Times Magazine.
  • Porter, M., & Kramer, M. (2002). The competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy. Harvard Business Review, December.
  • Porter, M., & Kramer, M. (2006). Strategy and Society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review, December.
  • Zadek, S. (2004). The path to Corporate Responsibility. Harvard Business Review, December.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr S.L.K. Fung
School of Business, Faculty of Business and Economics
Tel: 3917 4214
Email: flksammy@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr S.L.K. Fung
School of Business, Faculty of Business and Economics
Tel: 3917 4214
Email: flksammy@hku.hk