Business and Society

Module description


This module is designed to help students to open up their understanding of the relationships between business and society through a focus on responsibility. Throughout the module you will be engaging in case study work, debate and independent research. Delivery is fortnightly via team-taught workshops and small learning groups.

Additional Information:


The international dimension of the key topics (see below) will emerge in the discussions as linkages are being made between individual action at home and the resulting impact in other parts of an increasingly globalised world.


Sustainability, ethics and CSR are some of the key topics for the lecturer-led workshops and student-led debates. 

External Engagement

External speakers will contribute to the workshop input.

Research in Teaching

Much of the workshop input will be based on lecturers’ own research; and students will be encouraged, through guided reading, to conduct their own research in preparation for coursework and examination.

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

This module has been designed around the theme of ‘responsibility'.  Implicit in this is an understanding of ethical decision making and ethical behaviour in business and society, in particular with regard to corporate social responsibility.

Full module specification

Module title:Business and Society
Module code:BEM1018
Module level:1
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Mrs Beate Wengler - Convenor
  • Ms Majella O'Leary - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:





None – but this module complements BEM1016/1016A

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The aims of this module are to:
• Develop our understanding of the relationships between business and society
• Explore emerging trends in the environment in which business operates
• Consider the responsibilities of different groups and individuals in contemporary society

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. explain the complexities that characterise the relationships between business and society
  • 2. analyse core concepts that relate to societal responsibility
  • 3. demonstrate awareness of the different areas of responsibility, including: Innovation; Natural environment; Crisis; The individual; The organisation

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. critically engage with different ways of understanding
  • 5. select and synthesize material from a range of sources (both academic and practitioner based) to support key ideas and recommendations
  • 6. conduct research both independently and in groups

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. analyse, communicate and present ideas, principles and evidence (in both oral and written form) that support a reasoned and consistent argument
  • 8. work in active learning teams
  • 9. successfully participate in discussions

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours11Lectures
Guided independent study131Individual reading and research

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class peer review of argument map1-hour peer review1-9Verbal feedback from peers and tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework301 page argument map1-7Written feedback from lecturer
Final examination: May702 hours, seen examination1-5,7Overall feedback on quality of exam performance posted on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Coursework Re-submission of Coursework 30%1-7July
ExaminationExamination (2 hours) 70%1-9August assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Reassessment will be a resubmission of the coursework and a referred examination.

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction
  • Responsibility and the Natural Environment
  • Responsibility, the Individual and the Organisation
  • Responsible Innovation
  • Responsibility and Crisis

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core text:
No core text – recommended articles will be available on ELE for each topic

Indicative readings:

Carroll, A. B. and Bucholtz, A. K. (2011) Business and Society: Ethics, Sustainability and Stakeholder Management, Eighth edition, SOUTH-WESTERN Cengage learning.

Hart, S. (1997) ‘Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World’ Harvard Business Review, 75(1): 65-76. This is old but a seminal article.

Heuer, M. (2012) ‘Sustainability Governance Across Time and Space: Connecting Environmental Stewardship in the Firm with the Global Community’, Business Strategy and the Environment. 21, 86–97.

Lynch, W. And Kline, R. (2000) Engineering Practice and Engineering Ethics, in Science, Technology & Human Values, 25: 195-224.

Moran, D. D., Wackernagel, M., Kitze,J.A., Goldfinger, S.A., Boutaud, A. (2008) ‘Measuring sustainable development — Nation by Nation’ Ecological Economics, (64), 470-474. (This is a short article on Ecological Footprint, which will be supplemented by the latest report and figures available online).

Neff, G. and Stark, D. (2003) Permanently Beta: Responsive Organization in the Internet Era, in Philip E.N. Howard and Steve Jones (eds.), Society Online: The Internet In Context, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; pp. 173–188.

Pinch, T. and Bijker, W. (1987) The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts: or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other, in Bijker, W., Huges, T. And T. Pinch (eds.) The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology; pp 17-50.

Pollock, N. and Williams, R. (2010) The business of expectations: How promissory organisations shape technology and innovation, in Social Studies of Science 40, pp. 525-548.

Post, J.E. (2011) ‘Business, Society, and the Environment’ in The Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment, Hoffman, A. J. and Bansal, P. (Eds), Oxford University Press (available online).

Swierstra, T. and Jelsma, J. (2006) Responsibility without Moralism in Technoscientific Design Practice, in Science, Technology & Human Values, 31: 309-332.

Wetmore, J. (2004) Redefining Risks and Redistributing Responsibilities: Building Networks to Increase Automobile Safety, in Science, Technology & Human Values, 29: 377-405.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

as provided and recommended during classes and via ELE

Origin date


Last revision date