Not available in 2023/24
MG476      Half Unit
Corporate Social Responsibility and International Labour Standards

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sarah Ashwin, MAR 5.18


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Management (Employment Relations and Human Resources), MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Human Resource Management/CIPD), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations/CIPD), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Human Rights and Politics, MSc in Political Science (Global Politics) and MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Any social science background.

Course content

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an expected element of corporate strategy. This course critically evaluates CSR, focusing on firms’ attempts to prevent labour standards violations in their supply chains. We begin by analysing the rise of CSR, setting it in the context of global value chains, international labour standards, and emerging private forms of regulation. We then analyse topics such as: the impact of CSR on corporate financial performance; whether CSR is an effective means of raising labour standards; theories of CSR; how to embed CSR within the firm and comparative CSR. The course includes plenty of examples of how large firms are dealing with the ethical challenges posed by global supply chains. The course is interdisciplinary, and students are encouraged to bring insights from their “home” discipline so that seminars become a mutual learning experience. The course will include one lecture from a CSR professional.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the WT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay in LT.

Indicative reading

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

Kaplan, S. (2019) The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Kuruvilla, S. (2021) Private Regulation of Labor Practices in Global Supply Chains: Problems, Progress and Prospects, Ithaca and London: ILR Press

Vogel, D. (2005) The Market For Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.


Exam (40%, duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.
Essay (55%, 2000 words) in the ST.
Class participation (5%).

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2022/23: 47

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness