Syllabus for CSR-610



This course introduces students to the concept of corporate social responsibility, which involves an examination of whether organizations should expand their focus from serving stockholders to also considering the impact of the firm's activities on diverse stakeholders. Practicing corporate social responsibility requires that a corporation meld business goals with societal expectations. To do so means addressing complex questions such as: What obligations do businesses have to the societies in which they operate? Can the interests of corporations and their outside stakeholders be aligned or are they in inherent conflict? This course examines these and other questions without prescribing simple solutions.


After completing this course, you should be able to:


You will need the following materials to complete your coursework. Some course materials may be free, open source, or available from other providers. You can access free or open-source materials by clicking the links provided below or in the module details documents. To purchase course materials, please visit the University's textbook supplier.

Required Textbooks

ISBN-13: 978-1412974530


The course also requires you to read several journal articles and to view videos. Each module will include directions for accessing the articles or videos you need.


Corporate Social Responsibility is a three-credit online graduate course, consisting of four modules. Modules include a topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


Module Title and Topics


The Meaning and Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility

1.01  Evolution of CSR

1.02  CSR and the law of economics

1.03  CSR and social legitimacy

1.04  CSR expectations in rich and in poor societies

1.05  The evolving role of stockholders

1.06  The iron law of social responsibility

1.07  Moral and economic arguments for CSR


The Role of Stakeholders in CSR

2.01  Stakeholder advocacy

2.02  The role of business in society

2.03  Consumers' awareness and willingness to pay for socially responsible corporate behavior

2.04  The communications revolution and its impact on CSR

2.05  Globalization and CSR

2.06  Different stakeholders, different perspectives

2.07  Success and failure with CSR initiatives

2.08  Corporate response to citizen demands via CSR

2.09  The five stages of organizational growth in CSR


The Strategic Importance of CSR Implementation

3.01  CSR as a balance between organizational means and ends

3.02  The strategic lens: vision, mission, strategy, and tactics

3.03  Environmental and other global forces propelling CSR

3.04  Impact of globalization and communications technologies

3.05  The strategic CSR model

3.06  The business-level CSR threshold

3.07  Implementing CSR

3.08  CSR as competitive advantage


Case Studies in Organizational, Economic, and Societal CSR Issues

4.01 Organizational issues (actions versus intentions, corporate commitment, voluntary versus mandatory, stakeholder activism)

4.02 Economic/business issues (branding, diversity, sustainability, fair trade, wages)

4.03 Social issues (outsourcing, corruption, human rights, patents)


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in four online discussion forums and submit four reflection exercises, four written assignments, and four module papers. You are also required to write a final paper, worth 40 percent of your grade. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in this document.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has an online class discussion forum. All discussion forums take place asynchronously on the class Discussion Board.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion Board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification on a topic.

For posting guidelines and additional help with Discussion Board assignments, please see the Student Handbook located within the General Information area of the course Web site.

Written Assignments

You will complete four written assignments. These assignments ask you to discuss or analyze key course concepts in written assignments of 1-1/2 to 3 pages.

For additional help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information area of the course Web site.

Reflection Exercises

These assignments ask you to prepare relatively brief responses (2 to 4 paragraphs) to questions about course concepts.

For additional help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information area of the course Web site.

Module Papers

In each module you will be asked to analyze a question thoroughly in a paper of 2 to 5 pages. You are encouraged to do research and bring in outside resources (including videos from the course site) into these papers; be sure to cite any sources correctly in APA style.

For additional help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information area of the course Web site.

Final Paper

A final paper of 10 to 15 pages is an opportunity for you to synthesize and then demonstrate what you have learned in this course. Acting in the role of the CEO of a fictitious corporation, you will prepare a report to the Board of Directors that outlines a proposed new CSR strategy, explains why it is important to implement such a strategy, and tells how you are going to do it. A full description of the paper and its requirements is found in the Final Paper area of the course site


For additional help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information area of the course Web site.

A Note About Research

The use of Wikipedia or other online encyclopedias for graduate-level papers is inappropriate. Aside from the uneven quality of the information that may be found in these sources, the real issue is that the information presented in these sources is "already digested." Use of such sources is an unacceptable shortcut for the graduate student. Students gathering information from these sites are essentially obtaining analyses done by someone else, not doing the work themselves. Rather than exploring the literature on a subject, such students are merely using the words of others who have already taken this vital step in academic research. It is imperative that graduate students be able to search the more academically-oriented literature, sift through useful (and not so useful) information, analyze, synthesize, and report the results of their activities. All of these steps are bypassed if information is cited from an online site such as Wikipedia. To sum up: Using information summarized or annotated by someone else is an unacceptable shortcut for a graduate student.

Evaluation Rubrics

Evaluation rubrics can be found in the evaluation rubrics section of the course website.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:  

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


To ensure success in all your academic endeavors and coursework at Thomas Edison State University, familiarize yourself with all administrative and academic policies including those related to academic integrity, course late submissions, course extensions, and grading policies.

For more, see:

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