Courses Master Display 2014-2015
|Course Description||To PDF|
|Course title||Business Innovation and Sustainable Development|
Marc van Wegberg
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Language of instruction||English|
This is a do-course with a heavy workload from the first course day (or actually a week earlier) till the exam week! Students form a team and do a self-developed study project in the field. Competencies that will be built on include team work, self-Organisation, analytical skill, and multitasking between theory and practice. Furthermore, we read a variety of academic literatures including empirical studies, case studies, and analyses, from various academic disciplines. The skill to learn here is to make s synthesis of these various intellectual inputs, and develop the ability to develop an overview, see the big picture, and guide yourself and others thought a complex intellectual landscape.
The topic of this course is that businesses innovation takes place in a societal context. Inventors, innovators, and businesses influence their environment. They have external effects on the local society, natural environment, on competitors, clients and suppliers. Business leads to sustainable development if it meets present needs without undermining the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Many actors in a capitalist society are aware of their external effects. They start a business or invent a new technology, product, or business model in order to solve a social ill or a perceived inefficiency. They live in the world and they act their part. When business chooses to ignore its social, political and natural environment, government needs to step in to correct resulting problems. If the government is to step back from the market process then firms need to increase their social responsibility by working towards sustainable development.
The aim of the course is to study sustainability and business. Unsustainable development hurts business too. A business that undermines its social, economic or natural environment will loose legitimacy and sap the sources of its vitality. Many innovations and enterprises were motivated by the initiators to improve the society as they perceived it. Many entrepreneurs felt a societal responsibility to improve the people who worked for them or the societies in which they operated. The view of capitalism as solely profit oriented and opportunistic represents an impoverished view of the reality of business. This course aims to correct that. By doing so it provides its students a handle to see their societal awareness and responsibility as a resource that helps them be creative, to think up new products and products, and to make original contributions to the companies they work for.
Students develop a project motivated by the goal to improve sustainability and society. The aim is to identify a social ill or inefficiency, and to think up an innovation, new organisation, or a strategy that can contribute to solving this problem. The project first demonstrates that a social ill or inefficiency indeed exists. A private opinion is not enough. The project requires rigorous thinking to show that society can do better. It should suggest a solution. The solution should demonstrably contribute to the goal. It should be feasible from a business perspective. The solution should be shown to be compatible with a profit requirment and to be vialbe in the long term without subsidies.
The data gathering should include at least one extensive interview. Secondary data should be collected from multple sources. The discourse in the project report should use theories and concepts from the course literature.
Since the master Strategy and Innovtion contains courses on competition, strategy, innovation and alliances, the report should explicitly use and refer to insights from at least one of the other three courses of this track.
Each session has two presenters. With a maximum of fourteen students per group that applies to seven sessions. The remaining group sessions will be organised by the students collectively.
Remark concerning assessment methods:
Subgroup performance too.
The course uses a book plus numerous peer reviewed academic articles. The book:
Hart, Stuart L, 2010, Capitalism at the Crossroads: Aligning Business, Earth, and Humanity, Upper Saddle River, Wharton Business School, 3d edition.
This book is a very motivating account of how business not only should deal with the world's ills but in fact will benefit from doing so. There is no inconsistency between private business and social wellbeing. The downside of the visionary book is that it cannot pass as an academic textbook. We therefore complement it with academic articles to provide depth of view and a critical pespective.
Excellent command of English in spontaneous class discussions, prepared student presentations, and in writing for essays (part of the grading). Vocabulary, syntax, pronunciation should all be proper.
Basic understanding of strategic management and business economics. Basic concepts like ROA and concentration and the five forces should be known.
Basic understanding (in terms of reading rather than actually doing) of statistics, notably, the ability to understand regression analysis as research tool, regression equations as a model in a research paper, and tables of results.
|Teaching methods (indicative; course manual is definitive)||PBL / Presentation / Lecture / Assignment / Groupwork|
|Assessment methods (indicative; course manual is definitive)||Final Paper / Participation|
|Evaluation in previous academic year||For the complete evaluation of this course please click "here"|
|This course belongs to the following programmes / specialisations||