Scheda programma d'esame
Academic year2022/23
PeriodSemester 2

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Learning outcomes


Business and Society (BS)


Semester II - 2022-2023


Course Name and Number:

332PP: Business and Society. BS


General course idea:

Since we are facing unprecedented sustainability challenges, several calls have been made to rethink or re-imagine capitalism. Contemporary world complexities include climate change, tax avoidance, pandemics, pollution, modern slavery, economic and social inequalities, sustainability challenges at large. This course's key aim is to constitute a "wakening call" for students on the need to address grand sustainability challenges in their future jobs as regulators, policy makers, analysts, managers etc. 


The teaching style is topic-based, case-based, participatory and project oriented. Students taking this course should not see themselves as mere "absorbers" of codified concepts, but as living and thinking individuals, who will have to take complex business decisions and who are expected to learn, discuss and face the paradoxes and tensions that are inherent when business decisions have to be taken in highly uncertain and risky environments like the ones we are currently living in.


Required Readings:

All materials will be available on the E-learning course website.

Participants will be expected to keep abreast of contemporary developments in corporate social and environmental responsibilities, business and human rights, sustainability challenges by reading the relevant press (e.g. The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, Foreign Affairs) and other newspapers or journals.


Course Description:

Core topics

  • Shareholder value maximization vs. stakeholder theory
  • Corporate wrongdoing and corporate social responsibility
  • New business models for a more responsible capitalism
  • Business and human rights


Special topics

  • Economic inequality and tax evasion
  • Finance and climate change/Responsible Investing
  • Migrants and modern slavery
  • Food waste
  • Responsible innovation and circular economy
  • EU Green Deal for a toxic free environment
  • Global value chains and responsible/sustainable sourcing (e.g. in connection with conflict minerals in the ICT industry, agro-food value chains, textile and footwear).



Instructional Method:

The lectures combine a multiplicity of teaching methods ranging from frontal teaching to invited speakers' seminars and group work. Selected students are expected to take an active role in leading discussion and providing critical commentary. Each class will involve discussion and dialogue as major elements in the learning strategy. Students may be asked to prepare for the class, by reading assigned materials in advance. Occasionally, the course will host invited speakers from the academia or the practitioners’ world.


Timetable and organization of lectures:

Please check Elearning. 


For more info check here:

Office Hours:Write me an email. 


Learning Assessments:

The course includes a combination of assessments, which are weighted to give a final mark. Normally that includes:

Reading response presentation

Students individually or in pairs will be assigned a reading and will have the task of preparing a presentation on it. Presentations are not meant to repeat exactly the contents of the reading but rather offer a critical synthesis in which the student: 1) highlights the main points and examples in an organized manner, 2) clarifies key terms/concepts/ideas, and 3) formulates interesting points for debate. Presentations will take place during the synchronized class, should not exceed 30 minutes, and should be accompanied by a power point presentation or a handout. Each student will be graded individually. 

2 Class participation:                           

Students are required to participate verbally in class, and in completing tasks set in class, as the topics lend themselves to class discussions. Students will be graded on overall class participation (verbal contributions in class, and written contributions to online discussions and other tasks set in class) during the semester, but not on the accuracy of expressed views. The point is to engage, even if your information proves to be in error or if your views meet opposition in the discussion.

3 Essay*                                                

This is an individual assessment. Each student will be given a question/topic to answer/elaborate based on the course content and additional materials made available through E-learning.*

 Other assessment methods may apply. 


Once a week students will receive training about how to write their essays and, also, they are expected to discuss progress on their assigned topic with the other students during class hours (see schedule below). All students are expected to provide feedback. A “critical friend” is assigned to each essay: a critical friend is a selected student (one for each essay) that will provide qualified feedback on the essay as it develops. More info on Elearning. 


Final drafts of the essays can be submitted prior to each exam date. It is highly recommended to take the exam within a solar year since the end of the lectures. No exceptions in exam modalities for exchange students or students from other degree courses who are expected to align with the course schedule and rules. Students not attending class regularly, should write to to explain the reasons for their absence and agree on an ad hoc exam modality.


Additional instructions on Essays:

Essays should be written in Times New Roman 12, single space and submitted in PDF. Margins can be standard. Each essay should follow the guidelines given during the course, but at minimum they should include:

A frontpage including: TITLE, NAME OF STUDENT and MATRICOLA, ACADEMIC YEAR, EMAIL. An introduction (called Introduction), a theoretical section (called Theory or Conceptual Framework), a methodological/data section (called Methodology) and an empirical evidence section (called Empirical Results), a conclusive/discussion section (called Conclusions), followed by a list of references in alphabetical order (References) and, if necessary, an Appendix. Tables and Figures can be embedded in the main text and numbered sequentially. Pages MUST be numbered. Essays’ length is expected to be between 6,000 and 8,000 words including tables, figures and references (but excluding Appendixes).


Citations to the relevant sources:

All sources must be cited, including not only print books and scholarly articles, but anything you borrow to craft your assignment. This includes primary sources, such as letters, diaries, documents, music, and films. It includes online sources, secondary sources, such as online books, online articles, websites, instructor’s lectures, and open source websites with no identifiable author, like Wikipedia. If you didn’t write it (or create it), cite it.

You can choose your citation style (APA is the recommended one), the one important point is that once you have chosen your style you should be consistent and do not mix styles. To know more about citation styles consult here:

See also this standard approach for citations as an example.

For more insights about how to avoid plagiarism see here:

Academic Integrity:

The Code of Ethics of the University of Pisa addresses cheating, fabrication of submitted work, plagiarism, handing in work completed for another course without the instructor’s approval, and other forms of dishonesty. Students are advised that all their submitted essays or reports will be checked for plagiarism through a dedicated software.


Updated: 12/09/2022 22:32