Business and Societal Change

Business and Societal Change

Responsible for module: ProfDr. Joern Hoppmann
Additional lecturers: -
Teaching format: Seminar
Assessment: Presentation + seminar thesis
ECTS credits: 6 (= 4 hours per semester week)
Frequency: annually in the summer semester

The module is offered in the following degree programs:

  • Master Business Administration, Economics, and Law (module in the specialization FUGO - Management of firms and social organization - 2nd semester)
  • Master Management Consulting (core module in the 2nd semester)
  • can be selected as an elective in other degree programs

Concept and content

The course centers on the questions of how societal change affects firms and how firms, in turn, contribute to societal change. Toward this end, the first part of the course introduces several important theoretical approaches that help understand societal change from a business perspective, such as Institutional Entrepreneurship or Corporate Political Activity. In addition, students will get to know tools firms use to analyze societal trends. In the second part of the course, students will then form groups to analyze the dynamics, drivers, and consequences of important societal trends with a focus on the role of and implications for firms. Trends, which will be covered in this context, are digitization, automation, mediatization, connectivity, globalization, urbanization, individualism, democratization, social inclusion, gender equality, commercialism, privatization, materialism, income inequality, demographic change, climate change, and resource depletion. The results of the analysis will be presented in class, discussed with the other students, and summarized in a seminar thesis. The main goal of the course is to allow students to derive strategic recommendations for managers and policy makers based on a sound analysis of societal developments.


The students…

  • have an overview of the most important societal trends, such as digitization, globalization, demographic change, gender equality, income inequality, and resource depletion
  • know important theoretical approaches that help understand societal change from a firm perspective
  • are able to analyze societal trends and critically evaluate their pros and cons
  • understand the impact of societal change on businesses as well as the role of businesses as drivers of societal change
  • are able to derive recommendations for firms and policy makers based on a thorough analysis of trends

Literature (examples)

Battilana, J., Leca, B., & Boxenbaum, E. (2009). How actors change institutions: Towards a theory of institutional entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Annals, 3(1), 65-107.

Hillman, A. J., Keim, G. D., & Schuler, D. (2004). Corporate political activity: A review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 30(6), 837-857.

Loebbecke, C., & Picot, A. (2015). Reflections on societal and business model transformation arising from digitization and big data analytics: A research agenda. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 24(3), 149-157.

Richins, M. L., & Dawson, S. (1992). A consumer values orientation for materialism and its measurement: Scale development and validation. Journal of Consumer Research, 19(3), 303-316.

(Changed: 19 Jan 2024)  | 
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