251.7 sec. 001 - Business in Society (Fall 2020)
Instructor: Amelia Miazad (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
- TuTh 2:10 PM - 3:25 PM
From August 18, 2020
To November 30, 2020
Course End: November 30, 2020
Class Number: 32602
Enroll Limit: 33
As of: 10/29 07:51 PM
Society’s expectations of companies are changing, and companies are responding. Many companies today go beyond compliance with the law to implement policies in line with the values of their employees, customers, and other stakeholders. An increasing number are engaging in activities that were traditionally conducted by governments and nonprofits. This new articulation of corporate purpose raises complex legal, ethical, and business questions. In this course we will explore the unique and increasingly central role that legal and compliance professionals are playing in this landscape.
This class is taught using the case study method, common in business schools. Each week we will analyze a case study on a particular company and will have an opportunity to discuss that case study with the general counsel or chief compliance officer from that company. The companies we will examine include: Salesforce, Patagonia, Nike, Uber, Lyft, Pepsi, Amazon, ClifBar, and Clorox, among others. The issues we will address include:
- The shareholder/stakeholder debate
- The risks and opportunities of engaging on political issues, from gun violence prevention to immigration
- The increasing trend of CEOs as “moral leaders”
- How employees are leveraging their voice to advocate for corporate governance reforms and whether employees should have representation on the board
- The private sector’s responsibility to address income inequality through executive compensation reform
- The duty of companies/directors to mitigate and disclose the risk of climate change
- Corporate tax strategy and alignment and misalignment with public positions on environmental and social issues
- Gender and racial equity and business strategy, including social due diligence
For the past few years this course has been taught during a bull market, which afforded many companies with the luxury of resourcing environmental and social programs. Given the recent turn of events, and the real tradeoffs that companies are facing, the fate of this new articulation of corporate purpose is in peril. Will companies “build back better” and be guided by a focus on stakeholders? Or will they retreat to an even more aggressive version of short-term profit maximization? What is the role of regulators and investors at this juncture? These are the questions that we will explore with leading general counsel who are facing them for the first time.
Real-time attendance at the first Zoom class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.
Business Associations is recommended (concurrent enrollment is sufficient).
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.