ACM001-Corporate Governance & Ethics

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Dan Zhou


Summary module description:
This module provides students with a critical understanding of contemporary issues in corporate governance and accountability with a focus on the need for and in some cases, apparent lack of, ethical conduct.

The module begins with a review of corporate governance theories and the recent development of codes and regulations in the wake of scandals such as Enron and the recent banking collapses and global financial crisis. This is followed by an examination of the adequacy of internal and external control mechanisms in the Anglo-Saxon model. A number of specific governance issues are evaluated such as the role of institutional investors, board effectiveness, non-executive directors, executive remuneration, risk management, internal control and transparency. The module adopts an international comparative perspective, focusing on a range of different corporate governance systems in countries around the world. There is also a focus on the evolving concept of holistic governance and the broader context of corporate governance, including the increasing need for stakeholder accountability. Specific topics such as corporate sustainability reporting and assurance, integrated reporting and responsible investment are critically discussed. Illustrations from practice and reference to a wide range of academic research are core elements of this module. The module encourages students to explore how corporate governance and accountability may be enhanced and how a more ethical business environment may be nurtured.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
1.Discuss the key corporate governance and ethics concepts in their economic, political and legal context.
2.Evaluate the development of corporate governance regulations, codes and practice in a UK and in an international context.
3.Distinguish different theoretical perspectives on corporate governance and understand their assumptions about key actors, motives and control mechanisms.
4.Comment on current debates on the role of the board of directors, non-executive directors and institutional investors.
5.Discuss the importance of internal control and risk management systems and the appropriate basis for setting remuneration for top management.
6.Appreciate the growing importance of stakeholder accountability, corporate responsibility and ethical conduct to the evolution of holistic governance.
7.Explore the role of sustainability reporting and assurance, integrated reporting and stakeholder engagement as mechanisms of corporate governance and stakeholder accountability.
8.Analyse the evolving role of institutional investors in enhancing corporate accountability through responsible investment and the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decision-making.

Additional outcomes:
Structured activities are designed to develop transferrable skills such as written and communication skills necessary for working in a business environment.

Outline content:
1.Theoretical frameworks for corporate governance, accountability and ethics
2.The consequences of corporate governance weaknesses and failure
3.The UK corporate governance framework : Codes of Practice and governance reviews
4.Internal mechanisms: board effectiveness, the role of non-executive directors, remuneration structures
5.External mechanisms, especially the role of institutional investors.
6.International corporate governance: comparative analysis
7.Corporate governance and stakeholder accountability: holistic governance
8.Responsible investment

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures of two hours per week will be used for the exposition of the major concepts, principles and techniques under consideration. Workshops of two hours duration will be used for problem solving, group discussions and presentation based on case study materials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Guided independent study 155 15
Total hours by term 183.00 17.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Formative assessments are available in the class for most weeks of the module to enable students to gain the necessary practice.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:
One 2 hour closed book unseen written paper in the summer term.

Requirements for a pass:
A weighted average mark of coursework and examination of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
By examination only (one 2-hour unseen written paper) in August/September. Coursework will not be included in the re-assessment.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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