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:
Current from: 2023/4

Module Convenor: Ms Rhianydd Dow

Type of module:

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 corporate conduct.


The module begins with a review of corporate governance theories and the recent development of codes and regulations in the wake of recent corporate scandals and the global financial crisis. A number of specific governance issues are evaluated, including 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, evaluating 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 real-world 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 to consider 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 the UK and in an international context. 

3. Distinguish different theoretical perspectives on corporate governance and understand their assumptions about key factors, 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 transferable 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. 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.

Global context:

Students will examine the development of corporate governance in an international context, evaluating the different systems and models of corporate governance in operation around the world, through analysis of real-world examples and case studies.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures will be used for the exposition of the major concepts, principles and techniques under consideration. Workshops will be used for problem solving, group discussions and presentations based on case study materials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 50
    Wider reading (directed) 26
    Exam revision/preparation 50
    Preparation for seminars 16
    Essay preparation 30
Total hours by term 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2 hour written paper in April/ May.

The examination for this module will require a narrowly defined time window and is likely to be held in a dedicated exam venue.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Group case study analysis report in week 11 of Spring term – 3,000 words maximum (no excess allowed). 

Formative assessment methods:

Opportunities for formative feedback and development will be offered throughout the module, especially through, and on, students’ contributions to seminar activities and discussions. 

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:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A weighted average mark of coursework and examination of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

By examination only in August/September. Coursework will not be included in the re-assessment. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1. Required text books - £40 (approx.)

Last updated: 30 March 2023


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