ICM336-Governance, Power and Accountability

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Ms Deepa Govindarajan Driver
Email: d.govindarajan@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to the theory and practice of governance. The module then focuses on a critical discussion of power and accountability, with an emphasis on accountability to a range of  societal stakeholders. 



The module aims to expose students to key discussions of governance, power and accountability. Students will explore how governance systems are conceived, how requirements vary across jurisdictions and the tools and techniques involved. It will also explore the potential and actual ways in which governance and accountability mechanisms can be upheld or undermined and the impact that failures can have on to a range of stakeholders.


Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Explain the conceptual basis for discussions of governance and in particular the shareholder-oriented and stakeholder-oriented approaches to corporate governance.

  • Critically reflect on state power and corporate power, as well as the impact of lobbying and state/regulatory capture 

  • Evaluate different governance tools and mechanisms, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses, as well as appreciating contextual nuances in different jurisdictions. 

  • Evaluate how states and corporates can frame, structure and alter governance and accountability mechanisms and what consequences these have for stakeholders 

  • Evaluate the implications of governance failures on a range of stakeholders, particularly in the context of financialisation

  • Critically reflect on their learning and its relation to the real world around them. In particular, students should be able to engage with real world examples in the above areas

  • Communicate their understanding of the above topics in writing and verbally in a knowledgeable, precise and effective manner

Additional outcomes:

Review academic materials and discuss a range of concepts related to the underlying subject matter verbally and in writing, both individually or as part of a group so as to develop and demonstrate understanding of the subject area.

Outline content:

This module will seek to link theory to practice using cases and concrete examples to further discussions

Topics that will be covered include 

  • the profit motive, the market mechanism and the market for corporate control 

  • incentives and remuneration

  • voice, exit, disclosure and transparency

  • oversight and senior management structures and arrangements across different institutions and how theserelate to the application of power by stakeholders

  • culture, inclusion and accountability

  • regulatory and institutional accountability in state structures 

  • holding power to account: whistleblowing and whistle-blower protections and the role of the media

  • third parties and advisors

  • how accountability can be avoided eg greenwashing and how to address this


Global context:

This 20-credit module is intended to prepare students for careers in management, finance and law and in public services or statutory bodies. It is also valuable to those students preparing for roles in risk management, internal and external audit, and compliance

This module open to students across the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School and the Law School (subject to programme-level availability).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Full Time: The core theory and concepts will be presented during classroom lectures. Relevant allied theoretical and practical issues will be discussed in seminars.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 36
    Wider reading (directed) 54
    Essay preparation 55
    Reflection 29
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Not applicable

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The written assignment is an essay of approximately 3000 words (excluding references, footnotes and appendices) with an annotated reference list submitted in Weeks 3-4 of the summer term.

Formative assessment methods:

Weekly written and verbal contributions to lectures and seminars as applicable. Reflective contributions based on homework or self-study.

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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx


Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% weighted average mark

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of assignment

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: £100 2) Specialist equipment or materials: 3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 4) Printing and binding: £10 5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence.

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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